Alexandria

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Arlington

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Fairfax County

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Loudoun County

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Prince William & Manassas

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The finer things in life are all yours in Virginia's Cultural Region, where culinary experiences, shopping and history pave the way for indulgence that's just right.

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Home to an energetic mix of history, culture, dining and shopping, Virginia’s Cultural Region brings together Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County and Manassas for a vacation experience like no other. Take some time to appreciate the celebration of diversity that is uniquely Virginia’s Cultural Region, where every satisfying moment is right within your reach. When it comes to a region this rich and full of pleasures, seeing is believing. Take a look at this video to experience it for yourself.

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Alexandria


Enchanting Old Town Alexandria – a waterfront city and where locals and travelers wander cobblestone streets lined with romantic sidewalk cafes, stylish boutiques, historic sites and treasure-filled galleries.

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Arlington


The walkable town that feels monumental, with spectacular Capitol views and honor-filled hills of green.

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Fairfax County


Witness the nation’s roots at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and international artistry at Wolf Trap.

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Loudoun County


If fine wine is an art form, then Loudoun County is a gallery of world-class proportions.

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Prince William & Manassas


Listen for echoes of history on the battlefields and sighs of delight in shops and restaurants.

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Recent Blog Posts

What’s New?

Whether you’re new to the region or a longtime fan, there’s always something to discover in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

New Brews. Find new ways to enjoy your favorite pint in the Cultural Region.

  • The LoCo Ale Trail makes it easy to let your palate be your guide through Loudoun County’s 17 breweries, leading you to small batch, hand-crafted brews with itineraries that highlight everything from bike-able to pet-friendly options.
  • Sehkraft Brewing in Arlington’s Clarendon is a 9,000 square-foot brewpub housing a 10-barrel brewhouse, a 200+ seat restaurant, a live music stage and its own butcher shop.
  • New District Brewing Company in the Shirlington neighborhood welcomed its first guests in January as Arlington’s first truly local package brewery in a century, providing seasonal craft beers made with an emphasis on locally sourced and quality imported ingredients.
  • Forge Brew Works and Fair Winds Brewing Co. comprise the “Lorton Beer Trail” in South Fairfax County – meet the friendly brewers, plan on a tour of the facilities, or just belly up to the bar.
  • Fairfax County’s Town of Vienna welcomed its own farm-to-table brewery and restaurant this year when Caboose Brewing Co. opened at a location off the popular Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
  • It’s a brewery boom in Fairfax County: Herndon saw Aslin Beer Co. open this past summer, Reston welcomes the Lake Anne Brew House this year and Chantilly welcomes Mustang Sally Brewing Co. this spring.
  • Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co.was named the Best Small Brewery in the U.S. at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, considered the Oscars of the beer world. Port City offers tours, tastings of its award-winning brews and quirky events like Beer Yoga and Pedals & Pints.
  • An historic Virginia brewery is revived 100 years later at Portner Brewhouse, a pre-Prohibition-inspired brewery, restaurant and Craft Beer Test Kitchen™. Opening in the summer of 2016, the Robert Portner Brewing Company founder’s great-great-granddaughters Catherine and Margaret Portner will be serving reconstructed historic recipe beers and contemporary seasonals alongside German and contemporary American cuisine.
  • Keep an eye on the growing excitement at Brew Republic Bierwerks brewpub in Prince William and Manassas, offering craft brews in a friendly taproom atmosphere in spring 2016.

Winery expansions. The wine industry continues to thrive as some of the region’s wineries expand with new tasting rooms and facilities.

  • Breaux Vineyards welcomes visitors to their new facility’s spacious rooms and small, intimate nooks for an experience that’s easy to enjoy. Offering numerous outdoor patios with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the main tasting room gives a nod to the owner’s Louisiana roots with French Quarter details.
  • Stone Tower Winery’s new state-of-the-art facility invites you to stay a while in a new tasting room and numerous spaces decorated with plush couches and modern décor with rustic touches. Enjoy a special tasting in the barrel room or a glass of vino by the roaring fireplace.
  • The expansion of Chrysalis Vineyards connects visitors to Loudoun’s rich agricultural scene with a new “Ag District” spanning 400 acres. Working with Locksley Estate Farmstead Cheese Company, Chrysalis will soon include a cheese production facility and a tech-savvy tasting room that connects visitors with digital information about the wines.
  • Fabbioli Cellars now offers a new circular, two-level tasting room built around a unique central structure: a tree of lighted vines that were sourced from the property.

Spring temptations. Spring’s allure is in full force in Virginia’s Cultural Region, with outdoor beauty, fine spirits and the open water calling your name.

  • Along with the 2016 National Park Service Centennial, Prince William Forest National Park celebrates 80 years of service this year. Don’t miss a chance to visit the largest green space in the DC Metropolitan area, where hiking and biking trails give you access to 15,000 beautiful acres.
  • Educate your palate at Murlarkey Distilled Spirits, which opened its doors in Manassas for tours and tastings of handcrafted small-batch selections early this year.
  • Whether it’s street performers, art, music, al fresco drinks and dining in a beautiful setting, or launching an exploration of the region via water taxis and river cruises by Potomac Riverboat Company, there’s always something new to experience at Alexandria’s historic waterfront.

Entertainment central. The Cultural Region adds games, brews and high-flying fun this spring, along with inspired celebrations and learning opportunities.

  • Big fun and games come to Northern Virginia as Dave & Buster’s brings its popular restaurant fare and hundreds of arcade games, sports and activities to the newly revamped Springfield Town Center in Fairfax County, promising “the most fun you can have all under one roof.”
  • Thrill seekers can test their driving skills soon in Manassas at Autobahn Indoor Speedway, the largest go-kart facility this side of Washington, D.C.
  • Cirque du Soleil brings internationally acclaimed acrobatics and theatrical wonder to Fairfax County this summer, presenting Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities under a 62-foot high big top at Lerner Town Square in Tysons, VA, from July 21 to August 21, 2016.
  • As the National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, you’re invited to be inspired with special events and activities in all National Parks, including Fairfax county’s own Wolf Trap, Great Falls Park and many other stops along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  • The Children’s Science Center Lab is Northern Virginia’s first interactive children’s museum, giving kids, families and school groups access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through engaging hands-on exhibits, activities and programs. The Lab’s Experiment Bar, Inspiration Hub, Tinker Shop and Discovery make for inspired learning for children aged two through 12. The Lab is located within Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA. A full-scale museum arrives in 2019 to Dulles, VA.

5 Days in the Cultural Region

You could spend years exploring Virginia’s Cultural Region and never tire of the journey. Here are a few suggestions for discovering its riches one day at a time.

DAY 1: Pleasures of Field and Farm

You’re in for a day of relaxation enjoying Loudoun County’s scenic landscape, the fruits of its vineyards and the harvest of its fields. Explore some of the 40-plus wineries and tasting rooms that are intertwined along country roads here, nestled between horse farms and historic estates. Try a crisp Viognier while overlooking the mountains. Take a vineyard tour and meet winemakers crafting award-winning wines.

Stop for lunch in a circa 1905 restored mill or enjoy farm-to-table cuisine at Market Table Bistro, where the menu changes seasonally to offer only the freshest ingredients.

DAY 2: Get a Feel for History

Looking back is no eye-rolling academic exercise in Virginia’s Cultural Region, where hands-on history experiences feel more like outdoor adventure. Spend some time at the Manassas National Battlefield Park to explore the 5,000-acre site of the first and second battles of the American Civil War. It’s not just a budget-friendly way to learn more about history; standing in the mist is a foolproof way to feel its power.

You’ll learn more about uncommon valor than you ever imagined at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, where exhibits cover more than 237 years of inspiring American history – from earliest recruitment efforts during the American Revolution to photographic exhibits that capture the strength and courage of today’s Marine force.

DAY 3: Ready for a Big Rush?

You’ll expand your horizons on a day spent in Fairfax County. Whether you experience the earthly natural rush of Great Falls Park, the goosebumps you get while walking in the same steps of America’s first president at George Washington’s Mount Vernon or the wonders of space exploration at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, there’s a thrill in the air.

There’s inspiration in the air, too. Take in an outdoor concert and picnic on the grounds of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Check out the galleries and studio spaces of the Workhouse Arts Center, where you can take a guided tour, sit in on a workshop or learn of the history of this former historic prison campus at the Workhouse Prison Museum. 

