Make Arlington Your Basecamp for Capital Exploration


Pentagon Memorial

A visit to Arlington, Virginia, directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., honors your commitment and renews American inspiration. Spend time with heroes. See how America has written its history in sacred relics, memorials and magnificent architecture.

A wonderful part of visiting is that so much of it is free, from museums to monuments. Check the calendar for free concerts by the U.S. Army Band in Arlington.

Your service to the United States gives life to patriotism that’s more than flag-waving and fireworks. Why not receive a little gratitude for it?

Enjoy military discounts for mainstage shows at Arlington’s Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre. Shop “Military Mondays” at Pentagon Row stores and restaurants offering discounts for service members.

Admission is free for Smithsonian museums downtown and the zoo, and tickets are not used for general admission except for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bypass long lines there by showing your military badge for entry with a guest.

In Arlington, you’ll find 45 hotels, most of which are near Metro stations, to make touring convenient and affordable. Many attractions are walkable from hotels, and a sight opening this spring offers a whole different perspective on the capital area:

The Observation Deck at Central Place in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood, set to open in May 2018, is 31 stories high. Its outdoor cantilevered terrace will give visitors spectacular views of the Washington, D.C. skyline.

Besides postcard views, an Arlington trip is loaded with fun your children will enjoy — plus the history lesson you sneak in without them realizing it:

  • Learn how Union soldiers lived and protected Washington, D.C. at Fort C.F. Smith, which was constructed by Union Troops in early 1863.
  • At the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, learn about the 184 lives lost in the terrorist attack at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
  • See the majesty of the Marine Corps War Memorial, a bronze monument modeled after the famous photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
  • Visit the Air Force Memorial honoring men and women who have served in the Air Force.
  • Take a guided tour of the Pentagon given by military personnel and available by reservation only.

No words are necessary when you visit Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 service members. “These memories, sad and proud, these quiet grounds, this cemetery … remind us with pride of our obligation and our opportunity,” said President John F. Kennedy.  An eternal flame marks Kennedy’s grave located below Arlington House — The Robert E. Lee Memorial.

Peer inside the actual slave quarters at Arlington House, and find out how Maria Syphax connects one African-American family and their descendants to the very foundation of the United States. Learn why Mrs. Lee’s flower garden is part of the true story of the founding of the cemetery.

See the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit the graves of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and President William Howard Taft. Treat the children to a tour of the stables and visit horses who train constantly for solemn duty with the caisson platoon.

Keep everyone smiling with hiking or biking along the Potomac; climbing the walls at Earth Treks, a rock climbing gym; or with indoor ice skating year round at Kettler Capitals Iceplex or outdoors at Pentagon Row during winter months. Check out the Crystal City Water Park with giant chess, hammocks and ping pong in warmer weather. Take advantage of military access to the 25-lane bowling facility at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. 

You’ll definitely work up an appetite, and Arlington’s food scene is as diversified as Arlington itself. Satisfy a sweet tooth: Amaze children with a King Kong sundae fit for a dozen people at Sugar Factory. Pick up an all-chocolate capitol dome at Schakolad Chocolate Factory.

Staying in Arlington offers the right mix of education and fun for all to gain appreciation of why #firstintraining matters, to renew purpose within yourself and to continue to hold your country accountable to its highest values. Stay close to monuments and museums in Arlington and make memories that last on a family-friendly capital vacation.


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