Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today – The top 10 attractions in Northern Virginia for residents and visitors to the Washington, DC area are full of scenic beauty and interesting history. All of these places to visit in Northern Virginia are of national importance and many are managed by the National Park Service.

As a resident of the 25+ area, these are the places I return to again and again because the changing landscape and special events throughout the year add interest. They are also popular tourist attractions in Northern Virginia.

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Washington, DC, or a longtime resident, Northern Virginia’s top attractions are on your must-see list.

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Northern Virginia’s most prominent national park, Great Falls Park is managed as part of the George Washington Memorial Park. At Great Falls, the Potomac River drops and narrows, cascading over a patchwork of rocks. This natural feature creates beautiful waterfalls and streams that change dramatically throughout the year.

The National Park Service maintains three accessible overlooks from Great Falls Park. Additionally, a portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail (details below) hugs the cliffs along the river’s edge and offers hiking trails with spectacular views. Great Falls is a great place to visit with kids, with easy trails and leisurely walks perfect for outdoor adventures with the whole family.

Admission to Great Falls Park is $20 per vehicle for 7 consecutive days ($15 motorcycle, $10 bike/foot/horse). National Park tickets are accepted and free entry days are honoured.

Tip: You can also walk Great Falls Park on the scenic trail from Riverbend Park or a longer hike from the Hard Run.

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Filling three massive hangars, the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum is the top attraction within Northern Virginia. This Smithsonian facility has an impressive collection of commercial and military aircraft and artifacts from all parts of aviation history.

Stars at the Northern Virginia Air and Space Museum include the space shuttle Discovery, which flew 39 missions in space, Concorde, and the SR-71 Black Hawk. Udvar-Hazy has an impressive collection of military aircraft including the Enola Gay.

Admission to the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Center is free but parking is $15 (free after 4:00).

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

Tip: The Udvar-Hazy Center holds special family days throughout the year. For example, the annual Ourdoor Innovations Air Show, held over Father’s Day weekend, features both vintage and modern aircraft flown in for the event.

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George Washington’s Mount Vernon was the home of George and Martha Washington before and after he became America’s first president. Here, Washington developed his experience as a noble planter and entertained important guests at his home on the banks of the Potomac River.

Today, visitors can tour the mansion and explore the outbuildings, grounds and gardens where the Washington family lived and the enslaved people who worked here. Two engaging museums showcase American history and Washington’s vital role in the new nation.

Admission to George Washington’s Mount Vernon is $26 for adults, $15 for youth 6-11 and 5 and under are free. On weekends from April to October, tickets include admission to the George Washington distillery and grist mill.

Visitors enjoy an interesting mix of history, natural beauty, and unique shops and restaurants in the ancient city of Alexandria. The walkable neighborhood streets are lined with beautiful colonial homes and brick back roads leading to the beautiful coastline.

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The best way to explore the ancient city of Alexandria is on foot. Featured photo spots include the unique Spite House, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, and cobblestone Captains Row. Local shops and restaurants line Central King Street, and the banks of the Potomac River are lined with beautiful gardens.

During the holiday season, Old Town glows with Christmas lights and Christmas wreaths decorating homes, businesses and historic streets.

Tip: Old Town hosts major annual festivals including the Scottish Christmas parade, First Night Fireworks, President’s Day Parade, and St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

One of the most unique national sites in the United States, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is the only park dedicated to live performances. During peak season, Wolf Trap hosts over 90 concerts in the spectacular Filene Center, an indoor and outdoor concert hall.

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Wolf Trap partygoers can choose indoor seating or an expansive lawn to enjoy pop, jazz and more in a setting surrounded by nature. But the park is not just for concerts. Wolf Trap also offers two hiking trails, one perfect for trips with children, and extensive picnic areas.

Entrance to Wolf Trap National Park is free and there is plenty of free parking. (Entry closes two hours before show time.)

Tip: Unique events at Wolf Trap include a free Memorial Day party with fireworks, a free music festival in early December, and sometimes movies with a full orchestra.

Arlington National Cemetery remains one of the most heartbreaking places in Northern Virginia. Here, more than 320,000 men and women who served America have been honored.

Calendar Of Events In Northern Virginia

Visitors to this hallowed ground can explore the cemetery on foot or by tram. The tram stops at key locations in Arlington Cemetery such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where you can watch Reverend Gordon’s changing of the Graveyard ceremony. Stops also include the John F. Kennedy Cemetery and Arlington House, where Robert E. Lee once lived.

If time permits, visit for a longer period and take time to walk the streets of the cemetery. Spectacular trees and gardens create a colorful background for this “stunning” place.

Tip: Arlington House sits atop a steep hill with a spectacular view across the river to Washington, DC. The oldest graves are in Section 27 of North Marshall Drive.

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

The first major battle of the Civil War, fought in Northern Virginia, was the victory of the Confederacy. A year later, the two sides fought again over the same ground. Today, visitors to Manassas Battlefield National Park can learn about the Civil War world like those they encountered in those battles.

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Popular sites on the Battle of Manasseh include the stone house, the stone bridge, and Henry Hill, where the visitor center is located. If time permits, take a walk through history on the Manassas First Loop Trail or the shorter route around Henry Hill.

Tip: The Winery at Bull Run near the Stone Bridge parking lot is a great stop. The Virginia winery preserves historical artifacts and has its own battle story to tell.

One of the most interesting scenic drives near Washington, DC, George Washington Memorial Park connects many important national park sites. The parkway follows the Virginia side of the Potomac River from Turkey Run Park south to Mount Vernon. Off the main road, the national park site includes Great Falls and Clara Barton Parkway in Maryland.

Allow a full day or more to visit all the sites on the GW Parkway, or focus on a few highlights:

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Tip: Theodore Roosevelt Island can only be reached by going north on the GW Parkway. It is also on the north side of the Mount Vernon Trail, a paved bike path that leads to several Parkway sites.

One of the most beautiful national park areas near Washington, DC, Prince William Forest Park combines outdoor fun with fascinating history. This Northern Virginia hideaway offers 37 miles of hiking trails, a scenic driving loop, and paved and off-road biking trails.

Stop by the visitor center to pick up a map and get suggestions from park rangers about the best hikes for your group. Here you can learn about the interesting history of the park. Prince William Forest was a camp for low-income children and later a training ground for spies during World War II.

Fun Things To Do In Northern Virginia Today

Admission to Prince William Forest Park is $20 per vehicle for 7 consecutive days. National Park tickets are accepted and free entry days are honoured.

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The Council: Ceredigion County Council has built the largest collection of structures in Prince William Forest Park in the entire National Park system. The park offers some of the best camping near Washington, DC, and several historic CCC cabins for families and group camping.

Virginia has the 544 mile Appalachian Trail and Northern Virginia offers many access points to this national scenic trail. This means that visitors to DC and residents of Northern Virginia can hike parts of the AT without driving all the way to Shenandoah National Park.

Tip: The Bluemont section of the Appalachian Trail from Washington, D.C. is an ideal day trip. Walk to Bear’s Den or Raven Rocks and then take in the beautiful views of the nearby wineries and breweries (the view from Dirt Farm Brewing is amazing!).

These national, state and regional sites are honorable mentions on our list of Northern Virginia attractions. Follow the links for more information to plan your visit.

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The top 10 attractions in Northern Virginia on our list provide a great introduction to all that the region has to offer. If you are based in the metropolitan area and have visitors coming to town, these sites will surely impress you. But don’t wait on the towers! Northern VA’s top attractions are worth visiting year-round.

Join me, Julie McCall, and explore the best of the North

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