I have had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., many times and I love everything about the nation’s capital.
My last trip to the U.S. capital region took me just across the Potomac River to Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is just minutes from the District of Columbia, but has a completely different vibe that I found refreshing and super laid back. In addition to enjoying all the sights and sounds, I also discovered that some lodging options here are at least 20 percent cheaper than on the other side of the river.
Arlington is home to many monuments and memorials that reveal bits of U.S. history. One that I really wanted to visit was the sombre but moving National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Though I was filled with sadness from the loss of so many innocent lives, I felt blessed to be able to pay my respect. The memorial itself is elegant yet simple, recognizing all of the people that lost their lives at the Pentagon that day in order of age. As I stood there taking it all in, the memorial reminded me of the amazing outpouring of love from the rest of the world, together with the enduring belief that we will survive and become stronger.
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington, Virginia
A Bicycle Ride for Two, or One
Continuing my explorations of the city, I didn’t fancy driving and was told that my best bet was to rent a bicycle through the Capital Bikeshare program. Whether you’re traveling with someone or by yourself, renting a bike gives you ample opportunity to go exactly where you want, to stop wherever you like and it was inexpensive, too!
Of course, if you don’t see yourself cycling around the city, then definitely get a Metrorail pass. With 11 Metro stops in Arlington, you are a hop, skip and a jump from any of the sights, including those in D.C.
Capital Bike program in Arlington, Virginia
Making Friends in Ballston
Finding cool places for lunch or dinner in Arlington is easy. One of my favourite spots for some good wine and excellent food was Kapnos Taverna in the Ballston neighbourhood. One of three restaurants in the Ballston area by Mike Isabella, a former “Top Chef” competitor, Kapnos Taverna serves classic and coastal-inspired Greek dishes. I went there on a Thursday evening and the restaurant was hopping. I picked a bunch of mezze bites, several that were gluten-free, and all were delicious. Everyone in the area is friendly, and even though I was on my own, I soon sparked up conversations with the locals and ended up having a great time.
Outdoor patio dining in Arlington, Virginia
Rock at the Row
Thanks to information from the new friends I met at Kapnos Taverna, I went from the restaurant to Pentagon Row, where the Rock the Row outdoor concert series is held during the summer on Thursday nights. It was a gorgeous summer evening that bought people out from all over. Singles, couples and families threw down blankets and listened to the band. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day, and I couldn’t help wondering what Arlington has in store for me tomorrow!