Arts and Culture
A Cultural Epicenter
Live music experiences at incredible venues, living history reenactments at famous battlefields, and beautiful modern art galleries are just a few of the things you can expect to find in Northern Virginia.
It’s no secret that Northern Virginia is a treasure trove of historic battlefields, Civil War artifacts, and extraordinary museums. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a whole world of immersive arts and culture – from a vibrant live music scene to incredible art galleries. Northern Virginia positions visitors in the center of it all – as the gateway to both Virginia’s Wine Country to the west and our nation’s capital with even more cultural experiences to the north.
Highlighting Local History
If museums are your thing, Northern Virginia is the place to be. George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Fairfax County boasts 23 incredible galleries and interactive exhibits focused on our founding father’s story. At the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, you can witness the incredible presence of the iconic Space Shuttle Discovery and hundreds of other air and space craft that shaped the history of flight. For history buffs, there are plenty of Northern Virginia Civil War historical sites to visit, including battlefields, parks, trails, and memorials. Many memorials honoring the Underground Railroad can also be found in this region. The National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg is another unique find – it’s dedicated to preserving and sharing the literature, art, and culture of equestrian, angling, and field sports.
Catch a Live Show
Northern Virginia is home to world-class arts venues and a vibrant grassroots arts scene. The unique Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is the first and only U.S. National Park dedicated to the performance arts, presenting beautiful performances within a natual setting. Meanwhile, the brand new Capital One Hall in Tysons will include a 1,500-seat main hall and is expected to open in 2021. Big names in music and theatre frequent the stages at large venues like George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena, but artists also perform to audiences at smaller, more intimate venues throughout Northern Virginia like Jammin Java and The State Theatre. Other performing arts venues to check out include 1st Stage Tysons, The Alden in McLean, The Hub Theatre in Reston and NextStop Theatre Company in Herndon.
A large number of professional and volunteer arts organizations like the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and The Mclean Symphony offer year-round musical performances. Get dressed up for a night out at the Virginia Opera or Manassas Ballet Theatre. In addition, George Mason University’s Center for the Arts frequently puts on plays and musical performances by students and professionals alike. Choral groups like Alexandria Choral Society, The Northern Virginia Chorale, and The Reston Chorale enrich the community with a variety of musical styles from the Renaissance to modern American composers.
Hands-On Arts Experiences
Fine art galleries in Northern Virginia like Gallery Underground in Arlington and The Loft Gallery in Occoquan work to promote emerging local artists. The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria features 82 working artist studios, in addition to 7 galleries, two workshops and more. Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton offers engaging workshops in visual arts, performing arts, and even culinary arts. Other notable art experiences in Northern Virginia include Arlington Arts Center, ARTfactory in Manassas, Arts Herndon, Del Ray Artisans Gallery, the Principle Gallery in Alexandria and Waddell Art Gallery.
Find Your Community
Ready to make your move to Northern VA? Our quiz helps you decide which neighborhood for families is the best place to live, whether it’s a D.C. neighborhood, Northern VA, or Fairfax County.
Cost of Living Calculator
One of the best places to live near DC, Northern Virginia’s amenities offer high value at a lower cost of living than many major metros. Explore our cost of living calculator to help you plan your finances when moving.