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National Museum of the United States Army exhibit

Get away in Fairfax County

Story by
postedNovember 18, 2020

What does your picture-perfect getaway look like? It could be gazing at natural wonders and hiking through scenic nature trails. It may be an urban escape with the finest in dining, art, and culture. It may be traveling back in time, rediscovering America's history and walking in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers.

Whatever your perfect getaway may be, we hope you'll come and experience it in Northern Virginia. Be entertained, inspired, and blown away by countless activities that will lead you to a new and memorable experience—all of these things with the National Capital Region, just a short Metro ride away. Take some time to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Huntley Meadows Park
Huntley Meadows Park (Photo by Visit Fairfax)

Explore the great outdoors

Reconnecting with nature in our thousands of acres of parkland is a favorite for both Fairfax County locals and visitors. Did you know that Fairfax County has over 900 miles of trails? Spot American bald eagles at Mason Neck State Park, a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The park's wetlands, forest, open water for guided canoe trips, ponds, and open fields make it ideal for environmental study and wildlife observation.

For an after-hours experience, join a park naturalist for a Twilight Boardwalk Stroll at Huntley Meadows Park. Walk along the forested paths to the wetland boardwalk and experience the park as it transitions from day into night.

Workhouse Arts Center exhibit
Workhouse Arts Center (Photo by Mina Habibi and the Workhouse)

Get your art fix

Impress your group with something unique while you peruse the artworks in Fairfax County at our galleries and public art spaces. Take a gander at over 80 public art installations with Public Art Reston's self-guided walking tours. Or, visit the Workhouse Arts Center for artwork from local creators. This prison-turned-arts-haven is home to 60-plus studio artists and hundreds more exhibitors. While there, tour the new Lucy Burns Museum and learn about the site’s 91 years of prison history: Suffragists picketing the White House for women’s right to vote were imprisoned and force-fed there. Civil rights activists Noam Chomsky and Norman Mailer were imprisoned after peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C. Some of our nation’s most remarkable performers, like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington, performed at the site. These stories have been quietly archived and, until now, were only known locally.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Photo by Dane Penland for Smithsonian)

Rediscover our history

The National Capital Region is a museum lover's dream, with a ton of exhibits and artifacts on display for free. See the world's fastest jet, among thousands of other space artifacts, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center. Located just minutes from Dulles International Airport, the National Air and Space Museum’s second location highlights the history of flight, from 18th-century ballooning to 21st-century aviation and space exploration. Highlights include the Space Shuttle Discovery, an SR-71 Blackbird, and an Air France Concorde.

National Museum of the United States Army
Photo by National Museum of the United States Army

Visit the new National Museum of the United States Army. Opened in November 2020, the museum shines a unique light on the symbiotic relationship between Army and society, highlighting the Army’s direct influence on our nation socially, technologically, scientifically, financially, and culturally. With its various galleries, 300-plus degree multi-sensory theater, fully interactive Experiential Learning Center, cutting-edge simulation and virtual reality experiences, and shopping, this incredible destination is exciting for guests of all interests and ages. 

River-Sea Chocolates
River-Sea Chocolates (Photo by Krissee D'Aguiar)

Titillate your taste buds

Dive into all things chocolate at the intimate, family-owned River-Sea Chocolate Factory and Liquid Chocolate Cafe. Sign up for bean-to-bar tours, tastings, and chocolate-making or bar-decorating classes. Indulge your creative side as you decorate your own chocolate bars with rose petals, nuts, dried fruit, and a variety of spices. As makers with a mission, they produce chocolates containing single-origin cacao, organic and ethically sourced ingredients, and no emulsifiers or flavorings. River-Sea also offers a large selection of gift sets and chocolate bars to go as well as a beautiful outdoor seating area to enjoy the ethically sourced cafe drinks available on-site.

Relax and enjoy delicious craft beer at Ono Brewing Company. An expansive, tropical-themed tasting room features a unique self-serve beer wall that puts you in total control of your craft beer tasting experience. Insider tip: Ono brewing is located right next to River-Sea Chocolate Factory. Yuhu, Ono’s lip-smackingly good chocolate milk stout with rich chocolate flavor and caramel notes, was brewed in collaboration with River-Sea.

Complement your refreshing brew with succulent barbecue from Odd BBQ. Located inside Ono Brewing, this restaurant specializes in fusion creations that combine the flavors of Korean and American barbecue.

Linda Horowitz is the domestic and international group sales manager with Visit Fairfax. For more information, go to

Top photo: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Photo by Dane Penland for Smithsonian