Places You Should Visit in Northern Virginia

By Catherine Salgado on October 4, 2019

Exploring the local tourist sites near your college is an essential part of any college experience. For those who are attending college in northern Virginia (or who simply visit), there is an especially rich array of cultural, natural, and historic spots to choose from. Here are a few of the places you should visit in northern Virginia!

Washington D.C.

This one is obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway! Washington D.C. has something to offer everyone. Whether you enjoy shopping, fine dining, art, music, theater, or history, you are bound to find just what you want. From the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to the World War II Memorial, from Arlington Cemetery to the Natural History Museum, there are dozens of options for tourists. As a history geek, I personally love all the war monuments as well as the three presidential monuments—Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

Remembering your past, remembering what has made America such a great country and such a beacon of hope to the world, remembering the sacrifices our ancestors made to ensure we could have all the privileges we have today—that will inspire gratitude for your blessings in being an American. The past is a key element in our present identity. Other wonderful museum opportunities include the many Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, the National History Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.

Manassas/Bull Run Battlefield

Again, the past shapes both the present and the future, and the Civil War was a hugely momentous event in American history. There is a great deal to see at this battlefield. There is the statue of Stonewall Jackson, the still-standing civilian house which was hit with cannonballs during the first battle, artifacts from the two battles there, and tours around the battlefield.

Whether you are a Confederate who calls it Manassas or a Yankee (like me!) who calls it Bull Run, you should go see this battlefield and remember how many men (including, perhaps, some of your ancestors) died to ensure that the evil of slavery would end once and for all in America and that the Union would be preserved.

Mt. Vernon 

The beautiful estate which was once George Washington’s plantation has numerous aspects to recommend it. The grounds are gorgeous, the house is beautiful and wonderfully preserved, the museum near the house itself is fantastic, and the graves of the Father of our Country and his wife are in a striking mausoleum there.

See the bed where George Washington died, the stables where he kept his horses, the kitchen where his meals were cooked, and the ballroom where he held grand parties. In a time when all the Founding Fathers are being universally smeared and Americans are forgetting their own history, visiting Mt. Vernon and learning about the greatest American is an unforgettable experience.

Luray Caverns

If you are a nature lover, this may be just the spot for you. Luray Caverns, with its stalactites, stalagmites, mysterious caves, and reflective pools, is definitely worth a visit. Get away from the screens for a while and turn spelunker!

The four places mentioned in this article are only a small sample of the many tourist spots in Northern Virginia. If you visit Virginia anytime soon, or if you attend college there, this list is only a starting point for your own unique adventure!

Hi! I am a rising junior at Christendom College double majoring in Classics (Classical Languages) and Theology. I am the eldest child in a family of five kids and was homeschooled all the way up until I went to college. My hobbies include writing novels and articles, reading, knitting, drawing, playing piano and ukulele, and making jewelry. Post graduation, I hope to become a full-time journalist.

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