DAY 4: Why Does This Seem So Familiar?

There are certain images in our national consciousness that just seem like something we all should know. The iconic figures striving to raise the American flag in battle. A young soldier making precise steps as he faithfully stands guard. White markers stretched across green hills in heartbreakingly long, tidy rows.

A visit to Arlington National Cemetery makes it all very real, with stories of sacrifice, honor and steadfast resolve. In this one historic place, generations of the nation’s fallen are honored, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded without ceasing and the Eternal Flame burns at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy. The nearby Marine Corps War Memorial captures the dramatic Iwo Jima moment we all recognize.

Take advantage of the spectacular views of the D.C. skyline while you’re in Arlington’s Rosslyn district, where you can raise a pint to history at Heavy Seas Alehouse. Check out the gourmet brews at Caffe Aficionado and explore Arlington’s public art offerings, including performances at the Signature Theatre. 

DAY 5: Is Cobblestone Cosmopolitan a Thing?

Maybe it’s the unexpected pairing that makes Alexandria so extraordinary, from acclaimed dining to compelling history and dynamic arts. Old Town Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan vibe that’s lasted centuries – along with the 18th and 19th century architecture and cobblestone streets still intact from its days as George Washington’s hometown. A stroll down King Street offers boutique shopping and numerous ways to enjoy the city’s food culture.

Alexandria’s waterfront is your portal to exploration, whether it’s on a Potomac Riverboat Co. cruise or the galleries and studio spaces of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. For a look into the past, the Key to the City Museum Pass gives you access to historic homes, sites and museums. Top off your day at the Best Small Brewery in the U.S., Port City Brewing Co. or by enjoying live music at one of Alexandria’s intimate venues like Blackwall Hitch.

Activities That Won’t Break The Bank

Rich experiences that don’t strain your wallet? Virginia’s Cultural Region is the answer you’ve been looking for.

Scenic rides and vineyard picnics. It costs nothing to enjoy the region’s beautiful landscape and charming streets.

  • Take a bike ride down the 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion trail to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region. You’ll pass through historic towns on this car-free path, with stops for refreshing craft beer along the way at numerous breweries just minutes off the trail.
  • Stop at South Street Under café or Stoneybrook Farm Market to pick up sandwiches and snacks for a picnic in the vineyard. Many Loudoun wineries offer free live music, so sing along as you enjoy lunch and delicious Virginia vino.
  • Hop on the free King Street Trolley to find chef-driven restaurants, bustling boutiques and intimate museums tucked into 18th and 19th century architecture of Old Town Alexandria.

Pay tribute, not entry fees. American history is always within your budget in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Free parking and admission to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County are an added bonus – this fully immersive tribute using sight, sound, touch and movement is a truly valuable experience. Housing a massive Leatherneck Gallery, displays depicting pivotal conflicts and vital contributions to the preservation of America’s freedom, the museum’s magnificent architectural design rises 210 feet at a tilted angle inspired by the flag raisings at Iwo Jima.
  • Visit the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington to honor those who lost their lives on one of America’s most fateful days. Admission is free.
  • From the opium wars of the 1850s to fighting current day drug trafficking, you’ll learn about the history of the war on drugs at Arlington’s DEA Museum and Visitors Center, where admission is free.
  • Take a scenic horseback ride or join the park historian for a guided hike along the trails where the first and second battles of the American Civil War were fought at Manassas National Battlefield Park. The park now offers free entry to all visitors as of January 1, 2016. Whether you want to pack a relaxing picnic to enjoy among the bluebells or plan a fun-filled afternoon orienteering, this is a must see on your next visit.

Big experiences, little prices. From the first presidential home to the first journeys into space, there’s major history ahead.

  • It only takes a few bills with his portrait on them to walk in the shoes of the first president of the United States at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Admission ranges from $9 to $17.
  • Picnic and hike at Great Falls Park, the beautiful National Park Service destination that overlooks the falls of the Potomac River. Admission is a bargain at $10 per car.
  • Marvel at the largest collection of original air and space craft in the world at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Museum admission is free, but parking runs $15 per car.
  • For only $10, nine historic sites are yours to explore. Alexandria’s Key to the City Museum Pass gives you access to unique history remarkably preserved by a city dedicated to its past, with insight into Civil War, civil rights, founding fathers and more.

Exercise your freedom of expression. In a region that’s as dedicated to new ideas as it is to preserving its past, creative pursuits are a bargain.

 
  • Join a myriad of local artists for gallery viewings, performances and art demonstrations at a restored historic prison, now known as the Workhouse Arts Center in Fairfax County. Admission is free.
  • Immerse yourself in art among the 82 artist studios at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, where the creativity is priceless but admission is free.
 

Only in NOVA

There’s not another place on the planet with the unique spirit of Northern Virginia. It’s a blend of artistic independence and appreciation for the journey that gives the Cultural Region its special sauce.

Feel that American pride. Whether you’re standing at a memorial or witnessing a heroic run, Virginia’s Cultural Region is full of heart-swelling moments.

  • Understand the challenges and experience of valor on a fully immersive visit to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County. Sight, sound, touch and movement reveal the story of the U.S. Marines like never before.
  • Cheer on the participants (or become one) in Arlington as the Marine Corps Marathon takes place October 30, 2016. Known as “The People’s Marathon,” it’s one of the largest in the world.
  • Take a leisurely horseback ride where courage was tested: Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the first two battles of the American Civil War were fought.

There’s only one. You won’t want to miss the Cultural Region’s singular distinctions.

It’s not what you think. From repurposed arts venues to speakeasy hideouts, Virginia’s Cultural Region is full of surprises.

  • Tap into the Cultural Region’s arts scene with unexpected visual arts centers, including a former torpedo factory in Alexandria, a candy factory in Prince William County and even a former prison in Fairfax County.
  • Up for Beer Yoga, Pedals and Pints or Joggers and Lagers? The Best Small Brewery in the U.S. puts the fun in fitness: Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co.
  • Sneak into Captain Gregory’s, a cocktail lounge/speakeasy hidden inside Sugar Shack donut shop in Alexandria.
  • View Washington, D.C. monuments from a unique vantage point: onboard a Potomac Riverboat Co. narrated boat cruise.

Have some wine with that view. Unique ways to experience the Cultural Region’s stellar wine and craft brew offerings make for unforgettable journeys.

  • Take a guided kayak tour down the scenic Potomac River to Tarara Winery in Loudoun County, where you can enjoy live music in their outdoor pavilion, delicious food and fine Virginia wine. The four-and-a-half to seven-mile tour is offered throughout the summer.
  • Beer and wine lovers unite! In Loudoun, winery and brewery sit side-by-side, sharing sweeping views of the countryside. Travel 951 feet up the mountain to enjoy Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Farm Brewing to try the peach wine or the pumpkin ale, featuring ingredients taken right from the neighboring Great Country Farms.

Chef-Inspired Cuisine

This is more than just dining. Thanks to the passion of talented chefs, a trip through Virginia’s Cultural Region is a foodie adventure.

Comfort food for all! Find out how celebrated chefs and popular eateries put a new twist on the classics in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Known for his appearances on the hit television shows Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, Chef Bryan Voltaggio brings a new approach to classic favorites in Loudoun County with his restaurant Family Meal. Featuring a modern take on familiar family dishes like shrimp and grits and fried chicken, the menu is full of surprises.
  • Indulge in sweet simplicity at Dairy Godmother Frozen Custard and Nostalgic treats, an Obama family favorite in Alexandria’s Del Ray.
  • Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace in Woodbridge is for true burger lovers, featuring a new creation every month. Will the Burger of the Month feature red hot sauce and spicy rémoulade or goat cheese and Meyer lemon honey mustard sauce? Who knows!
  • Head to Alexandria’s Del Ray and Arlington’s Shirlington or (coming soon) Ballston neighborhoods for what Food and Wine deems the Best Mac and Cheese in the U.S at Cheesetique.
  • Have a Grandma appreciation moment with buttermilk biscuit everything at Stomping Ground in Alexandria’s Del Ray.

Get it while you can! Pop-up cuisine and street food concepts brings new flavors to the Cultural Region.

  • Chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella has collaborated with his fellow Top Chef finalist Jen Carroll to create a new French Mediterranean dining concept called Requin, currently “popped up” for an extended run in Fairfax County’s trendy Mosaic District through mid-2016. Beginning this summer, Isabella’s popular Greek concept, Kapnos Kouzina, takes over the space with a focus on rustic dishes and shareable platters. You can also enjoy Isabella’s creations at Kapnos Taverna, Pepita or Yona, all in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood.
  • Award-winning chef Victor Albisu is expanding his popular Taco Bamba Taqueria standup takeout counter concept, serving tacos in both traditional and chef-driven styles for just $3 or $4 each. The Falls Church eatery will open two additional locations this year, one in early 2016 in Springfield, VA, and another in summer 2016 in Vienna, VA.

Translation: delicious. From distant cultures to your plate, you’re about to speak the language of international cuisine.

  • Renowned Chef José Andrés shares a different side of his native country’s classical and contemporary Spanish cuisine, including tapas, savory paellas, superb sangrias and more at Arlington’s Jaleo.
  • Experience a little piece of Europe at Columbus Grill in Manassas, where Chef Nuno Duerte will take you right back to his homeland of Portugal with each authentic dish. The wine list is unlike any other.
  • Taste the global culinary creations of Chef Tim Ma at Water & Wall in Arlington, featuring contemporary French, Asian and American cuisine or at his new gourmet sandwich shop in Fairfax County, Chase the Submarine

Fresh, fancy and fabulous. Once-forbidden cocktails and sophisticated farm fare elevate dining to an art in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Savor the creations of acclaimed chef Cathal Armstrong at his restaurants including Society Fair, an “epicurean emporium” in Alexandria featuring a wine bar, coffee bar, baker and demo kitchen; and PX Lounge, an elegant 1920s-inspired speakeasy cocktail lounge.
  • Enjoy fine dining in a glass-enclosed atrium overlooking the Potomac River at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, on one of the first certified organic farms in Virginia. James Beard nominee Chef Tarver King creates three innovative menus that each focus on ingredients sourced on the farm: Grown, Raised and Found.
  • Make a reservation at one of Alexandria’s latest hot spots, including chef Brian Rowe’s Southern immersion cuisine at Magnolia’s on King and exquisitely crafted cocktails at the cozy Palm Lounge upstairs.

5 Greatest Places for Shopping Therapy

  You’ve got an eye for style and can sniff out a bargain like nobody’s business. So it’s only natural you’ve found yourself here in Virginia’s Cultural Region, where shopping is an art form. Here are some of our top recommendations to put you on the trail of amazing finds.  

King Street, Alexandria

You’re surrounded by small town charm, but the style is strictly cosmopolitan. The merchants of King Street in Old Town Alexandria are known for offering unique finds and stylish fashions – nearly 80 percent of the restaurants and retailers here are independently owned, earning stellar reputations for their style-making influence. Whether you’re on the hunt for to-die-for details or classic lines that always work, King Street doesn’t disappoint. Not far away in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, Mount Vernon Avenue offers its own spin on must-have selections, with eclectic, locally owned storefronts offering gourmet goods and making an artful statement.  

Tysons Corner Center, Fairfax County

When you never tire of a great deal and dream of endless selection, Tysons Corner is your kind of place. In fact, it’s one of the top 10 shopping centers in the nation, regularly drawing shoppers from miles away for an unbeatable mix of more than 300 department and specialty stores. Celebrated restaurants, entertainment, fashion, technology, home and beauty – if you can’t find it here, you just need to turn another corner ‘til you do.  

Lee Heights Shops, Arlington

Visiting the friendly merchants of Lee Heights Shops is like having a trusted friend take all the guesswork out of shopping in Arlington for you. Curated selections make shopping a pleasure, whether you’re finding a recommendation at Arrowine Cheese and Spirits, or taking your pick of popular must-have accessories at Lemon Twist and Lemon Chiffon. Needlepoint and toy specialties, fine jewelry and home furnishings – you’ll even find a bistro with New Zealand flair, Cassatt’s, under the colorful awnings of Lee Heights.  

Old Town Manassas and Historic Occoquan, Manassas

You won’t find a specialty shopping experience like this in every city or county – but here there are two. Main Street browsing is irresistible along the quaint streets of Historic Occoquan and Old Town Manassas, making for the perfect way to spend a few hours before a delicious meal. Antiques, jewelry, books, puzzles, coins, art – there’s no shortage of thought-provoking finds here, tucked in alongside clothing boutiques and pet bakeries. In fact, character just might be the most widely available treasure you’ll find here, whether you’re eyeing exclusive jewels at Lil’ Bit of Posh or checking out the elite craftsmanship on display at Hatfields Gunsmiffin’.  

Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, Loudoun County

You’re feeling the unmistakable tingle on the back of your neck that alerts you to the presence of the shopping trifecta: brand names, great deals, tons of selection. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets has all that and more, with 110 upscale designer and brand name outlet stores and savings of 25-65%. Whether you’re stocking up on basics or splurging on something extravagant at an unbeatable price, this outlet outing might be just the kind of retail therapy you need, with selection that’s a cut above most others.

10 Favorite Wine and Craft Beer Tasting Rooms

Whether you’re quaffing an IPA or sipping chardonnay, the tasting is elevated from everyday to extraordinary when you’re in the right setting. With landscapes that make you want to cultivate the good life, Virginia’s Cultural Region seems tailor-made for careful production of fine wines, spirits and craft beer. Enjoy it all with a view in our favorite tasting room experiences.  

Historic Breweries Walking Tour and Pub Guide, Alexandria

Pick up a guide from the Alexandria Visitors Center and take this self-guided tour of 15 pubs and restaurants. With beer as a staple of 18th-century life, Alexandria’s Old Town has long been a brewing mecca and home to the largest pre-prohibition brewery in the south. The city’s rich beer history reveals itself along the way at local favorites like award-winning Port City Brewing Company, Union Street Public House and Columbia Firehouse, along with “Hops Stops” at top places to pause for a brew or snack. To help you drink responsibly, the free King Street Trolley runs seven days a week.  

Port City Brewing Company, Alexandria

When you see the pineapple on top of Port City’s sign, it’s a signal that the brewing geniuses inside are ready for you and open for business. Take a tour of this award-winning craft brewery to learn how its artisanal, hand-made, high-quality beers continue to elevate Alexandria’s brewing scene. Learn about the Hopzooka first hand, breathe in the unmistakable aroma of brewing magic going on and meet the experts. Find out which seasonal brews are on tap and sample your way through a flight menu that includes stouts, porters, pale ales, Belgian whites and more. Whether you leave with a six-pack or a growler, you’re sure to find a favorite.  

The Winery at Bull Run, Fairfax County

Take a trip into the best of the 19th century world of gentle Virginia living and finely crafted wines. The Winery at Bull Run sits in the spectacular 5,000-acre countryside setting of the Bull Run Battlefield Park, a working farm vineyard with views that seem unchanged by time. The preserved 19th century farmland gives you a heritage view of winemaking techniques from the Civil War era, giving the secrets of the past a chance to live on in award-winning Nortons, Viogniers, Petit Verdots and more created onsite. Enjoy a tasting in the Main Barn or take advantage of vistas from the front porch, the vineyard or the Stone Mansion House Ruins patio.  

Mad Fox Brewing Company, Fairfax County

English, German, Belgian and American brews are on tap at this English-style gastro brewpub, home to upscale casual dining. The Mad Fox bar is 63 feet long and the rotating selection of seasonal beers is equally impressive. True aficionados will appreciate the cask-conditioned proper Real Ales served through water-jacketed Angram beer engines. The rest of us will just enjoy every pint at the perfect temperature.  

Capitol City Brewing Company, Arlington

It took a long time after prohibition for brewing to return to the nation’s capitol, but it was worth the wait. Pay a visit to the downtown Arlington location of the first brewpub to open in D.C. since prohibition was repealed, the Capitol City Brewing Company. At this location, you’ll have a view of the pedestrian promenade and a large patio to enjoy craft brews and chef-created regional cuisine. Whether you’re into beer-battered onion rings or Prohibition Porter-infused chili, you can’t beat hearty fare in a lively atmosphere – especially when you have a choice of signature, core and seasonal brews year round.  

