Of the hundreds of places to eat in Fairfax County, these are some of my favorites. This list is not encyclopedic. There are no rankings. These are just places — some are single restaurants and others are locations offering lots of choices — that you should know about if you live here.
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Museums and Historic Sites
3610 Old Lee Hwy.
The Blenheim estate farmhouse, which dates from 1859, sits on 12 acres. The estate is currently under restoration. Call for information about tours.
Centreville Historic District
Lee Highway at Braddock Road
Several historic 18th- and 19th-century structures are in Old Town Centreville, including the Mount Gilead House, the Harrison House and the Havener House.
Cherry Hill Farmhouse
312 Park Ave.
Falls Church 22046
Fax: 703 536-8150
Cherry Hill is a historic family farm, circa 1845, with an adjoining barn and parkland, managed by the Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays April-October; and by appointment.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
6310 Georgetown Pike
The living-history farm at Turkey Run illustrates 18th-century rural life in Virginia. Hours: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays -Sundays, April to mid-December. Admission $3 for adults; $2 for children (3-12 years old) and senior citizens
The Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism
8301 E. Boulevard Dr.
This library and museum near Mount Vernon, on land originally owned by George Washington, provides information about the roles that members of the Masonic fraternity played in the founding and development of the country. The building serves as the national headquarters for National Sojourners Inc., a Masonic veterans organization. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and holidays.
Colvin Run Mill
10017 Colvin Run Rd.
Great Falls 22066
Colvin Run is an early-19th-century gristmill and related buildings, including the miller's house. The mill is operated seasonally and is closed on Tuesdays. Colvin Run offers daily tours, educational programs, special events, outdoor concerts and shopping at the general store. Park admission is free; there is a nominal fee for guided tours.
Fairfax City Museum and Visitor Center
10209 Main St.
The center is in the former Fairfax Elementary School, built in 1873 as the first two-story brick school in the Fairfax area. In 2005, a permanent exhibition on the city's history, called "The Fairfax Story," opened to coincide with the city's bicentennial. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas; open half-day on Christmas Eve.
Fairfax County Courthouse
Chain Bridge Road and Little River Turnpike
The old courthouse was completed in 1800 and was the site of Civil War activity. It is used today by the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Fairfax Old Town Hall
3999 University Dr.
Built in 1900, the Classical Revival-style building houses the Huddleson Library and the Fairfax Art League's gallery. It is available for receptions and meetings. Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays.
Fairfax Station Railroad Museum
11200 Fairfax Station Rd.
Fairfax Station 22039
A reconstructed rail station serves as a museum of Civil War, railroad and local history. The museum holds additional memorabilia. There are annual model train shows and special exhibitions. Hours: 1-4 p.m. Sundays.
Freeman Store and Museum
131 Church St. NE
Over the years, the Freeman House has served as a home, store, Civil War hospital, railroad station, post office and fire department. Today it is a museum and old-fashioned general store. Hours: noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays; closed in January.
Gunston Hall Plantation
10709 Gunston Rd.
Mason Neck 22079
This was the plantation home of George Mason, a framer of the U.S. Constitution. The home, built about 1755, is on 550 acres and is open for tours. Many special events take place here throughout the year. Hours: 9:30 a.m-5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Herndon Depot Museum
717 Lynn St.
Built in 1857, this depot is the home of the town's historical society.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Free.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon 22121
The estate of George Washington is open daily, year-round.
Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., April-August; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., March, September and October; 9 a.m.-4 p.m., November-February.
National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy.
The National Air and Space Museum companion facility, which opened in 2003, has more than 135 aircraft and more than 140 major space artifacts on display, including the space shuttle Enterprise and the B-29 bomber Enola Gay. The center also features an IMAX theater, a museum shop and food service. Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily except Christmas. Admission is free; parking is $12.
National Firearms Museum
11250 Waples Mill Rd.
Operated by the Fairfax-based National Rifle Association. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, except major holidays. Admission is free.
Ratcliffe-Allison House and Pozer Garden
10386 Main St.
Built by Richard Ratcliffe in 1812, the house is the oldest in the city. It is open noon-3 p.m. Fridays, March-Oct., during special events, during walking tours in the spring and fall, and by appointment.
Lake Anne Village Center
The museum offers exhibitions on Reston community life and a gift shop with Reston memorabilia and books, as well as programs, activities and information. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends.
Sully Historic Site
3601 Sully Rd.
Built in 1794 by Richard Bland Lee, Northern Virginia's first representative to Congress, the house is furnished with antiques of the Federal period. Outbuildings include a kitchen, smokehouse, stone dairy and representative slave quarters. The Fairfax County Park Authority offers educational programs, craft demonstrations and reenactments. Hours: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily except Tuesdays and some holidays.
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr.
A visitors center at the federal agency offers an introduction to topics such as volcanoes, earthquakes, disaster preparedness and flooding. Hours for self-
guided tours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays; guided tours are
available by calling 703-648-4748.
Windover Heights Historic District
Windover Heights, one of the area's oldest neighborhoods, is off Chain Bridge Road (Route 123). Grand homes, some dating from the 1860s, line the meandering streets, and the neighborhood features many mature trees as well as open space. Many residents open their gardens for the Walk on the Hill, held the last Sunday in April.
