With its close proximity to Washington, D.C., Arlington County, Virginia is home to numerous federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Transportation Security Administration.
While federal agencies heavily support the local economy, chocolate will soon play an important role. That’s right, chocolate. In January 2017, Nestlé announced its plan to move its U.S. headquarters to Arlington in late 2017. Nestlé expects to add around 750 jobs to the Arlington community.
If you’re new to the area (or if you’ve lived here your whole life), check out our list of top places to visit in Arlington, Virginia.
Food & Drink
Founded in 1996, The Java Shack is a fan favorite for coffee and community in Arlington. Voted the Best Coffee Shop in D.C. in Washington City Paper’s 2016 reader poll, The Java Shack is known for actively investing time, energy, and money into improving its Arlington neighborhood.
Cool fact: In 1997, the Arlington Courier dubbed The Java Shack “Cheers Coffeehouse” as a testament to its welcoming environment and staff that takes the time to get to know each customer’s name.
Foodies interested in expanding their culinary perspicacity should absolutely visit The Green Pig Bistro in Arlington. The chef makes use of the entire product, from snout to tail, in approachable, yet sophisticated dishes with French-American flair.
Cool fact: Green Pig Bistro fans rave about the French onion soup, the bacon cheeseburger, and the fried chicken biscuits served with a honey hot sauce.
Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans is on a lot of bucket lists, but with busy schedules, traveling to The Big Easy isn’t always possible. However, New Orleans has made the trip to Arlington in the form of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery. At the bakery, you can enjoy Cajun classics like crawfish boil, muffaletta, and beignets.
Cool fact: Cookbook author, chef, and host of Travel Channel’s American Grilled – David Guas – founded Bayou Bakery in 2010.
A popular burger chain around the world, Five Guys was born in Arlington in 1986. Five Guys’ highly caloric menu features hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and complimentary peanuts. In 2003, Five Guys determined they would franchise, and more than 300 franchise permits were sold in the first year-and-a-half following the decision, making it the fastest growing restaurant in America.
Cool fact: Five Guys founder Jerry Murrell named the burger joint after himself and his four sons, however, a year after opening, Murrell and his wife had a fifth son, so there are actually six guys.
Born in Arlington in 1990, Signature Theatre is a Tony Award-winning professional theater that combines Broadway-quality productions with an intimate playing space, live orchestras, and unamplified performers. The theater consists of two black box theaters with maximum capacities of 350 and 99 patrons.
Cool fact: Signature Theatre has produced 22 performances with Stephen Sondheim, the lyricist for Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex is the official practice rink of the Washington Capitals. Opened in 2006, the Iceplex offers year-round public skating, figure skating, and youth and adult hockey programs. Capitals practices are free and open to the public.
Cool fact: Kettler Capitals Iceplex is the highest ice rink above street level in the US. In a partnership with Arlington County, the Washington Capitals built the Iceplex on top of the Ballston Common Mall Parking Garage.
The Urban Village Market at Courthouse is an open air market that features art, books, jewelry, vintage clothing, and more. Located on 15th Street near the Courthouse Metro station, the market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cool fact: The Urban Village Market at Courthouse is located adjacent to the Arlington Farmers Market, but when the farmers market isn’t open, the Urban Village Market is also full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Monuments & Memorials
Established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House – the family estate of Confederate general Robert E. Lee – Arlington National Cemetery is the most visited United States military cemetery. Spread across 624 acres, the cemetery lays to rest armed forces service members and U.S. politicians including Presidents William H. Taft and John F. Kennedy.
Cool fact: Arlington National Cemetery is home to The Tomb of the Unknowns, a monument dedicated to American service members who died without their remains being identified. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by “The Old Guard.”
Inspired by an iconic 1945 photograph, the Iwo Jima Memorial is dedicated to all U.S. Marine Corps personnel who died in defense of the U.S. The memorial portrays six Marines raising an American flag on top of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jim in World War II.
Cool fact: The iconic photograph used as inspiration for the Iwo Jima Memorial was taken by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal, who was rejected by the U.S. Army as a photographer because of his poor eyesight.
In 1976, the U.S. government tasked each federal agency to develop exhibits to highlight their work for America’s bicentennial celebration. A Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency began collecting badges worn by narcotics agents dating back to the DEA’s inception in 1914. The work of this special agent, as well as the rest of the DEA, turned a simple exhibit into a full-scale museum in less than three decades.
Cool fact: The first exhibit at the DEA Museum – Illegal Drugs in America: A Modern History – opened in 1999, displaying more than 150 years of drug and drug abuse history in the United States.
The Union Army constructed Fort C. F. Smith in 1863 as part of its defense of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. A century and a half later, this 19-acre regional park is home to a restored 20th century mansion – The Hendry House; a lavish tree canopy; and Civil War earthworks ruins.
Cool fact: The earthworks ruins at Fort C. F. Smith Park are the best preserved foxholes of the 22 forts built in Arlington during the Civil War.