Fairfax CountyWashington, DC, in Virginia. It often trades places with next-door neighbor Loudoun County as the nation's wealthiest county.
In Virginia incorporated cities are politically completely independent of their counties. County law does not apply in incorporated cities (but may apply in incorporated towns); the only local law in incorporated cities is city law.
Inside the Beltway
- Home to DC's "Koreatown" and some of the best Korean food you'll ever have outside of Korea.
- CIA Headquarters amidst a sea of McMansions and Republican congressmen.
- "All roads lead to Springfield" — Not a fabulous destination—more of an urban/suburban mess—but there are still some really great Asian and Latino restaurants sprinkled throughout all the strip malls. Has land on both sides of the Beltway.
Outside the Beltway
- — the county seat of Fairfax has a lovely small town-seeming downtown.
- Home of the Amtrak Auto Train which carries passengers and automobiles to and from Florida.
- The country's first modern planned city. Its founding in 1964 was the start of the modern Planned City movement, resparking the "New Town" concept.
- — Sachertortes, great beer, mountain scenery, skiing, lederhosen, the waltz—wait, just kidding! But it's home to the big Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, and is right next to Tysons Corner Mall.
- — Despite the name, not part of the City of Alexandria. Mainly known for a commercial corridor along U.S. 1, but has some hidden gems.
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is in northwestern Fairfax County, accessed via the Dulles Airport Access Road, which runs parallel to Route 267. A WMATA Silver Line to the airport is expected to open in 2021.
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is in South Arlington, convenient to U.S. Route 1, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and WMATA's Blue and Yellow Lines.
For more information on these airports, and on getting into Fairfax County by plane, see the "Get in" section of Washington DC.
- From Washington, DC go South on I-395 or I-66. Or cross on Memorial Bridge, Key Bridge, or Chain Bridge, to the George Washington Parkway. Or take I-295 South to I-95 South/I-495 West, and cross the Wilson Bridge.
- From the Northeast including Southeast Washington DC, Prince George's County, and Baltimore: take I-95 South/I-495 West, across the Wilson Bridge. Or, take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (I-295) South, connect to I-95 South/I-495 West, and cross the Wilson Bridge.
- From the Northwest (Montgomery County, MD) take I-495 South, across the Legion Bridge.
- From the South (Richmond, VA) take I-95 North.
- From the West take I-66 East.
- The National Capital area (including Fairfax County) is the 9th largest metropolitan area in the U.S., but has the 5th worst traffic congestion in the U.S.
- Both I-95 and U.S. Route 1 pass through Fairfax County, on their way from Maine to Florida.
- I-95, the major North-South Interstate on the East Coast, joins the I-495 Beltway to points South, at the Springfield Interchange (a.k.a. the Mixing Bowl).
- The Southwestern portion of the Capital Beltway (I-495) runs through Fairfax County. The Legion Bridge connects to Montgomery County, MD, in the North. The Wilson Bridge connects to Southeast Washington, DC, and Prince George's County, MD, to the East.
- I-395 runs from the Springfield Interchange Northeast to Washington, DC.
- I-66 runs from the West to Washington, DC.
- U.S. Route 1, the original North-South highway on the East Coast, runs due North through Alexandria and Arlington to Washington, DC, and South to Prince William County, VA, passing through downtown shopping districts all the way.
- U.S. Route 50, the original East-West transcontinental highway, passes through Fairfax County on its way from California to Maryland. It joins I-66 to cross into Washington, DC, on the Roosevelt Bridge.
- Fairfax County Parkway is a North-South highway, West of the Beltway.
- Inside the Beltway, major streets move in seemingly random directions, with heavy stop and go traffic. It may seem as though they're all named Chain Bridge, Lee, and/or Jackson!
National Firearms MuseumAt the National Rifle Association Headquarters, in the City of Fairfax
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - National Air and Space Museumphone: +1 202 357-220014390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly. Located near Dulles International Airport, this museum houses many air/spacecraft, including the SR-71 "Blackbird" spy plane, the Concorde supersonic jet and the space shuttle "Enterprise". Parking is available for $15/vehicle. Or take the 983 Fairfax Connector bus from the Wiehle-Reston East station on the silver Metro line.
Biking and Walking
- The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail
- The Fairfax Cross County Trail
- The Mount Vernon Trail
- The Custis Trail
Fairfax Squareaddress: 8075 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182Designer shopping including Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes of Paris, and Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Salon & Spa.
Reston Town Centeraddress: 11921 Freedom Drive Suite 100, Reston, VA 20190Designed as a traditional downtown cityscape, not an enclosed mall. Dine al fresco at Fountain Plaza in the Summer, or skate in the outdoor rink in Winter.
Springfield Malladdress: 6500 Springfield Mall, Springfield, VA 22150Anchored by JCPenney, Target, and Macy's.
Tysons Corner Centeraddress: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd. Suite 105, McLean, VA 22102Since 1968, one of the first super-regional malls in the country, still one of the premier shopping malls on the East Coast. Anchored by Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, and Macy's.
Tysons Galleriaaddress: 2001 International Drive, McLean, VA 22102Upscale shopping and dining at designer retailers including Gucci, Cartier, Chanel and Versace. Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus!
address: 7250 Columbia Pike Annandale, VA"The inland beach bar"
Vienna Innaddress: 120 Maple Ave E Vienna, Virginia 22180Hole in the wall bar, around since 1960. Very popular with locals, cheap and terrific food, especially their chili dogs.
address: 100 S. Reynolds Street Alexandria, VA 22304Located in the West End of Alexandria close to Springfield, Fort Belvoir, Old Town Alexandria, 9 miles from Washington DC.
- Washington, D.C. is just across the Potomac River, featuring the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Smithsonian Institution, White House, US Capitol Building, Supreme Court and the Library of Congress.
- While bigger than just its historic center, Old Town Alexandria is a great tourist destination for shopping, dining, boating, and colonial history. It has a beautiful historic district on King St, by its port on the Potomac.
- Popularly thought of as southwest D.C. (which it historically was). Officially a county, but if counted as a city (which it basically is): It would be the fourth-largest city in the state, ahead of Richmond, and potentially first in cultural vibrancy. Features the Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery.
- — Vietnamese and Cantonese dining par excellence.