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Arlington

Great food and real beer are Rock Bottom’s stock in trade, offering an unpretentious experience that you can raise a pint to. Try award-winners like Devil’s Thumb Strong Ale, Baltic Gnome Porter, Rudolph’s Red or the Naked Oatmeal Stout. From barrel-aged Sarah’s Two Headed Buffalo to coffee-flavored Dude! Where’s My Vespa, there’s nothing ordinary about Rock Bottom’s seasonal offerings.  

Winery at La Grange, Manassas

Head over to Prince William County for year-round tours, seasonal events and wine tastings in the barrel room and 18th century manor house of the Winery at La Grange. The vineyards at the foot of Bull Run Mountain grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Mensang grapes to create part of this winery’s stellar collection of wines. Your tasting experience might only be rivaled by a visit to the restored 1790 manor house, where tales of ghostly apparitions and mysterious piano music fill the air. The winery provides plenty of ideas for nearby outdoor adventures and park destinations to help you make a day of it.  

Tin Cannon Brewing Company, Prince William

More intimate and specialized than even a micro brewery can claim, this nano brewery creates, kegs and serves craft beers on premise, blending traditional styles and experimental brews for a totally unique experience. Tin Cannon’s Belgian Judy, Busted Pipe Black IPA, Unkel Dunkel, seasonals and experimentals always make it worth the visit. Notice a hint of chipotle peppers and bacon? Tin Cannon calls that Breakfast of Champions – check and see what’s brewing now.    

Hillsborough Vineyards, Loudoun County

Along the hills and ridges of Loudoun County, winemakers have found fertile ground not just for their grapes, but for the total departure from routine that wine lovers find when they visit. Peace and tranquility set the stage for Hillsborough Vineyard’s old world, French country charm. Promising the sweet smell of roses and lavender, the gentle sound of trickling koi ponds, verandas adorned with wisteria, old stone barns, 36 acres of vineyards and spectacular views of distant mountains, your tasting experience will be one for all the senses.  

Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County

Overlooking the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains, the setting of Breaux Vineyards is enough to capture your heart, even if the winemaking operation weren’t winning raves for impressive results. One of Virginia’s largest growers, Breaux Vineyards encompass 104 acres of a 404-acre estate, giving you both expansive views and an intimate tasting room experience that reveals a passionate commitment to quality. Tour the winemaking facility and sample award-winning varieties and you’ll be convinced that the Breaux family is on the right track.

5 Places to Eat Like a Local

Virginia’s Cultural Region is home to a number of inventive chefs and kitchen masters who have put down their culinary roots, giving you a wide selection of flavors to choose from. Find your way to the head of the table at favorite local restaurants ranging from casual fare to fine dining.  

Del Ray Café, Alexandria

In Alexandria, you’ll truly eat local, as the majority of restaurants are independently owned. Creative individualism leaves a savory taste throughout the city, and Del Ray Café is a shining example of the local movement. Serving French country cuisine made with locally sourced organic and natural products, the setting is a refurbished 1925 home that feels like an old Virginia farmhouse. It’s a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with weekend brunch especially popular. Must be the crêpes. Or the roasted pork belly with polenta. Or maybe it’s the lump crabmeat eggs Benedict. You’ll have to decide.  

Mike’s American Grill, Fairfax County

You just can’t beat the classic steakhouse experience of Mike’s American Grill in Springfield, where the motto is “be nice or get out.” Home of the Drunken Ribeye, the much coveted Black Angus Prime Rib and the “now famous” Ozzie roll, Mike’s serves up hearty fare in a fun warehouse atmosphere filled with vintage baseball memorabilia, local photos and glowing neon.  

Whitlow’s on Wilson, Arlington

Voted Virginia’s most popular bar by Buzzfeed, Whitlow’s on Wilson has been an unmistakable Arlington landmark for more than 25 years. Today, the daily deals, craft beer night every Wednesday and seasonal rooftop tiki bar explain its enduring appeal. Funky charm is the vibe Whitlow’s is aiming for, with live music and special events.  

Malone’s of Manassas

Located in the Gothic Revival structure that was once Manassas Presbyterian Church, frequent award winner and local favorite Malone’s brings a contemporary twist to fine dining in ManassasIn the heart of Old Town Manassas, the menu reveals Chef Scott Bilstad’s playful approach, from Pork and Beans 2.0 to Truffle Mac N’ Cheese and Dirty Chicken Bites. Find out why his locally grown fresh, seasonal food creations are earning rave reviews.  

Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque, Loudoun County

Traditional southern charm is hot stuff in the hands of the Carolina Brothers, whose pit barbeque is worthy of the name. Sauced with subtle spiciness and slow-cooked to exacting standards, the pork and beef barbeque here is born of owner Danny Hurdle’s North Carolina boyhood in the restaurant his daddy won in a poker game. If that’s not enough to qualify this as real BBQ, the taste definitely is. Stop by this Ashburn locals’ favorite and see for yourself.

5 Must-See Landmarks of Virginia's Cultural Region

There are few places in America encompassing important moments in the nation’s history quite like Virginia’s Cultural Region. From colonial times to current events, this has been the home of leaders and renegades, movers and shakers, all leaving behind plenty of evidence of the American spirit for you to explore.  

MOUNT VERNON

It’s been a running bit since the dawn of the nation that any establishment claiming that “George Washington slept here” was worthy of the first presidential endorsement. But nowhere else on earth welcomed, soothed and inspired George Washington like his riverfront home, Mount Vernon. Today, it’s the most visited historic estate in America, giving you the chance to know America’s first president a bit better. The mansion is beautifully restored, along with four gardens and a working farm. There’s more to discover here than his famous dentures, which are, in fact, on display in the museum. You’ll get a glimpse of his habits, check out Martha’s jewelry, walk the grounds and hear the Potomac drift by just as they did.  

GEORGE WASHINGTON MASONIC NATIONAL MEMORIAL

Just a few miles from Mount Vernon, Alexandria is known as George Washington’s hometown. Towering 333 feet high on a hill above the cobblestone streets of Alexandria is the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, an impressive construction dedicated to Washington’s history as a Freemason. A visit to the Memorial takes you into a realm of great respect for this founding father, honoring his virtues and character as the highest example of what Freemasons aspire to be. Take a guided tour to view a famed bronze figure of Washington along with many artifacts, murals and dioramas, and experience a diagonally ascending elevator ride through the eight floors of the ornate tower. Even if you don’t come away with all your questions answered about the Masonic organization, the view from the ninth-floor observation deck will have you feeling uplifted.  

MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL

Though they may not be able to come up with its correct name as a Jeopardy question, it’s an image familiar to many. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicts a brief moment that happened in the Pacific in the last months of World War II. The raising of the flag by five marines at Iwo Jima on the morning of February 23, 1945 is captured in this 78-foot tall memorial that features a 60-foot flagpole, 16-foot rifle and a canteen that would hold 32 quarts of water. Even more impressive than its statistics is the spirit of heroism and camaraderie it memorializes, expanding beyond WWII and that single moment in time to include names and dates of every principal Marine Corps engagement since the founding of the Corps at its base. Located outside Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from D.C., the Memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in defense of the United States since 1775. No matter what time of day you pay a visit, it’s a moving and spectacular sight – daytime views include the Washington Memorial and Capitol Rotunda in the distance, while at night the Memorial is lit in dramatic fashion.    

MANASSAS NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK

When Union forces met Confederate troops along the stream named Bull Run here in July of 1861, no one realized the years of conflict that would follow. In fact, citizens and congressmen brought wine and picnic baskets to observe the military maneuvers, soon realizing the serious nature of the event, one of the earliest battles of the Civil War. It was here on the grounds of Manassas National Battlefield Park that a young general named Jackson, from Virginia, held his troops in position by standing “like a stone wall.” A year later, this was the scene of a more famed battle – the details of Robert E. Lee’s Second Manassas campaign come to life on a visit here. Even if you’re not a Civil War buff, the quiet and reverie of these grassy fields and wide vistas have timeless appeal.    

MORVEN PARK

Near Leesburg in Loudoun County, you’ll find a thousand acres of beauty in Morven Park. Once home to Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis, Morven Park is home to the Davis Mansion, a carriage museum, a hounds and hunting museum, spectacular woodlands and a mountainous ridge, along with formal gardens. In addition to its historic ambiance, the park keeps it current with a full calendar of equestrian events and field athletics including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and Frisbee. You’ll also find more than two miles of hiking trails, including the Ridge Top Trail leading to the park’s highest elevation and scenic overlook.

