The shoreline or coastline of the Potomac River on Virginia's Northern Neck.

Northern Virginia, a region in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant culture. It’s an excellent destination for travelers seeking unique experiences. This article will provide you with top activities to enjoy while visiting this fascinating area.


Northern Virginia boasts numerous attractions that cater to various interests. From historical sites to outdoor adventures, there’s always something exciting happening in this region. In the following sections, we’ll highlight some of the best things to do in Northern Virginia so you can make the most out of your visit.

Explore Historic Sites

1. George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate

A trip to Northern Virginia would be incomplete without visiting George Washington’s beloved home, Mount Vernon. The estate offers a glimpse into the life of America’s first president through tours, exhibits, and living history demonstrations. You can explore his beautifully restored mansion, stroll through the gardens, and even take a boat ride along the Potomac River.

2. Old Town Alexandria

With its well-preserved historic buildings, charming cobblestone streets, and waterfront views, Old Town Alexandria is a must-visit destination in Northern Virginia. Here, you can immerse yourself in American history by visiting sites like the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the Lyceum, which houses exhibits about the city’s past. Don’t forget to grab a bite at one of the many restaurants and cafes lining King Street.

3. Arlington National Cemetery

As the final resting place for countless American veterans and their families, Arlington National Cemetery is a solemn yet powerful tribute to those who have served our country. Highlights include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures

1. Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park is an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking outdoor adventures. This beautiful park features cascading waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and birdwatching. Don’t miss the chance to see the falls up close on the popular Billy Goat Trail.

2. Skyline Drive

For breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley, head to Skyline Drive in nearby Shenandoah National Park. The 105-mile road winds through the park’s rugged terrain, providing ample opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and stargazing at night.

3. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Located just outside of Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation efforts while enjoying picturesque trails through its expansive grounds. Highlights include the Giant Panda Enclosure, American Bison Range, and the Bird House.

Experience Local Culture & Arts

1. Torpedo Factory Art Center

Housed in a former munitions factory, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is now home to over 80 working artist studios, galleries, and educational spaces. Visitors can watch artists at work, purchase unique pieces of art, or participate in hands-on workshops.

2. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

As one of the nation’s premiere outdoor performance venues, Wolf Trap hosts a diverse range of events throughout the year, including concerts, theater productions, and dance performances. The park also offers opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing in its surrounding woodlands.

3. Reston Town Center

For an upscale shopping and dining experience, head to Reston Town Center. This vibrant community features unique boutiques, chic restaurants, and lively entertainment venues, all surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains. Don’t forget to catch a movie at the town center’s luxury cinema or attend one of their many outdoor concerts during warmer months.

Indulge in Local Cuisine

1. The Mothership

This beloved restaurant serves up delicious Southern-style comfort food in a cozy, casual atmosphere. Must-try dishes include fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and collard greens. Be sure to save room for their famous buttermilk biscuits!

2. Pupatella

If you’re craving authentic Neapolitan pizza, look no further than Pupatella. This highly acclaimed pizzeria uses traditional Italian ingredients and techniques to create mouthwatering pies with crispy crusts and delicious toppings. Don’t miss their signature Margherita pizza or the daily specials.

3. Faccia Luna

For another fantastic option for Italian cuisine, check out Faccia Luna. This casual eatery offers a variety of pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try their signature pizza with prosciutto and arugula or one of their homemade gelatos for dessert.


Northern Virginia offers an abundance of activities catering to various interests. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in history, explore nature, experience local culture, or indulge in delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in this vibrant region. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the best things to do in Northern Virginia!