Explore the Capital Region

Three Days in Arlington and the U.S. Capital Region

Just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington is lively, walkable and offers great hotel savings, making it the perfect home base for your trip to the nation’s capital.

Spend one day taking in the historic memorials and hallowed ground in Arlington, wander across the river into Washington, D.C. for the city’s famous museums, monuments, and historic sites, visit one of Arlington’s most charming neighborhoods, and venture to U.S. President George Washington’s historic estate. We’ve put together a fun regional itinerary packed with culture, history, U.S. memorials, and delicious local eats. Put on your walking shoes and charge your phones, because you’re in for an adventure!

Ease into Arlington

Breakfast at Bayou Bakery

Kick your Arlington visit off with a delicious biscuit sandwich or a beignet and coffee at New Orleans-style Bayou Bakery in the Courthouse neighborhood.

Beignets at Bayou Bakery
Bayou Bakery Instagram/@biite_meeee

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 5
    CAR
  • 18
    TRAIN
  • 8
    BIKE
  • 30
    FOOT

Morning at Arlington National Cemetery

After you fuel up, head to Arlington National Cemetery, the tranquil resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. Take an interpretive cemetery tour (purchase tickets at the Welcome Center) or explore the beautiful grounds on your own. Make sure to see the Changing the of Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.

Arlington National Cemetery

Travel Times in Minutes (from the Welcome Center)

  • 6
    CAR
  • 16
    BIKE
  • 30
    FOOT

Honoring the U.S. Air Force

Walk or ride to the Air Force Memorial, on an Arlington hilltop overlooking the Pentagon and Washington, D.C. The soaring steel spires of the memorial – nearly 100 meters tall – honor the service and heritage of the men and women of the United States Air Force.

Air Force Memorial
Air Force Memorial

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 8
    CAR
  • 4
    BIKE
  • 14
    FOOT

Remembering 9/11

Head over to The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, which honors the 184 people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001. Explore the two-acre memorial while listening to this audio tour.

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

Travel Times in Minutes

  • 7
    CAR
  • 7
    BIKE
  • 15
    FOOT

Lunch and Shopping at Fashion Centre

Stop for a late lunch at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s food court, featuring everything from Chinese and Indian to America and Italian. Or, dine at one of several restaurants, including Sugar Factory, Shake Shack, Matchbox, honeygrow or Café Nordstrom. Shop for your favorite brands at the mall’s 170+ stores.

Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

Travel Times in Minutes

  • 10
    CAR
  • 25
    TRAIN
  • 28
    BIKE

Sunset View of the U.S. Capital Region

Hop on the Metro to Rosslyn to see the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial (often called Iwo Jima) dedicated to all Marines serving the USA. The memorial affords panoramic views of Washington, D.C. and the National Mall, and is adjacent to the Netherlands Carillon.

Guests of Iwo Jima
U.S. Marine Corps Memorial

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 10
    CAR
  • 5
    TRAIN
  • 10
    BIKE
  • 30
    FOOT

Night on the Town in Clarendon

Round out your day of Arlington exploration in the Clarendon neighborhood. This hip neighborhood has dozens of restaurants with a variety of global cuisines. Sink your teeth into culinary specialties of Mexican City at newcomer Buena Vida, sample the flavors of the Balkans at Ambar, or dig into Asian fusion at Bar Bao. Grab a craft brew and a bite at Heritage Brewing Co. or opt for ice cream that’s flash frozen before your eyes at Nicecream.

The Clarendon neighborhood, by Don Tito's Restaurant, comes alive at night.
Clarendon at night

Day 2: Explore Washington, D.C.

Coffee with the Locals

Grab coffee and breakfast at one of Arlington’s charming neighborhood cafes. Local favorites include Detour Coffee Co. in Virginia Square neighborhood or nearby Northside Social in Clarendon. At either spot, it’s easy for you to hop on the Metro for the short ride into Washington, D.C.

Northside Social
Northside Social

Travel Times in Minutes (from the Clarendon Metro Station to Smithsonian Metro Station)

  • 15
    CAR
  • 22
    TRAIN
  • 26
    BIKE

Sightseeing in Washington, D.C.

Get off at the Smithsonian Metro Station to explore the National Mall. Explore the more than 300 acres of parkland—packed with stunning monuments, memorials and museums—on foot. Or, see all of the area’s top sights from an open-top coach on a Big Bus Tour. Hop on Big Bus’s Blue Loop in Arlington and travel to such attractions as the National Mall, the White House and D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. You can hop on, hop off at your top sights and stay as long as you like.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 10
    CAR
  • 20
    TRAIN
  • 22
    BIKE

Dinner and Drinks in Crystal City

After a day packed with D.C. fun, unwind with dinner and drinks in the Crystal City neighborhood. Savor Spanish Tapas at Jaleo or indulge in casual Italian fare at Kora. For more low-key eats head to Good Stuff Eatery for gourmet burgers and milkshakes or its sister restaurant next door We, The Pizza for New York-style pies.

Jaleo
Jaleo in Crystal City

Day 3: Experience the Presidential Past

Breakfast in Shirlington

Start your day in Arlington’s charming Shirlington neighborhood. Wander the tree-lined Village at Shirlington and pick up a fresh-baked breakfast at Best Buns Bread Co. Or take time for a hearty breakfast at the bohemian Busboys & Poets serving eggs benedicts, pancakes, hashes and other breakfast dishes.

Guapo's for the Family
The Village at Shirlington

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 30
    CAR

Relive the Past at Mount Vernon

Take a car over to Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s Estate. Explore the USA’s first president’s sprawling estate on shore of the Potomac River, complete with a mansion, gardens, a pioneer farm, distillery and grist mill. Interact with exhibits, learn from costumed interpreters, and see what life was like in the 18th century. Hungry? Take your taste buds back in time at the onsite Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, featuring iconic dishes from our past like Virginia peanut and chestnut soup.

Masion at Mount Vernon

Travel Time in Minutes

  • 30
    CAR
  • 75
    TRAIN

Head Home

After an action-packed few days, load up your belongings and get ready to hit the road. Drive or take Metro to Reagan National Airport (DCA) or Dulles International Airport, or jump on the highway to head home.


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