If you’re visiting Washington, DC, consider spending some time in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb just across the Potomac River. Arlington offers a great mix of historical sites, quiet parks, and easy access to Washington, DC.
For a convenient place to stay while in Arlington, consider Hilton Arlington, which is located on the Metro’s orange line and offers easy access to the rest of the DC area. Here are some of my favorite fun things to do in Arlington, VA with kids, including a few stops that just the locals know about.
It is possible to take a tour of the Pentagon, and it’s truly a unique building worth seeing. Pentagon tours take more advanced planning than most of the sites in the Washington, DC area, with online tour requests required 14 to 90 days in advance of your visit. Tours take about 1 hour and cover 1 1/2 miles within that time frame.
Guidelines for the tour are relatively strict. In particular, you must have two forms of identification; while the tour guidelines state that one form of identification is acceptable, my experience has been that two forms are usually required. See the tour guidelines for what constitutes acceptable identification. No photography of any type is allowed within the Pentagon, so leave the good camera or camcorder at your hotel or in the car.
Tours start on time. Strictly. Plan to arrive at the Pentagon about one hour before your tour time so that you have time to clear security. If you clear security quickly, there’s a small shop near the visitor check-in where you can browse for souvenirs while you wait for your escort.
AIR FORCE MEMORIAL
A relatively new memorial to the Washington, DC area, the Air Force Memorial was completed in 2006 and sits on a hill overlooking Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. The memorial is dominated by the trio of stainless steel spires and also includes a sculpture of the Air Force Honor Guard as well as two inscription walls. The area tends to be more quiet than many of the other memorials, with wonderful views of the area.
For a quick snack after visiting the Air Force Memorial, try Dama Bakery, a small Ethiopian pastry shop just down the road. They have both sweet and savory pastries, as well as amazing breakfasts.
The boundary stones are the oldest Federal monuments and are the original markers for the 100 square mile site that President Washington was authorized to select for our nation’s capital. Unfortunately, some of these original stones have been damaged or moved over time, but 35 of the original stones still remain, with several located within Arlington.
Marker SW9 can be found at Benjamin Banneker Park, named after the scientist and surveyor who placed the first boundary stone. Benjamin Banneker Park is located on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, a 45-mile long paved trail, great for biking or hiking.
I hesitate to mention this, because this is one of my favorite restaurants in Arlington and already in danger of being overcrowded, but you can pick up some wonderful and very reasonably priced tacos from nearby District Taco. Carne asada and carnitas are our favorites, but everything we’ve tried is great.
Arlington has a number of parks throughout the county offering playgrounds, spray grounds and hiking trails. The Potomac Overlook Regional Park is just one of these parks, but one with a unique location with access to the Potomac River. The park includes a lovely nature center the kids will love, as well as a small rehabilitation center for birds of prey. A short hike through the park will bring you to the Potomac Heritage Trail with amazing views of the more wild side of the Potomac River. This is an ideal time out from the crowds around the many museums and memorials.
Long days of site seeing usually mean quick evening meals to keep everyone happy. There is a tremendous variety of food in this area. Try Minh’s for some comforting bowls of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), Peruvian chicken from one of the many places around the county (try Super Pollo or El Pollo Rico), or kabobs from Moby Dick’s. Any of these restaurants offers a great way to end the day and prepare yourself for another day of exploring the fun things to do in Arlington, VA tomorrow!
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.