North Arlington vs South Arlington
Arlington Virginia is one of the most popular places to live in the DC Metro Area. Arlington is split into two parts – North and South. If you find Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) on a map, everything south or below 50 is South Arlington and above it is North Arlington.
The addresses have an N or an S in their street address so that you should always know what part of Arlington you’re in.
Fun Fact: 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.
Metro & Transportation
The metro lines follow the commercial development. Blue, yellow metro lines serve South Arlington heading south from DC into Pentagon City and Crystal City and continuing into Alexandria. The Orange and Silver lines serve North Arlington and run east/west along the Wilson Blvd corridor.
When compared to North Arlington, South Arlington is smaller in land area but has 2 of the 3 business development corridors identified by the county. South Arlington is home to Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon and Amazon’s HQ2, soon renamed “National Landing.”
North Arlington is a tale of two cities. The Rosslyn / Ballston corridor along Wilson Blvd is the southern most portion of North Arlington. You will find lots of commercial coexisting alongside residential areas. These are high density, “mixed use” communities with condos above retail, restaurants and nightlife.
The Northern part of Arlington County feels more like the “burbs.” It’s less walkable and shopping and nightlife requires a car.
The northern part of North Arlington is all single family homes – there are no condos here. Prices are all 7 figures for the most part.
The southern / commercial part of North Arlington has a variety of real estate in both style and price point. There are apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family homes. You will pay for location and walkability. Condos start in the $400,000 for 1 bedrooms, townhomes start in the $800,000’s and go into the $1M’s. For houses you will pay in the $1M’s and up.
South Arlington was overlooked for many years. It had dated neighborhoods and retail. South Arlington was the not so cool little brother to the more sophisticated North Arlington.
But then, Jeff Bezos called and said, “Save my seat!” and it all went crazy.
Prices used to be a lot more palatable here. But the Amazon effect is real. Smaller 2 bedroom townhomes start in the $400,000’s. You can get a single family home here in the $600’s, but it is getting harder to find homes under $1M. Home prices are well into the $1M’s in some neighborhoods as builders anticipate the Amazon demand shift.
The residents of the farthest part of North Arlington can just as easily drive to McLean as they can to the Wilson/Clarendon Blvd strip for restaurants. Grocery stores lie along the commercial strips – Langston Blvd and Wilson Blvd.
In South Arlington, the strip in Shirlington is where restaurants are more concentrated. There are restaurants scattered around the neighborhoods as well. For grocery, there’s all the usual suspects – Safeway, Giant, Trader Joes, Harris Teeter and Costco and they are all over South Arlington in a way you won’t see in North Arlington.
As a resident of Arlington you can take advantage of so many activities offered through Arlington Parks and Recreation. There are classes, camps for kids to seniors.
The county boasts that any resident of Arlington can walk to a park within 10 minutes. There are tons of parks throughout both North and South Arlington that it would be hard to compare. The county does an excellent job here.
In South Arlington, don’t miss the W & OD Trailhead which starts in Arlington.
In North Arlington you will find the YMCA Gymnastics Program and a dedicated tennis center.
The county spends half its revenue on schools. Historically, people preferred North Arlington for the solid school scores, but Covid, plus time, were great equalizers. A diversity in student population offered by South Arlington schools shifted the old paradigm of thinking that North Arlington was the place to be. Many families are moving to South Arlington. Thanks Jeff Bezos!
Both North and South Arlington have their share of dog parks. The county is dog-friendly.
In North Arlington there’s James Hunter Dog Park, Benjamin Banneker Dog Park and Fort Ethan Allen Dog Park.
In South Arlington there’s Shirlington Dog Park along Four Mile Run River. Fort Barnard and Glencarlyn both have a dog park. Pentagon City has a Bark Park.