A Day Off in McLean

Editors’ picks for 24 hours of town and country pursuits.

Just outside of Washington, D.C., McLean has seen a surge of development in recent decades as workers find themselves drawn as much to the town’s proximity to the capitol as to its relatively quiet pace of life. Despite changes, McLean retains an abundance of small-town charm, and with ample dining, shopping and adventuring options, it offers something for everyone.

8:00 a.m. Hit the Trail

Lace up your running shoes and begin your morning with a jog along the Potomac River in Great Falls Park. Feel free to break and watch kayakers negotiating Class V rapids, and here’s a tip: Be sure to keep an eye out for bald eagles. You can also explore the ruins of Matildaville, a once-bustling town named by Revolutionary War hero Light Horse Harry Lee for his first wife. The town fell into decline when the adjacent Patowmack Canal closed in 1828, but thankfully the park around it remains open 365 days a year. NPS.gov/grfa

11:00 a.m. Power Lunch

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to lunch at McLean Family Restaurant, a local institution for nearly 50 years. You won’t find any frills here—just huge portions of delicious authentic Greek fare. We recommend the gyro, but you can’t miss with the chicken souvlaki platter either. Expect a line out the door on weekend mornings, but you’ll be rewarded for your patience. TheMcLeanFamilyRestaurant.com

12:00 p.m. Shop ‘til you Drop

Enjoy one of the most refined shopping experiences in the Commonwealth at Tysons Galleria. With nearly 100 stores—including Burberry, Cartier and Lilly Pulitzer—there is no shortage of upscale retailers to peruse here. Smaller and more posh than nearby Tysons Corner Center, the galleria has been called “the Rodeo Drive of the East Coast.” TysonsGalleria.com

2:30 p.m. Time Travel

Hop back in time at Claude Moore Colonial Farm, where visitors can experience what it would have been like to be a tenant farmer in 1771. Learn from historic reenactors how to cut tobacco, churn butter and make candles—and then roll up your sleeves and lend a hand. It’s not all hard work, though; the onsite heirloom crops and friendly livestock make for delightful scenery. If you visit during the third weekends of May, July and October, you can shop for handcrafted goods at the ever-popular Market Fair. 1771.org

5:00 p.m. Try Thai

Tucked just off Route 123 in a quiet shopping plaza, Pasa Thai is one of McLean’s hidden gems. Its menu offers an eclectic take on traditional Thai fare, such as crispy duck curry and steamed whole rockfish. Enjoy your meal amid the restaurant’s intimate ambience, and reflect on a day well spent. PasaThaiRestaurant.com

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum