Sterling, Virginia has a relatively modern history, with its origins dating back to the 18th century as a small farming community in Loudoun County, Virginia. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Sterling experienced significant growth and development. This growth was spurred by the construction of Dulles International Airport in nearby Chantilly in 1962, which attracted new residents and businesses to the area.
In the mid-1960s, the region saw the planned development of Sterling Park, a community designed by real estate developer Charles Louis Fleischmann to provide affordable housing for airport employees and other workers.
The town got its name from the Sterling Park Golf Course, which was part of the planned community development and was named in honor of Sterling Morton, a former Secretary of Agriculture.
Today, Sterling is a thriving and diverse community, known for its proximity to major transportation routes like Route 7 and the Dulles Toll Road, making it attractive for businesses and residents. The town offers various amenities, including shopping centers, parks, schools, and recreational facilities, making it a desirable place to live and work. Sterling continues to evolve, and its history is intertwined with the broader development of the Northern Virginia region.
Looking for things to do in Sterling, VA? We’ve got you covered. Check out some of our top activities in the region.
Claude Moore Park
Nature enthusiasts can explore the park’s well-maintained hiking trails that wind through woodlands and meadows, providing opportunities for hiking and birdwatching. Birdwatchers can observe various species in their natural habitats. Additionally, the park offers guided nature walks and educational programs, allowing visitors to learn about the local flora, fauna, and ecosystems. For history buffs, Claude Moore Park features several historic buildings, including the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a living history museum depicting life in the 18th century.
Moreover, throughout the year, Claude Moore Park hosts special events, festivals, and educational programs, enhancing the visitor experience. Children can enjoy the playground, and photography enthusiasts can capture stunning images of the beautiful natural settings and historic structures.
21544 Old Vestals Gap Rd, Sterling, VA 20164
Algonkian Regional Park
Hello, 18-hole championship golf course along the banks of the Potomac River. That aside, nature lovers can explore the park’s scenic trails that meander through woodlands and along the river, making it an ideal destination for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. The park also offers picnic areas with beautiful river views, making it a great spot for family gatherings and outdoor meals. Anglers can try their luck fishing in the river or at one of the fishing ponds within the park. Additionally, the park features a large playground for children.
For those seeking water-based activities, Algonkian Regional Park offers river access, allowing visitors to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the Potomac River. The park also has an impressive water park called the Volcano Island Waterpark, featuring water slides, a lazy river, and a children’s play area. During the summer months, the waterpark is a popular destination for families looking to beat the heat and have some aquatic fun.
47001 Fairway Dr, Sterling, VA 20165
As a visitor to The Sterling Playmakers, you can expect to enjoy a diverse selection of theatrical productions throughout the year, ranging from classic plays to contemporary musicals. The performances cater to audiences of all ages, providing an enriching and entertaining experience for everyone.
Attending a production by the Sterling Playmakers allows you to witness the dedication and passion of local volunteers who bring the magic of live theater to life. From talented actors to skilled production crew members, the community’s involvement creates a vibrant and engaging theatrical atmosphere. Whether you’re a theater aficionado or someone exploring the world of performing arts, the Sterling Playmakers promise a memorable and enjoyable time, contributing to the cultural enrichment of the Sterling community.
Locations vary – check your tickets for specifics.
Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is an extension of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, located near the Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. It is named after aviation pioneer and entrepreneur Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, who made a significant contribution to the museum’s development. The Udvar-Hazy Center is dedicated to preserving and displaying an extensive collection of historic aircraft, spacecraft, and other artifacts related to the history of aviation and space exploration.
The museum’s vast exhibition space houses thousands of artifacts, including iconic aircraft such as the Space Shuttle Discovery, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Enola Gay, and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Visitors can marvel at various aircraft, space vehicles, satellites, and interactive exhibits that highlight the evolution of flight and space travel. The museum also features an observation tower overlooking the airfield, allowing visitors to witness aircraft taking off and landing at Washington Dulles International Airport. With its awe-inspiring collection and immersive exhibits, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center provides a unique and educational experience for aviation enthusiasts and history lovers alike.
