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How to Spend a Perfect Day in Chantilly, VA

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Space shuttle in the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA

Yes, it’s suburban Washington D.C., but Chantilly, VA, has a lot to offer on its own. This small city in northern Virginia dates back to our country’s earliest days but keeps moving forward with the times.

Let’s find out how to best enjoy our time in the place whose name suggests the finer things from France. If you’re interested in aviation, you’ll especially love touching down here. We’ll also dip in a bit to Chantilly’s thriving restaurant scene.

Are you ready to explore Chantilly, VA? Let’s go!

About Chantilly, VA

While Chantilly’s history goes back to the late 1700s, it didn’t become a city until 1984. Located in western Fairfax County, it’s one of the numerous suburban areas that are part of metro Washington.

Chantilly is outside the so-called Beltway by a few miles but has unbreakable ties to our nation’s capital. As the site of Dulles International Airport, it’s a literal physical link to many of DC’s comings and goings. 

The sunset turns the sky dark purple and pink over the Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA
Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA

Many government agencies, including the National Reconnaissance Office, have headquarters or offices here. It’s also home to a national air and space museum, which is one of our very first stops

This city of around 24,000 has its place on the international map, too. One of the city’s hotels has hosted several Bilderberg conferences, which involve political and business leaders from America and Europe.

Weather-wise, visitors to Chantilly, VA, can expect highs and lows typical of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Winters are cold, with typical lows in the 20s and 30s. Summers are warm and humid. Chantilly gets about 43 inches of rain a year and 22 inches of snow. This is according to a website called BestPlaces, which gives Chantilly an overall comfort rating of 7.3 out of 10.

Traveler’s Tip: If you’re planning a visit to Shenandoah National Park, here are 8 reasons to stay in Berryville, VA.

Morning

We’ll get an early start with breakfast before heading to one of Chantilly’s most-visited attractions. Be sure and fuel up because there’s much to see and do.

Enjoy Breakfast at Eggspectation

Address: 5009 Westone, Chantilly, VA 20151

Menu Options: Can you guess their specialty at this popular breakfast spot? Yes, it’s eggs — pretty much any way you like them. Dive into their creative takes on Eggs Benedict or other yolkalicious favorites like waffles, pancakes, omelets, and crepes. Many of the dishes at Eggspectation come with freshly baked brioche and Lyonnaise-style potatoes.

Why You Should Go: Don’t let the line outside turn you away. The staff is friendly and efficient, keeping things moving inside this rustic but modern space. Along with the food and service, their attention to detail helps to keep customers returning. The restaurant is in a shopping center with a big parking lot, so parking isn’t an issue.

Visit the Udvar-Hazy Center

Address: 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151 

Virtual Tour of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum | Steven Udvar-Hazy Center

Why You Should Go: For the best view of the busy Dulles airport, climb to the top of the observation tower at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Or pull back for a broader view of our first century of aviation and space exploration history.

There are around 200 aircraft displayed here, including a supersonic Concorde jet and surviving fighters from the two world wars. You can see artifacts from space missions, do a virtual spacewalk, or test your skills in a flight simulator. Catch a big flick in the IMAX theater if you have the time.

Afternoon

We’ll take a lunch break with contemporary flavors before learning more about Chantilly’s farming heritage. It’s so cool that the city has some landmarks like this remaining so we can get an idea of what it used to be.

Grab Lunch at Cava

Address: 14337 Newbrook Dr, Suite 500, Chantilly, VA 20151

Menu Options: Cava’s food is Mediterranean, which means no heavy pasta and tomato sauces. Think hummus, pitas, and tzatziki.

Choose from their grains and greens and proteins like falafel, grilled chicken, braised lamb, and roasted vegetables. Customers rave about their lemon herb tahini dressing and hot harissa vinaigrette.

Why You Should Go: It would be hard not to use the word fresh to describe Cava’s vibrant offerings, and they serve them up in a bright, friendly space.

Portions are generous, and there are lots of customizable options. This is fast-casual for flavor lovers on the run, giving you more time to get to know Chantilly, VA.

