Things to See and Do


Reston, Virginia

For a printable version of this tour, download the .pdf file.

Estimated Driving Time: 30 minutes Distance: 15 miles

Reston, Virginia, is known nationally and internationally as one of the first planned communities in the United States. Long before its development, the land on which Reston is built had a distinguished history. It belonged to the descendants of Lord Fairfax until 1848. In the 1880s, Dr. C.A. Wiehle bought the land and began a planned community based on the 19th century German models. Several buildings were constructed, but Dr. Wiehle's untimely death meant the end of his town. In 1927, the A. Smith Bowman family became the next landowners. Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Bowman's founded a distillery and created the famous Virginia Gentleman and Fairfax County bourbons.

Early in 1961, Robert E. Simon bought Sunset Hills from the Bowman family with the proceeds of the sale of New York's Carnegie Hall. Acquainted with the garden city movement in England and the United States, Simon envisioned developing a place where people could live, work and play. To fulfill the dream, he founded Reston. The first part of Reston, the Lake Anne Village Center, officially opened in 1965. Today, Reston is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1970s, the U.S. Geological Survey moved its headquarters to Reston and became one of its largest employers. Today, thousands of firms-many of these technology firms-are located in Reston.

Reston came of age with the opening of the Reston Town Center on October 18, 1990. The town square includes a luxury hotel; high-end retail shops; restaurants; the Fountain Square recreation complex, which also hosts such events as ice-skating and festivals; twin 11-story office buildings; and a cinema complex.

Recognized as one of the great landmarks of the "new town" movement, Reston attracts tourists from around the world.

Reston Visitors Center
Stop by the Reston Visitors Center and Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce to learn more about the history of this unique planned community and suggested neighborhoods through which to drive.

1763 Fountain Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Walking Tour of Lake Anne and the Reston Museum
Lake Anne Village is a thriving community in the heart of Reston. With a lakeside boardwalk and numerous shops and cafes, Lake Anne Village is an interesting place to spend several hours. Within the village is the Reston Museum, operated by the Reston Historic Trust. The museum contains photographs of early Reston, oral histories and architectural models that trace the history and development of Reston.

Lake Anne Village Center
Reston, VA 20190

Lake Fairfax Park
Tour Lake Fairfax Park's 476 acres, including a 18-acre lake, The Water Mine amusement pool, pedal boat rental, fishing, a carousel, miniature train, campgrounds, trails, playground and picnic areas. Nominal fees are charged for boat rentals, swimming, carousel, train rides and camping.

1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Reston, VA 20190

Reston Town Center
The entertainment and commercial heart of Reston is the Reston Town Center. With shops, restaurants, theaters, an ice-skating rink and a center square, the Town Center offers something for everyone. Visit Reston Town Center to enjoy lively events, national and local shops, a 13-screen cinema, skating pavilion in season, and the Hyatt Regency Reston.

11921 Freedom Drive
Reston, VA 20190
800-368-TOWN—Events Hotline

U.S. Geological Survey
At the U.S. Geological Survey visitors get an opportunity to learn about the USGS, its activities, and its available products on a wide array of natural science topics.

The Visitors Center provides guests of all ages with an opportunity to learn about natural science through tours and hands-on experiences. Tours and activities are geared to the interests and ages of each group - ranging from community groups to professional societies, school classes, and family groups. Staffed by volunteers, the center is available for guided tours by appointment only.

509 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
703-648-4748—For more information or to schedule a tour

back to top