Visit Lake Anne in Reston and enjoy local dining and shopping, fun common spaces, beautiful lake views and a historically unique neighborhood in northern Virginia. The eclectic mix of local businesses in Reston Lake Anne makes it a good place for a family day out or a date for two.
Lake Anne Village Center was the original neighborhood of Reston, one of the first planned communities in the country. Today, Lake Anne Plaza is filled with shops, restaurants, and apartments overlooking the water. Sculptures and public spaces scattered around the square invite children to play and adults to relax.
The Story of Little Lake Anne
Reston has a unique history as one of America's earliest and most successful planned communities. It all started at Lake Anne Village Center, Reston's first neighborhood center.
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The city's founder and visionary, Robert E. Simon (who placed renewable energy in Reston), wanted to create a new kind of community. Simon was frustrated by the traditional suburbs and long commutes. In Reston he planned a town where people could spend their whole lives. Residents would have access to a variety of homes, shops, open spaces and shared sports facilities clustered around village centers.
Today, the town's motto of "live, work and play" lives on along Lake Anne and the village center is named after itNational Register of Historic Placesw 2017 r.
Attractions in Lake Anne Reston
Despite its small size, Reston's first district is surprisingly fun. Learn about the history, architecture, and art of the square. Dine at one of the many restaurants and nanobrewery, visit the local shops or just relax and enjoy. Popular events are held on the square from spring to autumnfarmers marketand many special events and festivals.
Unlike most "downtown" and open-air malls, Lake Anne Plaza has no chain stores. Every business here is truly unique and local. In fact, most of the shops around the square areowned by womenor run.
Enjoy Virginia craft beer at the Lake Anne Brew House
The Lake Anne Brew House is in a great spot on the water and is perfect for people-watching. The brewery was founded in 2016 and has been producing tasty beers in small batches ever since. The tap range includes flagship beers such as Live Work Play IPA as well as a changing menu with specialty and seasonal beers.
The brewery is small but has a good selection of indoor and outdoor seating. Grab a table on the terrace or a seat by the railing and enjoy a beer with a great view. Fireplace tables and heat lamps make the Lake Anne Brew House a cozy placeheated drinks outdoorson a cold day.
Food and drinks can be found at Lake Anne Plaza's restaurants
There are 4 Lake Anne Plaza restaurants available to guests, each offering delicious meals in a relaxed atmosphere. Additionally, Latin American food stalls are available at La Miguelena Market. Here you will find an alphabetical overview of the lake restaurants.
One of the oldest restaurants in Lake Anne Reston,Montmarte CafeServes French and Vietnamese cuisine in a bistro style. The cafe has a great location near the fountain and there is a nice view of the lake from the terrace. From snails to pho, diners like classic dishes, not modern combinations.
Kalypso Sports Taverne
One of the most beautiful places to eat on Lake Anne is the outdoor terrace on ulKalypso Sports Taverne. Guests can enjoy authentic Greek and Italian cuisine while enjoying the magnificent views of the lake and square. Sofas and bar seats at one end provide a nice spot for a drink and some people-watching. Kalypso's is open late and in the evenings live music and special events are a highlight.
Lake Anne Cafe
One of the most popular meeting places on the square is the terrace at ulLake Anne Cafe and Winery. Stop for a full meal, coffee and cake or a glass of wine.
You will find a cozy terrace and a cozy interior where you can meet friends and listen to live music on weekends. A back patio at the Lake Anne Coffee House also opened in the summer of 2023.
Shop locally at the Lakeside Reston stores
In addition to local restaurants, several local shops invite you to browse and shop, whether on site or online.
One of the first companies in townReston second hand bookshophas been a popular hunting ground for the perfect read since 1978. The small shop is full of used books and a cozy reading corner.
AlreadyChesapeake ChocolatesBuyers will find a tasty assortmenthandmade chocolatesand handmade sweets. The shop also stocks Virginia wines and gifts so you can create the perfect pairing.
On ul. there is no businessNordic knot, but you can order their delicious pretzels and more online. Choose from a selection of flavored pretzels (including a vegan option) and plait boards with smoked salmon, cold cuts and more. Most days you can enjoy a pretzel with beer at the Lake Anne Brew House.
Learn unique history at the Reston Museum
Visit the Reston Museum to learn more about the historic city. Here is a small collection of permanent and temporary exhibits that highlight Reston's unique history as one of the first planned communities in the United States. The museum also sells Reston gear and hosts popular events like the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.
Snap a photo with Reston founder Robert E. Simon
The Untold Stories statue, popularly known as Bronze Bob, features a sculpture of Robert E. Simon sitting on a bench by the lake. Founder Reston could often be found at Lake Anne Plaza. In fact, it was here in the tower of Heron House that he lived the last third of his life until his death at the age of 101.
Today you can honor his memory and take a selfie or family picture with Bob.
Take the perfect photo on the Van Gogh Bridge
One of the most picturesquehidden gemsin Northern Virginia is just a short walk from the plaza. TheMostly Van GoghaIt connects the lake with the neighboring houses, creating a picturesque place to admire the view or take photos. The bridge was designed after Van Gogh's paintingsMost Langlois w Arles.
The bridge is one of themThe best places to see cherry blossoms in Virginia. Here, a small cluster of cherry trees forms a backdrop of pink flowers hanging over the water.
Play at the fountain and sculptures of Lake Anne Plaza
If you are looking for unique and interesting places to visit with children, you will find many attractions at Lake Anne Reston. The area of the square is small enough for little feet to explore but big enough for a few hours of fun.
Consider that most sculptures and playgrounds are made of concrete. So always keep an eye on your children. Here are some fun places for kids on the pitch:
PyramidIt is a concrete tower that children can climb and walk under. This is one of the first sculptures you will see as you walk from the parking lot to the square.
Toddlers love to splash and playSquare fountain. It's a cool place to cool off on a hot day at the farmers market.
TheSolar boatThis is another favorite place for children. The boat-shaped sculpture features a cute touring cube and low forms that allow for climbing.
wooden horse, a wooden sculpture next to the sun boat, is another nice spot for photos.
Continue around the lake, over the Van Gogh Bridge and turn right to get to the North Shore Underpass. Here's another collection of built-in sculptures for you to enjoy.
Dive into the swing
Planning a couples visit to Lake Anne in Reston? The Swing is a cozy place to snuggle up and enjoy a quiet moment, just a short walk from the main square.
To get to the swing, go down the right bank of the lake, turn right, cross the Van Gogh Bridge and then turn right again. The swing goes directly to the right (just before the North Shore Underpass).
More unique works of art in award-winning Reston Square
At two locations around the square, visitors can see the work of local artists. Both locations also host art classes and special events.
- Thecultural centerat Lake Anne features rotating exhibitions at the JoAnn Rose Gallery and the 3D Gallery. The community center offers a variety of activities throughout the year.
- Reston Art Gallery and Studiosis a cooperative of local artists with changing exhibition and studio spaces. The gallery is open on weekend afternoons and occasionally hosts children's craft sessions.
In addition to the kid-friendly sculptures listed above, there are some other unique pieces of Lake Anne art. All of these elements can be seen with a short walk in and around the plaza. Useour custom mapFind the Lake Anne sculptures and look aroundHidden Art Restonfor more photos.
Decorative iconsThey are right behind the fountain next to the stairs. An oversized toothbrush, comb, and other pop art-style items adorned the exterior of the Apothecary, one of Lake Anne's original stores.
OverIt is a small concrete sculpture built into the wall near the fountain. You can see Lake Anna formed from water-concrete in 1963.
At the other end of the squareobservation towerClimbs steep stairs to a platform with a beautiful view of the lake.
Relax and people watch by the water
Reston's Lake Anne Plaza is a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
- Sit on one of the benches in the square overlooking the lake (Bronze Bob may be right behind you).
- Find a seat on the benches on the quay further down the square. On warm Saturdays you can admire boat models at the mini regatta.
- The lakefront restaurants, Brew House and Coffee House Terrace are also the best spots for people-watching.
Take a leisurely hike around Lake Anne in Reston
Take an easy 1.7 mile loop around Lake Anne and pass some of Reston's first neighborhoods. TheHiking trail around Lake AnnaIt follows paved walkways and paths with frequent water views.
