Top Wintertime Experiences in Arlington, Virginia

Winter is a magical time to visit the nation’s capital. Visitors enjoy the area’s famous museums and monuments sans crowds, warm up with delicious seasonal drinks, and indulge in comfort food after action-packed days of sightseeing.

Snow covered Marine Corps War Memorial
Marine Corps War Memorial - Credit Mary Terriberry

If you’re lucky, they might even get to see their favorite monuments covered in snow for that perfectly rare Instagram photo! And even if you don’t, everyone wins as winter ushers in lower hotel rates, making a capital vacation more affordable.

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite winter experiences for your exploration. Share yours with #stayarlington.

Explore the Great Indoors

  • Take in the prolific collections of art and history at the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall without the crowds.
  • Learn about animals and habitats at the National Museum of Natural History, and explore the far reaches of space at the National Air and Space Museum.
  • Discover the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and be inspired by the Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History.
  • The newest addition to the flourishing D.C. museum scene, the National Law Enforcement Museum, tells the story of American law enforcement and offers the chance for visitors to “walk in the shoes” of the law.
  • Art lovers can explore fine art at the National Gallery of Art, American Art Museum and numerous other galleries.
  • And on the other side of the Potomac River in Arlington, the Arlington Arts Center features rotating exhibits in a historic building in the Virginia Square neighborhood.
  • Head to Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood to view – and even purchase – art at Gallery Underground, promoting the works of established and emerging regional artists.
Gallery Underground interior in Arlington
Gallery Underground - Credit @greenmoonart
  • Beat the chill and take in the sights from above at The Observation Deck at CEB Tower in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood. With floor-to-ceiling windows and 360-degree views, the deck boasts unobstructed views of D.C., Virginia and Maryland.
Two men holding hands and staring out the window at the Observation Deck at CEB Tower
The Observation Deck at CEB Tower - Credit @huydtranphotography

Shop for Spring

  • After a successful day of sightseeing, hit the incredible array of stores in Pentagon City.
  • Fashion Centre at Pentagon City boasts more than 170 top retailers and restaurants.
  • Nearby Pentagon Row and Pentagon Centre add to the abundance of stores and restaurants, making it a surefire destination for stocking up on spring looks.
  • Round out the day with a spin around the ice at the skating rink in Pentagon Row.
Young woman ice skating at Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Rink
Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Rink - Credit @levelarri
  • Head to Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood for afternoon of shopping at Market Common Clarendon.
  • Swing by Nicecream between shops for tasty warm drinks like Nutella hot chocolate and white chocolate lattes.
  • Cap the day with dining at one of Clarendon’s diverse restaurants and a nightcap at one of the area’s many bustling bars.
  • Warm up between stops by the fireplace at Baba, a charming basement bar and café serving Balkan food.

Play in Ballston

  • Catch a National Hockey League practice session at the MedStar Capitals IcePlex, where the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals practice. You might even score an autograph from one of the players between sessions.
  • After the game, head downstairs to the brand-new Ballston Quarter for an evening of drinks, dinner and games.
  • Make your first stop the Quarter Market food hall (opening in early 2019), with over a dozen eateries that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
  • After fueling up, head to 5 Wits, a high-tech escape room concept, or Punch Bowl Social for bowling and karaoke.
A couple holding menus over their faces while dining at Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social - Credit @charuzu

Fiery Date Nights

There’s no shortage of fun when it comes to a night on the town in Arlington. Here are a few ideas to get your planning started:

  • For a low-key evening, head to William Jeffrey's Tavern on Columbia Pike for American pub fare by the pleasant fireplace. Then head down the street for an evening of laughs at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House for a comedy show and drink.
A warm fire in the interior of William Jeffrey's Tavern
William Jeffrey's Tavern - Credit @scpublicrelations
  • Head to the charming Shirlington neighborhood for dinner and dose of culture. Make your way to Copperwood Tavern for their signature Campfire Coffee topped with a roasted fresh marshmallow and farm-to-table comfort food. Walk down the street to see Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre’s rendition of “Ain't Misbehavin'.” Running from Jan. 23 - March 10, 2019, the award-winning musical is a swinging celebration of the music of Thomas “Fats” Waller.
  • Warm up by the fire at Fyve Restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City. Stay for an elegant Afternoon Tea, or enjoy dinner with globally influenced dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Then you’re on your way to Crystal City for an athletic but wordless performance at the lauded Synetic Theater.
  • Start your date at Bayou Bakery for an order of signature beignets and a spiked hot drink to warm you up – perhaps a Captain Chai with spiced rum or a Cajun Latte with cayenne, cinnamon and bourbon? Head to the AMC Couthouse Plaza 8 to catch a blockbuster movie, then cap the night at Fire Works pizzeria for their popular wood-fired pizzas and outdoor firepits.

Book your winter package today! For more winter happenings, visit our events page or follow us on social media.