Unveiling the Layers of Arlington: From History to Modernity
Things to do in Arlington, VA, often revolve around its rich historical background and proximity to Washington, D.C. Situated just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, Arlington serves as a gateway for those interested in American history, politics, and culture.
The county is a blend of urban sophistication and historical significance, offering various activities that cater to different interests, from military history enthusiasts to casual tourists.
Arlington’s geographical location makes it a strategic point for several national monuments and memorials. Among these are the Air Force Memorial, which honors the service and sacrifices of the United States Air Force, and the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. These sites are a tribute to American valor and offer panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the District of Columbia.
The Potomac River adds another layer of charm to Arlington. The river’s southwestern bank has parks and recreational areas, providing opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and picnics.
The waterfront also serves as a serene backdrop for some of Arlington’s most popular neighborhoods, such as Rosslyn and Crystal City, which are bustling business and entertainment hubs.
A Closer Look at Arlington’s Must-See Attractions
When considering places to visit in Arlington, VA, one cannot overlook Arlington National Cemetery. This hallowed ground is the final resting place for many American heroes, including presidents, astronauts, and military personnel. The cemetery is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an emblem of collective memory and respect for those who served the country.
Arlington is not just about history and memorials; it also offers a vibrant arts and culture scene. The Arlington Arts Center, for instance, is a hub for contemporary visual arts, featuring exhibitions, educational programs, and artist residencies. For those interested in performing arts, the Signature Theatre provides a range of productions, from classic plays to modern musicals.
Shopping and dining are other activities that should be on your Arlington itinerary. The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City offers many retail options, from high-end boutiques to famous department stores. Arlington offers a diverse culinary landscape for foodies, from traditional American fare to international cuisines like Ethiopian, Lebanese, and Thai.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do as well. The Mount Vernon Trail is popular for biking and hiking, offering scenic views of the Potomac River and Washington, D.C. The trail is part of the larger Potomac Heritage Trail, which extends through multiple states and offers various levels of difficulty for adventurers of all types.
Wrapping Up Your Arlington Adventure
Arlington, Virginia, is a destination that offers a rich tapestry of experiences. There’s something for everyone, from its historical monuments and memorials to its modern-day arts and culture. Things to do in Arlington, VA, range from exploring the national monuments to enjoying the natural beauty of the Potomac River.
Places to visit in Arlington, VA, include the well-known Arlington National Cemetery and lesser-known gems like the Arlington Arts Center. So, the next time you find yourself in the vicinity, explore all that Arlington offers.
Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery is a primary Northern Virginia site worth visiting. The property spans more than six hundred acres and is one of the largest military cemeteries in the country. It is also home to some well-known historic sites, including Robert E. Lee’s former residence, which is open to the public.
The most important thing to remember when visiting the Arlington National Cemetery is to respect the graves. It includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to unidentified fallen soldiers. It is guarded 24 hours a day.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a sizeable white casket containing the remains of an unidentified soldier. It is always guarded, and visitors must observe silence during the guards’ changes.
United States Marine Corps War Memorial
A tribute to all US Marines, the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, honors the service and sacrifice of all who have served our country in the military. The monument is located near Arlington National Cemetery and the Netherlands Carillon. It is also within walking distance of the Arlington National Cemetery visitor center.
The monument is comprised of a large sculpture group on a circular base. The names of the major battles of the Marine Corps since 1775 are engraved on the base. The statue itself is made of bronze. It stands about 60 feet tall and has a giant American flag that flies 365 days a year.
Sculptor Felix de Weldon created the statue. He worked with three surviving Marines to create the sculpture. A maquette was made before casting the figure. Each piece of the model was cast separately in bronze. The process took almost three years.
The Pentagon is an enormous five-story building in Arlington, Virginia. It’s the headquarters of the Department of Defense. It is a symbol of American power globally. So, it’s not only a popular tourist destination; it’s also an essential part of the fabric of northern Virginia.
The Pentagon was designed by G. Edwin Bergstrom and was built between 1941 and 1943. It was intended to accommodate 25,000 people but had room for as many as 35,000 during World War II.
The Pentagon is home to the Department of Defense and several associated businesses. It also has shops for its employees. It has a 600-foot terrace used for various official ceremonies. In addition, it has an expansive concourse, including 19 escalators and 70 elevators.
Air Force Memorial
The Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, honors the men and women of the United States Air Force. Its design is meant to evoke the maneuver of Air Force Thunderbirds in their “bomb burst.” It is a maneuver they use in various air shows across the country.
The Air Force Memorial is the last military service monument in the National Capital Region. The memorial was authorized in a Public Law 103-163 that President Clinton signed. This legislation included a rider directing the Department of Defense to make the property available for the memorial’s construction.
The memorial comprises three spires, each reaching 402 feet (122.5 meters) high. They are made from stainless steel and are polished to a high gloss. They are also illuminated at night. This makes for a great photo opportunity.
Long Bridge Park
Long Bridge Park in Arlington, Virginia, offers various recreation. It includes high-quality sports facilities and beautiful, green open space. A new aquatic center is also being constructed at the site. The facility is near the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
The park offers views of the Washington Monument and Crystal City skyline. There are also plenty of parking spots. The park is also home to some wildlife. In addition to the playgrounds and athletic fields, there is also a rain garden.
The park features three lighted synthetic turf fields. It also has a half-mile-long esplanade that runs parallel to the railroad tracks. The northern end of the esplanade has a walking loop that includes outdoor fitness stations. The southern end has a preschool playground for children ages two to five.
Best Things to Do in Arlington, Virginia
Places to visit in Arlington, VA:
- Arlington National Cemetery
- United States Marine Corps War Memorial
- The Pentagon
- Air Force Memorial
- Long Bridge Park