14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
Autobahn Indoor Speedway
Autobahn Indoor Speedway is an exhilarating go-kart racing facility with locations across the United States, including one in Sterling, Virginia. Offering a unique indoor racing experience, Autobahn features high-performance electric karts that can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, providing an adrenaline-pumping adventure for drivers of all skill levels. The facility boasts a professionally designed track with challenging twists, turns, and straightaways, making it a thrilling venue for both casual drivers and competitive racing enthusiasts.
At Autobahn Indoor Speedway, visitors can enjoy exciting racing sessions in a safe and controlled environment. The facility provides all the necessary safety equipment, including helmets and racing suits, ensuring a fun and secure experience for everyone. In addition to individual races, Autobahn also offers group packages and special events, making it an ideal venue for birthday parties, corporate team-building activities, and group outings. Whether you’re a seasoned racer or a first-time driver, Autobahn Indoor Speedway promises an adrenaline-fueled experience that will leave you with lasting memories of high-speed fun.
45448 E Severn Way #150, Sterling, VA 20166
No matter what you’re in the mood for, you can likely find it in Sterling. So when your stomach starts rumbling, don’t miss this list of some of our favorite places to eat in Sterling. (And of course, this list is far from inclusive – but it will likely get your appetite up! Feel free to send any others you think we should include.)
This authentic Thai restaurant offers a diverse menu that includes traditional Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, Green Curry, Red Curry, Tom Yum Soup, Thai Fried Rice, various noodle dishes, and a variety of stir-fried options. They often provide options for different levels of spiciness to accommodate different preferences.
1106 Herndon Parkway, Herndon, VA 20170 (technically Herndon, but they are close enough to pass.. 😉
Chuy’s is a popular Tex-Mex restaurant chain known for its vibrant and eclectic atmosphere, and of course – made-from-scratch Tex-Mex cuisine. Chuy’s is also known for its quirky and unique decor, featuring a mix of colorful and eclectic items such as vintage hubcaps, hanging fish, Elvis Presley memorabilia, and more.
The menu features a variety of dishes that include tacos, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, nachos, and more. Chuy’s is particularly celebrated for its made-from-scratch sauces, salsas, and signature dishes.
21365 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA
Who can turn down a delicious fresh pizza? The answer is: no one.
Rai’s has two locations – one in Sterling and one in Ashburn. And either way, you are going to leave full and happy. In their Sterling location they offer a range of pizzeria cuisine including cheesy bread, hot subs, salads, and of course, pizza.
You can build your own pie or try one of their speciality pies like “pretty fly for a white pie” or “the ‘merican dream” (which is something like a cheeseburger that finds itself in the shape of a pizza). Got a sweet tooth? Try the s’mores pizza.
21430 Cedar Dr.#128 Sterling VA 20160
Pho Royal is dedicated to offering a variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes, with a spotlight on pho. Vietnamese cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors, use of fresh herbs, and balanced combination of sweet, savory, sour, and spicy elements.
Pho is a beloved Vietnamese noodle soup that typically consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles, and various toppings. The broth is often made by simmering beef bones and spices for hours, resulting in a rich and aromatic base. It’s then served with thinly sliced beef or other protein options, along with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili peppers. The combination of these ingredients creates a complex and satisfying flavor profile.
Stop by here: 46839 Maple Leaf Pl #145, Sterling, VA 20164
Order online here: https://www.skiplinow.com/shop/981792z
The Bungalow Lakehouse
A Sterling classic, The Bungalow Lakehouse features a mix of American cuisine with a focus on seafood, as lakeside locations often inspire offerings such as fresh fish and seafood dishes. It’s known for its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Want to sit outside for a cocktail and some light appetizers, complete with a view of a lake? Here’s your spot. They also often have live music, particularly in the warmer summer months, so definitely stop by if you’re looking for a combination of great food and entertainment.