9000 Richmond Hwy. (Route 1)
Woodlawn was built between 1800 and 1805 as a wedding gift from George Washington for Lawrence and Eleanor "Nelly" Custis Lewis (George Washington's nephew and Martha Washington's granddaughter) on acreage from the founding father's Mount Vernon estate. It is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. Open March-December 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Fees: Adults $7.50, children $3, or $13 for adults and $5 for children to also visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House, which shares the location. The estate can be rented for events.
Arts Council of Fairfax County
4022 Hummer Rd.
The nonprofit council awards grants to county arts groups. The Web site provides information on and links to dozens of member organizations.
Council for the Arts of Herndon
P.O. Box 940
730 Elden St.
The nonprofit council promotes arts programs in the greater Herndon area.
Fairfax City Commission on the Arts
Department of Parks and Recreation
Green Acres Center
4401 Sideburn Rd., Suite 120
The commission, which promotes artistic endeavors in Fairfax City, meets the third Thursday of every month at the John C. Wood Center, 3730 Old Lee Hwy.
Vienna Arts Society
Vienna Art Center
115 Pleasant St.NW
The group promotes arts in Vienna and operates a gallery at 513 Maple Ave. W. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.
Theaters and Theater companies
Aldersgate Church Community Theatre
1301 Collingwood Rd.
American Music Stage
P.O. Box 10612
The company performs at the Ernst Theatre at Northern Virginia Community College's Annandale Campus.
Elden Street Players
P.O. Box 5006
The company performs at Industrial Strength Theater, 269 Sunset Park Dr., in the "far back right corner" of Herndon's Sunset Business Park.
McLean Community Players
P.O. Box 160
The troupe performs at the Alden Theatre, McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave.
Reston Community Players
Reston Community Center
2310 Colts Neck Rd.
Springfield Community Theatre
P.O. Box 202
The group performs at Immanuel United Methodist Church, 7901 Heritage Dr., Annandale.
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center
120 Cherry St.
Community center: 703-255-6360
James Lee Community Center Theater
2855 Annandale Rd.
Falls Church 22042
Mount Vernon Community Children's Theatre
1900 Elkin St., Suite 210
Children's shows are performed at Carl Sandburg Middle School, 8428 Fort Hunt Rd., in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.
Center for the Arts
George Mason University
Route 123 and Braddock Road
The center offers music, theater and dance by local and internationally recognized performers.
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Rd.
Ticket sales: 877-965-3872
The Wolf Trap Foundation presents a full range of performing arts and arts-in-education programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company and the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and includes two performance spaces, the Filene Center, at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and the Barns at Wolf Trap.
Fair Lakes Center
12950-13085 Fair Lakes Center
703-227-2000 (Fair Lakes Center)
The Fair Lakes area includes Fair Lakes Center, the Shops of Fair Lakes at Fair Lakes Circle and Fair Lakes Parkway, and Fair Lakes Promenade at Fair Lakes Parkway and West Ox Road. Store and restaurant hours vary.
Fair Oaks Mall
11750 Fair Oaks
Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.
Monument Drive and Government Center Parkway
Fairfax Corner features movie theaters, shops, restaurants, offices and residential buildings in a pedestrian-oriented atmosphere. Hours vary.
Reston Town Center
New Dominion Parkway
Store, restaurant and movie theater hours vary.
6500 Springfield Mall
Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Rd.
Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
2001 International Dr.
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays.
Annandale Farmers Market
Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike
703-642-0128 (Sandra Reichert)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Thursdays, generally early May to early November.
Burke Farmers Market
5671 Roberts Pkwy. (VRE parking lot)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, generally early May to late October.
Community Farmers Market
Main and West Streets
Hours: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, generally early May through late October.
Fairfax Farmers Market
3730 Old Lee Hwy. (Van Dyck Park)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Tuesdays, generally early May to late October.
Falls Church Farmers Market
300 Park Ave. (City Hall parking lot)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May to late December; 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays, late December through April.
Frying Pan Park Farmers Market
2709 West Ox Rd.
Hours: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays, generally early May to late October.
Herndon Farmers Market
Elden and Spring streets (next to Town Hall)
Hours: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursdays, generally early May to late October.
Kingstowne Farmers Market
Kingstowne Towne Center, Kingstowne Boulevard, near Uno Chicago Grill
Hours: 4-7 p.m. Fridays, generally mid-May to late October.
McLean Farmers Market
1659 Chain Bridge Rd. (Lewinsville Park)
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Fridays, generally early May to mid-November.
Mount Vernon Farmers Market
2501 Sherwood Hall Lane (library parking lot)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Tuesdays, generally early May to mid-November.
Reston Farmers Market
Lake Anne Plaza, off North Shore Drive
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, generally early May to early November.
Vienna Farmers Market
9601 Courthouse Rd. (Nottoway Park)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays, generally early May to late November.
Vienna Saturday Farmers Market
Church Street and Dominion Road NE (Caboose parking lot)
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May through October.
Wakefield Farmers Market
8100 Braddock Rd. (Wakefield Park)
Hours: 2:30-6 p.m. Wednesdays, generally mid-May to late October