21 October, 2020
The perfect road trip through Northern Virginia

The perfect road trip through Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia has a vibrant mix of history, culture, dining, and shopping to experience on your next epic road trip adventure. Learn about the events and places that shaped the United States and discover quaint downtown neighborhoods where locals treat visitors like family. Stroll through tree-lined streets and tour charming boutique wineries. Hop on bikes and ride along the banks of the Potomac River for some of the best views of Washington, DC. Browse the home of America’s first president, have a beer in a historic brewery, dine in a celebrity chef’s restaurant, or treat yourself to a little shopping therapy. Everything is waiting for you in Northern Virginia.

Leesburg

Loudouns county seat is a quaint little castle with a historic downtown filled with restaurants, breweries, boutiques and chic home decor stores. Savor oysters, tacos and farm-to-table dishes on King Street (our range of restaurants) and soak up the iconic ambience of a city home to icons such as President James Monroe.

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Photo credit: Jen Sigal

Things to do:

  • Leesburg Premium Outlets
  • Morven Park and Dodona Manor
  • Then, grab a cold brew at one of half a dozen walk-in breweries in Old Town.

Eat:

  • King Street Oyster Bar
  • Wine kitchen
  • Tuscarora Mill

Stay:

  • Lansdowne Resort & Spa

Middleburg

Middleburg, America’s capital of horse and hunting country, and Loudoun’s second largest city, is a beautiful settlement dating back to 1728. The historic downtown is lined with chic boutiques, sophisticated men’s shops and excellent cafes and restaurants, while the surrounding countryside is straight out of a country Edith Wharton Roman: pretty mansions at the end of oak shadows, pure-bred horses frolic in the fields.

Photo Credit: Visit Loudoun County

Things to do:

  • Mt Defiance Cidery and Distillery
  • Visit some of Loudoun’s 40+ wineries, including Boxwood Winery.
  • Shop in a variety of unique boutiques
  • National Sports Library and Museum

Eat:

  • The Red Fox Inn & Tavern
  • Market salamander

Stay:

  • Salamander Resort & Spa
  • Goodstone Inn

Gainesville

Gainesville, which once served as a route for Civil War soldiers, is now a vibrant suburban neighborhood with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Visitors can have a fun night on the town at several bars and nightclubs, world-class PGA golf courses, and even time for a hike in the Conway Robinson State Forest.

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Things to do:

  • Stonewall Golf Club
  • Tin cannon brows
  • MUSE Paint Bar

Eat:

  • Rockwood
  • Blue Ridge Seafood
  • Trummers coffee and wine bar

Stay:

  • SpringHill Suites Gainesville / Haymarket
  • Hampton Inn by Hilton Gainesville / Haymarket

Woodbridge

Woodbridge is probably the most famous area in Prince William, Virginia due to its location next to Interstate 95, the huge Potomac Mills Sign, IKEA, and other street views. Visitors will find a wide variety of shopping, dining, outdoor recreation and entertainment options and of course the largest outlet mall in Virginia, the Potomac Mills Mall.

Photo Credit: Visit Prince William

Things to do:

  • Neabsco Creek Boardwalk
  • Potomac Mills Mall
  • Leesylvania State Park
  • Water’s End Brewing & Brew Republic Bierwerk

Eat:

  • Harbor grid
  • Dixie Bones BBQ

Stay:

  • The Inn at Evergreen
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Woodbridge
  • Hilton Garden Inn Woodbridge

Mount Vernon/.Lorton

This historic area in southern Fairfax County is home to an exceptional number of historic homes and landmarks, including the popular George Washington estate. Explore a Frank Lloyd Wright home, an art paradise in a former prison linked to the suffragist movement, or find a peaceful oasis on the Mason Neck Peninsula. You will never believe that you are only a few miles from the capital.

