Culturally, Northern Virginia offers the best of both worlds. There are the cosmopolitan, big-city vibes with the towering skylines and bustling streets of Arlington, to the country downhome comfort of Spotsylvania, to the equestrian and foxhunting colonial past of Middleburg.

Northern Virginia is only minutes across the bridge to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., but has retained its unique character. All of this serves to make NoVA rich in culture that ensures endless hours of fun for you and your family.

The Nellis Group has put together this list of activities, places, and attractions that will surprise and delight!

Freedom House Museum

1315 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

The Freedom House Museum was once part of the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, Franklin and Armfield. Enslaved people were brought from the Chesapeake Bay area and forced to the slave markets in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans either by foot or ship.

Principle Gallery

208 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Since opening in 1994, Principle Gallery has been dedicated to representing the highest quality of Contemporary Realism art. Focusing on paintings in oil and bronze sculpture, the gallery proudly represents emerging, mid-career, and established artists with a distinct personal approach to their work. Principle Gallery gains great exposure for its artists through solo exhibitions, and selective group shows.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum

105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA

Visit the museum on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. In the Museum’s Public Laboratory, you may find volunteers washing, marking and cataloguing artifacts from the latest dig.

The main exhibit, Archaeologists at Work: The Lee Street Site, highlights one city block to provide a fascinating glimpse of Alexandria’s history and the way in which archaeologists study the past. Small “tabletop” exhibits feature other Alexandria sites and finds. Hands-on activities engage visitors of all ages.

Friendship Firehouse Museum

107 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA

In a town of mostly wooden buildings, where open flames provided heat, light and cooking on a daily basis, fire was a constant danger. The Friendship, Sun, Relief, Hydraulion and other local volunteer fire companies served the community faithfully, particularly during enormous blazes in 1827, 1855, 1871, and 1922. Some of their stories and equipment are preserved today in the Friendship Firehouse Museum.

Lee-Fendall House

614 Oronoco St, Alexandria, VA 

The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden interprets American history through the experiences of the people who lived and worked on the property from 1785 to 1969. Through tours, special programs, and exhibits lets discover our shared history as a community and as a nation.

Promenade Classique

1 Canal Center Plaza, Alexandria, VA

The Promenade Classique is a sculpture garden created by Anne and Patrick Poirier, French artists who incorporate archaeological and mythological references in their works. The artwork discovery begins with a glimpse through marble boulders and white birch trees of a monumental bronze arrow, which pierces a multi-tiered water fountain. A brick plaza leads to a rectangular pool containing a carved human mouth with water spewing from its lips. A cascading waterfall leads to twin spiral staircases and a grotto of sculpted ruins overlooking an amphitheater and culminating in a 40-foot high marble obelisk, reminiscent of the nearby Washington Monument.

Del Ray Artisans Gallery

2704 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA


Del Ray Artisans, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote art for the benefit of artists and the community.

The purposes for which DRA is organized are:  to support new and emerging artists and artisans, to develop and foster community based arts activities, events and organizations, to develop and promote the arts as a resource for community outreach, and to make more available and accessible to the general public the full range of creative expression and artistic endeavors in the visual, performing and applied arts.

DRA supports the development of artists at all levels. It serves as a center for thriving artistic activity in the Del Ray community. Through effective leadership and wise management of its resources, DRA continues to expand the scope of its services to artists and its outreach to the greater community.

Alexandria Black History Museum

902 Wythe St, Alexandria, VA

The mission of the Black History Museum is to enrich the lives of Alexandria's residents and visitors, to foster tolerance and understanding among all cultures and to stimulate appreciation of the diversity of the African American experience.

Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association opened the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center in 2006.

Visit the Museum and Education Center to view the fascinating array of Mount Vernon artifacts and learn more about George Washington. There are 23 galleries and theaters where visitors learn about Washington through interactive displays, an action adventure movie, short films produced by The History Channel, immersive experiences, and a rich and comprehensive collection of more than 700 objects which give an unprecedented look at the personal effects of the Washington family.

Experience Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, which explores the personal stories of the people enslaved at Mount Vernon while providing insight into George Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery.

Make sure you don’t miss Washington’s dentures, an interpretation of Martha Washington’s wedding gown, and a ledger book used to keep track of estate finances.

