A visit to Arlington National Cemetery to pay your respects is a rite of passage for many Americans. As the final resting place of so many of the country's true heroes, this cemetery delivers a moving experience to all visitors. You will never forget the first time that you lay eyes on those endless rows of white grave markers. Here is everything that you need to know about how you can honor the country's fallen veterans with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery.
VISITING ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
A visit to Arlington National Cemetery can be overwhelming if you do not plan your day carefully. Some of the locations that you will not want to miss include the gravesites of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Eternal Flame, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Be sure to plan plenty of time to explore these hallowed grounds. You will also want to plan some time for introspection as the gravity of the experience hits you.
The cemetery is open 365 days per year. The gates open to the public at 8 AM and close at either 5 PM or 7 PM, depending on the season. There is no cost to visit this cemetery.
WHERE TO STAY
Whenever you visit the Washington, DC area, it makes sense to make your home base in its not-so-small nearby suburb of Arlington, VA. Staying in Arlington will give you convenient access to the cemetery and all of DC’s other attractions while keeping you out of much of the urban congestion.
There are many hotels in Arlington, VA, making it easy to find the best lodging for your personal specifications and budget. The Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza features easy access to all of the sites of Arlington and beyond. In addition to comfortable guest rooms, visitors will enjoy the free fitness center and high-speed internet access. Le Meridien Arlington is another good choice. It’s a trendy boutique hotel with convenient access to the Rosslyn Metro Station.
WHAT ELSE TO DO
While in the area, be sure to check out the United States Marine Corps Memorial. Also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, this famous statue is located just outside Arlington National Cemetery, making it easy to combine the two attractions in one visit. The memorial statue rises 78 feet into the air, creating an imposing remembrance of those Marines who gave their lives in battle. The Pentagon Memorial is another must-see tribute to see while in Arlington. This moving memorial honors the lives that were lost when a plane crashed into the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks of September 11.
WHERE TO EAT
The diverse dining scene of Washington, DC, spills over to Arlington, giving diners plenty of options to grab a bite to eat when out exploring the area. Yona is a cozy ramen shop boasting steaming bowls of the ubiquitous Japanese soup along with a variety of small plates. Or try Pupatella for its famous Neopolitan-style pizzas paired with fried risotto balls. Be sure to leave room for the delicious dessert pizza, topped with Nutella and fresh fruit. Try a new culinary experience with Ambar, an Eastern European restaurant featuring the best flavors from the Balkan Peninsula. Favorites include the homemade meat pies, lamb lasagna, and the drunken mussels.