We are able to travel between Arlington and Washington, DC using some well-known bridges. From a small historic bridge, a high-traffic bridge and to the oldest surviving bridge, they are beautiful works of architecture that connect the city to its neighbors.
But why are we talking about these bridges? Both northern bridges have great places around them that are worth visiting, below are some of my personal favorites. The weather might be cold and frightful, but the places to visit are delightful so put on your winter jacket and head out to explore.
Francis Scott Key Bridge
The Francis Scott Key Bridge, more commonly known as the Key Bridge, is one of the area’s oldest surviving bridges. It spans across the Potomac River and connects Rosslyn in Arlington, Virginia and the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. This bridge is open to all modes including buses, bikes, and pedestrians.
Ways to get across
Taking Capital Bikeshare either way across the bridge is a quick 5-minute ride depending on your pace, with docks conveniently located on either end. You can also take the DC Circulator or Metrobus 38B.
Places to visit around Key Bridge
- Francis Scott Key Memorial is a small park and memorial for the author of the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner,” near the site where he lived in Georgetown.
- The Washington Harbour, or more commonly known as the Georgetown Waterfront, has plenty of restaurants to enjoy good food and drinks. The ice rink is open from mid-November until March—a fun place to visit this time of the year.
- The Exorcist Steps, featured in the classic horror film, The Exorcist, are located just a few blocks from Key Bridge in Georgetown.
- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of the nation’s busiest performing arts centers, offering magnificent music, dance, and theatre performances. It’s a bit of a walk from the Key Bridge, but we promise you’ll enjoy it.
Trail connections to the Key Bridge
Capital Crescent trail is an 11-mile route that runs from Georgetown to North Bethesda, MD which can be accessed right under the Key Bridge. The trail is a beautiful escape to enjoy scenic beauty and nature. I recommend taking a break in Bethesda and enjoying a sweet treat at Paul.
The Custis trail is a hilly 4-mile paved route that extends from the Key Bridge at Rosslyn, westward to the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad trail. The trail connects the Key Bridge into Georgetown near the southern end of the Capital Crescent Trail. To make the ride enjoyable, remember to shift to an easier gear when riding up the hills.
Theodore Roosevelt Bridge
This bridge, named in honor of the 26th President of the United States, crosses over the Potomac River into Arlington, Virginia. The bridge is a little over a half-mile long with beautiful views of the Kennedy Center and the Rosslyn skyline.
Ways to get across
Places to visit around the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge
- Theodore Roosevelt Island is a great place to park your bike and explore 2.5 miles of walking trails and a memorial to our 26th president.
- The Kennedy Center is also nearby this bridge, half a mile from Theodore Roosevelt Island park, and is a great place to watch a musical or dance performance.
Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile paved multi-use trail, a popular urban route that runs from Rosslyn to George Washington’s House in Mount Vernon. Enjoy your ride while viewing some monuments.
Take Your Next Steps
Things to do, check! Commute options, check! Ready to head out and explore? Stay tuned for my favorite places to explore around the southern bridges. In the meantime, download some of our quick glance guides to Urban Villages in Arlington County. Have information on nearby trails, Capital Bikeshare stations, transit, and carshare at your convenience.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners