Best of NoVA 2018
Arts & Entertainment

Looking for the best arts & entertainment venues in Northern Virginia? From outdoor movies to live music venues, here are your fellow Northern Virginians’ favorites.

Wolf Trap
Courtesy of Wolf Trap

Outdoor Concert

Wolf Trap
A performing arts center associated with the National Park Service, Wolf Trap’s outdoor venues being such a gem shouldn’t be much of a surprise. This summer catch performances from Steven Tyler, Queen Latifah and Common, Indigo Girls and more. And theatrical shows like Jaws in Concert and a sing-a-long Sound of Music. –MB // 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; wolftrap.org

Live Music Venue

The Birchmere
For more than 50 years, The Birchmere has been one of the premier music venues in Northern Virginia, focused on providing an intimate and comfortable atmosphere for the musicians and audiences. Birchmere is best known for showcasing talents in bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, country, R&B and rock. –MB // 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; birchmere.com

Angelika Film Center & Café at Mosaic
Courtesy of EDENS

Movie Theater

Angelika Film Center & Café at Mosaic
The traditional movie-going experience is not dead. The Angelika Film Center at Mosaic offers top-tier experiences on its eight screens with 4K Digital Projection and Dolby Surround 7.1. The theater can handle both dinner and a movie with elevated food and concessions, as well as craft beer, wine and cocktails. –MB // 2911 District Ave., Fairfax; angelikafilmcenter.com/mosaic

Art Gallery

Torpedo Factory Art Center
The Torpedo Factory Art Center houses 82 working artist studios across multiple disciplines—painting, ceramics, photography, stained glass, printmaking, sculpture and more—seven galleries, two workshops and offers a range of art classes. All of this has made Torpedo Factory an Alexandria landmark. –MB // 105 N. Union St., Alexandria; torpedofactory.org

Adult Music Festival

Rosslyn Jazz Festival
Come September, Rosslyn turns into a hot bed of jazz music with the annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival. Live performances from many top jazz musicians take over Gateway Park for this one-day festival, which also features wine, beer, food trucks and discounts to neighborhood restaurants. –MB // rosslynva.org

Romantic Getaway

Salamander Resort & Spa
Located in Middelburg, the Salamander Resort serves as a countryside getaway for NoVA residents. With 168 guestrooms and suites on 340 acres, Salamander features a 23,000-square-foot spa, 25 acres for equestrian activities, the Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill and a range of outdoor activities. –MB // 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg; salamanderresort.com

Outdoor Movie

Mosaic Films in the Park
Sometimes the summer night is just too nice to spend in a movie theater, that’s where Mosaic Films in the Park picks up the slack. The popular summer attraction will return to Strawberry Park in the Mosaic District once again this year, Sunday nights starting June 3. –MB // 2905 District Ave., Fairfax; mosaicdistrict.com


Rock It Grill
Get your karaoke fix every day of the week at Rock It Grill in Alexandria. Nelson’s Karaoke Showtime provides the set up featuring around 80,000 songs for people to rock out to. The fun begins at 9:30 p.m. and goes all the way until 1:30 a.m. –MB // 1319 King St., Alexandria; rockit-grill.com

Theatre House

Signature Theatre
Signature Theatre has developed a proud history in its nearly 30 years in Northern Virginia. This Tony Award-winning (2009 Regional Theatre Award), nonprofit professional theater company offers audiences contemporary musicals and plays, reinventions of classic musicals, helps develop new work and provides educational and outreach opportunities. –MB // 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; sigtheatre.org

Adult Arts

Alexandria Clay Co-op
Put together by former members of the now defunct Creative Clay Studios, Alexandria Clay Co-Op is billed as an “artsy social club” of hobbyists and beginners looking for access to a full array of pottery services and equipment, including a kiln. Classes and memberships are available. –MB // 2389 S. Dove St., Alexandria; alexandriaclaycoop.com

Place to Meet Singles

Don Tito
Twenty-somethings continue to make Arlington a go-to location for their nightlife, with Don Tito proving to be one of the most popular among singles. With a happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-8 p.m. and the new Rooftop Tuesdays, break the ice by buying that cutie across the bar a Don Tito margarita. –MB // 3165 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; dontitova.com

First Date

The Winery at Bull Run
Enjoy a glass of Norton Reserve and watch the sunset over the vines and Manassas National Battlefield Park. Not too shabby of a way to spend a first date. And live music on weekends is a great ice breaker. If it all works out, bring it full circle as the winery is also a popular wedding venue. –MB // 15950 Lee Highway, Centreville; wineryatbullrun.com

Place for an Instagram Shoot

Claude Moore Colonial Farm
Pre-Revolutionary War life certainly didn’t include social media, but today, the Claude Moore Colonial Farm uses Instagram to highlight events and artifacts. Featuring pictures of exhibits, wildlife and other historical goodies, the @visit1771 handle does a great job promoting this attraction. As of this printing, the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm and the National Park Service are discontinuing their relationship at the end of the year. NPS will still own the land and is weighing options for its future. –MB // 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean; 1771.org

Great Falls
© Lance / Stock.adobe.com


Great Falls
With the gorgeous views of the Potomac River cascading down a series of steep, jagged rocks and flowing through the Mather Gorge, Great Falls provides an enviable backdrop for a weekend picnic. When lunch is done, enjoy the park’s 15 miles of hiking trails. –MB // 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean; nps.gov/grfa

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