National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

 600 Dulany St, Alexandria, VA 

The National Inventors Hall of Fame Connects World-Changing Innovators with today’s youth. They inspire emerging creators and entrepreneurs through their education programs and honors the history of innovation through the museum and Hall of Fame Inductees. 

NIHFM offers education programs that combine hands-on fun and creativity with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts.

Artisphere

3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA

Arlington Arts Center (AAC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit contemporary visual arts center, was established in 1974 and has been housed since 1976 in the historic Maury School building. Our facility includes nine exhibition galleries, working studios for twelve artists, and three classrooms. At 17,000 square feet, AAC is one of the largest non-federal venues for contemporary art in the Washington metropolitan area.



Arlington Historical Museum

1805 South Arlington Ridge Rd, Arlington, VA

The Arlington Historical Museum, owned and operated by the Historical Society, is located at 1805 South Arlington Ridge Road, close to the Pentagon City and Crystal City metrorail stations. The two-story brick structure was built in 1891 as the Hume School, named for Frank Hume who gave some of the property for the school. It is the oldest school building in Arlington County.

Following extensive renovation in the early 1960s, the building reopened as the Arlington Historical Museum. The building is designated a Virginia State Historical Landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Ball-Sellers House Museum

5620 Third Street South, Arlington, VA

The Ball-Sellers House, owned and operated by the Arlington Histori20130523-entering-cabin-garfieldcal Society, is located in the Glencarlyn neighborhood of Arlington.  This farm cabin was built in the 1740’s by farmer John Ball and is the oldest structure in Arlington County.  Three generations of Carlin’s owned the house next, including the Glencarlyn namesake William Carlin who was a tailor for George and Martha Washington.  The house has been restored to its colonial era condition.

The last private owner was Marian Sellers who lived in the house as a child.  She donated the house to the Society in 1975.  The building is designated a Virginia State Historical Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Sites.  Docents discuss its owners as well as provide free tours of the farm cabin and the grounds on Saturdays (April through October) and on summer holidays from 1 – 4 p.m.  Free private group tours are available by appointment.

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre

12229 Bristow Rd, Bristow, VA

The 28-acre Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre includes five historic buildings: 1822 courthouse, 1822 jail, 1880 church, 1850 farmhouse, and a one-room schoolhouse that served the young children of Brentsville from 1929 to 1944. A former Prince William County seat, the historic area served as a hub for activity more than 75 years ago. This reputedly haunted historic center consists of four buildings: a courthouse, jail, church, and a one-room schoolhouse. The grounds are open daily and include a self-guided interpretative trail and picnic area. Tours are offered Thursday-Monday, May through October from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

Stuart Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum

13938 Braddock Road, Centreville, VA

The museum displays artifacts connected to Confederate stalwarts Gen. James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart and Col. John Mosby, whose daring Partisan Raiders turned most of Fairfax County into what was known as Mosby’s Confederacy. 

Weems-Botts Museum

3944 Cameron St, Dumfries, VA

Museum tours include an overview of Dumfries' significant colonial history as well as a look into the house’s historic past. Visitors travel through time as they tour the period rooms decorated in 18th, 19th, and 20th century styles while learning about how the property was used as a vestry by the colonial church, as a book depot by Parson Weems (George Washington’s first biographer and author of the cherry tree story), as a law office by Benjamin Botts (Aaron Burr’s youngest defense attorney during his 1807 treason trial) and as a home for nearly a century by the Merchant Family. Children and adults love our hands-on colonial store where visitors can touch and explore everyday items from the colonial time period! The Museum and the Research Library (separate fees apply) operate on a seasonal schedule. Merchant Park (with a picnic pavilion) is open daily to the public from dawn-dusk and is available for event rentals. May-October: Thursday-Monday, 11:00am-4:00pm November-April: By appointment only

MOD Arts

201 Pennsylvania Ave, Falls Church, VA

MOD Arts was born from the idea that belief in oneself, combined with the stubborn determination to never give up, result in the actual realization of a persons’ aspirations in the short span of a lifetime. The scope of our dreams is only limited by the breadth of our imagination. 

Children's Science Center Lab

3702 Pender Drive, Suite 420 Fairfax, VA

The Children's Science Center Lab is Northern Virginia’s first interactive museum where children, families and school groups can explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging hands-on exhibits, activities and programs. The Lab is focused on children ages 2 through 12 and also offers summer camp, birthday parties, field trips and other group visits.

