15 Best Things to Do in Annandale, VA

Annandale, VA
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The quaint, charming community of Annandale in Fairfax County, Virginia, sums up what suburban life is all about.

Annandale, a census-designated community in Fairfax County, is perfectly nestled atop the Verdant Valley’s rolling hills.

Its location makes an interesting travel destination filled with hidden gems and interesting stories.

Annandale has a population of roughly about 41,000 inhabitants.

Apart from that, the town is widely known to have the largest Korean-American community in Northern Virginia.

Plus, it’s also home to the most extensive Northern Virginia Community College System branch.

Above all, Annandale is a fascinating destination located on the outskirts of Washington DC and Alexandria.

Annandale is a fun and fascinating destination in the outskirts of Washington DC and Alexandria.

Its open spaces, parks, and trails make this town a perfect destination for outdoor recreation for families, friends, and groups.

Strolling along its downtown streets will lead you to specialty shops, antique stores, and dozens of Korean restaurants.

Annandale virtually has endless fun activities, including its nearby cities and towns.

So, what’s in store for everyone in this charming small town?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Annandale, VA:

Discover the Gerry Connoly Cross County Trail

View of Gerry Connoly Cross County Trail
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The entire Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail covers more than 40 miles of exciting trails for hiking and biking in Fairfax County.

It traverses the whole length of Fairfax County, which starts and ends in different points along the Potomac River.

This trail offers you a wonderful scenic view of Great Falls Park, the Potomac River, Laurel Hill, and Occoquan River.

View of Gerry Connoly Cross County Trail
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Bikers, hikers, equestrians, joggers, and outdoor enthusiasts have the chance to discover one of Virginia’s best natural attractions along the trail.

The best time to traverse the trail is spring, where most flora and fauna blossoms.

The Gerry Connoly Cross County Trail has multiple access in Annandale.

View of Gerry Connoly Cross County Trail
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Explore the Hidden Oaks Nature Center

The entire Annandale Community Park comprises adjoined parks, including the Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

It’s a popular destination for outdoor activities in town, while its foliage is filled with American beech, Tulip Poplar, White Oaks, Red Oaks, and White Pines.

However, its main attraction is its trails, where you will likely come across more than a hundred species of birds, such as barred owls, horned owls, warblers, and wild turkeys.

If you’re planning to explore this park, one of the best and most convenient accesses to the Hidden Oaks Nature Center, and its park is at 7701 Royce St.

Mason District Park

The Mason District Park serves as Annandale’s open space for sports, hiking, and outdoor events.

It has playing fields for numerous sports such as baseball, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

This park also hosts different outdoor events during summer like outdoor art exhibits, children’s shows, and other live performances.

The Mason District Park is also where you’ll find the historic trail called the “Civil War Trails,” which leads you to numerous old battlefields in Munson’s Hill, Mason’s Hill, and Bailey’s Crossroads.

The Mason District Park is located at 6621 Columbia Pike, and it’s open from 7:30 am to 9 pm daily.

Explore the Long Branch Stream Valley Trail

Head to the Long Branch Stream Valley Trail for a more energetic outdoor activity in Annandale.

The trail allows you to have a fast-paced hike along its paved walkways while enjoying a wonderful backdrop of nature.

Or perhaps, you can slow down a bit and enjoy the beauty of nature.

You can start your hike at the trail in Annandale’s Wakefield Chapel Road or Canterbury Woods Park.

The Long Branch Stream Valley Trail is specifically located in the southern end of Annandale near the border of Springfield.

Rub Elbows with Locals at the Annandale Farmers Market

Farmers’ markets always have something special because of the genuine commitment of their vendors to offer specially crafted products and fresh produce.

Annandale Farmers’ Market is no different from most farmers’ markets people enjoy.

It offers fresh produce and home-cooked meals, artisanal bread, pastries, freshly cut flowers, and farm-raised meat.

Annandale farmers’ market has an open-air setting making it a bit breezy, and it is perfectly nestled in the spacious Mason District Park.

Annandale Farmers’ Market is open on Thursday mornings if you want to taste local specialties and fresh produce.

Check Out the Wakefield Chapel

View of Wakefield Chapel
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The Wakefield Chapel is considered one of Annandale’s most important religious centers.

It has already hosted more than a hundred weddings since its construction in 1899.

The chapel stands proudly on land donated by well-known Annandale local Oliver Besley, who owned a sawmill back in the days.

Its structure is very similar to most common gothic structures, and it’s covered with white clapboards while it has arching windows that make an excellent example of a quaint suburban chapel.

The chapel’s first preacher, Rev. Elhanan, provided most of the hard work and labor in building Wakefield Chapel, while Besley provided the construction materials.

Aside from being an important religious center in Annandale, the Wakefield Chapel also has numerous artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia of Annandale’s past.

Wakefield Chapel is at 8415 Toll House Rd, Annandale, VA.

Score a Turkey at the Bowlero Annandale

Bowling Centers will never go out of trend; that is why you need to check out Annandale’s Bowlero center, where you can enjoy an afternoon of tenpin bowling.

Although there are many branches of Bowlero across the United States, the one in Annandale is still a must-visit place not just to play bowling but for other entertaining activities.

Bowlero will surely give you that ultimate throwback experience you’ve been looking for because of its retro-inspired design and theme.

After a tiring bowling session, you can order refreshing drinks and delicious food at its café or perhaps enjoy playing old-school arcade games.

Lastly, Bowlero is equipped with function rooms for birthday parties, corporate events, and other special occasions.

Bowlero Annandale is located at 4245 Markham St, Annandale, VA, and it’s open from noon to midnight daily.

