If you’re looking for a cool family vacation spot, filled with history, culture, and experiences unlike any other, look no further than Arlington. Arlington is located in Virginia, just along the border of Washington D.C. Because of its proximity to the capital, it’s played an important role in our country’s history. Here, you can not only enjoy a fun time with friends and family, but learn a little something about our great nation as well. Here are some ideas for planning a weekend getaway to Arlington this year.

Plan a Tour

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Perfect for any history buff or politics nerd, Arlington is brimming with activities and attractions that center around the creation of the U.S. You can schedule a tour with a tour group to get the most out of your experience in Arlington, or do some research and take yourself on a self-guided tour around the area—whatever works best for the flow of your trip.

If guided tours are your thing, check out Tours for Humanity, a company that works out of Arlington and offers guided tours to the most desirable spots in the D.C. area. Choose between the National Mall, Lincoln Monument, or Capital Hill—even better, do them all! You can also visit the Pentagon while you’re in Arlington. It is considered the world’s largest office building at approximately 6.5 million square feet, and home to the United States Department of Defense. There are over 20,000 employees in this building alone. Another great historical place is to visit Theodore Roosevelt Island, just off the Potomac River, which was used as a training camp during the civil war.

Check Out Unique Attractions

In almost every city in America, there are some strange and unusual attractions, and for some of us, those are the best kind. One of the coolest places to check out in Arlington is Dark Star Park. Large, concrete spheres are dotted everywhere to represent fallen stars. The park is an art installation by Nancy Holt and every year on August 1st, Arlington celebrates Dark Star Park Day. The shadows cast by the concrete spheres and the steel poles align with asphalt shadow patterns on the ground at 9:32 AM—how cool is that?

Another really interesting place to visit in Arlington is the Rosslyn Metro Escalator. The Washington Metro Station is huge, connecting many vital locations throughout the D.C. area. Rosslyn Station is the deepest station on the Metro, with the mezzanine for the station about 103 feet below the street-level entrance. Via the Rosslyn Metro Escalator, it takes about 3 minutes to reach the mezzanine—one of the longest escalator rides you may ever take. 

For another unique adventure, check out the DEA Museum in Arlington. The museum is located in the back of the DEA headquarters and is easily missed by tourists. There are a substantial number of exhibits detailing the illicit American drug trade, taking visitors back in time as early as the 1800s, and the impact this activity had on our country. Keep in mind, this may be more appropriate for older children or adults only because of the subject matter.

Grab a Bite

Sometimes the best part of visiting a new city is checking out the local restaurants.  Arlington has so many delicious spots to grab a bite. Carlyle, Quarterdeck, Ambar—there are a ton of great restaurants to choose from no matter your budget or your family’s taste. If you happen to be visiting the area to check out Arlington real estate with the family, trying out new cuisine is a great way to get a sense of the area.

Not sure where to start when it comes to food, entertainment and—the most important part of every trip—shopping? Visit the Ballston Quarter, where you can sample a little bit of everything. Ballston Quarter has over 50 shops, a large selection of restaurants for quick bites or sit-down dining, and plenty of events all year long. It won’t be hard to find a little something there for each member of the family.

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