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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

My Experience Living and Discovering Things to Do in Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia
Arlington, Virginia

During college, I called Arlington, Virginia home while I was spent a semester working at the White House Internship Program. Residing in the River Place apartment complex, I enjoyed the convenience of a short metro ride for my daily commute to the White House, a journey punctuated by the pulse of political excitement and metropolitan buzz.

“Arlington, while a gateway to the political epicenter of Washington, D.C., stands on its own with a robust identity.”

Arlington sits directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., making it an ideal location for anyone working in the capital while seeking a residence with a slightly slower pace. The proximity to the nation's hub of power was palpable.

From my apartment, I had a view of the Netherlands Carillon Monument and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Peering into the distance, the Pentagon's massive pentagonal structure was a constant reminder of the nation's military heart.

The view from my apartment building's outdoor parking lot was an amazing panorama of American History. Lined up across the landscape, I could see the U.S. Capitol, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Jefferson Memorial all at the same time.

Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery
Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery

Beyond my personal connection and ease of commute, Arlington boasts a trove of activities and sites for visitors. The Arlington National Cemetery stands as a somber and powerful testament to the nation's history and the sacrifices made for freedom. Here, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy demand reflection and respect.

For those interested in military history, the Pentagon tours provide a unique glimpse into the Department of Defense's workings, while the Air Force Memorial, with its soaring spires, offers both a place of contemplation and a striking work of art.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find respite along the Mount Vernon Trail, providing an uninterrupted path for cycling, walking, and running, all with the backdrop of stunning views of the D.C. skyline. For more organized recreational pursuits, Long Bridge Park offers excellent athletic fields and environmentally conscious green spaces.

Foodies can dive into Arlington's culinary scene, ranging from cozy cafés in quaint neighborhoods like Shirlington to upscale dining experiences in the bustling corridors of Clarendon and Ballston. The county's diverse community ensures a global palate—whether it's authentic Ethiopian cuisine, Salvadorian pupusas, or Vietnamese pho, your taste buds will embark on an international tour.

Cultural pursuits are equally catered to, with venues such as the Signature Theatre offering award-winning theatrical productions, and the Arlington Arts Center presenting contemporary visual arts exhibitions.

The annual Arlington County Fair is a highlight, bringing together the community with rides, games, and local food vendors, encapsulating the small-town feel within a stone's throw of the capital.

Arlington, while a gateway to the political epicenter of Washington, D.C., stands on its own with a robust identity. It's a locale where history, community, and modern living converge, offering an experience rich in diversity and opportunity. My time in Arlington wasn't just about proximity to power; it was a chapter of personal growth, set against the backdrop of a community that, much like the view from my parking lot, offered a direct line to the heart of American history and culture.


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