I'm back from Arlington, Virginia and absolutely loved my time there. The nice people from Stay Arlington invited me for a visit over the weekend. Arlington was named the “fittest city in America” two years in a row by the American College of Sports Medicine, so they wanted me to see what it was all about. I got to experience all sorts of fun ways to be active in Arlington, and I can't wait to tell you all about them!
First things first, I stayed at the Westin Crystal City, which was super convenient in so many aspects. It was just minutes from Washington D.C. as well as the Crystal City Metro Station, which was right across the street. Also nearby were popular museums and monuments, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) was just a mile away. The hotel really had the best location for experiencing Arlington!
Once I checked-in and got settled in my room, I headed out for an afternoon bike ride along Mt. Vernon Trail with Henry Dunbar of Bike Arlington.
The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile paved multi-use trail that stretches from George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. It connects with regional trails, including the Potomac Heritage, Custis, Rock Creek, Four Mile Run, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trails. Henry and I did a 10-mile route, which was absolutely beautiful and such a great way to see Arlington!
Biking in Arlington is huge, especially with commuters. With more than 50 miles of trails and countless low-stress routes, you can get just about anywhere on two wheels. There's also an extensive bikeshare that connects a network for 500 stations all over the Capital area, which makes it so easy to rent a bike and just go!
After biking, I headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and then met Henry and Cara (my contact at Stay Arlington) for dinner at Lebanese Taverna. Arlington is known for being a center for global cuisine... and for good reason! As home to the Pentagon as well as its proximity to the global embassies in Washington, D.C., Arlington serves up all sorts of cuisine from around the world. An excellent example of this is the family-owned Lebanese Taverna, a local favorite in Arlington for several decades.
We visited the Lebanese Taverna at Pentagon Row and snagged a table outside. The outdoor cafe was adorable, and the surrounding area made a great gathering spot for outdoor activities (including ice skating in the winter). We started with a hummus plate to share. I also tried a glass of Lebanese white wine, which was delicious!
I ordered the chicken shawarma salad, which was served with an incredible housemade dressing. It tasted like it was feta-based. Mmm!
The next morning, I was up and at 'em for the weekly parkrun at Theodore Roosevelt Island in Rosslyn. parkrun is SUCH a cool organization, and I can't believe I hadn't heard of it until now. parkrun believes running should be free to everyone, so they offer free timed runs all over the US (and world). Amazing, right?
When I arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Island for the morning 5k, there was close to 90 people waiting to run! And they were a mix of all ages, abilities, and nationalities.
Even "bark runners" are welcome at packruns! 🙂
The 5k course was a trail run around Theodore Roosevelt Island. It was absolutely beautiful and a great place for a run!
5k complete! When I crossed the finish line, one of the parkrun organizers scanned my registration bar, so I could receive my time. How cool is that? I wish there was a parkrun closer to where I live!
After the run, a group of runners headed to Central Coffee Bar, so I joined them for an iced coffee and energy balls. I was told this parkrun + coffee morning is a regular for many runners, which, of course, I could definitely get behind! 🙂
FYI: The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) coordinates and sponsors 200+ events every year! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter for all of the latest news!
After that, I walked up to Courthouse for the weekly farmers market. This farmers’ market is one of a dozen throughout Arlington County. Every Saturday morning year-round, over 30 farmers/producers sell locally grown/made produce, meat, flowers, fresh breads and pastries, locally roasted coffee, specialty foods, and more!
Then, it was off Earth Treks Crystal City Climbing Center for my final adventure in Arlington. With a massive footprint exceeding 45,000 square feet, Earth Treks has more than 400 roped routes and boulders. The place is huge! Besides rock climbing, there's a
yoga studio as well as a strength & cardio fitness area and much more.
Earth Treks offers all sorts of climbing classes, but since I had rock climbed before, I took advantage of their day pass. I started with some easy climbs (you can see the ratings on the wall behind me in the photo below) and worked my way up to harder and harder climbs. I'm usually afraid of heights, but I really got into climbing and loved the challenge!
The whole process of getting set up with gear and finding someone to belay me was so easy. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful too. I'd recommend Earth Treks to just about anyone - beginners and experts!
All in all, my time in Arlington was really amazing. I highly recommend visiting the city for its active lifestyle as well as convenience for getting around. I really liked that I was able to try so many different activities without spending a lot of time on travel. It definitely made the experience stress-free and very enjoyable! 🙂