History, Art & Museums:
- Alexandria’s newest installation in the City’s Site See temporary public art installation series will debut in March 2021 and remain on display until November 2021. Groundswell, by Brooklyn-based artist Mark Reigelman, introduces an element of play to the Potomac River’s changing shoreline with an immersive ecosystem of 130 raw wood pilings topped with etched blue mirrors that shimmer like water. Regielman’s piece was inspired by the drastic measures taken to extend Alexandria’s shoreline when it was a busy port city in the 18th and 19th centuries, such as intentionally sinking wooden ships and thousands of timber pilings that crept further into the Potomac River, creating a fluctuating new boundary.
- The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will unveil the long-awaited national memorial to the women’s suffrage movement in spring 2021 in Occoquan Regional Park. The final stages of the project are moving forward and the site will be a welcome addition to southern Fairfax County, which also is home to the new Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center – a pivotal location in the fight for women’s voting rights and the passage of the 19th Amendment.
- 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The entombment of the Unknown Soldier of World War I took place on November 11, 1921 as a symbol of the American people’s service and sacrifice for this country. The centennial will honor the Tomb Sentinels who have stood the watch since 1926 and continue to do so 24hrs a day, 7 days a week as well as provide an opportunity to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to America.
- Created during the pandemic and expanding into an online/in-person visitor experience in the new year is Arlington National Cemetery’s new Education Program, with full online course materials available that tell the story of the nation’s history through the unique lens of the cemetery and some of the notable figures laid to rest there. Materials include online resources, lesson plans, and walking tours, which may be used either during an in-person visit or for virtual exploration of the cemetery.
- One of the most moving examples of service to the nation was recently unveiled at the Military Women’s Memorial (formerly WIMSA), and it’s one that should definitely be on your to-do list for your next visit. “The Pledge” is a bronze sculpture honoring all women in military service along with their service dogs. The monument stands just inside the Women’s Memorial, located at the ceremonial entrance of Arlington National Cemetery.
- While it has been closed for nearly two years for a multi-million dollar rehabilitation and restoration project, Arlington House is now hoping to reopen sometime in 2021. The mansion, former home to Mary Custis Lee and Robert E. Lee, sits atop Arlington National Cemetery. When the project is completed, visitors will see Arlington House as it was in 1860, with rooms restored to their historical appearance. Additionally, the quarters for the enslaved people of Arlington House will be restored to better represent and tell their stories. As visitors move between the mansion and the new museum and bookstore, they will pass along accessible paths that stretch through the restored grounds, including heirloom gardens. People who cannot visit in person will enjoy a robust experience through virtual tours, complete with detailed displays of the rooms and objects that belonged to George Washington and the Lee family.
- The National Museum of the United States Army will hold its grand re-opening in 2021 and is the first and only museum to tell the complete history of the U.S. Army in its entirety. Visitors young and old will enjoy unique galleries and films, interactive educational opportunities, and state-of-the-art exhibits.
Entertainment, Hotels & Events:
- Partnering with Colonial Downs Racing, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium brings an array of exciting experiences to its guests. Historic horse races, electronic devices, jackpots & more is now available to visitors in Dumfries, VA.
- Opening in June 2021, Bel Air 1740 is an exquisite 25-acre colonial plantation of rolling fields, spacious gardens, wooded areas, and manor house available for receptions, photos, and ceremonies. It is conveniently located in Woodbridge, Virginia, a 30-minute drive south of Washington, DC.
- The Capital One Center, Capital One’s sprawling headquarters complex, will debut in the summer and fall of 2021 as a new mixed-use entertainment epicenter in Tysons, featuring a hotel, performing arts venue, retail, and a 1.2-acre skypark that brings green space, a biergarten, dog park, public art, and a pop-up food truck experience (yes, they will be craning the trucks up!) to the area. Capital One Hall, a 1,600-seat performing arts center and 300 seat black box theater, will also be available for groups as well as hosting its own events throughout the year. The complex is also Metro accessible.
- Guests will be welcomed into the brand new Tru by Hilton by a wall mural featuring Loudoun’s many local attractions. The property will have 125 modern and efficient sleeping rooms and be located at One Loudoun in Ashburn, which is a shopping/restaurant hub just about 25 miles from Washington, D.C. The Tru Hotel will include a coffee station and market, lounge, game room, pool, modern workspaces and more. The property is slated to open in Spring 2021.
- In the Crystal City area of Arlington’s new National Landing region, Bowlero has opened along 23rd Street on a modified schedule to ensure COVID cleaning and safety standards, and it’s ready for the full party when the time is right. The new bowling alley plus sports bar, arcade and more is a great place to unwind or compete with friends.
- Wolf Trap will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in June 2021. Wolf Trap is America’s only National Park dedicated solely to the performing arts and is operated as a public-private partnership between the National Park Service, which maintains the grounds, and Wolf Trap Foundation, which oversees the programming. Details forthcoming on anniversary events.
- The Archer Hotel Tysons will open in the summer of 2021 with seven stories, 178 rooms, polished event spaces and a rooftop terrace. The brand brings an independent spirit, sense of sophistication and consummate hospitality to the area.
- Alexandria’s waterfront dining scene continues to grow with hundreds of new outdoor seats at two concepts from Alexandria Restaurant Partners: Ada’s on the River and BARCA Pier & Wine Bar. Ada’s on the River opened in January 2021, drawing design inspiration from Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century female mathematics pioneer, and featuring a menu centered around meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes cooked to perfection in the wood-burning oven. The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Randall J. Matthews, a Maryland native who has worked with some of Washington, D.C.’s most celebrated kitchens under Michelin-starred chefs, including Chef Adam Sobel at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons in D.C., and who worked with James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Sam Fox to open True Food Kitchen. Barca Pier and Wine Bar will open in spring 2021. Barca Pier will be a seasonal outdoor eatery inspired by Barcelona’s beach bars and made from carved-out shipping containers, with a menu consisting of mainly Mediterranean small plates, infused with Greek, Italian and Moroccan flavors. Barca Wine Bar, which will be open throughout the year, will boast an intimate, sophisticated setting and vast selection of unique and domestic wines from around the world.
