Sitting just a few miles outside our nation’s capital, Fort Myer is home to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, and Headquarters U.S. Army Garrison. The command includes Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, Fort McNair in Washington, DC, and Henderson Hall Marine Corps.
If you call Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall home, take time to explore the wide range of activities, events, sights and day trips to enjoy with family and friends. With easy access to a wide variety of interesting spots, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy.
BONUS: SpouseLink’s parent organization, AAFMAA — the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association — is headquartered at Fort Myer. Now in its 140th year serving the military community, AAFMAA is the longest-standing, not-for-profit provider of financial solutions for military families. Learn more about the benefits of AAFMAA Membership.
Be sure to add this list of 10 things to do near Arlington, VA, and Fort Myer to your calendar.
1. Arlington National Cemetery
Fort Myer is located near the southern border of one of the most iconic landmarks and experiences for American Military members: Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery spans 624 acres and serves as the final resting place for more than 400,000 active-duty servicemembers, Veterans and their families. You can learn about the history of Arlington National Cemetery, explore the Memorial Amphitheater, and experience John F. Kennedy’s gravesite.
The time-honored tradition of the Changing of the Guard is a 24-hour vigil over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. This moving experience is not to be missed for Military Families.
2. Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
Enjoy a glimpse into American history through performances at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Twilight Tattoo. This free, hour-long live-action military pageant is perfect for all ages, giving an exciting glimpse into American history through performance and music. Enjoy performances by The U.S. Army Drill Team, The U.S. Army Blues, and The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
If you call Fort Myer home, the Twilight Tattoo is a must-see.
3. Big Bus Washington, DC, Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Take in the sights of Washington, DC, from a birds-eye view with the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. The open-top sightseeing buses give you a great view of the monuments, memorials and grandeur of our nation’s capital. Big Bus allows you to hop off and on as you please throughout the day at more than 40 different stops. Buses arrive every 20-30 minutes so you’ll be able to hop off at places of interest and rejoin a tour at your leisure.
Experience sights like Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was assassinated, The Jefferson Memorial, The National Cathedral, Martin Luther King Memorial, Smithsonian Castle, The White House, and more.
4. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
There is no better attraction for inquiring children than the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Enjoy free admission and spend the day exploring the hall of human origins, life in ancient Egypt, the hall of mammals and, of course, the hall of bones with the larger-than-life dinosaurs.
The Q?rius science education centers offer interactive learning experiences for kids of all ages, offering your children a day of amazement and learning. Other experiences, including The Butterfly Pavilion, immerse your family in the wonders of the natural world.
Explore all the Smithsonian has to offer and add it to your family’s weekend to-do list.
5. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
This is a date night like no other in the heart of the nation’s capital. The Kennedy Center hosts approximately 2,000 events each year, including performances of music, dance, theater, and more. The Kennedy Center is home to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera, world-renowned programs offering classical and popular concerts and shows all season.
See what’s on stage and purchase tickets for an experience you and your spouse won’t soon forget!
6. Washington Nationals Baseball
If your family calls Fort Myer home, shouldn’t you be rooting for the hometown team? The Washington Nationals baseball stadium is just a short trip from Fort Myer in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC. Catch an MLB rivalry game or peruse the events calendar and enjoy events and giveaways perfect for the whole family. We’re talking MARVEL Super Hero™ Day, STAR WARS™ Day, Oktoberfest and more.
While you’re in the Navy Yard neighborhood, check out the area’s shopping and restaurants that are popular with both locals and tourists alike. Food and brews at Bluejacket or light eats and wine flights at District Winery are perfect after a day at the stadium.
7. Explore The Wharf
Head across the bridge from Fort Myer to The Wharf, a waterfront area along the Potomac River with restaurants, shopping, and activities for the entire family. You can enjoy endless restaurants and shops up and down the walkable strip, taking in the beauty of the Potomac with the monuments only a short walk away.
The pier offers oversized games, swings, fountains, rocking horses, bocce and more for kids and families to enjoy. Rent ice skates or play mini golf depending on the season. Make sure you check the events calendar, too — you could catch a free concert on the pier!
If your family is the adventurous type, renting a paddleboard or kayak may be just the ticket to an afternoon of fun. Enjoy the views of The Wharf and the nearby monuments from the Potomac itself.
8. Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Always free and open 364 days a year, the Smithsonian National Zoo is a short trip from Fort Myer. The zoo is home to more than 2,700 animals representing more than 390 species. Spend the day meeting the animals, talking with zoo keepers and enjoying the daily programs and attractions like DinoRoars and the Tide Pool.
Zoo guests are allowed to bring their own food and snacks or enjoy the variety of on-site options to keep you fueled for a fun-filled day.
9. Tour the Monuments & Memorials on The National Mall
There are endless ways to explore the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. Check out these options for guided tours, ticketed tours, or just grab a map and embark on your own walking adventure. The National Mall extends from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.
Whether you’re a free-spirited traveler or prefer a guided tour, make sure to see all the monuments and memorials on the mall: Lincoln Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, FDR Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
10. Smithsonian Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History is yet another Smithsonian institution that’s a must-add to your family’s list. This vast museum is home to more than three shelf-miles of archival collections that paint a broad picture of all aspects of American life. Learn about our food history, American culture, innovation, medicine, transportation, film and entertainment, women’s history, and more.
Some of the fascinating pieces housed in the museum include the original Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, the first artificial heart, the first computer bug, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
Immerse yourself in our nation’s rich culture, history and entertainment with these things to do near Fort Myer in Arlington, VA. With no shortage of things to do and see, you’ll be glad to call it home!
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