46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA 20165
Who doesn’t love a good kabob?
Answer: no-one. This halal restaurant is known for its high quality Afghan cuisine. The portions are generous and there’s options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Aside from kabobs you can also dig into other middle eastern specialities like grape leaves, ghormeh sabzi (a Persian stew), and a variety of salads and desserts.
12340 Town Center Plaza, Sterling, VA 20164
Poke Sushi Bowl
Poke bowls are a Hawaiian dish that typically consists of raw fish (often tuna or salmon) that’s marinated and served over a bed of rice along with various toppings like vegetables, seaweed, and sauces.
You can choose from one of their signature bowls, like the Corner Bowl or Dragon Bowl. Want to make your own? Build it your way with a Poke dish that features a base, protein, and your choice of toppings. They also have a variety of soups, deserts, and appetizers to choose from.
21435 Epicerie Place #180, Sterling, VA 20164
Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of skewered and grilled meat, often served with pita bread, vegetables, and various toppings. It’s a well-loved street food in Greece and has gained popularity in many other parts of the world. And this Sterling spot is well recognized for its delicious and authentic Greek offerings.
This spot in particular is also known for amazing Greek salads and tzatziki – so be sure to stop by if you are in the mood for a Mediterranean twist.
46519 Harry Byrd Hwy, Sterling, VA 20164
For those in search of modern Italian cuisine, stop by Urbano. Once inside, your choice of dishes will transport you temporarily to the streets of Rome. Choose from a range of meals, including your favorites like chicken parmesan, pork milanese, or an Italian chopped salad.
Opened during the 2020 pandemic, this spot is cozy, authentic, and of course, delicious. Oh, and definitely don’t miss their Gnocchi on Thursday for $18.
21430 Epicerie Plaza Sterling Virginia 20164
Abbott’s Frozen Custard
Looking for a sweet treat that isn’t ice cream? Frozen custard could be the answer. This delicious and creamy option is made with egg yolks, cream, and sugar – which is what gives it its distinct texture.
At Abbott’s Frozen Custard you can enjoy any of their signature flavors like vanilla or chocolate almond. You can also dig into a range of sundaes, splits, milkshakes, and floats. Yum!
21426 Epicerie Plaza #180, Sterling, Virginia 20164
A tacos and tapas bar? Sign me up. A happy hour that features $3 tacos? Even better.
La Prensa offers a range of your standard Mexican foods like quesadillas and enchiladas, but with its own unique and flavorful twist. Enjoy croquetas de jamon, steak chimichurri, or enchiladas de mole for a truly filling experience. They also offer cooking classes and to-go cocktails.
21305 Windmill Parc Dr. Unit 140 Sterling, VA, 20166
Ready to metaphorically shop till you drop? Sterling has a wide range of malls and similar plazas with an almost endless list of stores. From clothing to kitchen appliances. Art to Apple computers, you can get pretty much anything you need in Sterling.
Dulles Town Center: This indoor shopping mall is one of the largest in the area and features a wide range of retail stores, including popular brands, department stores, specialty shops, and boutiques. It also houses a food court and a movie theater, making it a one-stop destination for shopping and entertainment.
21100 Dulles Town Cir, Sterling, VA 20166
Cascades Overlook: Located in nearby Sterling/Cascades, Cascades Overlook is an outdoor shopping center that offers a mix of retail shops, restaurants, and services. It provides a pleasant atmosphere for strolling and shopping.
21453 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA 20164
Potomac Run Plaza: This shopping plaza in Sterling features a variety of stores, including grocery options, restaurants, and other retail outlets. It’s a convenient spot for everyday shopping needs.
46000 Potomac Run Plaza, Sterling, VA 20164
Sterling Plaza: Sterling Plaza is a shopping center that houses a mix of stores, including clothing retailers, restaurants, and services. It’s a great place for a quick shopping trip or a bite to eat.
