Skip to main content

You only have 2 hours

Time crunch? Yes, you can still see sights and experience the capital area!

Busy business travelers and convention goers come to the Washington, D.C. area and sometimes have just a couple hours to spare for making memories. Here are sightseeing must-dos when you have limited time to achieve your postcard moment in Arlington’s neighborhoods!

If you’re in Pentagon City…

Air Force Memorial
Air Force Memorial

Explore the Air Force Memorial, with its three giant spires that penetrate the skyline, honoring the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force. As the memorial’s stunning architecture tugs at your imagination, explore inscriptions about Air Force history and Medal of Honor winners. Here you’ll get a panoramic postcard-worthy view of the capital skyline.

Then experience the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial which is about 300 yards away from the Air Force Memorial and a 10-minute signposted walk from the Pentagon City Metro stop. The memorial honors the 184 people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 on Sept. 11, 2001.

National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

Cantilevered benches with pools of water underneath face two different ways: One set faces away from the building, honoring people at the Pentagon who were killed. The other benches face toward the building, remembering people on the plane who were killed.

Afterward, cross Army Navy Drive to take in the delights of Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. It offers a world-class shopping experience with a stellar lineup of more than 170 stores and restaurants. Avenues of fashion and boulevards of style await, including at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Apple, Coach, Michael Kors, Tourneau and Garrett Popcorn Shops. Restaurants include Matchbox, Shake Shack and Honeygrow.

If you’re in Crystal City…

You can’t help but notice the murals adorning Crystal City’s streets. Enjoy the art walls on the way to Earth Treks Crystal City Climbing Center, a climbing gym with a massive footprint of over 45,000 feet and more than 400 amazing roped routes and boulders just begging to be climbed. Or explore your own artistry at ArtJamz where you can create original art in an authentic and upbeat social art studio, and lounge while imbibing your favorite drink.

Afterward compare your work to legit artists: Take in Gallery Underground with its large, bright, open space featuring rotating art exhibits by member artists and juried solo and group shows.

earth treks
Earth Treks Crystal City Climbing Center

Finish up with a trip to an Arlington-only restaurant like Athena Pallas, a family-owned Greek gem with fresh fish daily, roast spring lamb, grilled lamb chops, salads and homemade desserts.

If you're in Rosslyn...

Check out Theodore Roosevelt Island, a memorial to the 26th U.S. president. See the statue of Roosevelt, break a sweat on the island’s trails, watch birds, and take in a view of Washington, D.C. from the waterside.

The View of D.C.

Here the National Park Service advises you can also “wrestle with the philosophical underpinnings of wildness.”

The Rosslyn neighborhood also is home to the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)and The View of D.C. offering a capital view from 31 floors up!

If you're in Shirlington...

Take in a play at Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre and stop by New District Brewing Co. for craft beer. Signature is a professional nonprofit theater, dedicated to producing contemporary plays and musicals. New District is Arlington's first production brewery since 1916. Featuring eclectic beers using unique ingredients such as honeysuckle, pumpkin, & honey, this locally owned and supported brewery is a must try as a local spot.

If you're in Clarendon...

Visit Market Common Clarendon, an outdoor shopping center with regional and local boutiques anchored by Apple, Barnes & Noble, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, The Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods Market, and more. The core of the outdoor shopping center is The Loop, a quarter-mile roadway surrounding two gazebos and a playground, plus space for relaxing.

Heritage Brewing
Heritage Brewing Co.

Stop into nearby Heritage Brewing Co., a veteran-owned and operated microbrewery and roastery. It also offers not-your-everyday pub grub with Shepherd’s Pie, Irish soda bread--- and be sure to try the fried pickles.

If you're in Ballston...

Check out Ballston Quarter, a mall that will energize you with experiences that feel authentic, local and real. Stores are open throughout a vast renovation finishing up in 2018. A major coming attraction in fall 2018 is Punch Bowl Social, delectable collection of unequaled music, food, games and beverages for you to enjoy. Above the mall, lace up your skates at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Cheer on the NHL Washington Capitals at their practice or put on your own skates and get moving!

Author: Kathleen Murphy