In 1910, Congress passed a law setting the overall height limit for buildings in Washington, D.C., to 130 feet. “Best law we passed,” says Graham Dunn, general manager of the recently opened CEB Observation Deck, which resides in Rosslyn, outside the jurisdiction of that more than 100-year-old law. When you see the views from the 31st floor, you’ll understand why Dunn is so high on that decision.
Starting Thursday, June 21, patrons will be able to access the CEB Observation Deck, which is located atop JBG Smith’s CEB Tower, directly across the street from the Rosslyn Metro. The tallest commercial building inside the Beltway (only the Washington Monument is taller overall), the Observation Deck provides a never-before-seen view of not only the classic D.C. landmarks, but also a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. On a clear day, Dunn says that the CIA water tower, Tysons and FedEx Field could all be in view.
But there’s more to take in than just the view. The Observation Deck also offers educational opportunities through touchscreen displays providing visitors with information on a number of Northern Virginia and D.C. landmarks. Highlights include information on CIA founder Allen Dulles; the city planning of Arlington; Mary Custis Lee and Arlington National Cemetery; the Pentagon; and Reagan National Airport. A hologram machine has been placed at the end of the roundabout of views featuring actors portraying Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells. The touchscreens and hologram machine were developed by Productive Edge.
Another tech bonus is a special photo op. With the monuments as their backdrop, using their cell phones, guests can connect to a camera on an adjacent wall, crop the photo to their liking and then snap a pic. The free photo is automatically shared to their social media profiles.
“We want it to be somewhere where people come up and dwell a little while and enjoy a nice bite to eat, get a drink and hang out,” says Dunn, alluding to the full service cafe that includes alcoholic beverages.
In addition to serving as a public attraction, the space can also be reserved for private functions like networking events, galas or press/media announcements.
A ticket costs $21 when bought online, and unlike what many are probably used to, the service fee is actually waived when purchased this way. A $1 service fee is added if tickets are purchased at the box office. All tickets have specific entry times to avoid long lines.
So long as they provide proof of residency, tickets are free for Arlington residents. There are discounts for youth, seniors, military members and students, while children four and under are free. The Observation Deck is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on the weekends.
By the way, Dunn’s favorite view—outside of watching the airplanes land at Reagan—is seeing how the monumental core changes throughout the day as the light hits it differently; the type of view he says has never existed before.