Crystal City is the secondary "downtown" area of Arlington, Virginia, after the Rosslyn–Ballston Corridor. This article also includes the nearby neighborhoods of Pentagon City, Arlington Ridge, and Aurora Highlands.
Crystal City is the principal commercial area in South Arlington, consisting of highrise buildings centered on U.S. Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway). The Crystal City Metro station is on 18th St South between Route 1 and Crystal Drive. Located adjacent to the airport— indeed, one can walk from Reagan Washington National Airport directly into Crystal City via the Mount Vernon Trail— this neighborhood has perhaps the largest concentration of hotels in Arlington. Arlington has been redeveloping 1960s-era Crystal City, with a new restaurant district along Crystal Drive joining the established one on 23rd St S. Underlying it all, literally, is the Crystal City Underground, a subterranean network of interconnected shops and restaurants— and a handy alternative to walking in bad weather, provided you don't get disoriented.
Adjacent to Crystal City to the north is the Pentagon City shopping district, served by the Pentagon City Metro station, and just across I-395 from the Pentagon. The neighborhood is dominated by three shopping centers: the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, with higher-end shops, and connected to the Ritz-Carlton hotel; the discount-oriented Pentagon Centre to its east; and Pentagon Row to its west, home to some specialty stores and a wintertime skating rink. Proximity to the freeway as well as the numerous eating and shopping options make Pentagon City a regular stop for bus tours.
The Crystal City area is served by the combined Yellow/Blue Metro line, with stops at Pentagon City and Crystal City. It provides access from downtown Washington, D.C. to the north, and Alexandria and southern Fairfax County to the south. Crystal City also has its own commuter rail station a few blocks from the Metro. In addition, the Metroway Bus Rapid Transit line runs from Pentagon City through Crystal City and down to Old Town Alexandria.
- 1 Crystal City Water Park. A small park with a large and interestingly landscaped cascading waterfall. It's a good place to relax or eat lunch on a nice day. There is also a tunnel under the railroad tracks that provides access to the Mount Vernon Trail.
- 2 DEA Museum and Visitors Center, 700 Army-Navy Drive (Metro: Pentagon City), ☏ . Tu-F 10AM to 4PM. Learn about the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the flow of illicit drugs worldwide. Free.
- 3 Arlington Historical Museum, 1805 South Arlington Ridge Road (About a 20-minute walk from the Pentagon City Metro). Sa and Su 1PM-4PM except in February, when the Museum is closed. Operated by the Arlington Historical Society, the museum is housed in the historic Hume School, the oldest school building in the county.
- 4 Aurora Highlands Historic District. A residential neighborhood that is a prime example of prewar houses mainly built between 1910 and 1930. A nice place to take a walk to escape the concrete confines of Crystal City proper.
- 5 Fort Scott Park. A small park on a hill overlooking southern Crystal City. The site of a Civil War fort, a small part of the earthworks are still visible on the path that connects the parking lot to Ives St.
- 6 Washington National Airport Terminal and South Hangar Line. The original National Airport terminal was built in 1941 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- 1 Synetic Theater at Crystal City, 1800 South Bell Street (Metro: Crystal City). Well-regarded avant-garde physical theater company based at the Crystal City Theatre. Known for its wordless renditions of Shakespeare plays, which feature highly choreographed dance elements and impressive staging. A unique and highly worthwhile destination.
- 2 Virginia Highlands Park. An 18-acre park with facilities for tennis, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and other sports.
- 3 Four Mile Run Trail. Four Mile Run is a creek that forms the border between Arlington and Alexandria in this area. The Four Mile Run Trail begins at the Mount Vernon Train near the Potomac River, and continues 7 miles up the river through Southwestern Arlington and Falls Church.
- 1 The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (Pentagon City Mall), 1100 S Hayes St (Directly connected to the Pentagon City Metro Station; Pentagon City exit from I-395 or SR-110.), ☏ . Mo–Sa 10AM-9:30PM; Su 11AM-6PM. Opened in 1989, the Fashion Centre is Arlington's largest indoor shopping mall. It caters to two groups: Arlington's professional class, browsing the upper middle class stores anchored by the Macy's and Nordstrom department stores; and tour bus groups, who mill about the food court and T-shirt kiosks in the basement.
- 2 Pentagon Row, 1201 S. Joyce St. (Directly west of the Fashion Centre), ☏ . This mixed-use development features local restaurants and chain retailers running along South Joyce Street. In the wintertime, the central courtyard is home to a popular outdoor ice skating rink.
- 3 The Crystal City Shops, 1750 Crystal Dr., 2150 Crystal Dr. (Metro: Crystal City), ☏ . A maze of underground corridors extending from 12th to 23rd Streets South, Crystal City's underground is not the place for destination shopping, but if you're staying in one of the many nearby hotels, it can't be beat for climate-controlled convenience to all your basics from haircuts to cafés to touristy gift shops.
Crystal City has many fine restaurants for every budget. Some choices include Hamburger Hamlet, Bailey's, and Tapas. Make sure to venture west of Jefferson Davis Avenue on 23rd street to get a few smaller but equally as good choices.
- 1 Restaurant Row, 500–570 23rd St. S. This block and a half of 23rd St. west of Route 1 features a diner, two pubs, three Italian restaurants, two kabob restaurants, one each of Thai, Japanese, Ethiopian, Mexican, Chinese, and Saharan restaurants, a hookah lounge, and a gay bar. It is accessible by a pedestrian tunnel across Route 1 underneath 23rd St. S.
- Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant, 555 23rd Street South (Metro: Crystal City), ☏ . A gay and lesbian bar. Look for the beach-themed purple patio with big rainbow flags out front. Weekly drag shows.
- Crystal City Gentleman's Club and Restaurant, 422 23rd St (Metro: Crystal City). Must be 21 to enter. For those seeking something more risque.
- Comfort Inn Pentagon City, 2480 South Glebe Rd. Bldg. 2, Arlington, VA 22206 (Metro: Pentagon City), ☏ . Amenities include complimentary breakfast, an on-site restaurant, fitness center and outdoor swimming pool, daily shuttle service to the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, etc. $89-$139.
- Courtyard Arlington Crystal City/Reagan National Airport, 2899 Jefferson Davis Highway, ☏ . views of Ronald Reagan National Airport. Complimentary shuttle service to the Crystal City Metro.
- Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport, 1480 Crystal Drive, ☏ .
- Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, ☏ .
- Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, ☏ , fax: .
- Doubletree Arlington Hotel Crystal City - National Airport, 300 Army Navy Drive, ☏ .
- Embassy Suites Crystal City, 1300 Jefferson Davis Highway, ☏ .
- Holiday Inn National Airport / Crystal City, 2650 Jefferson Davis Hwy, ☏ .
- Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway. Renovated; complimentary airport shuttle.
- Residence Inn Arlington Capital View, 2850 South Potomac Avenue, ☏ . $99.
- Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, 550 Army Navy Drive, ☏ .