The days are getting longer, the temperatures are on the rise, and Arlington residents are ready to finally enjoy the benefits of their urban neighborhoods. After what felt like an exceptionally long winter, people throughout Arlington have paid their dues and are planning their recreational activities for the upcoming months.
Longtime locals and newer transplants to the area agree that a world of opportunities opens up in Arlington as springtime weather approaches. Whether in search of an endorphin rush, or somewhere to mingle with other Arlingtonians, places to go are aplenty and the area has more luster after the snow banks melt and the air loses its bite.
ARLINGTON IS HOME to several bars and restaurants that convert to outdoor hot spots in the spring. Kristin Yuknus lives in South Arlington, but enjoys going to North Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood for springtime happy hours. Yuknus, who moved to the area from Philadelphia three years ago, said Whitlow’s on Wilson quickly became one of her warm weather favorites.
“My favorite spring time spot for happy hour is the Whitlow’s rooftop,” Yuknus said. “It is a chill atmosphere with a tiki bar, and different groups can settle all around. It is pretty good about accommodating big crowds of people.”
She said Whitlow’s will typically alert people through social media when its rooftop is open for business.
Other venues in Arlington with rooftop options include but are not limited to Clarendon Ballroom, Eventide and Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill.
A longtime resident of the D.C. metropolitan area, Arlington’s Eric Cantrell said all the best bars for warm weather are in walking distance from his house. One of the benefits to living in Arlington is a limited need for a car to get around. Residents especially reap the benefits of these perks as spring weather envelopes the area.
“The patio bars are a focal point of Arlington nightlife for a good reason,” Cantrell said. “After being pent up all winter, it is nice to get outside and meet friends at places like Rooftop and A-Town.”
Arlington resident of two years Quinlan Bergh said she particularly enjoys Ballston’s World of Beer in the spring.
“I really like going to World of Beer and sitting outside in the springtime,” Bergh said. “I like trying all their spring brews. It’s more fun to sit outside, and much better for people watching.”
There are also appealing outdoor options on the south side of Arlington, where venues are not as crowded and the atmosphere is a bit more low-key. Yuknus, for example, said she always looks forward to brunch with her friends at William Jeffrey’s Tavern.
“I love William Jeffrey’s for brunch outside,” Yuknus said. “It’s a nice alternative to busy Clarendon.”
Some of Arlington’s greatest appeal stems from its close proximity to the Washington D.C. and all of its monuments and memorials. Arlington is within walking distance of its sites, and its residents are more apt to take advantage of this when they don’t have to bundle up in parkas, gloves and ear muffs.
ARLINGTON IN THE SPRING is the ideal place for a scenic run, bike ride, or stroll. The running and bike trail possibilities are endless, from the Custis trail starting in Ballston, to the Washington and Old Dominion trail that stretches through parts of Arlington and ends in Shirlington.
Longtime Arlington resident Alison Mathey said she often takes advantage of all of Arlington’s trails for exercise.
"I love living so close to Arlington's wonderful trails, the Custis Trail, W&OD Trail, Mount Vernon Trail and Four Mile Run,” Mathey said. “I'm an avid runner and cyclist and these trails are perfect for either activity. They offer many water spots and lots of great views. I feel really fortunate to live near such great routes."
Mathey said she has been training for long races on these trails for years, and that her favorite place to begin her run on a warm, spring day is the Custis Trail, which begins just steps away from her house in the Ballston area.
"My favorite route is to start on the Custis Trail downhill, and then bike into the Mount Vernon Trail, by the Potomac River,” Mathey said. “Biking by the water offers amazing views of the city. It's especially pretty when the cherry blossoms are in bloom."
Yuknus said that she too is enthralled by her views on runs through Arlington in the spring.
“I run on the upper part of the Mount Vernon trail, along Route 395,” Yuknus said. “As you run, you can see the Washington Monument, the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial. Nothing beats those views nestled in the cherry blossoms.”
An area transplant from Northern California, Kathy Hsu said she was particularly rattled by this winter and is looking forward to sitting outside of some her favorite coffee shops.
“I love both working from and just catching up with friends over coffee in Northside Social’s outdoor seating area,” Hsu said. “People-watching is a guilty pleasure of mine, and all sorts of people come through there.”
Bergh noted how perfect Arlington is because of easy access to an urban feel, all while having the luxury of a backyard. Perhaps she will spend Friday night sitting outside of a Ballston bar enjoying a beer, but on Saturday, she can kick off her sandals and enjoy a homemade meal right in her backyard.
“I love sitting in my backyard,” Bergh said, who came to Arlington from Cincinnati, Ohio. “While it’s nice to go out and the urban atmosphere, it is also really fun to take a break from the social scene and barbecue in the backyard with bonfire.”