Watch Live Performances at the Richard J. Ernst Cultural Center

Annandale has a place to watch exciting theatrical and musical performances at the Richard J. Ernst Cultural Center inside the Northern Virginia Community College campus.

The entire theater can accommodate up to 520 people, and it’s equipped with modern sounds, lighting, and projection for an immersive theater experience.

This theater is where most of Annandale’s huge concerts, stage plays, and other major activities happen.

Plus, it has regularly scheduled events for a different set of audiences.

The Richard J. Ernst Cultural Center is situated at 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA.

For inquiries, you can visit its office that is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

The Craft Gallery of Artisans United Inc. is a group that runs an art gallery and art shop in Annandale.

It’s where most of Fairfax County’s thriving artists showcase their masterpieces that you can purchase and take home as awesome souvenirs.

On the other hand, their gallery aims to educate everyone about their artwork and mission.

The group behind this popular art gallery in Annandale was formed in 1987 and became very influential in arts in Fairfax County.

Even if you’re not really into arts, this is a wonderful place to include in your itinerary because of the enthusiastic approach of the artists that will tour you through their respective galleries.

They even do an impromptu demonstration of their art.

The Craft Gallery of Artisans United Inc. is located at 4022 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA, and it’s open on weekdays.

Indulge in Delicious Food at the Block Foodhall & Bar

The Block Foodhall & Bar is one of Virginia’s top food destinations because of its Asian-inspired cuisines.

This place is the first food hall in Northern Virginia that offers mostly Asian cuisines, thanks to the large Korean-American community in Annandale.

Get to choose from different vendors such as Pokeworks, Balo Kitchen, Snocream Company, Block Bar, and Bold Dumpling that serves Hawaiian, Asian, Korean, and Chinese comfort food.

For a different culinary experience, head to 4221 John Marr Dr, Annandale, VA, to reach The Block Foodhall & Bar.

The food hall opens daily from noon to midnight.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Annandale is a stone’s throw away from United States’ capital and adjacent to  Alexandria.

All you need is to drive 22 minutes or 13 miles east of Annandale to reach Washington DC, where you can continue your travel adventure while southeast of town takes you to Alexandria.

Both cities have many attractions to visit, from historical, natural, science, and many more.

So, here are the five best things to do nearby Annandale, VA.

Roam Around the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science

Outside of  Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science
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Another DC attraction that people are dying to visit is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science.

This world-famous museum houses more than 145 million specimens of animals, plants, fossils, rocks, minerals, human remains, artifacts, meteorites, and a whole lot more.

Inside View of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science
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Everything from amazing to bizarre is stored in glass cases in this famous museum.

What makes this museum a great place to visit is you won’t have to pay a single penny to allow yourself to experience a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness the greatness of history and science.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science is located at 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC, is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

Inside View of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science
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Tour the White House

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Everyone’s travel bucket list always includes a tour inside the famous White House.

Who doesn’t want to roam the halls, the rooms, and the oval office of the most powerful nation on earth?

However, touring the White House is quite a hassle for security reasons.

However, if you’re very interested in touring inside, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis, even if its entrance fee is free.

Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock.com

A tour inside the White House needs planning by requesting made through a member of the Congress and must be submitted three months before the visit or not less than 21 days.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors who want to visit the White House can contact their home country’s embassy based in Washington, DC.

If you’re not able to tour inside, you can still take nice photos outside the gate of the White House.

Visit the Lincoln Memorial

View of  Lincoln Memorial
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The colossal monument of the Lincoln Memorial is another attraction in Washington DC that you shouldn’t miss.

The national memorial is built to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US.

View of  Lincoln Memorial
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The world-famous Lincoln Memorial is at the western tip of the National Mall, just across from the Washington Monument.

Aside from taking photos of the famous monument, you will also be amazed by its neoclassical Greek temple design courtesy of the late architect Henry Bacon.

View of  Lincoln Memorial
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Uncover the Rich History at Gadsby Tavern Museum

View of Gadsby Tavern Museum
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Over at Alexandria, the famous Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will surely give history buffs a lot of historical facts about the place’s role in shaping the United States.

The tavern constructed back in 1785 played a crucial role in the United States’ political and economic history.

John Gadsby, the tavern owner, built an adjacent hotel in 1792.

View of Gadsby Tavern Museum
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The place became important in American history for hosting several key statesmen, including six presidents such as George Washington.

It was their go-to place for dining, but most importantly, it’s the place where they hold their private meetings about their grand plans for the nation.

The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located at 134 N. Royal St, Alexandria, VA, and it opens from Thursday to Sunday.

Shop at the United States’ Oldest Farmers’ Market

United States’ Oldest Farmers’ Market
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The Old Town Farmers’ Market in Alexandria has been running for the past 260 years, making it the oldest farmers’ market in the United States.

Today, farmers and vendors remain true to their commitment to providing the freshest produce straight from their farms and orchards in Virginia.

The Old Town Farmers’ Market opens beside the Alexandria City Hall every Saturday morning.

Get to explore more than 70 vendors who offer fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, bread, pastries, meats, and a lot more.

As you explore the farmers’ market deeper, you can enjoy delicious treats such as pastries, sweets, coffee, and gourmet food from other vendors.

Final Thoughts

Being close to Washington DC and other major cities in Virginia, Annandale is the perfect weekend destination to relax and escape the city bustle.

Your trip there will surely provide you with a lot of understanding about history while enjoying its peaceful and scenic parks.

Ultimately, Annandale is more than a travel destination; but a wonderful place to settle down.

If you’re planning to visit Annandale in the future, make sure to bookmark this post to give yourself an instant itinerary.

Plus, it would be a pleasure to share this post with your family, friends, and fellow travelers!

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