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Have visitors in Arlington for the long weekend? Here are some sightseeing, dining and nightlife ideas

Clarendon on a warm Friday evening in March 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Presidents Day weekend is upon us and if you’re new to town or have visitors to entertain, you might be seeking some ideas for things to do around Arlington.

There’s no shortage of tourism and restaurant guides out there, but we decided to pose the question to ChatGPT, the AI chatbot, and request a daily itinerary.

The ideas were pretty solid, if conventional, though there was some out-of-date and questionable information included, as we notated in brackets and with strike-throughs. In ChatGPT’s partial defense, its data set ends at 2021.

The full conversation is below.

ARLnow: If you were planning three-day weekend in Arlington, Virginia, which activities would you do and which restaurants would you go to?

ChatGPT: Arlington, Virginia is a great destination for a weekend getaway with many attractions and great food options. Here’s an itinerary for a three-day weekend in Arlington:

Day 1:

  • Start the day by visiting Arlington National Cemetery, where you can pay your respects to the fallen heroes of the United States. Be sure to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which happens every hour on the hour.
  • Afterward, head to the nearby United States Marine Corps War Memorial (also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial) for a stunning view of the D.C. skyline.
  • For lunch, try a local favorite like the Italian Store or Ray’s Hell Burger [closed in 2017].
  • Spend the afternoon exploring the National Mall in Washington, D.C., just a short Metro ride away. Visit the Smithsonian museums and monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
  • For dinner, head back to Arlington and try some modern American cuisine at Ambar Clarendon or Barley Mac.

Day 2:

  • Start the day by exploring the trendy Clarendon neighborhood, known for its unique shops and restaurants.
  • Visit the nearby Gravelly Point Park to watch planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport.
  • For lunch, try some authentic Vietnamese food at the iconic Pho 75 or try some tacos at District Taco.
  • Spend the afternoon at the Arlington Arts Center [now known as the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington], a hub for contemporary art in the D.C. area.
  • For dinner, head to the iconic Ray’s the Steaks for some classic steakhouse fare [closed in 2019] or try some Middle Eastern cuisine at the Lebanese Taverna.

Day 3:

  • Start the day by exploring the historic neighborhood of Old Town Alexandria, just a short Metro ride away. Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center and stroll along the waterfront.
  • For lunch, try some fresh seafood at the legendary Fish Market [in Alexandria] or enjoy some New Orleans-style cuisine at Bayou Bakery [in Arlington].
  • Spend the afternoon at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, paying tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks.
  • For dinner, head to the lively neighborhood of Ballston and try some Korean BBQ at Yechon [in Annandale] or some Latin American cuisine at SER Restaurant.

These are just some suggestions, but there are many other great things to do and places to eat in Arlington. I hope you have a great weekend!

ARLnow: If you wanted to go out for drinks after dinner one of those nights, what are some popular options? Also, are there any off-the-beaten-path options to consider?

ChatGPT: Arlington, Virginia has a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of options for a post-dinner drink. Here are some popular options and some off-the-beaten-path alternatives to consider:

Popular Options:

  • The Liberty Tavern: This American tavern has a great selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails, and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
  • Clarendon Ballroom: This multi-level nightclub has a spacious dance floor, multiple bars, and live music and DJ performances.
  • Galaxy Hut: This cozy neighborhood bar has a laid-back vibe and serves up a rotating selection of craft beers, ciders, and wines.
  • Don Tito: This Mexican-themed bar and restaurant has a rooftop patio, margaritas, and a fun atmosphere.
  • The G.O.A.T.: This sports bar and lounge has an extensive beer list, cocktails, and plenty of TVs to watch your favorite team. [closed in 2021]

Off-the-Beaten-Path Options:

  • The Board Room: This bar in the Clarendon neighborhood has a wide selection of board games to play while you enjoy craft beers and cocktails.
  • Punch Bowl Social: This massive entertainment complex in Ballston has a bar, restaurant, bowling lanes, arcade games, karaoke, and more.
  • The Celtic House Irish Pub and Restaurant: This pub in the Shirlington neighborhood [on Columbia Pike] has a great selection of Irish beers and whiskeys, and live music on the weekends.
  • Rustico Restaurant and Bar: This restaurant and bar in Ballston has a great selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails, and a cozy outdoor patio with a fire pit.
  • Green Pig Bistro: This gastropub in the Clarendon neighborhood has a unique and delicious cocktail menu, with options like the Cucumber Collins and the Smoked Old Fashioned.

These are just a few suggestions, but there are many other great bars and lounges in Arlington to explore. Enjoy your night out!

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