10 Favorite Wine and Craft Beer Tasting Rooms

Whether you’re quaffing an IPA or sipping chardonnay, the tasting is elevated from everyday to extraordinary when you’re in the right setting. With landscapes that make you want to cultivate the good life, Virginia’s Cultural Region seems tailor-made for careful production of fine wines, spirits and craft beer. Enjoy it all with a view in our favorite tasting room experiences.  

Historic Breweries Walking Tour and Pub Guide, Alexandria

Pick up a guide from the Alexandria Visitors Center and take this self-guided tour of 15 pubs and restaurants. With beer as a staple of 18th-century life, Alexandria’s Old Town has long been a brewing mecca and home to the largest pre-prohibition brewery in the south. The city’s rich beer history reveals itself along the way at local favorites like award-winning Port City Brewing Company, Union Street Public House and Columbia Firehouse, along with “Hops Stops” at top places to pause for a brew or snack. To help you drink responsibly, the free King Street Trolley runs seven days a week.  

Port City Brewing Company, Alexandria

When you see the pineapple on top of Port City’s sign, it’s a signal that the brewing geniuses inside are ready for you and open for business. Take a tour of this award-winning craft brewery to learn how its artisanal, hand-made, high-quality beers continue to elevate Alexandria’s brewing scene. Learn about the Hopzooka first hand, breathe in the unmistakable aroma of brewing magic going on and meet the experts. Find out which seasonal brews are on tap and sample your way through a flight menu that includes stouts, porters, pale ales, Belgian whites and more. Whether you leave with a six-pack or a growler, you’re sure to find a favorite.  

The Winery at Bull Run, Fairfax County

Take a trip into the best of the 19th century world of gentle Virginia living and finely crafted wines. The Winery at Bull Run sits in the spectacular 5,000-acre countryside setting of the Bull Run Battlefield Park, a working farm vineyard with views that seem unchanged by time. The preserved 19th century farmland gives you a heritage view of winemaking techniques from the Civil War era, giving the secrets of the past a chance to live on in award-winning Nortons, Viogniers, Petit Verdots and more created onsite. Enjoy a tasting in the Main Barn or take advantage of vistas from the front porch, the vineyard or the Stone Mansion House Ruins patio.  

Mad Fox Brewing Company, Fairfax County

English, German, Belgian and American brews are on tap at this English-style gastro brewpub, home to upscale casual dining. The Mad Fox bar is 63 feet long and the rotating selection of seasonal beers is equally impressive. True aficionados will appreciate the cask-conditioned proper Real Ales served through water-jacketed Angram beer engines. The rest of us will just enjoy every pint at the perfect temperature.  

Capitol City Brewing Company, Arlington

It took a long time after prohibition for brewing to return to the nation’s capitol, but it was worth the wait. Pay a visit to the downtown Arlington location of the first brewpub to open in D.C. since prohibition was repealed, the Capitol City Brewing Company. At this location, you’ll have a view of the pedestrian promenade and a large patio to enjoy craft brews and chef-created regional cuisine. Whether you’re into beer-battered onion rings or Prohibition Porter-infused chili, you can’t beat hearty fare in a lively atmosphere – especially when you have a choice of signature, core and seasonal brews year round.  

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, Arlington

Great food and real beer are Rock Bottom’s stock in trade, offering an unpretentious experience that you can raise a pint to. Try award-winners like Devil’s Thumb Strong Ale, Baltic Gnome Porter, Rudolph’s Red or the Naked Oatmeal Stout. From barrel-aged Sarah’s Two Headed Buffalo to coffee-flavored Dude! Where’s My Vespa, there’s nothing ordinary about Rock Bottom’s seasonal offerings.  

Winery at La Grange, Manassas

Head over to Prince William County for year-round tours, seasonal events and wine tastings in the barrel room and 18th century manor house of the Winery at La Grange. The vineyards at the foot of Bull Run Mountain grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Mensang grapes to create part of this winery’s stellar collection of wines. Your tasting experience might only be rivaled by a visit to the restored 1790 manor house, where tales of ghostly apparitions and mysterious piano music fill the air. The winery provides plenty of ideas for nearby outdoor adventures and park destinations to help you make a day of it.  

Tin Cannon Brewing Company, Prince William

More intimate and specialized than even a micro brewery can claim, this nano brewery creates, kegs and serves craft beers on premise, blending traditional styles and experimental brews for a totally unique experience. Tin Cannon’s Belgian Judy, Busted Pipe Black IPA, Unkel Dunkel, seasonals and experimentals always make it worth the visit. Notice a hint of chipotle peppers and bacon? Tin Cannon calls that Breakfast of Champions – check and see what’s brewing now.    

Hillsborough Vineyards, Loudoun County

Along the hills and ridges of Loudoun County, winemakers have found fertile ground not just for their grapes, but for the total departure from routine that wine lovers find when they visit. Peace and tranquility set the stage for Hillsborough Vineyard’s old world, French country charm. Promising the sweet smell of roses and lavender, the gentle sound of trickling koi ponds, verandas adorned with wisteria, old stone barns, 36 acres of vineyards and spectacular views of distant mountains, your tasting experience will be one for all the senses.  

Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County

Overlooking the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains, the setting of Breaux Vineyards is enough to capture your heart, even if the winemaking operation weren’t winning raves for impressive results. One of Virginia’s largest growers, Breaux Vineyards encompass 104 acres of a 404-acre estate, giving you both expansive views and an intimate tasting room experience that reveals a passionate commitment to quality. Tour the winemaking facility and sample award-winning varieties and you’ll be convinced that the Breaux family is on the right track.

Last Updated 3/26/15

5 Days in the Cultural Region

You could spend years exploring Virginia’s Cultural Region and never tire of the journey. Here are a few suggestions for discovering its riches one day at a time.

DAY 1: Pleasures of Field and Farm

You’re in for a day of relaxation enjoying Loudoun County’s scenic landscape, the fruits of its vineyards and the harvest of its fields. Explore some of the 40-plus wineries and tasting rooms that are intertwined along country roads here, nestled between horse farms and historic estates. Try a crisp Viognier while overlooking the mountains. Take a vineyard tour and meet winemakers crafting award-winning wines.

Stop for lunch in a circa 1905 restored mill or enjoy farm-to-table cuisine at Market Table Bistro, where the menu changes seasonally to offer only the freshest ingredients.

DAY 2: Get a Feel for History

Looking back is no eye-rolling academic exercise in Virginia’s Cultural Region, where hands-on history experiences feel more like outdoor adventure. Spend some time at the Manassas National Battlefield Park to explore the 5,000-acre site of the first and second battles of the American Civil War. It’s not just a budget-friendly way to learn more about history; standing in the mist is a foolproof way to feel its power.

You’ll learn more about uncommon valor than you ever imagined at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, where exhibits cover more than 237 years of inspiring American history – from earliest recruitment efforts during the American Revolution to photographic exhibits that capture the strength and courage of today’s Marine force.

DAY 3: Ready for a Big Rush?

You’ll expand your horizons on a day spent in Fairfax County. Whether you experience the earthly natural rush of Great Falls Park, the goosebumps you get while walking in the same steps of America’s first president at George Washington’s Mount Vernon or the wonders of space exploration at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, there’s a thrill in the air.

There’s inspiration in the air, too. Take in an outdoor concert and picnic on the grounds of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Check out the galleries and studio spaces of the Workhouse Arts Center, where you can take a guided tour, sit in on a workshop or learn of the history of this former historic prison campus at the Workhouse Prison Museum. 

DAY 4: Why Does This Seem So Familiar?

There are certain images in our national consciousness that just seem like something we all should know. The iconic figures striving to raise the American flag in battle. A young soldier making precise steps as he faithfully stands guard. White markers stretched across green hills in heartbreakingly long, tidy rows.

A visit to Arlington National Cemetery makes it all very real, with stories of sacrifice, honor and steadfast resolve. In this one historic place, generations of the nation’s fallen are honored, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded without ceasing and the Eternal Flame burns at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy. The nearby Marine Corps War Memorial captures the dramatic Iwo Jima moment we all recognize.

Take advantage of the spectacular views of the D.C. skyline while you’re in Arlington’s Rosslyn district, where you can raise a pint to history at Heavy Seas Alehouse. Check out the gourmet brews at Caffe Aficionado and explore Arlington’s public art offerings, including performances at the Signature Theatre. 

