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48 Hours in Arlington, Virginia

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jan 30, 2020
48 Hours in Arlington, Virginia
  (Source:Todd Wright/StayArlington)

Cherry blossom season is around the corner, and if you're looking to escape the doldrums for a weekend in full bloom, there's no better place than Arlington, Virginia. Right across the river from Washington, D.C., Arlington boasts dozens of hotels that average 20 percent less than those in our nation's capital. There's plenty to explore nearby, and you can easily hop in a taxi or car share for the bustling LGBTQ nightlife of Dupont Circle.

Here's our guide to what's new and noteworthy in Arlington.

Arlington National Cemetery
In spite of these polarizing political times, Arlington National Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the many dedicated service people who have sacrificed their lives for our country. The 624-acre grounds include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the John F. Kennedy gravesite and eternal flame, and the Women's Memorial (the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history).

The ANC Explorer app enables visitors to navigate the grounds, or consider a group tour or private guide.

Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour
More than 60 public art projects can be viewed throughout Arlington's neighborhoods, and thanks to online resources, self-guided tours make them easy to find. Discover a bunch of Instagrammable moments throughout Rosslyn, such as Miriam Schapiro's "Anna and David" and Chris Gardner's "Cupid's Garden."

Signature Theatre
Last year Signature Theatre celebrated its 30th anniversary as one of the nation's premier regional theaters (and they have a Tony Award to show for it). Signature produces intimate productions of classic musicals and new works and has won 107 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the region.

Its recent production of "A Chorus Line" wowed audiences and critics alike, and the remainder of the season promises to entertain as well. The world premiere musical "Gun & Powder" runs through February 23, followed by "Mama Mia!", June 25 — July 5.

Best Bites
  (Source:Todd Wright/StayArlington)

Best Bites

There's plenty to discover in Arlington's culinary scene, and like accommodations, the price is right compared to D.C. restaurants across the river. Here are five finds to add to your must-eat list:

Quarter Market — Arlington takes a bite out of the nation's trending food hall scene with this new addition, found in the lower level of Ballston's Quarter Plaza. More than a dozen outlets offer an array of global dishes. Stand-outs include Sloppy Mama's BBQ, The Local Oyster for seafood favorites, and Ice Cream Jubilee featuring boozy favorites like Bourbon Old Fashioned, Chocolate Barley Beer and Grapefruit Campari Sorbet.

Busboys and Poets — Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Busboys and Poets takes its name from Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the nearby Wardam Park Hotel before gaining recognition as a poet. The Shirlington location is steps away from the Signature Theatre and ideal for a pre- or post-show meal. There are plenty of vegan options, too, including nachos, vegan stir-fry, and vegetable curry.

Palette 22 — Can't decide what to eat? Palette 22's tapas menu spans the globe, and for $29.22 (lunch ) or $34.22 (dinner), bottomless dining can get you everything on the menu. The Mediterranean-inspired halloumi cheese with watermelon is a terrific start, followed by jerk chicken with yuca fries, grilled Mexican street corn, brick oven pizza and churros for dessert. The venue also showcases local artists and even includes an in-house residency program with an active, dedicated studio space in the middle of the restaurant.

Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant — Skip Dupont Circle and head to Arlington's bustling "straight-friendly" venue with drag events peppered throughout the week, including Drag Bingo on Wednesdays, Freddie's Follies Drag Show on Saturdays, and a monthly Zodiac contest (amateur drag on the first Sunday of every month) — pack your heels!

Barley Mac — No weekend getaway is complete without a proper brunch, and Barley Mac is the spot for your last Arlington hurrah. Mimosas are an affordable $3, or if you're with a group, consider the large format make-your-own served with a magnum of sparkling wine and juices on the side. Lobster benedict is a worthwhile indulgence, or for those with a sweet tooth, consider the strawberry shortcake French toast. Barley Mac also features a massive collection of whiskeys and bourbons for a final "cheers" before departure.

Stay a While
Chris Gardner's "Cupid's Garden."  (Source:Matthew Wexler)

Stay a While

Homewood Suites Arlington — One of Arlington's newest hotels, this LGBTQ-friendly hotel (part of Hilton) offers straightforward accommodations with easy access to the Rosslyn neighborhood and a complimentary shuttle to the Rosslyn Metrorail station for easy transport. The all-suite property is perfect for friends or family and even features a kitchenette, though the hotel also offers free breakfast, so no need to cook!

Hyatt Centric Arlington — For a bit more flair, consider this Hyatt property, also located in Rosslyn. The neutral palette pops with flashes of fuchsia and pop-art murals, while the on-site restaurant, Cityhouse, is a terrific spot to meet for a craft cocktail before heading out on the town.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

Winter 2020

This story is part of our special report titled "Winter 2020." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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