Arlington, Va., is the perfect getaway location for any American history buff. Located just outside of D.C, this area contains monuments, museums and other bits of national history. Fill up the gas tank, grab your family or a few friends, and go see what the capital’s next door neighbor has to offer.
There are multiple routes into Arlington from the D.C area. If you’re traveling by car, just take US-50 the whole way. The metro takes a bit longer, but the Orange line goes straight there.
Tomb of the Unknowns
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211
Dedicated to those servicemen who died without ever being identified, the Tomb of The Unknowns, while somber, is a must-visit while in Arlington. Originally formed for an unknown fallen serviceman of World War I, the tomb has come to serve as a monument for all of the unidentifiable service members who have lost their lives in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Visit during the summer months and witness the changing of the guard every half hour from April to September.
Southwest of and adjacent to The Pentagon
One Rotary Road on the Pentagon Reservation
Arlington, Virginia 22211
This outdoor memorial, located just southwest of the Pentagon building, is dedicated to the innocent men and women who lost their lives on the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon. The memorial itself features 184 concrete benches dedicated to the 184 lives lost. It also includes a concrete wall slanting upward from 3 to 71 inches, symbolizing the youngest and oldest victims of the attack. The park is open 24/7.
DEA Museum and Visitors Center
700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
The DEA museum is dedicated to the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration in America. While perhaps not the most sunny museum, it is certainly one of the most intriguing and engaging. The museum features multiple exhibits including “Illicit Drugs In America: A Modern History” and “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” detailing the country’s history of drug use.
Gravelly Point Park
George Washington Parkway
Arlington, VA 22202
Take time to relax with the family or friends at this lovely Arlington Park, a great green area to toss a Frisbee or go on a bike ride. In addition to the normal park activities, it’s located just north of Ronald Reagan International Airport, meaning it’s right in the flight path of planes taking off and landing. Coming as low as 100 feet overhead, there is no better spot to get and up close view of planes flying by, so grab a picnic basket and a blanket and stop by to enjoy a free airshow.
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Garage where Deepthroat met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward
Intersection of North Nash Street and Wilson Boulevard in Arlington
Arguably the most famous parking garage in America, this is the spot where Deep throat — the anonymous source that led to the breaking of the Watergate scandal — held secret meetings with Bob Woodward as he and partner Carl Bernstein worked to uncover who was behind the Watergate break-in. A legend in the world of journalism and a huge moment in modern American history, this garage and the meetings it held helped take down a corrupt president. While Woodward arrived at 2 a.m., it may be better to drive or walk through this garage during the day and check out a surprising locale for a major point of American history.
2800 South Potomac Ave
Arlington, VA 22202
Price: from $99
Ranked as one of the top hotels in Arlington, the Renaissance provides a high-end stay without breaking the bank. The staff is friendly and the service is top notch. They have a 24-hour fitness center, pool, restaurant and coffee shop. If you’re taking the metro in from D.C, the Renaissance also offers free shuttle service to the nearest stop as well as the airport.
Pines of Florence
3811 Fairfax Ave.
Arlington, VA 22203
It’s hard to say no to good Italian food, and in Arlington, Pines of Florence is the best. Featuring subs, seafood and pizza, this restaurant is sure to please everyone in your group. It’s expensive tasting food at an affordable price. If you’ve had a long day out, it also features to-go and online ordering, so you can enjoy the food back at your hotel. It takes reservations, but is only open for dinner except on weekends.
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Jerry Nelson is a freelance writer covering all things DC. His work can be found on Examiner.com.