5 Days of Fun: Celebrate Thanksgiving in Arlington

Whether you’re visiting family or friends or here on a fall getaway, you’ll be thankful that we’ve taken the guesswork out of planning your Thanksgiving weekend in Arlington!

Wednesday

Pre-Holiday Celebration

Relax after your travels by plane, train or car by enjoying pre-holiday cheer at a restaurant or pub in one of Arlington’s cozy neighborhoods. Whether it’s a craft cocktail and small plates at Baba in Clarendon, or a pint and Irish fare at Samuel Beckett’s in Shirlington, there are plenty of great spots where you can wind down for the long weekend. Plus, these favorite local haunts are likely to be less crowded as many locals leave town to visit their families.

Baba Zastava-Sidecar
Cocktails at Baba in Clarendon

Thursday

5K Turkey Trot

Get a head start burning off Thanksgiving dinner by participating in the 14th annual Arlington Turkey Trot. This 5K charity run/walk kicks off at 8 a.m. and winds through the charming residential neighborhoods of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights. The 2018 Trot attracted over 4,000 participants and raised nearly $120,000 for the six nonprofit beneficiaries.

Restaurant Options

For your holiday meal, Arlington has an abundance of festive options ranging from family-style to fabulous. Here’s just a taste of what some Arlington restaurants have cooking for Thanksgiving:

  • Skydome Restaurant at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC - Crystal City will be open on Wednesday, November 27 from 5 to 11 p.m. or Thursday, November 28 from 4 to 10 p.m. for a special Thanksgiving plate in addition to regular menu offerings. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.
  • Rated the No. 1 Best Thanksgiving dinner in Arlington on Yelp.com, The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon features a Thanksgiving buffet with all the traditional favorites, including turkey and the trimmings, special side recipes, and pies for dessert.
  • Its sister restaurant in Clarendon Lyon Hall offers an exceptional, intimate, hassle-free Thanksgiving experience with the option of ordering from special, festive prix fixe, a la carte, or kids’ menus (find them here). This year, Lyon Hall will also be hosting its first ever “France-Giving” Wine Dinner on Tuesday, November 19th, which features 6 French wines and 5 custom paired courses by Liberty Restaurant Group Executive Chef Matt Hill. Reservations for both events are encouraged.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Lyon Hall
  • Copperwood Tavern in the Village at Shirlington, known for its farm-to-table fare and ambiance of a woodsy retreat, will offer its regular dinner menu, as well as a special plate featuring turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce.
  • Grand Cru Wine Bar and Bistro in Ballston offers a special Thanksgiving menu with choices including turkey, prime rib, sea bass and pumpkin ravioli. And save room for desserts like pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate and pecan pie, and blueberry-white-chocolate bread pudding.
  • For an at-home feeling, order a take-out Thanksgiving meal from La Côte d'Or Café, and your fellow travelers will say “Merci!” The menu includes pumpkin soup, roasted turkey breast and leg, rosemary gravy, mushroom sausage brioche stuffing, cauliflower whipped mashed potato and french green beans with pecan or apple pie for dessert. You can also dine in and enjoy their charming French bistro atmosphere.
  • For an extra-fabulous celebration, try the Thanksgiving buffet at Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant in Crystal City. An Arlington LGBTQ institution, Freddie’s is known for its quality food and festive atmosphere that welcomes all. And if you'd like to let out your inner song-stylist, dinner is followed by Karaoke Night!
  • For a thanksgiving dinner deal, head to the Crystal City Sports Pub for an $8.99 Thanksgiving dinner featuring ham, turkey or both served with mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and sweet potatoes.
  • Pick up pies, soups and quiches for your celebrations from Northside Social's Pastry Shop.
Thanksgiving Spread at Copperwood Tavern

Friday

Holiday Shopping Specials & Outdoor Fun

Get a head start on holiday gifts and decor on Black Friday. Fashion Centre at Pentagon City opens early for everyone seeking Black Friday deals. With stores ranging from Apple and Sony to Kate Spade and Coach, you will have plenty of spots to fill your bags with deals. Next door at Pentagon Row, you can stroll outside and enjoy specialty retail stores and restaurants serving cuisines including Thai, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Irish and more. Skip shopping and head straight to the Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating rink for a spin on the ice in a festive atmosphere, the rink is also open Thanksgiving Day. Or, take the short Metro ride to the National Mall in D.C., where you can explore memorials, monuments and several Smithsonian museums without the usual crowds.

Ice Skating in Pentagon Row

Saturday

Arlington Small Business Day

Saturday’s another great day for shoppers, when Arlington Small Business Day means dozens of stores offering special deals and incentives for those who shop locally.

  • Visit the Village at Shirlington, where you’ll find boutique shopping and dining, plus awesome deals on everything from accessories to olive oil.
  • At Market Common Clarendon, several shops will be offering big savings in honor of Arlington Small Business Day along with Christmas carolers.
  • In the Crystal City neighborhood, shops will also be offering specials. The Vintage Dress Company will offer 20% off their entire store on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Before or in lieu of shopping, Saturday’s also perfect for seeing more national treasures, including Arlington National Cemetery, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and the Air Force Memorial.

Holiday decor in Shirlington

Sunday

Brunch Before You Go

Before you head home make sure you participate in another Arlington tradition: weekend brunch. Check out one of these 12 brunch spots that are favorites among Arlingtonians, and be sure to come back for Thanksgiving fun in Arlington next year.

For more events, check out our events page.

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