Washington, D.C. and the surrounding capital region are home to six military installations. In addition to the large number of military personnel living in the area, many active duty, reserve and retired service members and their families visit Arlington each year. As a result, numerous area hotels and attractions offer military discounts. The following military-related sites should be included on every itinerary.
There is a wide range of hotels available in the Arlington area designed to meet any budget and lifestyle. Whether you want simple lodging or numerous amenities, such as a fitness center, pool and on-site restaurant, you can find them in this beautiful urban county. Many hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza, the Clarion Collection Hotel Arlington Court Suites and the Residence Inn Arlington Capital View offer military discounts. Shop around for the best deal.
While numerous attractions offer military personnel and their families discount admissions in D.C., there are also several popular military-related sites and activities in Arlington.
Arlington National Cemetery
The final resting place for over 400,000 military personnel and their family members, the approximately 625-acre cemetery was established during the Civil War. It is the setting for 28 major and 142 minor monuments and memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknowns and the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy. Use Arlington National Cemetery Tours to visit this hallowed ground, as well as this interactive Arlington map to learn more about its history and most-visited spots.
U.S. Marine Corps Memorial
Also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, the monument is a depiction of Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. It shows five Marines and a Navy Corpsman raising the American flag after the capture of Mount Suribachi. President Eisenhower dedicated the 32-foot-tall memorial in 1954 to all Marines who have died in service to the nation.
U.S. Air Force Memorial
Honoring those who have served in the Air Force, the memorial was unveiled in 2006. Designed by James Ingo Freed, it depicts the contrails of the Thunderbirds’ bomb burst maneuver. With three, rather than four, stainless steel spires, it also represents the missing man formation used during funeral service flyovers.
Women in Military Service Memorial
Situated at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, this memorial is dedicated to women who have served in the armed forces. It occupies the structure once known as the Hemicycle. The memorial features a combination of modern and neoclassical architectural details as well as a skylight, a paved plaza and a circular reflecting pool.
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
Commemorating the tragic event that claimed the lives of 184 people on September 11, 2001, the memorial features benches, reflecting pools and a black granite marker as well as a memorial wall and maple trees. Arranged based upon the victims’ ages and whether they were on American Airlines Flight 77 or inside the Pentagon, each bench is inscribed with an individual’s name.
Conducted by the 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” and the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” this complimentary live performance takes place on Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall. The military display traces its history back 300 years when British soldiers were summoned back to their barracks by drums and bugles.
Long Bridge Park
Featuring open, green spaces with views of the Potomac River, Long Bridge Park is a popular outdoor recreation facility. It has walkways lined with native perennials and shrubs as well as a variety of courts and ball fields. There are also picnic areas and spots for bird watching.
Mount Vernon Trail
Stretching 17 miles from George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon to Rosslyn, the scenic trail is popular with hikers and bicyclists. It parallels the west bank of the Potomac River. While the southern portion is wooded, the northern part affords vistas of the nation’s capital along with vantage points for watching planes land and take off from Reagan National Airport.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
An 88-acre nature preserve, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a car- and bike-free venue. You can park on the west bank of the Potomac River in Arlington and cross the footbridge to the island. The scenic pathways provide numerous opportunities to view a variety of birds and other wildlife. There is a memorial plaza featuring a 17-foot-tall sculpture of the 26th president and stone monoliths inscribed with some of his well-known quotes.
Fort C. F. Smith Park
The beautiful 19-acre park features an open meadow, nature trails and a lush canopy of shade trees that are home to a variety of wildlife. There are also preserved Civil War earthworks where history buffs can explore powder magazines and gun emplacements. The Ornamental Peace Garden and Bird Creek attract numerous native and migratory avians.
Military personnel and their families will find many things to see and do in Arlington. Along with family-friendly hotels, eateries and activities offering military discounts as well as free admissions, these attractions will help stretch your vacation budget.