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The Insider's Guide to Our Outside: Arlington in Bloom

As springtime begins to bloom, it’s the perfect opportunity to disconnect from your daily routine and reconnect during a getaway to Arlington, Virginia – just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. These insider tips will help you craft the ideal escape with your significant other, close friend, or even just yourself!

Day 1

Spend the afternoon strolling through the vibrant Ballston neighborhood, known as a hip, smart hub for research and innovation. Sip custom-blended coffee on a tree-lined patio next to world-renowned scientists puzzling over their latest challenge. Explore Ballston Quarter, an exciting new indoor/outdoor destination where you’ll discover premier local shopping, immersive escape-room adventures, global culinary experiences and so much more.

Insider’s Tip: Whatever cuisine you’re craving – Spanish, Indian, Hawaiian, Japanese, or even Baltimorean! – grab a tasty lunch prepared by local restaurateurs in the Quarter Market food hall. Settle at a table in the open-air plaza to savor your treats on your very own urban picnic.

Couple dining at the Quarter Market in Arlington
Quarter Market/@Cameron Davidson

In the evening, amidst the Rosslyn neighborhood’s gleaming skyscrapers, enjoy cocktails, dinner, and stunning Washington, D.C. views that showcase the Potomac River, Georgetown, and the National Mall. Start your night off with dinner and drinks at Open Road. Inspired by American culture, a passion for music, and a love of the outdoors, Open Road features quality seasonal menus, local craft beer, and an extensive whiskey and bourbon collection. Dine out on the patio for a fantastic open-air experience.

Insider’s Tip: If you're in the mood for an after-dinner cocktail, make your way downstairs to Salt, Rosslyn’s one-of-a-kind underground cocktail lounge with an intimate, upscale, speakeasy vibe which just so happens to be located underneath Open Road. Feel free to reserve your table ahead of time to guarantee your seat.

Cocktail at Salt Cocktail Lounge in Arlington

Day 2

Start your day right with a brisk early morning walk around Theodore Roosevelt Island, a living memorial to America’s 26th president, a great outdoorsman, and conservationist. Just steps from Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood, this 91-acre wooded island sanctuary features a memorial plaza (a perfect spot for a photo op with Teddy), as well as miles of trails through wooded uplands, swampy bottomland, and along the Potomac River.

Insider’s Tip: For some of Arlington’s most classic views of downtown Washington, D.C., venture just 1 mile to the Marine Corps War Memorial. Grab a Capital Bikeshare bike and you’re there in less than 15 minutes, or get there by foot through the lively heart of Rosslyn. Upon arrival, enjoy your morning coffee and incredible views of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol as you walk amongst the tulips that bloom in the springtime.

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt at Theodore Roosevelt Island
Theodore Roosevelt Island

Refuel in Arlington’s Pentagon City neighborhood with a tasty lunch at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (and we won’t blame you if you distract yourself for a bit in their 160-plus stores!). Then, cab, walk or bicycle over to the nearby Air Force Memorial. With beautiful vistas of the Pentagon and Washington, D.C., this hillside memorial honors the service and heritage of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its heritage organizations. Three stainless steel spires soar into the sky from the promontory reaching a height of 402 feet above sea level.

Insider’s Tip: Less than a 10-minute walk from the Air Force Memorial is the Freedman’s Village Historical Marker overlooking Arlington National Cemetery. In June of 1863, on the grounds of the federally confiscated Custis Arlington estate (today's Arlington National Cemetery), the U.S. government established Freedman's Village as a temporary wartime refuge for emancipated and fugitive ("contraband") slaves. The settlement evolved into a unique and thriving community with hospitals, churches, schools, and social services.

Freedman's Village Historical Marker in Arlington, VA
Freedman's Village Historial Marker

After you’ve had the chance to freshen up, head over to the Clarendon neighborhood to dine al fresco at one of many eclectic restaurants featuring rooftop or sidewalk dining. Especially known for lively nightlife, Clarendon is a perfect location for a great date night at any age and a center of activity for the younger crowd.

Insider’s Tip: For world-class cocktails in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood, stop in to Ambar, a retro-chic restaurant and cocktail bar renowned for its creative mixology, Balkan small plates, and tempting desserts.

groups of guests sit at tables for outside evening dining in Arlington VA

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Author: StayArlington