Arlington, Virginia

Arlington is the Northern Virginia county that was once donated to the United States government in order to form the District of Columbia. Look at a map of the border of Washington, D.C. and it makes more sense: Arlington is the chunk across the Potomac River that keeps America’s capital from being a perfect square. Today, Arlington is a bustling suburb of the District with wonderful views across the river and easy access into Washington via Metro and to everywhere else via Ronald Reagan International Airport. It makes a good base of operations for visiting Washington.

There are a few notable sights located within Arlington itself, namely Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon (whose address is Washington, D.C. although it is decisively in Arlington), and the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Also found very close to the Pentagon is the United States Air Force Memorial, punctuated by its three shiny, metallic, curved spires. The three variant spires, ranging from 201 to 270 feet tall represent three jets soaring skyward. Rounding out the lovely memorial are four bronze statues making up the Honor Guard, a glass etching of F-16 aircraft, and a wall displaying the names of the Air Force’s Medal of Honor recipients.

Also accessible from Arlington – although technically in Washington, D.C. – is Theodore Roosevelt Island. This 88.5 acre island sits in the middle of the Potomac River and can be accessed via car from the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway or via footbridge from near the Key Bridge in Arlington. There are numerous pathways throughout the forested island as well as a memorial to President Theodore Roosevelt that includes a 19-foot tall likeness. The island is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm every day and is only a 10-15 minute walk from the Rosslyn Metro station. There are only about 90 parking spots on the island, so arriving early is recommended if you are not walking.