Things to Do in Arlington, VA: Attractions to Visit in Arlington to Learn About the Military and More

Arlington is a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning more about the military and its history. The area is home to many important memorials. In addition, there are plenty of other things to do in Arlington, VA. Find something for yourself!

things to do in arlington va

Why Is Arlington Worth Visiting?

Arlington is a fascinating place that offers visitors plenty to see and do. Legally, it’s not a city, but a county belonging to the Washington metropolitan area. It lies just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and there are many things to do in Arlington, VA.

It provides an excellent introduction to the nation’s capital, with so much history packed into one small area. Visitors can explore Arlington National Cemetery, where around 400,000 people are buried and see the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Or, they could stroll through the city’s dozens of parks and cool off in a water park. Arlington has something for everyone – shopping malls, movie theaters, and restaurants. There are also plenty of cultural events throughout the year, including an annual jazz festival in the spring.

Things to Do in Arlington, VA That Have to Do with History

One of the most famous sites in Arlington is The Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. Visitors can take a tour of the building to learn more about its history and see the memorials that have been erected there.

The aforementioned Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most popular things to do in Arlington, VA. It’s the final resting place for many American soldiers, including those who fought in World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.

The cemetery also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day by members of the U.S. Army. The changing of the guard ceremony is an impressive sight, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

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In addition, Arlington is home to many other memorials and museums that are worth visiting. Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Air Force Memorial. These dramatic-looking spires made of stainless steel honor the men and women of the U.S. Air Force and pay tribute to their achievements.
  • The Marine Corps War Memorial. Also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, this monument commemorates the Marines who lost their lives during World War II.
  • The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. This touching memorial honors the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
  • The Women in Military Service for America Memorial. This is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about the role of women in the military.
  • Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. This is an active military base, but visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and learn about its history.

The Arlington House is another popular attraction. This historic house was once the home of Robert E. Lee, and it’s now a museum that tells the story of his life. The nearby area also contains the gravesites of President John F. Kennedy, Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr., Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Robert Todd Lincoln.

Active Things to Do in Arlington, VA

In addition to all the historical things to do in Arlington, VA, there are also plenty of options for those who want to be active.

There are dozens of parks in Arlington, including Bluemont Park, which has hiking and biking trails as well as a playground. Arlington also has a water park called the Ocean Dunes Waterpark, which is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Other parks worth checking out include:

  • Long Bridge Park;
  • Quincy Park;
  • Potomac Overlook Regional Park;
  • Upton Hill Regional Park;
  • Dark Star Park.

If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, Arlington also has several escape rooms where you can test your puzzle-solving skills. Or, if you’re feeling competitive, head to one of its golf courses, which include the Army Navy Country Club and Washington Golf & Country Club.

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Runners will appreciate the trail on Theodore Roosevelt Island, which offers stunning views of the Potomac River and Washington, D.C. Part of the Mount Vernon Trail also runs through Arlington’s neighborhoods including Pentagon City and Rosslyn, and it’s a popular spot for runners, cyclists and walkers. It parallels the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Pentagon City – A Shopper’s Paradise

Pentagon City is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Arlington. This neighborhood is home to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, a multi-level mall with more than 170 stores.

There’s also the Pentagon Row, an open-air shopping and dining complex with a movie theater and a grocery store. During the winter, an outdoor ice rink is opened there, and every summer, a free outdoor concert series is held on the plaza.

If you’re looking for things to do in Arlington, VA that involve shopping, Pentagon City is the place to be. The DEA Museum & Visitors Center is also worth checking out – it’s free to enter and has exhibits on America’s connection to drugs.

Movies and Live Entertainment in Arlington

Arlington is also a great place to catch a movie or see live entertainment. The Regal Ballston Quarter is a popular movie theater, and the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse often has special screenings and events.

For live entertainment, head to the Birchmere Music Hall, which hosts concerts by well-known musicians as well as up-and-coming artists. Or, check out the Signature Theatre, which is one of the leading regional theaters in the country and produces both new works and revivals.

A Diverse Array of Arlington Restaurants

Arlington is home to many restaurants, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or American food, you’ll be able to find it here. Some of our favorite restaurants include:

  • Carlyle, a cozy American spot;
  • Copperwood Tavern, a rustic American restaurant with a seasonal menu;
  • Guapo’s, an excellent spot with Mexican food.
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Arlington is also home to several breweries, including New District Brewing Company and Crafthouse Arlington. If you’re in the mood for wine, stop by one of the city’s famous wineries, such as Oby Lee and Screwtop Wine Bar.

Tour the Monuments and Have Fun in Arlington!

So, there you have it – a guide to things to do in Arlington, VA. This city has something for everyone, from its military history to its many parks and shopping centers. So, whether you’re looking for a place to learn or a place to have fun, Arlington is the perfect destination.

What are your favorite things to do in Arlington? Let us know in the comments below!


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