- Alexandria Restaurant Partners’ upcoming concepts join some 35 recently opened and soon-to-debut restaurants. The pan-Asian dining trend from 2019 continues with new spots like Hinata Sushi Bar & Grill, Sisters Thai and Sushi Jin Next Door, and several spots are located in the blossoming Old Town North neighborhood. Alexandria has also seen an influx of cafés, such as French-infused Café du Soleil and Via Volcán, which sources coffee beans from the owners’ Panamanian farm.
- Not far away in Arlington’s Pentagon Row complex, Nighthawk Pizza is expected to open in fall of 2021. Described as a brew hall/pizza joint/gathering space with a 90s vibe, Nighthawk will be the perfect after-work or after-meeting watering hole for hungry (and thirsty) guests.
- The National Landing neighborhood will welcome Mah Ze Dahr in April 2021. Mah Ze Dahr is a New York-based bakery known for its brioche doughnuts and decadent cheesecakes under the guidance of investment banker turned James Beard-nominated pastry chef Umber Ahmad.
- In December 2020, La Prensa opened in Loudoun’s eastern corridor. “La Prensa” is Spanish for Tortilla Press. Brought to you by the celebrity chef/owner of The Conche, La Prensa features a simple, ingredient-focused menu. Specializing in gourmet tacos and tapas, La Prensa will offer an escape from the ordinary taco joint with an approachable and globally inspired menu. Additionally, the restaurant features an exclusive bar program to complement each meal, with a wide range of beers, wines and freshly prepared cocktails. Chef/owner Santosh Tiptur traveled the world as a chef for several high-end cruise lines. During his adventures on 26 different ships, he enjoyed several trips to Mexico and enjoyed sampling authentic Mexican cuisine. As a native of India, he always connected those culinary stylings to Indian cooking; the two are very similar.
- Fairfax County Chocolate Safari was launched in December 2020 as a fun way to support local restaurants through the winter. Chefs and restaurateurs submitted a menu item made with the ultimate comfort food – chocolate! See the map and gallery of chocolately deliciousness right here.
Wine & Beer:
- The Winery & Brewery at Sunshine Ridge Farm, a picturesque 40-acre farm winery & brewery sits on the banks of Lake Manassas just off I-66 in Gainesville, VA, is set to open in February 2021. Offering guests a variety of craft Virginia wine, beer and eventually mead this farm is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy a beautiful VA afternoon.
- Opened in October 2020 near Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Barkhaus is designed as part dog park, part restaurant and bar. Humans can dine in designated leashed areas, while dogs can frolic in indoor and outdoor (fenced) off-leash zones while their owners sip and unwind.
- Port City Brewing Co. celebrates 10 years of brewing beginning with the release of COLOSSAL X, a Barleywine Style Ale, during their 10th anniversary weekend, February 5-7, 2021. Celebrations will continue all year with virtual and pairing events.
- Fairfax County’s beer scene grows leaps and bounds in 2021 as the area welcomes several new breweries and beer-forward experiences, including:
- G34.3 Brewing (Lorton) – opened in 2020, brews a variety of beers that challenge your perception of what a beer style is. What’s with the name? G34.3 is the largest cloud of ethanol in the universe – enough to supply 300,000 pints of beer to every person on Earth, every year, for the next billion years.
- Honor Brewing (Chantilly) – operating for several years, but finally has a taproom location, with additional locations coming soon. Their beer is a tribute to the men and women who have served this country and they frequently partner with Veteran organizations to honor those lost in war.
- Bunnyman Brewing (Burke) – opening in summer 2021, this brewery owned by retiring Fairfax County firefighter will be located near the infamous road associated with the Bunnyman urban legend.
- Aslin Beer Co, a cult favorite brewery that whips up incredibly unique concoctions week after week, (Herndon & Alexandria) opened their highly anticipated new taproom in Herndon that features terrace seating, a rooftop bar, a dog-friendly beer garden and rotating food trucks.
- ShipGarten will be Northern Virginia’s first roaming outdoor lifestyle experience located in Tysons, features four separate food and drink experiences, each being served up out of a 40-foot shipping container surrounded by a quintessential biergarten, family area, fenced-in dog park, and entertainment venue.
- A new family and dog-friendly concept that will plunge you into a traditional Bavarian-style biergarten! Herndon Biergarten will be opening in late 2021. featuring a 2,000-sq-ft bier hall, 60+ drafts on tap, an 11,000-sq-ft outdoor patio and a rooftop deck – plus an extensive whiskey tasting menu.
- Woodlawn Press Winery is a new family-owned micro-winery in the southern part of Fairfax County that makes and bottles its own varietals and fruit wines. They offer a variety of custom blends, pre-packaged Tasting Flights, and additional treats like vinegar, olive oils, chocolates, and honey in their shop. They also host classes and tastings and other events throughout the year.
- Partnering with FOOD & WINE, the Food & Wine Classic: The Family Reunion will take place August 20-22, 2021 and will celebrate diversity, share delicious food and wine, inspire conversation, and highlight talented chefs including Top Chef Alumni Kwame Onwuachi. Kwame’s vision for The Family Reunion is to bring together top people of color for an intimate, three-day cultural experience. Details to follow but planned programming includes wine tastings, fireside chats, private classes, grand tastings, and live podcasts. Kwame will also have a pop-up restaurant at the resort leading up to the event.