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Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson, IG Account: @ cameron.davidson.usa

Things to do:

  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon and George Masons Gunston Hall
  • Workhouse Arts Center and the Lucy Burns Museum
  • Mason Neck State Park
  • Fair Winds Brewing Company

Eat:

  • Mount Vernon Inn
  • Cedar Knoll
  • Glory Days Grill
  • Osteria Marzano

Stay:

  • Holiday Inn Express Lorton
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Springfield
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Alexandria Old Town South

Old town Alexandria

On the waterfront of the Potomac River, the old town is in the heart of Alexandria and in the downtown area of ​​the city. It features 18th-century architecture, as well as quaint cobblestone streets and alleys, independent shops and restaurants, and a lively waterfront.

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Photo credit: Kristian Summerer

Things to do:

  • Shop over 100 local boutiques in and around King Street Mile, from eco-friendly and fashion-conscious Threadleaf to fiber optic space.
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center
  • Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (currently closed due to COVID-19), Carlyle House & African American Heritage Park

Eat:

  • Volas Dockside Grill
  • Fontaine
  • Dubbed the country’s ice cream cone capital, Old Town on the banks of the Potomac River is the heart of Alexandria and the city’s downtown area. It’s filled with 18th-century architecture, alongside quaint cobblestone streets, independent shops and restaurants, and a lively waterfront.

Stay:

  • Kimpton Lorien Hotel and Spa
  • Hotel Indigo® Alexandria
  • Morrison House Old Town Alexandria, autograph collection

Del Ray

The Del Ray is located near Mount Vernon Avenue and is lined with local restaurants, eclectic shops, spa shops, Art Deco architecture, and murals. Come for the relaxed atmosphere, casual dining, and unique festivals and events.

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Photo credit: Kristian Summerer

Things to do:

  • Check out Del Ray’s murals, from the photo-ready Greetings From Del Ray wall to the musicians posted on the outside of the St. Elmo Coffee Pub.
  • Enjoy a luxurious brunch in one of the most famous spots in the area, such as the Junction Bakery and Bistro.
  • Find frozen pudding at its finest from The Dairy Godmother.

Eat:

  • Cheesetique
  • Holy cow

Crystal City / Pentagon City

Crystal City is a walkable neighborhood with great restaurants, cafes, specialty shops and the region’s premier physical theater, the Synetic Theater. In addition to the restaurants along Restaurant Row, 23rd Street between South Eads and South Fern has an eclectic, independent dining scene and an active nightlife.

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Photo credit: Jake McGuire

Things to do:

  • National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
  • Gravel point
  • Fashion center in Pentagon City

Eat:

  • Jaleo
  • Highline RxR
  • Lebanese tavern

Stay:

  • Crystal City Marriott
  • Westin Crystal City

Rosslyn

Spectacular views of the DC skyline, countless restaurants and an urban atmosphere make this part of Arlington County an ideal base from which to explore the capital region. Right across the Key Bridge from Georgetown, Rosslyn’s tall buildings are surrounded by natural beauty and historical landmarks.

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Photo credit: Jake McGuire

Things to do:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • Marine Corps War Memorial and Dutch Glockenspiel

eat

  • Open road
  • salt
  • Sfoglina

Stay

  • Holiday Inn Rosslyn on Key Bridge
  • Hyatt Arlington
  • Le Meridien Arlington

Tysons / Merrifield

Tysons is the urban center of Fairfax County and has been dubbed “America’s Next Big City” as the growth and development of this former nondescript rural intersection has made this thriving city a booming business and technology hub near Washington, DC. Around the corner, Merrifield has grown into a vibrant community home to the expanding urban village of Mosaic, which has attracted some of the area’s best chefs, retailers, and boutiques.

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Photo credit: April Greer

Things to do:

  • Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria, Mosaic District
  • 1st Stage theater (temporarily closed due to COVID-19) & Wolf Trap
  • Caboose Commons & Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.
  • The VOID Virtual Reality Experiences (temporarily closed due to COVID-19)

Eat:

  • Farmers Tysons founded
  • Barrel & bushel
  • True food cuisine
  • Caboose Commons

Stay:

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Hyatt Regency Tyson’s Corner Center
  • Hyatt House Falls Church

For more ideas for your Northern Virginia vacation, visit www.NorthernVA.org.

The Perfect Northern Virginia Road Trip first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.

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