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Planning Your Trip

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A trip to northern Virginia could be for business, sightseeing, outdoor adventure, or all three. Depending on your agenda and whether you're planning a weekend getaway or extended stay, you’ll want to make sure you pack a few essentials.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack

Rainfall in Tysons Corner is above the national average. Pack a small umbrella and raincoat in case you’re in town during a wet week. Add in a pair of rain boots if your trip falls during winter.  

Exploring the City

Tysons Corner is small enough to get around on foot. To take advantage of the area’s offerings, opt for comfortable basics.

  • Sneakers and flat boots or sandals (depending on the season) will ensure you’re able to cover enough ground at Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria.

  • If you decide to catch a movie, bring a sweater to stay warm in the theater.

  • For the more upscale restaurants in town, clean-cut jeans and button-down shirts or blouses are a safe and easy bet.
Weekend Getaway

A weekend trip to Tysons Corner is a great opportunity to explore northern Virginia. You can visit a few wineries nearby, explore the Old Town of Alexandria, or get your nature fix at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens or Great Falls Park.

  • Pack hiking shoes and protective, sporty clothing to hike and kayak in Great Falls Park.

  • Jeans and cozy sweaters make for good autumn and early spring outfits.

  • Stay cool in summer with breezy, lightweight fabrics and simple sandals.

  • Winters are cold and often snowy — be prepared with water-resistant boots and plenty of cozy accessories.
Day Trips

Whether you’re going to spend a day visiting the landmarks of Washington, D.C., or honoring America’s first president at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, don’t forget the essentials.

  • Bring an easy-to-carry tote or backpack to fit anything you might need throughout the day: sunscreen, camera, sunglasses, etc.

  • Pack multiple layers to account for air-conditioned places, particularly during humid summers.

  • Should there be downtime between your visits (say, while waiting on the ticket line), pack a book or any other diversion.  
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Reserve

Historical sights, major museums and attractions, spa treatments, and a coveted table at the best restaurants are among the most popular experiences in northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Here are a few you should reserve before your weekend getaway.

At ENTYSE Wine Bar & Lounge, sommelier Vincent Feraud has crafted a list of more than 60 vintages by the glass, which, paired with a small-plates menu, makes for a perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Plus, there is a rotating calendar of events, like Sushi Thursdays, Jazz Fridays, and Live Music Saturdays. Fancy afternoon tea? ENTYSE offers that, too. For an elegant seafood dinner book a table at Eddie V’s and fresh Greek cuisine, the sleek Nostos is a local favorite. For something more casual, go for authentic Persian food at Shamshiry.

Just a day at the sprawling Tysons Corner Center (one of the largest malls in America) or its upscale sister, Tysons Galleria, will be enough to warrant a trip to the spa. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Tysons Corner has just what you’ll need — the Mall Recovery Massage — to alleviate tight muscles and relieve tension with cooling spearmint and rosemary. For a full-body detox, book the Head to Toe Hydration, which uses argan and Moroccan oils, lavender, and honey to soothe both body and mind before concluding with an invigorating scalp treatment.  

Your concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner will help book a private and customized tour of Washington, D.C. You can choose to hit the federal icons, like the White House and Capitol, or go for the National Mall and famous memorials, including those dedicated to Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, and Washington. Prefer something a little more remote? Arrange a wine tour — yes, Virginia is home to some stunning wine country. Highlights might include the Winery at La Grange, Gray Ghost Vineyards, and Paradise Springs Winery (which also has an outpost in Santa Barbara).

Pay tribute to America’s veterans (and visit the gravesites of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis) at Arlington National Cemetery. Then make your way down to Mount Vernon, the home where George and Martha Washington lived and are buried. The 45-acre property has a majestically restored mansion and a museum with 500 artifacts from the founding father’s life. For architecture buffs, there’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, and for those with a green thumb, pay a visit to the picturesque Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in neighboring Vienna.


Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image

Northern Virginia is the perfect getaway for couples and families, and the experts of this Tysons Corner hotel have crafted itineraries highlighting the best the area has to offer. From luxury shopping and spa treatments to beautiful hikes and historical landmarks, here’s what not to miss.

Swim and Spa: Begin your day at the hotel’s relaxation pool for a dip before heading to the spa. Nature-inspired treatments with ingredients from berries to brown sugar will set you off on a soothing path for the day.

Hit the Shops: Spend some time perusing the small shops and boutiques on King Street that peddles everything from beauty products to vintage jewelry and midcentury modern barware. Afterward, head back to Tysons Corner for a lap around Tysons Galleria, with its epic collection of designers from Allen Edmonds to Zegna.

Relaxing Dinner: Tysons Galleria is home to a host of dining options, but for a truly special meal, look no further than Entyse at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. The wine bar and lounge feature a menu made up of regionally sourced ingredients — including charcuterie and cheese boards, and a section of small plates and satisfying entrées — and 60 wines by the glass.

Breakfast in Old Town: Head to Alexandria for a late breakfast at Hummingbird. Perched on the Potomac riverfront, enjoy an egg-white frittata with quinoa and fresh-squeezed orange juice on the outdoor patio.

