Whether you’re visiting for work, headed to Georgetown, taking a day trip from DC or avoiding the costly hotel prices in our nation’s capital, you’ll find a lot to do in Arlington! (Note: For all you Texans out there reading, I’m talking the Arlington in Virginia–not the one outside of Dallas ;).)
Arlington is absolutely adorable and a fantastic little city to visit. I’ve spent a few weekends there recently for Georgetown graduation this summer and a triathlon last fall and loved it each time I went! Here are my favorite things to do while visiting Arlington.
An Active Morning
I’m a big runner (and ambassador for the 2018 Houston Marathon & Half Marathon!) and like to work out wherever I can. Luckily, Arlington has some fantastic running trails! I went for a nice long run one morning along the Mount Vernon Trail. I started at Francis Scott Key Bridge (which is adorable to walk across btw) and ran to Gravelly Point, where I watched the planes take off from Reagan for a few minutes before heading back. My total distance was about 6 miles but the Mount Vernon Trail goes on foreeevveerr (18 miles to be exact).
Plus, I saw some signage for free 5K at 9am on the Theodore Roosevelt Island. Running along this trail made it very evident that I was in the nation’s capital. You can see the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial from across the Potomac and every few yards there’s some sort of memorial statue or exit reinforcing some president’s legacy.
Another fun active thing to do in the area is go paddle boarding at the Key Bridge Boathouse. I’ve yet to do this, but that just gives me another excuse to go back!
A Boozy Brunch
The DC area is definitely a mecca for brunch. I had fun perusing all the brunch options on this Bitches Who Brunch blog. I would have liked to see more drunk-brunch recommendations on there, but respected the selection nonetheless. Wanting to stay in Arlington, though, we settled on Tuppelo Honey Cafe. Be sure you’re making a reservation to get into this place ahead of time otherwise you’re waiting for hours. The Megamosa and fresh bake biscuits are totally worth the wait.
While you’re on this side of Arlington (the Potamac cuts through the middle of it), you can head to the Boccato Gelato & Espresso to relax.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
I absolutely love wandering around the little shops and hills of Arlington. M Street is the place to go shopping. They have all the usual suspects like Kate Spade, H&M, and Urban Outfitters, but also fun unique ones that I’ve never seen in Houston like & Other Stories (it’s an H&M offshoot) and a Chubbies pop-up store–rumor has it they’re coming to Houston soon!
Be sure to wear good walking shoes because there’s lots of hills around town. I rocked Houston and made do in these fantastic Elaine Turner heels.
All the Eats
If you’re looking for food, there’s obviously a ton of options. If you’re looking to stand in line all day, head to Georgetown Cupcakes. However, the Georgetown students that I was hanging out with swear by Baked and Wired cupcakes. They’re just as good with half the line–also a way more clever name! Chaia has a fantastic selection of seasonal, veggie tacos. Taj of India is great for a sit down (highly recommend getting a bunch of plates and sharing!). Dean & Deluca is this adorable artisanal grocery store that’s worth a visit just to admire the dessert counter.
For coffee, Arlington is a college town so obviously there’s a bunch of great spots to hit up. Saxby’s is right across the street from campus and has a fantastic mural of The Great Wave that’s fantastic. Also, North Side Social is adorable and you can get over-the-top, exotic drinks like tahini hot chocolate with pomegranate marshmallows. You can find fresh pressed juice and good vibes at Down Dog Power Yoga.
Getting around Arlington is pretty easy. Everything is walkable and there’s plenty of public transportation to get you from Arlington to D.C. We tried to walk as much as we could, but occasionally we got too hot and occasionally splurged on an uber to take us around. Personally, I feel like the rates were much more reasonsable than they are in Houston with it only costing us a few dollars to cross the heavily congested Key Bridge or take us across the Potomac into DC.
You can also rent bikes with Capital Bike Share and for $2 bike around the city for increments of 30 minutes or less.
I love how close Arlington is to DC. The city is super easily accessible for day trips. We went there a few times to see the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Art Museum and Museum of Natural History (Hope Diamond is on display!!) on the National Mall. We grabbed some food truck snacks (not as good as Houston food trucks at all) and then dined at Busboys and Poets–totally worth the trip.
If you’re headed to the area, be sure to check out Natalie’s guide on 24 Hours in DC too!