DAY 5: Is Cobblestone Cosmopolitan a Thing?

Maybe it’s the unexpected pairing that makes Alexandria so extraordinary, from acclaimed dining to compelling history and dynamic arts. Old Town Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan vibe that’s lasted centuries – along with the 18th and 19th century architecture and cobblestone streets still intact from its days as George Washington’s hometown. A stroll down King Street offers boutique shopping and numerous ways to enjoy the city’s food culture.

Alexandria’s waterfront is your portal to exploration, whether it’s on a Potomac Riverboat Co. cruise or the galleries and studio spaces of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. For a look into the past, the Key to the City Museum Pass gives you access to historic homes, sites and museums. Top off your day at the Best Small Brewery in the U.S., Port City Brewing Co. or by enjoying live music at one of Alexandria’s intimate venues like Blackwall Hitch.


Last Updated 3/26/15

5 Greatest Places for Shopping Therapy

  You’ve got an eye for style and can sniff out a bargain like nobody’s business. So it’s only natural you’ve found yourself here in Virginia’s Cultural Region, where shopping is an art form. Here are some of our top recommendations to put you on the trail of amazing finds.  

King Street, Alexandria

You’re surrounded by small town charm, but the style is strictly cosmopolitan. The merchants of King Street in Old Town Alexandria are known for offering unique finds and stylish fashions – nearly 80 percent of the restaurants and retailers here are independently owned, earning stellar reputations for their style-making influence. Whether you’re on the hunt for to-die-for details or classic lines that always work, King Street doesn’t disappoint. Not far away in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, Mount Vernon Avenue offers its own spin on must-have selections, with eclectic, locally owned storefronts offering gourmet goods and making an artful statement.  

Tysons Corner Center, Fairfax County

When you never tire of a great deal and dream of endless selection, Tysons Corner is your kind of place. In fact, it’s one of the top 10 shopping centers in the nation, regularly drawing shoppers from miles away for an unbeatable mix of more than 300 department and specialty stores. Celebrated restaurants, entertainment, fashion, technology, home and beauty – if you can’t find it here, you just need to turn another corner ‘til you do.  

Lee Heights Shops, Arlington

Visiting the friendly merchants of Lee Heights Shops is like having a trusted friend take all the guesswork out of shopping in Arlington for you. Curated selections make shopping a pleasure, whether you’re finding a recommendation at Arrowine Cheese and Spirits, or taking your pick of popular must-have accessories at Lemon Twist and Lemon Chiffon. Needlepoint and toy specialties, fine jewelry and home furnishings – you’ll even find a bistro with New Zealand flair, Cassatt’s, under the colorful awnings of Lee Heights.  

Old Town Manassas and Historic Occoquan, Manassas

You won’t find a specialty shopping experience like this in every city or county – but here there are two. Main Street browsing is irresistible along the quaint streets of Historic Occoquan and Old Town Manassas, making for the perfect way to spend a few hours before a delicious meal. Antiques, jewelry, books, puzzles, coins, art – there’s no shortage of thought-provoking finds here, tucked in alongside clothing boutiques and pet bakeries. In fact, character just might be the most widely available treasure you’ll find here, whether you’re eyeing exclusive jewels at Lil’ Bit of Posh or checking out the elite craftsmanship on display at Hatfields Gunsmiffin’.  

Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, Loudoun County

You’re feeling the unmistakable tingle on the back of your neck that alerts you to the presence of the shopping trifecta: brand names, great deals, tons of selection. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets has all that and more, with 110 upscale designer and brand name outlet stores and savings of 25-65%. Whether you’re stocking up on basics or splurging on something extravagant at an unbeatable price, this outlet outing might be just the kind of retail therapy you need, with selection that’s a cut above most others.

Last Updated 3/26/15

5 Must-See Landmarks of Virginia's Cultural Region

There are few places in America encompassing important moments in the nation’s history quite like Virginia’s Cultural Region. From colonial times to current events, this has been the home of leaders and renegades, movers and shakers, all leaving behind plenty of evidence of the American spirit for you to explore.  

MOUNT VERNON

It’s been a running bit since the dawn of the nation that any establishment claiming that “George Washington slept here” was worthy of the first presidential endorsement. But nowhere else on earth welcomed, soothed and inspired George Washington like his riverfront home, Mount Vernon. Today, it’s the most visited historic estate in America, giving you the chance to know America’s first president a bit better. The mansion is beautifully restored, along with four gardens and a working farm. There’s more to discover here than his famous dentures, which are, in fact, on display in the museum. You’ll get a glimpse of his habits, check out Martha’s jewelry, walk the grounds and hear the Potomac drift by just as they did.  

GEORGE WASHINGTON MASONIC NATIONAL MEMORIAL

Just a few miles from Mount Vernon, Alexandria is known as George Washington’s hometown. Towering 333 feet high on a hill above the cobblestone streets of Alexandria is the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, an impressive construction dedicated to Washington’s history as a Freemason. A visit to the Memorial takes you into a realm of great respect for this founding father, honoring his virtues and character as the highest example of what Freemasons aspire to be. Take a guided tour to view a famed bronze figure of Washington along with many artifacts, murals and dioramas, and experience a diagonally ascending elevator ride through the eight floors of the ornate tower. Even if you don’t come away with all your questions answered about the Masonic organization, the view from the ninth-floor observation deck will have you feeling uplifted.  

MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL

Though they may not be able to come up with its correct name as a Jeopardy question, it’s an image familiar to many. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicts a brief moment that happened in the Pacific in the last months of World War II. The raising of the flag by five marines at Iwo Jima on the morning of February 23, 1945 is captured in this 78-foot tall memorial that features a 60-foot flagpole, 16-foot rifle and a canteen that would hold 32 quarts of water. Even more impressive than its statistics is the spirit of heroism and camaraderie it memorializes, expanding beyond WWII and that single moment in time to include names and dates of every principal Marine Corps engagement since the founding of the Corps at its base. Located outside Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from D.C., the Memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in defense of the United States since 1775. No matter what time of day you pay a visit, it’s a moving and spectacular sight – daytime views include the Washington Memorial and Capitol Rotunda in the distance, while at night the Memorial is lit in dramatic fashion.    

MANASSAS NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK

When Union forces met Confederate troops along the stream named Bull Run here in July of 1861, no one realized the years of conflict that would follow. In fact, citizens and congressmen brought wine and picnic baskets to observe the military maneuvers, soon realizing the serious nature of the event, one of the earliest battles of the Civil War. It was here on the grounds of Manassas National Battlefield Park that a young general named Jackson, from Virginia, held his troops in position by standing “like a stone wall.” A year later, this was the scene of a more famed battle – the details of Robert E. Lee’s Second Manassas campaign come to life on a visit here. Even if you’re not a Civil War buff, the quiet and reverie of these grassy fields and wide vistas have timeless appeal.    

MORVEN PARK

Near Leesburg in Loudoun County, you’ll find a thousand acres of beauty in Morven Park. Once home to Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis, Morven Park is home to the Davis Mansion, a carriage museum, a hounds and hunting museum, spectacular woodlands and a mountainous ridge, along with formal gardens. In addition to its historic ambiance, the park keeps it current with a full calendar of equestrian events and field athletics including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and Frisbee. You’ll also find more than two miles of hiking trails, including the Ridge Top Trail leading to the park’s highest elevation and scenic overlook.

Last Updated 3/26/15

5 Places to Eat Like a Local

Virginia’s Cultural Region is home to a number of inventive chefs and kitchen masters who have put down their culinary roots, giving you a wide selection of flavors to choose from. Find your way to the head of the table at favorite local restaurants ranging from casual fare to fine dining.  

Del Ray Café, Alexandria

In Alexandria, you’ll truly eat local, as the majority of restaurants are independently owned. Creative individualism leaves a savory taste throughout the city, and Del Ray Café is a shining example of the local movement. Serving French country cuisine made with locally sourced organic and natural products, the setting is a refurbished 1925 home that feels like an old Virginia farmhouse. It’s a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with weekend brunch especially popular. Must be the crêpes. Or the roasted pork belly with polenta. Or maybe it’s the lump crabmeat eggs Benedict. You’ll have to decide.  