Sweet Break: Just a short walk down King Street, you’ll find Blüprint Chocolatiers. Order an espresso in the shop’s café and sample the delectable chocolates, truffles, and bonbons — each a tiny work of art — made in-house.  

Art and Ammunition: Once home to a naval munitions plant during World War II, the building now has a second life as a lively art center. With 82 working artists’ studios (the largest collection under one roof in the country) and a host of galleries, visitors can witness the creative process as well as the finished work.  

Fredericksburg, Virginia

History buffs should retreat to Fredericksburg, Virginia, about one hour south of Tysons Corner. With battlefields and stately, beautifully restored homes, the quaint town on the Rappahannock River brims with Colonial and Civil War history. But you’ll also find a contemporary element, thanks to a fresh crop of restaurants, an award-winning distillery, and an artisanal doughnut shop.


A Sweet Start. If you can hold off on breakfast until arriving in town, the reward will be worth your patience. Sugar Shack’s doughnuts come in traditional flavors but opt instead for something a little more offbeat, like the fresh ginger peach, cucumber melon, or chocolate caramel with sea salt.


Civil War History. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park commemorates four major battles of the civil war. Begin at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center and choose from a guide-lead or self-guided walking tour of the grounds.

Tour Colonial-Era Mansions. Tour some of the town’s most meticulously maintained examples of Georgian architecture. Chatham Manor and Kenmore are positioned on opposite sides of the Rappahannock River and are each steeped in Revolutionary-era history. (The latter was owned by Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister.)


Bourbon Break. Situated just a few miles down the river, A. Smith Bowman Distillery offers daily tours of its cavernous facility, filled with oak barrels and the heady scent of the complex spirits. Afterward, stay for a taste of the distillery’s award-winning small-batch bourbon.

Caroline Street Stroll. Soak up this charming, historic town with a walk down Caroline Street. Peruse boutiques and antique shops like Blue Shark, which stocks items from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.


Modern American Fare. Across the street from the historic Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg, Foodie serves farm-to-table, modern American cuisine with a Southern flair. Try the pimento cheese toasts and the popular Fredericksburg.

Annapolis, Maryland 

Less than a one-hour drive from Tysons Corner, Maryland’s charming capital city of Annapolis delivers nautical history, romantic views of the Chesapeake Bay, and fresh seafood, including blue crabs, the quintessential taste of this mid-Atlantic state.  


Elevated Eggs Benedict. There are five varieties of eggs Benedict on the menu at this all-day café near City Dock but opt for the one topped with a pan-seared lump crab cake for a true taste of Maryland.

Tour the Naval Academy. A short walk from breakfast, find the entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy. Tour the grounds for a look at the organization’s history dating back to the Revolutionary War, as well as the largest collection of 17th- and 18th-century model ships exhibited in North America.


Main Street. Start at the beautiful, domed Maryland State House, the oldest state capital still used legislatively in the country, and then head down Main Street toward the waterfront. Stop at the locally beloved Annapolis Ice Cream Company for a scoop or two, made on the premises, and enjoy it while taking in the yachts at City Dock, also known as Ego Alley for its beautiful, sometimes-staggering yachts.


Set Sail. Book an afternoon cruise with Schooner Woodwind for a breezy sail around the bay, taking in views of the harbor, Naval Academy, Annapolis skyline, and more.


Bayside Dinner. Locals love to debate which of the many seafood-centric spots in town serve the best crab cakes with the least filler, and many agree the winner is Boatyard Bar & Grill, just across the harbor. The interior of this relaxed restaurant resembles the inside of a ship.

Washington, D.C.

Only about a dozen miles from Tysons Corner, guests can opt to ride the Metro into downtown D.C. to avoid the city’s notoriously intense traffic. Once there,
find a staggering collection of monuments, museums, and green spaces to rival any in the world. Focus on a few in the same vicinity to make the most of one amazing day in the nation’s capital.


Art Start. Stop into the Pavilion Café for a coffee and pastry, and enjoy a light breakfast in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Art before heading inside. In the interest of saving time, arrange for a tour guide to illuminate some of the highlights of the expansive institution filled with over 120,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s only painting on display in the Americas.


The Market Lunch. Dating back to 1873, the Eastern Market features a lively mix of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to pickles. For a quick and delicious meal, pull up a seat next to tourists and locals at the communal table of The Market Lunch and dine on anything from buckwheat pancakes to the crab cake platter served with fresh, house-made bread.


The Capitol. Less than a mile away is the U.S. Capitol. Monday through Saturday, tours are available of the iconic, domed government building that houses Congress.

Walk the Mall. Take a leisurely walk west to see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and other famed landmarks.


Dinner Near the Mall. Before heading back to Tysons Corner, enjoy an early dinner in the nation’s capital. Awarded a Michelin Star in the guide’s first-ever foray into Washington, D.C., Blue Duck Tavern features a menu filled with locally sourced meats and produce in a rustic, inviting space. Don’t miss the hand-cut, duck-fat fries.