Fairfax Station Railroad Museum

11200 Fairfax Station Rd, Fairfax Station, VA

Take a step back in time and discover the Fairfax Station Museum and the role it played during the Civil War. Find out about the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and its importance to both the supply and medical evacuation effort. Learn about the humanitarian efforts begun here by Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. Visit our caboose and hear about the vital role of the caboose in early railroad operations. The Fairfax Station Museum is a great place to view model train displays. Come explore Civil War history, railroading, and the fascinating story of our local community.

Fairfax Museum

10209 Main St, Fairfax, VA

The Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center is located between Washington Dulles International Airport and Washington, D.C., in the heart of Northern Virginia. Housed in the former Fairfax Elementary School, built in 1873 as the first two-story brick school in Fairfax County, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As a state-certified visitor center, they provide general visitor information for Fairfax City, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., including lodging, restaurants, transportation and historic and natural attractions.  They also are the place to find out about special events in and around the City.

The museum produces permanent and special exhibitions on Fairfax City and Fairfax County history. They also host touring exhibitions on broader historic topics and provides educational outreach to school and youth groups.

ArtSpace Herndon

750 Center Street, Herndon, VA

Arts Herndon is an independent 501 (c) 3 Virginia nonprofit organization and serves as the official arts agency of the Town of Herndon. They operate ArtSpace Herndon Gallery & Performance space at 750 Center Street, Herndon. We also provide arts education, works of public art and grants to small arts organizations and artists.

Winmill Carriage Museum

17101-17167 Southern Planter Ln, Leesburg, VA

Located at historic Morven Park, this museum is named for Viola Townsend Winmill of Warrenton who donated most of the 40 carriages on display. A wide variety of antique horse-drawn vehicles from the mid-1800s and the early 1900s are featured, including Tom Thumb's coach.

Gallery 222

222 S King St, Leesburg, VA

The vision was simple, a place where working artists, their friends and the community can intermingle over a glass of iced tea in the country kitchen or the back garden. Nothing is intimidating about the space or the staff, just a friendly atmosphere where the ART is the main attraction bringing everyone together. 

Gleedsville Art Gallery

5 Loudoun St. SW, Leesburg, VA

Gleedsville Art Gallery offers original art, fine art prints, painted and printed murals, custom framing, giclee printing as well as other printing services, and art services to both private and corporate clients. If you would like to receive notification of shows and special events, please email us and we will add you to our list.

Loudoun Museum

16 Loudoun St SW, Leesburg, VA

Recently renovated, The Loudoun Museum interprets the county's cultural history with permanent and changing exhibits bringing Loudoun's history to life!

Museum of Hounds and Hunting

2598 Five Points Rd, Leesburg, VA

The Museum of Hounds & Hunting, Inc. opened on May 24, 1985 in the north wing of the stately Mansion at Morven Park thanks to a small group of sporting enthusiasts. They conceived the idea of the Museum in order to preserve the art, artifacts and memorabilia of a centuries-old sporting tradition. Seeking to acquire important and valuable artifacts before they are lost, the Museum provides a special place for the preservation and display of the sport’s rich history and by developing educational exhibits, promotes public understanding of hunting with hounds.

Workhouse Prison Museum at Lorton

9815 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA

Located just south OF Washington, D.C., this former workhouse prison by the Occoquan River was opened in 1910, commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to be more humane than its contemporary prisons. Yet the most notable chapter in its history is one of horrible treatment of the suffragists who were imprisoned here during the First World War, culminating in a “Night of Terror” that ended up being a turning point in the women’s movement.

Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum

4 East Pennsylvania Ave, Lovettsville, VA

The Lovettsville Historical Society has continued on this history journey since its inception in 1974 and continues offering the public the news of yesteryear, share an understanding to preserve history and remember those that make it. In January 2009, the Lovettsville Historical Society incorporated in the State of Virginia, is recognized as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and operates under the name Lovettsville Historical Society, Incorporated.

Exhibits continue to accumulate and consist of many objects pertaining to a past way of life in the Lovettsville area, including tools, clothing, utensils, personal items, photographs, and historic documents. Information is available on genealogy, families, homes, schools, churches, businesses, buildings and organizations. School classes and other groups are welcome to visit the museum by special appointment. Lectures are given monthly by leading historians on topics pertaining to events surrounding Lovettsville.

Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory

9027 Center St, Manassas, VA

In May 1900, C. A. S. Hopkins, a native of Ohio, founded the Hopkins Candy Factory and began producing candies in a frame building on West Street, in downtown Manassas. In their modest 16 by 20-foot factory, 25 employees made a sweet assortment of: Stick candy, Rock candy, Peanut bars, Coconut bars, Salesmen traveled by train and wagon toting sample cases of wholesale sweet confections to general stores throughout the region. The high quality yet inexpensive candy quickly became a regional favorite and the business flourished.

Freedom Museum

Manassas Airport, 10600 Harry J. Parrish Blvd, Manassas, VA

The thrust of the exhibit is the 20th Century – the American century.  What you will see is a timeline on which the stories of our local heroes are told.  Many of the exhibits are artifacts and source documents donated by our local citizens.  You will see the Norton Bomb Sight, military art, and the story of combat as told by the participants.  Don’t miss the Local Heroes Memorial recognizing all of the men and women from Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County who died in all of the wars from WW I to present.  You will come away with a new feeling of profound respect and admiration, for the sacrifice of families in our community.  Look at their events page, you will see upcoming guest speakers, book talks, and unique demonstrations.  Also, plan to attend the Manassas Air Show held in May every year!

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, VA

MCC offers a continuing program of activities for adults and children, including a wide range of classes, lectures, study tours, camps, art exhibits, theatre performances, and specialty shows. The Center also sponsors major community activities such as McLean Day at Lewinsville Park in May and the 4th of July Fireworks at Churchill Road Elementary School.

Center facilities include the 386-seat Alden Theatre, the McLean Project for the Arts galleries, the Susan B. DuVal Art Studio, meeting and conference rooms, a rehearsal studio and a classroom/commercial kitchen. Local open clubs and organizations use the Center for their monthly meetings without charge. Center facilities may be rented for private functions such as business conferences, receptions, parties, and recitals. District residents and businesses pay reduced fees. Information on MYI and Little League activities is always available in the lobby.

The Sporting Gallery

11 West Washington St, Middleburg, VA

They are an art gallery specializing in sports art, equipment, and collectibles. They also offer custom picture framing, oil painting restoration, and appraisal services.

Gallery On Madison

9 S. Madison St, Middleburg, VA

Here, you will discover an eclectic collection of original paintings, sculpture and artisan-made fine craft. Owners Jan and Jim Allmon are excited to share the talent and passion of the exceptional artists and artisans they represent.

The Byrne Gallery

7 West Washington St, Middleburg, VA

The Byrne Gallery offers a full range of art consulting services since 1995.  Providing art cataloging through art acquisition and collection development, The Byrne Gallery's expert evaluation skills guide its clients in selecting the finest quality artwork at the best pricing, building value in a collection that stands the test of time in both content and appreciation of aesthetics and investment.

Red Fox Fine Art

1 North Madison St, Middleburg, VA

Red Fox Fine Art is America’s leading gallery of 19th and 20th century sporting paintings and sculpture. Owner Turner Reuter, a field sport enthusiast and published author, opened the gallery in 1979 at the historic Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia.

Ford Orientation Center

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA

With state-of-the-art theaters showing an 18-minute action adventure movie illustrating pivotal moments from George Washington’s life, Mount Vernon In Miniature, and bronze sculptures of the Washington family welcoming you through its doors, the Ford Orientation Center gives visitors an overview of the Mount Vernon experience while dispelling the elder statesman icon and introducing the real George Washington – a dynamic, fascinating hero – prior to touring the estate.

The Loft Gallery

313 Mill St (Upstairs), Occoquan, VA

A fine arts gallery exhibiting original art by 21 professional artists!

Mill House Museum

413 Mill St, Occoquan, VA

In the latter part of the 18th century, the Quaker Nathaniel Ellicott purchased what remained of the original iron works complex established by John Ballendine in the 1750s and converted it to milling operations. His main, or Merchants Mill, was advanced for the time, and may have been the first automated gristmill in the young United States of America. The main mill continued to be used in one fashion or another until 1924, when a generator fire in the Occoquan Electric Light and Power Company destroyed the main structure. Although the small attached Mill House, where the mill’s administrator worked, remained unscathed, decades of subsequent neglect led to its near collapse. 

Eventually, the Alexandria Water Company purchased the Mill House in the middle of the 20th century when it began construction of the Occoquan dams. First restoring it for use as office space, the company’s successor, the Fairfax Water Authority (now known as Fairfax Water) eventually turned the structure over to the Town of Occoquan, who leases it to the Occoquan Historical Society for use as a museum.

