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8 Things to Do in Virginia

The Pentagon, Monticello, Downtown Mall are among must-sees

By Kevin Litwin on March 2, 2016


Beautiful scenery in Virginia is abundant, and The Old Dominion State also has numerous tourism hotspots that have become entertainment destinations for visitors as well as full-time residents:

Tour the Pentagon

In Arlington County is the Pentagon, a five-sided building that serves as headquarters to the United States Department of Defense. More than 100,000 annual visitors take a one-hour tour that includes a 1.49-mile walk through the building. Tours must be booked at least 14 days in advance.

Drive the Blue Ridge

Nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive,” Blue Ridge Parkway is managed by the National Park Service and accommodates more than 12 million motorists a year. The Appalachians roadway runs through North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and Virginia attractions include Humpback Rocks, Peaks of Otter, the James River and dozens of mountainous overlooks.

Shop the Downtown Mall

In Charlottesville is the Downtown Mall, a shopping destination on Main Street that stretches for eight blocks. Highlights include 120 shops, 30 restaurants, a Charlottesville Pavilion outdoor concert venue, an Omni Hotel and a historic Paramount Theater. Free trolley service connects Downtown Mall to the University of Virginia.

Visit George’s House

The first U.S. President George Washington built his famed Virginia plantation in 1757 for himself and wife Martha. Today, the estate in Mount Vernon on the banks of the Potomac River is open to visitors every day of the year, highlighted by many priceless artifacts actually owned by George and Martha.

Ride 7 Roller Coasters

Head to Williamsburg to enjoy Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a huge theme park with 47 rides and seven roller coasters. The facility was constructed by Anheuser-Busch and is adjacent to an Anheuser-Busch brewery, and the park is themed around various European countries. Busch Gardens opens from March to January.

See Huge Rockets

More than 300,000 visitors annually visit the Virginia Air and Space Center, a museum in Hampton that also serves as the visitor center for NASA’s Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base. Tour-goers can view more than 25 vintage aircraft, 10 U.S. space modules and a solar system planets exhibit.

Sightsee at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson was 26 when he began designing and building Monticello, a mansion in Charlottesville constructed in 1772 after he inherited land from his father. Monticello is Italian for “little mountain,” and the famed hillside plantation offers daily tours year round that include views of the third U.S. President’s burial site.

Watch Sharks and Snakes

In Virginia Beach is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, with 700 species and 12,000 animals showcased in various fresh and saltwater displays. The main exhibits are a Bay & Ocean Pavilion and a Marsh Pavilion, with animals such as alligators, crabs, sharks, snakes, turtles and whales.

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