This insider’s guide to Northern Virginia will shed new light on a few of the unforgettable experiences you can find just outside of Washington, D.C. during your next visit to the Capital Region. Discover a variety of attractions and historic hotspots that won’t break the bank and are sure to spice up your next visit to Washington D.C.
1. Catch a Show at Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap is America’s only National Park dedicated solely to the performing arts. The park features three music venues: the Filene Center, an outdoor amphitheater which hosts nationally-renowned artists and culturally-driven performances throughout the summer, The Barns at Wolf Trap, an intimate concert space made from reconstructed 18th-century barns hosting spring and fall performances; and the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, an oasis nestled in the forest highlighting kid-friendly summer performances.
2. Discover Historic Sites in Alexandria
With a nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, visitors to the D.C. region can step back in time by visiting historic sites in Alexandria, Virginia. Located minutes from D.C. and most known for being George Washington’s hometown, today visitors can see history where it happened at historic sites like the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and Carlyle House. Or, hop on a water taxi and cruise down to George Washington’s Mount Vernon just 8 miles south of Old Town to explore the first president’s beautiful riverside estate.
3. Stroll Old Town Alexandria
Named the #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination 2018 by Money magazine, a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2018 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Prettiest Cities 2018 by Southern Living, no visit to the D.C. region would be complete without a visit to Old Town Alexandria.
4. Explore DC’s Wine Country
Pick up a Loudoun Wine Trail Guide and start experiencing more than 40 wineries, located along winding, unpaved roads and overlooking mountains and the lush Virginia countryside. Sample surprising blends and unique varietals or get a behind-the-scenes look with a guided tour.
5. Follow in the Footsteps of Jackie O with a Jaunt to Historic Middleburg
Historic Middleburg, founded in 1787, was a frequent escape for Jackie Kennedy Onassis. See a handwritten letter from her displayed at the iconic Red Fox Inn & Tavern, then explore the brick-lined streets filled with shops and buildings. Stop at the Fun Shop to purchase prints from a photographer who captured Jackie’s time in town or visit the pavilion near the Pink Box Visitor Center to see the garden dedicated in her honor.
6. Explore George Washington’s Mount Vernon
One of America’s most beloved – and most visited – historic sites, Mount Vernon offers a glimpse into 18th-century life through estate tours, beautiful gardens and grounds, intriguing museum exhibits, immersive programs and interactive technology, and a slew of special events designed to help visitors get to know the real George Washington, America’s first President.
7. Hike at Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park allows you to learn about the first two battles of the American Civil War and see where it all began at this free-entry National Park. You can opt-in for a guided hike with a park ranger or choose to drive or hike on your own and explore the 5,000-acre park.
8. Sightsee from the Observation Deck at CEB Tower
Experience a bird’s eye view of Washington D.C. while sipping champagne at the top of this brand new CEB Observation Deck Tower.
9. Step into the Boots of a U.S. Marine
Visitors can learn about the history of the U.S. Marines at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. With its newest addition to the Legacy Walk exhibit scheduled to open in early 2019, there is no better time to plan a visit. The Final Phase of the museum’s completion will be finished by 2022.
10. Tour the National Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Tour the National Pentagon 9/11 Memorial and learn about the events of September 11, 2001 and how those events changed history.