Just across the Potomac River, sits a city filled with old colonial homes and steeped in American history. Arlington, Virginia may be known for the Pentagon and the National Cemetery but beyond the tourist attractions and landmarks, it is a bustling, hip city.
When starting out in this new city, there is something cozy, yet cool, about Arlington. Tree-lined streets lend themselves to high-rise apartments as well as colonial-inspired homes. Boutiques and trendy eateries share the same sidewalk as restaurants and neighbors here exchange conversation on bike paths as well as the Metro.
Cost of living: Rent can be a bit pricey but those moving should consider Arlington’s proximity to D.C., its abundance of culture and the ability to commute using the Metro, which can save on a car payment/insurance. It is also a good walking city, so what you pay in rent, you save on transportation because you can walk to dinner, shopping and entertainment.
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Arlington is, in a sense, the best of both worlds. For those looking to play just as hard as they work, this is the city for you. While Arlington is an urban environment thanks to its distance to D.C. and its large population, it is still very much a suburb at its core. Taking the best parts of city life and mixing them with the simplicity of suburban bliss, there is a block and a home for every potential resident. The general makeup of D.C.’s little sister city is a treasure trove of older two-story, single-family homes, high rise condos, townhomes and luxury apartments.
Here we have the best areas of Arlington for you to choose from. Just simply close your eyes and point.
Ballston/Virginia Square: Has its own Metro stop and its mixture of townhomes and older homes. Home to new condos, near N. Randolph Street or N. Quincy Street near Liberty Center. Ballston boasts a number of parks, restaurants and bars, as well as its own mall, making it a perfect spot for active residents. From street fairs to ice skating rinks, there is always something to do in this area of Arlington.
Clarendon/Courthouse: The “county seat” of Arlington, the Courthouse area is made-up of businesses, as well as condos, townhomes, apartments and co-op housing. The neighborhood does indeed gets its name from the government building that occupies most of its area. Day time hustle and bustle is typical as commuters and government workers make their way around town. This area is home to a variety of bars and restaurants and is a great spot for individuals who want a bit of “downtown” life, as it often plays host to farmers markets and parades.
Arlington Ridge: This area consists mainly of older homes (built in 1920s and 1930s), with yards. Nestled on tree-lined streets, these homes are larger single-family dwellings (3-5 bedrooms), often colonial-style, and have a history. This area is the ideal place for those looking for a bit of suburbia. There are also a few luxury apartment complexes to choose from in the area. The neighborhood can be fairly costly (a one bedroom apartment starts at $1500/month). It is also only a short walk to “downtown” areas like Crystal City/Pentagon.
Crystal City: A unique part of the city, the appeal of Crystal City is that it bridges together work and play. One of the more cost effective areas of Arlington, Crystal City connects office buildings with apartments through an underground corridor. Residents here virtually never have to leave “home” to eat, shop, work and/or exercise. In fact, some of the apartments here offer rooftop fitness areas. An “underground city”, Crystal City also features an underground shopping mall.
Lyons Village: A quaint neighborhood between Clarendon and Ballston, Lyons Village boasts single-family homes, built in the 1920s. Many of the homes in this area have well-sized yards and gardens, as well as 3-5 bedroom floor plans. A reasonably priced neighborhood, perfect for morning jogs or bike rides, Lyons Village also offers townhomes and garden-style apartments for those looking for a smaller place to call home.
Many apartments here offer upgraded amenities including washer/dryer in the unit, fireplaces, on-site shopping and dry cleaners. Each complex has something to offer so shop around for which amenities you prefer.
Metro cards, HOVs and Bicycles – Oh, my!
Commuting in Arlington is simply a way of life. Whether you’re walking, biking or carpooling to work, odds are there is a small to medium-sized commute in your everyday schedule – but the beauty of the commute in Arlington is that it can be done fairly easily. Although traffic around the Arlington/DC area (Interstate 395 and Interstate 66) can be a bit of a nightmare (average commute times between 30-45 minutes), HOV lanes and carpool lanes are a useful and popular tool. In addition, Arlington is home to eleven of thirty-three Metro stops, which makes living here and working elsewhere very convenient. It is also very easy to walk, take the bus, the Virginia Railway commuter train or commute via bicycle. For frequent travelers, the city is home to Ronald Reagan Airport, one of the nation’s best and most popular airports.
The climate in Arlington allows for residents to experience all four seasons. Spring and fall here are pleasant with temperatures mild enough to enjoy the outdoors and the changing leaves. Summer is fairly warm, with July being the most brutal. Winter here gets a bit cold, with January being the coldest month of the year. Temperatures can soar to the upper 90s in July. Dress accordingly for the commute during the summer, as the Metro can get crowded and warm.