Mike’s American Grill, Fairfax County

You just can’t beat the classic steakhouse experience of Mike’s American Grill in Springfield, where the motto is “be nice or get out.” Home of the Drunken Ribeye, the much coveted Black Angus Prime Rib and the “now famous” Ozzie roll, Mike’s serves up hearty fare in a fun warehouse atmosphere filled with vintage baseball memorabilia, local photos and glowing neon.  

Whitlow’s on Wilson, Arlington

Voted Virginia’s most popular bar by Buzzfeed, Whitlow’s on Wilson has been an unmistakable Arlington landmark for more than 25 years. Today, the daily deals, craft beer night every Wednesday and seasonal rooftop tiki bar explain its enduring appeal. Funky charm is the vibe Whitlow’s is aiming for, with live music and special events.  

Malone’s of Manassas

Located in the Gothic Revival structure that was once Manassas Presbyterian Church, frequent award winner and local favorite Malone’s brings a contemporary twist to fine dining in ManassasIn the heart of Old Town Manassas, the menu reveals Chef Scott Bilstad’s playful approach, from Pork and Beans 2.0 to Truffle Mac N’ Cheese and Dirty Chicken Bites. Find out why his locally grown fresh, seasonal food creations are earning rave reviews.  

Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque, Loudoun County

Traditional southern charm is hot stuff in the hands of the Carolina Brothers, whose pit barbeque is worthy of the name. Sauced with subtle spiciness and slow-cooked to exacting standards, the pork and beef barbeque here is born of owner Danny Hurdle’s North Carolina boyhood in the restaurant his daddy won in a poker game. If that’s not enough to qualify this as real BBQ, the taste definitely is. Stop by this Ashburn locals’ favorite and see for yourself.

Last Updated 3/26/15

Activities That Won’t Break The Bank

Rich experiences that don’t strain your wallet? Virginia’s Cultural Region is the answer you’ve been looking for.

Scenic rides and vineyard picnics. It costs nothing to enjoy the region’s beautiful landscape and charming streets.

  • Take a bike ride down the 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion trail to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region. You’ll pass through historic towns on this car-free path, with stops for refreshing craft beer along the way at numerous breweries just minutes off the trail.
  • Stop at South Street Under café or Stoneybrook Farm Market to pick up sandwiches and snacks for a picnic in the vineyard. Many Loudoun wineries offer free live music, so sing along as you enjoy lunch and delicious Virginia vino.
  • Hop on the free King Street Trolley to find chef-driven restaurants, bustling boutiques and intimate museums tucked into 18th and 19th century architecture of Old Town Alexandria.

Pay tribute, not entry fees. American history is always within your budget in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Free parking and admission to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County are an added bonus – this fully immersive tribute using sight, sound, touch and movement is a truly valuable experience. Housing a massive Leatherneck Gallery, displays depicting pivotal conflicts and vital contributions to the preservation of America’s freedom, the museum’s magnificent architectural design rises 210 feet at a tilted angle inspired by the flag raisings at Iwo Jima.
  • Visit the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington to honor those who lost their lives on one of America’s most fateful days. Admission is free.
  • From the opium wars of the 1850s to fighting current day drug trafficking, you’ll learn about the history of the war on drugs at Arlington’s DEA Museum and Visitors Center, where admission is free.
  • Take a scenic horseback ride or join the park historian for a guided hike along the trails where the first and second battles of the American Civil War were fought at Manassas National Battlefield Park. The park now offers free entry to all visitors as of January 1, 2016. Whether you want to pack a relaxing picnic to enjoy among the bluebells or plan a fun-filled afternoon orienteering, this is a must see on your next visit.

Big experiences, little prices. From the first presidential home to the first journeys into space, there’s major history ahead.

  • It only takes a few bills with his portrait on them to walk in the shoes of the first president of the United States at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Admission ranges from $9 to $17.
  • Picnic and hike at Great Falls Park, the beautiful National Park Service destination that overlooks the falls of the Potomac River. Admission is a bargain at $10 per car.
  • Marvel at the largest collection of original air and space craft in the world at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Museum admission is free, but parking runs $15 per car.
  • For only $10, nine historic sites are yours to explore. Alexandria’s Key to the City Museum Pass gives you access to unique history remarkably preserved by a city dedicated to its past, with insight into Civil War, civil rights, founding fathers and more.

Exercise your freedom of expression. In a region that’s as dedicated to new ideas as it is to preserving its past, creative pursuits are a bargain.

 
  • Join a myriad of local artists for gallery viewings, performances and art demonstrations at a restored historic prison, now known as the Workhouse Arts Center in Fairfax County. Admission is free.
  • Immerse yourself in art among the 82 artist studios at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, where the creativity is priceless but admission is free.
 

Last Updated 3/26/15

Chef-Inspired Cuisine

This is more than just dining. Thanks to the passion of talented chefs, a trip through Virginia’s Cultural Region is a foodie adventure.

Comfort food for all! Find out how celebrated chefs and popular eateries put a new twist on the classics in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Known for his appearances on the hit television shows Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, Chef Bryan Voltaggio brings a new approach to classic favorites in Loudoun County with his restaurant Family Meal. Featuring a modern take on familiar family dishes like shrimp and grits and fried chicken, the menu is full of surprises.
  • Indulge in sweet simplicity at Dairy Godmother Frozen Custard and Nostalgic treats, an Obama family favorite in Alexandria’s Del Ray.
  • Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace in Woodbridge is for true burger lovers, featuring a new creation every month. Will the Burger of the Month feature red hot sauce and spicy rémoulade or goat cheese and Meyer lemon honey mustard sauce? Who knows!
  • Head to Alexandria’s Del Ray and Arlington’s Shirlington or (coming soon) Ballston neighborhoods for what Food and Wine deems the Best Mac and Cheese in the U.S at Cheesetique.
  • Have a Grandma appreciation moment with buttermilk biscuit everything at Stomping Ground in Alexandria’s Del Ray.

Get it while you can! Pop-up cuisine and street food concepts brings new flavors to the Cultural Region.

  • Chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella has collaborated with his fellow Top Chef finalist Jen Carroll to create a new French Mediterranean dining concept called Requin, currently “popped up” for an extended run in Fairfax County’s trendy Mosaic District through mid-2016. Beginning this summer, Isabella’s popular Greek concept, Kapnos Kouzina, takes over the space with a focus on rustic dishes and shareable platters. You can also enjoy Isabella’s creations at Kapnos Taverna, Pepita or Yona, all in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood.
  • Award-winning chef Victor Albisu is expanding his popular Taco Bamba Taqueria standup takeout counter concept, serving tacos in both traditional and chef-driven styles for just $3 or $4 each. The Falls Church eatery will open two additional locations this year, one in early 2016 in Springfield, VA, and another in summer 2016 in Vienna, VA.

Translation: delicious. From distant cultures to your plate, you’re about to speak the language of international cuisine.

  • Renowned Chef José Andrés shares a different side of his native country’s classical and contemporary Spanish cuisine, including tapas, savory paellas, superb sangrias and more at Arlington’s Jaleo.
  • Experience a little piece of Europe at Columbus Grill in Manassas, where Chef Nuno Duerte will take you right back to his homeland of Portugal with each authentic dish. The wine list is unlike any other.
  • Taste the global culinary creations of Chef Tim Ma at Water & Wall in Arlington, featuring contemporary French, Asian and American cuisine or at his new gourmet sandwich shop in Fairfax County, Chase the Submarine

Fresh, fancy and fabulous. Once-forbidden cocktails and sophisticated farm fare elevate dining to an art in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

  • Savor the creations of acclaimed chef Cathal Armstrong at his restaurants including Society Fair, an “epicurean emporium” in Alexandria featuring a wine bar, coffee bar, baker and demo kitchen; and PX Lounge, an elegant 1920s-inspired speakeasy cocktail lounge.
  • Enjoy fine dining in a glass-enclosed atrium overlooking the Potomac River at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, on one of the first certified organic farms in Virginia. James Beard nominee Chef Tarver King creates three innovative menus that each focus on ingredients sourced on the farm: Grown, Raised and Found.
  • Make a reservation at one of Alexandria’s latest hot spots, including chef Brian Rowe’s Southern immersion cuisine at Magnolia’s on King and exquisitely crafted cocktails at the cozy Palm Lounge upstairs.