Purcellville Art Gallery

760 E. Main St, Purcellville, VA

The Purcellville Art Gallery was established by Discover Purcellville and showcases art for sale from a variety of local, talented Loudoun County artists. They also offer classroom space, and art fairs on the weekends.

Reston Art Gallery & Studios

11400 Washington Plaza W # B, Reston, VA

The Reston Art Gallery and Studios is a privately-owned cooperative gallery and studio in the historical part of Reston known as Lake Anne.  The gallery is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 PM.  You may also make an appointment to see the gallery or an individual artist on weekdays.

New artists are juried into the gallery by member artists. Since the gallery accommodates a small number of local artists, a waiting list is kept for studio space.

Artists often work at the gallery in their studio space. Visitors to the gallery may watch artists at work and talk to them about their process.  Each month there is a rotating show in the main gallery room displaying one or more of the member artists’ work

Reston Historic Trust & Museum

1639 Washington Plaza, Reston, VA

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum (RHT) is a community organization that preserves the past, informs the present, and influences the future of Reston through its exhibits, public programs, and events including the Reston Home Tour, Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta, and Founder’s Day. Our goals are to engage the public in an exploration of community history; to promote Reston as a destination point for tourism; and to collect, preserve and interpret the artifacts and documents of Reston’s history.

artinsights animation and film art gallery

11921 Freedom Dr, Reston, VA

Lovers of animation, film, and contemporary art, and they specialize in proprietary projects with contemporary artists, and original and limited-edition OFFICIAL art from all the major film studios. They have exclusive art from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and all the Disney features. 

They also interview artists and filmmakers about their art and craft and their careers, to both inspire and promote those who are dedicated to a life in art, whatever form it may take. As Cinema Siren, they especially focus on women and diversity in film, but they also love superheroes and blockbusters (when they’re good or fun or both!) Check out our interviews and ask them about art commissions. Many of the pieces they create for their collectors go on to be sell-out limited edition images!

Round Hill Arts Center

35246 Harry Byrd Highway, Suite 170, Round Hill, VA

The Round Hill Arts Center will reopen and restart in-person classes, workshops, and summer camps beginning June 22, 2020. Not all classes and workshops will begin immediately, so please check their Facebook Page for the most up to date announcements.

Waddell Art Gallery

First floor of Waddell Building

21200 Campus Dr, Sterling, VA

The mission of the gallery is to educate by providing regularly changing art exhibits with diversity in both media and content. The gallery will provide students, faculty, staff and the community an opportunity to enjoy and contemplate visual art.

Heritage Farm Museum

21668 Heritage Farm Ln, Sterling, VA

Exploring the agricultural history of NoVA!

Northern Virginia Model Railroaders

231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA

Visitors include people of all ages who enjoy watching railroad activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950's. That railroad was called the Western North Carolina (WNC) and every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry on our layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything; we must admit that to satisfy popular demand, an occasional sighting can be made of Thomas the Tank Engine and a few of his friends chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives.

Freeman Store and Museum

131 Church Street NE, Vienna, VA

The Freeman Store is a historic country store that gives visitors an opportunity to step back in time to experience what general stores in Virginia once looked like. In their gift shop, they sell items for children including books, puzzles & toys and offer a variety of exclusive hand-crafted gifts for the home.  They also carry books on local history written by local authors and have a wide assortment of stationery, postcards and souvenirs. They specialize in Vienna & Virginia themed gifts and pottery, hand-painted wood keepsakes of iconic Vienna buildings, old fashioned candy and cold drinks.

Cold War Museum

7142 Lineweaver Rd, Vint Hill Farms, VA

The Cold War Museum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to education, preservation, and research on the global, ideological, and political confrontations between East and West from the end of World War II to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Mosby Museum

13938 Braddock Rd, Warrenton, VA

The launch of the Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum was timed to coincide with Centreville Day, the one-day festival that celebrates the community’s rich historical tapestry back to when it was known as a humble crossroads town.

The museum display artifacts connected to Confederate stalwarts Gen. James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart (who first distinguished himself at the battle of First Manassas in July 1861) and Col. John Mosby, whose daring Partisan Raiders turned most of Fairfax County into what was known as Mosby’s Confederacy.


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