22350 S Sterling Blvd, Sterling, VA 20164
Dulles 28 Centre: Located in nearby Dulles, Virginia, this retail center features big-box stores, specialty shops, restaurants, and other services, making it a comprehensive shopping destination.
22000 Dulles Retail Plaza, Sterling, VA 20166
Breweries & Vineyards
Time for a beer? Check out these local breweries in Sterling, VA.
Crooked Run Fermentation
Located in Sterling, Crooked Run Brewing offers a variety of innovative and traditional craft beers. They are known for their creative flavors and styles, making it a great place for beer enthusiasts looking to try something new.
Not in the mood for beer but your friends are? There’s also a taqueria, southern biscuit restaurant, and cocktail bar on site – so there’s really something for everyone.
22455 Davis Dr, Sterling VA
Solace Brewing Company
Beers and food trucks? Sounds like a great afternoon to me. Especially given the range of both foods and beers means that you’ll never have to have the same combination twice.
Their beer list is also regularly updated, so be sure to try all your potential new favorites next time you stop by.
42615 Trade W Dr #100, Sterling, VA 20166 (though they also have locations in Washington, DC and Falls Church.
Hyatt House Sterling/Dulles Airport-North: This modern hotel provides comfortable suites with fully equipped kitchens, making it a great option for extended stays. It also offers amenities like a complimentary breakfast, fitness center, and outdoor pool.
45520 Dulles Plaza, Sterling, VA 20166
Hampton Inn & Suites Washington-Dulles International Airport: Located near the airport, this hotel offers convenience for travelers. It features comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
22700 Holiday Park Dr, Sterling, VA 20166
Candlewood Suites Washington Dulles Sterling: Ideal for longer stays, this extended-stay hotel provides suite-style accommodations with full kitchens and separate living areas. Guests can also access the on-site fitness center and laundry facilities.
45520 E Severn Way, Sterling, VA 20166
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Dulles Airport: Another great option for extended stays, this hotel offers spacious suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas. It includes amenities such as a complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool, and fitness center.
22744 Holiday Park Dr, Sterling, VA 20166
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Dulles Airport: This all-suite hotel offers spacious accommodations with separate living and sleeping areas. It includes amenities like a complimentary breakfast, fitness center, and indoor pool.
22595 Shaw Rd, Sterling, VA 20166
Location & Transit
Sterling, Virginia, is located in Loudoun County in the northeastern part of the state. It is situated approximately 26 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., making it part of the Washington metropolitan area. The town is well-positioned near major transportation routes, making it accessible by various transit options.
Sterling is bordered by the Potomac River to the north and is relatively close to the cities of Herndon, Reston, and Ashburn.
It is conveniently located near two major airports: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to the south and Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO) to the west.
Car: Driving is a common mode of transportation in Sterling, as the town is well-connected to major highways. The Dulles Toll Road (State Route 267) runs east-west through the area, providing easy access to the airport and connecting to the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) and other major roads.
Bus: Loudoun County Transit operates bus services that connect Sterling to neighboring areas, including connections to Metrorail stations in Reston and Herndon, making it possible to access the broader Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Metrorail: While there is no direct Metrorail station in Sterling, the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station on the Silver Line is located nearby in Reston. Commuters from Sterling can take the Loudoun County Transit buses to reach the Metro station.
Ride-Sharing and Taxis: Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft operate in Sterling, providing an additional option for getting around the town and to nearby areas.
Biking and Walking: Sterling has some pedestrian-friendly areas and bike lanes that make it feasible for residents and visitors to explore the town on foot or by bicycle.
Airport Transportation: For travelers, Washington Dulles International Airport offers various transportation options, including shuttles, taxis, and rental cars, to help them get to and from Sterling.
It’s important to note that transit options and services may have evolved or expanded since my last update in September 2021. For the most current and detailed information on transportation in Sterling, it is recommended to consult local transit authorities, transportation websites, and other reliable sources.
Moving to Sterling, VA
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