Last Updated 3/26/15

Only in NOVA

There’s not another place on the planet with the unique spirit of Northern Virginia. It’s a blend of artistic independence and appreciation for the journey that gives the Cultural Region its special sauce.

Feel that American pride. Whether you’re standing at a memorial or witnessing a heroic run, Virginia’s Cultural Region is full of heart-swelling moments.

  • Understand the challenges and experience of valor on a fully immersive visit to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County. Sight, sound, touch and movement reveal the story of the U.S. Marines like never before.
  • Cheer on the participants (or become one) in Arlington as the Marine Corps Marathon takes place October 30, 2016. Known as “The People’s Marathon,” it’s one of the largest in the world.
  • Take a leisurely horseback ride where courage was tested: Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the first two battles of the American Civil War were fought.

There’s only one. You won’t want to miss the Cultural Region’s singular distinctions.

It’s not what you think. From repurposed arts venues to speakeasy hideouts, Virginia’s Cultural Region is full of surprises.

  • Tap into the Cultural Region’s arts scene with unexpected visual arts centers, including a former torpedo factory in Alexandria, a candy factory in Prince William County and even a former prison in Fairfax County.
  • Up for Beer Yoga, Pedals and Pints or Joggers and Lagers? The Best Small Brewery in the U.S. puts the fun in fitness: Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co.
  • Sneak into Captain Gregory’s, a cocktail lounge/speakeasy hidden inside Sugar Shack donut shop in Alexandria.
  • View Washington, D.C. monuments from a unique vantage point: onboard a Potomac Riverboat Co. narrated boat cruise.

Have some wine with that view. Unique ways to experience the Cultural Region’s stellar wine and craft brew offerings make for unforgettable journeys.

  • Take a guided kayak tour down the scenic Potomac River to Tarara Winery in Loudoun County, where you can enjoy live music in their outdoor pavilion, delicious food and fine Virginia wine. The four-and-a-half to seven-mile tour is offered throughout the summer.
  • Beer and wine lovers unite! In Loudoun, winery and brewery sit side-by-side, sharing sweeping views of the countryside. Travel 951 feet up the mountain to enjoy Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Farm Brewing to try the peach wine or the pumpkin ale, featuring ingredients taken right from the neighboring Great Country Farms.

Last Updated 3/26/15

What’s New?

Whether you’re new to the region or a longtime fan, there’s always something to discover in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

New Brews. Find new ways to enjoy your favorite pint in the Cultural Region.

  • The LoCo Ale Trail makes it easy to let your palate be your guide through Loudoun County’s 17 breweries, leading you to small batch, hand-crafted brews with itineraries that highlight everything from bike-able to pet-friendly options.
  • Sehkraft Brewing in Arlington’s Clarendon is a 9,000 square-foot brewpub housing a 10-barrel brewhouse, a 200+ seat restaurant, a live music stage and its own butcher shop.
  • New District Brewing Company in the Shirlington neighborhood welcomed its first guests in January as Arlington’s first truly local package brewery in a century, providing seasonal craft beers made with an emphasis on locally sourced and quality imported ingredients.
  • Forge Brew Works and Fair Winds Brewing Co. comprise the “Lorton Beer Trail” in South Fairfax County – meet the friendly brewers, plan on a tour of the facilities, or just belly up to the bar.
  • Fairfax County’s Town of Vienna welcomed its own farm-to-table brewery and restaurant this year when Caboose Brewing Co. opened at a location off the popular Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
  • It’s a brewery boom in Fairfax County: Herndon saw Aslin Beer Co. open this past summer, Reston welcomes the Lake Anne Brew House this year and Chantilly welcomes Mustang Sally Brewing Co. this spring.
  • Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Co.was named the Best Small Brewery in the U.S. at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, considered the Oscars of the beer world. Port City offers tours, tastings of its award-winning brews and quirky events like Beer Yoga and Pedals & Pints.
  • An historic Virginia brewery is revived 100 years later at Portner Brewhouse, a pre-Prohibition-inspired brewery, restaurant and Craft Beer Test Kitchen™. Opening in the summer of 2016, the Robert Portner Brewing Company founder’s great-great-granddaughters Catherine and Margaret Portner will be serving reconstructed historic recipe beers and contemporary seasonals alongside German and contemporary American cuisine.
  • Keep an eye on the growing excitement at Brew Republic Bierwerks brewpub in Prince William and Manassas, offering craft brews in a friendly taproom atmosphere in spring 2016.

Winery expansions. The wine industry continues to thrive as some of the region’s wineries expand with new tasting rooms and facilities.

  • Breaux Vineyards welcomes visitors to their new facility’s spacious rooms and small, intimate nooks for an experience that’s easy to enjoy. Offering numerous outdoor patios with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the main tasting room gives a nod to the owner’s Louisiana roots with French Quarter details.
  • Stone Tower Winery’s new state-of-the-art facility invites you to stay a while in a new tasting room and numerous spaces decorated with plush couches and modern décor with rustic touches. Enjoy a special tasting in the barrel room or a glass of vino by the roaring fireplace.
  • The expansion of Chrysalis Vineyards connects visitors to Loudoun’s rich agricultural scene with a new “Ag District” spanning 400 acres. Working with Locksley Estate Farmstead Cheese Company, Chrysalis will soon include a cheese production facility and a tech-savvy tasting room that connects visitors with digital information about the wines.
  • Fabbioli Cellars now offers a new circular, two-level tasting room built around a unique central structure: a tree of lighted vines that were sourced from the property.

Spring temptations. Spring’s allure is in full force in Virginia’s Cultural Region, with outdoor beauty, fine spirits and the open water calling your name.

  • Along with the 2016 National Park Service Centennial, Prince William Forest National Park celebrates 80 years of service this year. Don’t miss a chance to visit the largest green space in the DC Metropolitan area, where hiking and biking trails give you access to 15,000 beautiful acres.
  • Educate your palate at Murlarkey Distilled Spirits, which opened its doors in Manassas for tours and tastings of handcrafted small-batch selections early this year.
  • Whether it’s street performers, art, music, al fresco drinks and dining in a beautiful setting, or launching an exploration of the region via water taxis and river cruises by Potomac Riverboat Company, there’s always something new to experience at Alexandria’s historic waterfront.

Entertainment central. The Cultural Region adds games, brews and high-flying fun this spring, along with inspired celebrations and learning opportunities.

  • Big fun and games come to Northern Virginia as Dave & Buster’s brings its popular restaurant fare and hundreds of arcade games, sports and activities to the newly revamped Springfield Town Center in Fairfax County, promising “the most fun you can have all under one roof.”
  • Thrill seekers can test their driving skills soon in Manassas at Autobahn Indoor Speedway, the largest go-kart facility this side of Washington, D.C.
  • Cirque du Soleil brings internationally acclaimed acrobatics and theatrical wonder to Fairfax County this summer, presenting Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities under a 62-foot high big top at Lerner Town Square in Tysons, VA, from July 21 to August 21, 2016.
  • As the National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, you’re invited to be inspired with special events and activities in all National Parks, including Fairfax county’s own Wolf Trap, Great Falls Park and many other stops along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  • The Children’s Science Center Lab is Northern Virginia’s first interactive children’s museum, giving kids, families and school groups access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through engaging hands-on exhibits, activities and programs. The Lab’s Experiment Bar, Inspiration Hub, Tinker Shop and Discovery make for inspired learning for children aged two through 12. The Lab is located within Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA. A full-scale museum arrives in 2019 to Dulles, VA.

Last Updated 3/26/15

Select Map View

Alexandria

5 Top Stops:
  • Historic King Street
  • Hanks Oyster Bar
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center
  • Alexandria Marina & Waterfront Market
  • Old Town Boutique District
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Arlington

5 Top Stops:
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Fashion Centre at Pentagon City
  • Liberty Tavern
  • Signature Theatre
  • Kettler Capital Iceplex: Home of the Washington Capitals
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Fairfax

5 Top Stops: 
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon
  • Mike's American Grill
  • The Winery at Bull Run
  • Wolf Trap
  • Smithsonian’s National Air and and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
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Loudoun

5 Top Stops:
  • Tarara Winery
  • Leesburg Premium Outlets
  • Lost Rhino Brewing
  • Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
  • Salamander Resort & Spa
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Manassas

5 Top Stops:
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Historic Occoquan
  • The Winery at La Grange
  • Historic Downtown Manassas
  • National Museum of the Marine Corp
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