CITY GUIDE: Arlington

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Caitlin of Arlington, Virginia!

Being the smaller city next to arguably the most powerful city in the free world could be like being the dorky kid sister of a high school rock star.  And yet everyone knows the kid sister is actually awesome in her own quirky and delightful way.  Such is the case with Arlington, Virginia.  Many fall prey to the assumption that Arlington has not much to offer; blinded by the lime light of the neighboring nation’s capital.  But Arlington has its own unique beat and charm.

Take Northside Social, for instance.  Once you have one of their lattes (they feature Counter Culture coffee), paired with their chunky monkey scone? Forget about it – you’ll be back every week, or heck, daily.  Every evening the upstairs is transformed into an upscale wine bar.  Patrons swear the chocolate chess pie is to die for, and you can enjoy it while studying the art work that adorns the walls.  Northside hosts frequent events – concerts, cooking classes, art shows – and earns its name of being quite the social place to be.

Now, if you’re hankering for some good, cheap Mexican food, District Taco is a local favorite.  They actually began as a food truck, experienced smashing success, and opened up their first digs in Arlington.  Only on Tuesdays and Fridays do they offer their remarkable fish tacos, which ought to be consumed at every opportunity.

Pupatella’s wood-fired pizza oven serves up extraordinary pizza.  Simple as that. The owner hails from Naples, Italy and has an insatiable obsession with Neapolitan cuisine.  The simplicity in the ingredients speaks, as does the laid back atmosphere.

As Arlington is adjacent to DC, there’s also ample opportunity for adventures of the historical type. Walking through Arlington National Cemetery and watching the changing of the guard or visiting the tomb of the unknown soldier invite reflection and gratitude. Sobering and beautiful all at the same time, this set apart place beckons consideration of freedom not ever being free.  There’s a fantastic view of the District from here, and afterwards you could take a stroll or bike on the Potomac River, right along the stunning Washington and Old Dominion trail.

You know, a lot of people remember their fifth grade class trips to Washington, DC, and maybe even to Arlington’s cemetery.  But next time you venture to the President’s home turf, make sure to make your way across the water to Arlington, this little community of quirks and delights.

November 14, 2012