North Arlington Tour! Arlington has no incorporated cities or towns within its borders. Arlington is the county, everyone’s mailing address is Arlington, and Arlington itself is not a city. But, there are a ton of neighborhoods in Arlington
Arlington is west of the Potomac, just on the other side of DC. Arlington is home to the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport and soon Amazon’s HQ2 – the east coast Headquarters for Amazon.com
Arlington is split into two parts – North and South. If you find Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) on a map, you can see that everything south or below 50 is South Arlington and the addresses have an S in their name. Everything above Rouge 50 (north) is… you guessed it – North Arlington. North Arlington addresses have an “N” in their street address.
This is specifically about North Arlington.
The metro lines followed the commercial development. Blue, yellow metro lines serve S Arlington. Orange and Silver serve N Arlington.
To make things a little more clear, I’m going to further divide North Arlington into two different classifications. This isn’t a formally recognized divide, just my differentiation to explain it better.
Interstate 66, Wilson Blvd and the orange/silver line metro all run somewhat parallel to each other in the southern portion of North Arlington. Along this corridor which runs east-west, you will find lots of commercial coexisting alongside residential areas. These are high density, “mixed use” communities with condos above retail, restaurants and nightlife. These neighborhoods consist of Rosslyn, Court House, Clarendon, VA Square, Ballston, Ashton Heights, Lyon Park.
If you head further north into the Northern part of the county, you’re in the “burbs” of Arlington. It’s less walkable and shopping and nightlife requires a car. Everything North of Lee Highway up along the Potomac – neighborhoods like Woodmont, Riverwood, Donaldson Run, Belleview Forest, Rivercrest, Arlingwood, Yorktown, Rock Spring, Williamsburg – this is much more suburban and spread out.
Arlington used to be part of surrounding Fairfax County, and was also included in the original square of land ceded to the capital. But by the mid 1800’s with slavery at the forefront of the brewing war, the folks in Alexandria realized they had no Congressional representation. If they ceded back to the Commonwealth of Virginia, they would pick up 2 new representatives who favored slavery. Initially the entire area was Alexandria County, but it became Arlington County in 1920.
Remember that North Arlington can be divided into two different lifestyles? Let’s talk the north part of North Arlington first.
I’m going to make it super easy. It’s all single family homes – there are no condos here. Can you find something in the $800,000’s? Yes. Will it need work? Yes. Are you more likely to pay over $1M? Sure are. You can pay up into the $3M’s. Arlington real estate ranks as one of the most expensive in not only Virginia but the country.
The more commercial part of Arlington that runs along Wilson Blvd (Rosslyn, Court House, Lyon Village, Lyon Park, Ashton Heights, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Ballston) this is your “main drag.” Real Estate variety exists here in style and pricing.
There are apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family homes here. You will pay for location and the walkability. Condos are around $400,000 for 1 bedroom, townhomes start in the $800,000’s and go into the $1M’s. For houses you will pay in the $1M’s and up.
North-North Arlington is all residential. If you live there and want to go shopping or to a restaurant, you’re driving either into McLean or down to the Wilson/Clarendon Blvd strip. Ballston by the way, is going through a major re-development. You used to look at it and say “I can see how this was cool in the 90’s,” but now it’s getting a face lift. Ballston Quarter now has a Food Hall of sorts, an indoor/outdoor collection of restaurants. Same story for grocery stores – North-North Arlington, you’re coming south to the commercial strip or going to McLean.
Tons of parks which I’ll mention in a moment. Tons of places to hang out – try Northside Social in Clarendon for coffee and people watching. Hit up Colony Grill which opened a location here from my hometown in Connecticut for some awesome Connecticut Pizza. There’s tons to do, see and eat in Arlington, movies in courthouse at AMC with Ballston going through a total renovation and re-do, there is a lot going on there as well. Ballston Mall has a skating rink and a cooking school that hilariously faces right into a fitness center!
The person who moves to Arlington is the person who loves the urban feel of the county and the amenities coupled with top notch schools. There are 22 elementary schools in the county, 6 middle schools, 3 high schools and a tech/career high school. The county spends half its revenue on education and they have the top notch schools to show for it – mostly.
If we use the infamously questionable Great Schools, which is based on test scores, you’ll see lots of 8, 9, 10 scores in North Arlington elementary schools. Scores all drop for middle and high school in both North and South Arlington. North-North Arlington goes to the Yorktown High School pyramid. If you live closer to the Wilson/Clarendon strip – you will attend Washington Liberty.
Arlington is interesting because you see the hustle and bustle of an urban area which you might normally associate with young professionals. This isn’t a place people live when they are young and single, then leave when the kids arrive on the scene. People generally feel that it’s a good place to raise kids.
I promised you parks. Arlington has tons of parks – Big ones in North-North Arlington are Potomac Overlook, Glebe Road Park. Then you have smaller neighborhood parks closer to the Wilson Blvd Strip like Quincy Park, Henry Clay, Rocky Run Park, Mosaic Park, Chestnut Hills & Greenbrier Park.
As a resident of Arlington you also have the opportunity to take advantage of so many activities offered through Parks and Recreation. Classes, camps, sports – they offer a really amazing program that I’m jealous of. The YMCA also has a couple locations and a huge gymnastics program, and a dedicated tennis center.
You want dog parks and trails? You got it!
Commercial part of Arlington has James Hunter Dog Park, Benjamin Banneker Dog Park. North-North Arlington has Fort Ethan Allen Dog Park. The county is pretty dog friendly and you won’t feel like you have to leave your pup behind if you live here. There’s lots to do outside with your best 4 legged friend!
I hope this overview gave you a good idea of life in North Arlington. If there’s anything I can answer, hit me up!