In our travel guide you will find a map, detailed driving directions, sights and photos:
Lake Anne Trail: An easy loop around the lake in Reston, Virginia
Our favorite route is anti-clockwise around the lake. Cross the Van Gogh Bridge, walk straight up the hill and turn left at the first footpath. Keep left for the rest of the route and follow the footpaths and cobblestone paths. As you walk through several neighborhoods of Lake Anne, you'll enjoy views of the gardens and lake.
One of the highlights of this tour is this beautiful rock garden, but there are other surprises as well. You can find all the details in our article aboutAnnasee hiking trail.
Discover Lake Anna by pedal boat, kayak or canoe
In the summer months, visitors can take a trip to the lake and see the sights from a different perspective. Lake Anne Boat Rental offers a colorful selection of kayaks, paddle boats, and kayaks for rent by the hour.Boat Rental Ticketsare sold at Lake Anne Dock and are open Friday through Sunday June through September.
It's possible on the waterSlip under the Van Gogh Bridge, circumnavigate the fountain and paddle around 119 acres of Lake Anne.
Visit a farmers market on Lake Anne
The Lake Anne Saturday Market in Reston is one of the bestAgricultural Fair in Northern Virginia. The parking lot and plaza are bustling with farmers and artisans offering a fantastic selection of produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, plants, breads, specialties, crafts, clothing and more.
We love stopping by the empanada stand for breakfast to enjoy while shopping. The market is open from March to November on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm. Plastic bags are provided but if possible bring your own reusable bags.
Enjoy a free outdoor summer concert
Outsidesummer concertsThey're a staple in Northern Virginia during the warmer months. The Reston Community Center hosts a free lakeside concert series on Thursday evenings June through September.
Visit the Fun Reston Festivals throughout the year
In addition to the weekly summer concerts, there are several annual events at Lake Anne Reston. For example, the city still honors Bob SimonAprilon Founders Day. (Founders Day in 2014 coincided with Reston's 50th birthday and Bob Simon's 100th birthday.)
AThe favorite event in Augustis the annual cardboard boat regatta where boats made entirely out of cardboard have to stay afloat. ANDfavorite holiday eventwelcomes Santa Claus to the square, who arrives by boat accompanied by a flotilla of elves on SUPs.
Tips for visiting Lake Anne Plaza in Northern Virginia
Here are some tips to make your visit to the lake a success:
- The entrance to the square is somewhat hidden. To get to the public car park from Baron Cameron Road, take Village Road and turn left at the traffic lights. The entrance to the car park is the first on the right.
- After parking, walk between the buildings and you will see a lake straight ahead.
- The parking lot is used by the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings from March to November, so you cannot park there. Instead, park on North Shore Drive, across the street on Brown's Chapel Road, or on the Washington Plaza West Commercial Lot.
- visitVillage center websitefor more informations.
Frequently asked questions about Lake Anne
Where is the village center of Reston's Lake Anne?
Lake Anne Reston is located on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road (RT 267), 22 miles west of Washington DC and 8 miles east of Dulles International Airport.
How big is Lake Anna?
Lake Anne has an area of 119 hectares. It is an artificial lake designed to provide outdoor facilities and prevent storm runoff.
Can you walk on Lake Anne?
Yes, there is a 2.5 mile hiking trail around Lake Anne that consists of paved paths and sidewalks.
Is there free parking at Lake Anne?
Yes, there is free parking at Lake Anne. Enter the property near the intersection of Village Road and North Shore Road. Street parking is also permitted on North Shore Road.
Can you fish in Lake Anne?
Yes, fishing is permitted on Lake Anne from the public dock (most areas of the lake are private). Anglers 16 and older must have a Virginia fishing license.
Can you swim in Anne Reston Lake?
No, swimming in Lake Anne is prohibited due to water quality issues and lack of safety monitoring. Occasionally one can see the inhabitants of the lake, however there is no beach and no public access to the water.
Lake Anne in Reston is a beautiful escape from the boring suburbs. The unique design and history of this Reston Village Center is great fun on a day trip from DC. The lake is also a great spot for locals who want a new place to eat, drink, shop, and have fun.