Colorful, striped bowtie pasta

Wander Around the Sully Historic Site

Address: 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly, VA 20151

Why You Should Go: You can learn a lot about a place by looking at its origins. Built in 1794, the Sully Historic Site formerly was a plantation home was the residence of an early prominent resident named Richard Bland Lee. He and his family’s chief crop was tobacco in the early days, and they later grew wheat, corn, barley, and rye.

A stone dairy building, a log schoolhouse, and a replicated slave cabin give you a peek into their early-American era. This walking tour lasts about an hour, giving some time to explore other parts of Chantilly, VA, on your own.

Evening

If you enjoy dining and drinking and enjoying music, this is a special night indeed. We’ll cap off the night with a sweet indulgence and a modern twist on an old favorite.

Enjoy Dinner at Bourbon Boulevard

Address: 4301 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA 20151

Menu Options: Steaks and seafood get top billing at this casually elegant eatery. If dry-aged beef is up your alley, go for the ribeye, strip, or the bone-in Tomahawk.

Bourbon Boulevard also serves seafood like Alaskan king crab legs, seared scallops, salmon, and tuna. Their inventive sides include Brussels sprouts flavored with maple, sriracha, and bacon, and black truffle fries with Romano cheese.   

Why You Should Go: This isn’t a boring old steakhouse with a dark interior and padded leather chairs. Bourbon Boulevard has more of a farmhouse feel and a light and lively attitude toward food and drink. You can choose from more than 600 wines, 850 different whiskies, and more than 100 tequilas.

It’s also one of Chantilly’s go-to places for live music, leaning heavily into jazz.

A plate of fresh seafood and dips is brought out to a table at a restarurant.

Pick Out Dessert at Le Pain Bakery

Address: Lotte Plaza, 13955 Metrotech Dr, Chantilly, VA 20151

Menu Options: While the name is French, this is actually a unique Asian-style bakery. This time of the evening calls for scrumptious sweet treats like their beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes. Le Pain Bakery also gets a lot of acclaim for their tiramisu and honey castella.

Why You Should Go: One of the fun things about traveling is discovering the unexpected. This tiny artisan bakery inside the Lotte Plaza’s international market really delivers with its out-of-the-ordinary flavors and techniques.

End the Night at Monster Mini Golf

Address: 14130 Sullyfield Cir, Suite G, Chantilly, VA 20151

Why You Should Go: If you’re thinking, “been there, done that,” maybe you haven’t experienced miniature golf quite like this. Monster Mini Golf uses black lights and fluorescent colors for glow-in-the-dark golfing. The monsters are the animated artwork that comes alive in scary ways against the virtual background.

If golf isn’t your game, immerse yourself in a virtual reality experience or a high-tech game called Atomic Rush. Bowling and laser tag are some of the other attractions at this futuristic funhouse.

A boy plays glow mini golf where black lights illuminate the scenery and holes.

Where to Stay?

After all this activity, you’ll need to get a good night’s sleep. We have two options for you, both right in town and available through a highly rated Airbnb super host.

Luxury Townhome Suite

Amenities: Clean and spacious home with three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and a full modern kitchen. There are 2,200 feet of living space (on the second and third floors). The living room is comfortably furnished, and there’s a small balcony. The home also has an office-style workstation for working remotely.

Why You’ll Love Staying Here: The house is centrally located with easy access to major highways and just seven miles from the airport. The owner has excellent ratings for reliability and a strong reputation for communication and keeping the property in top condition.

View this stay on Airbnb →

Spacious Mid-Century Retreat

Amenities: This roomy and luxurious 1,500-square-foot space has two bedrooms, gleaming marble floors, and extras like a hot tub and a sauna. Each bedroom has a queen bed and one and a half bathrooms. There’s a business workstation, high-speed internet, and two smart TVs equipped with streaming channels.

Why You’ll Love Staying Here: It’s clean, spotless, and spectacular with cool mid-century charm. The owner is the same super host who is consistently praised for his attentiveness toward guests. In fact, every reviewer has given it a 5-star rating.

View this stay on Airbnb →

A Day in Chantilly, VA

Just beyond the Beltway, Chantilly, VA, is a lot more than a community of commuters. It’s a flourishing little city with an independent spirit and a joyful approach to everyday life.

Chantilly is a wonderful diversion that won’t take you too far off the busier path. Will you put Chantilly on your list?

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