Reston VA Family & Lifestyle
Are you looking for a community that feels like being on vacation every day, with village centers, a system of walking trails, lots of trees and green space, a ton of neighborhood pools, tennis courts and easy access via public transportation to downtown? Great! This video is going to tell you all about living the Reston lifestyle. We’ll cover what there is to eat, fun things to do, places to go and also talk about what makes it great for families too!
Ranked by Money Magazine in 2018 as the best place to live in Virginia, Reston is located in Fairfax County, 22 miles Northwest of Washington. DC. The main arteries into Reston are the Dulles Toll Road or the Fairfax County Parkway.
Grocery Stores in Reston include the usual suspects we see in the area – Safeway, Giant, Wegmans, Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
There is a duality to Reston’s food scene because they have worked hard to maintain a small business identity but at the same time encouraged big name restaurants and businesses to set up shop on the borders of the original Reston neighborhood. This has helped the Reston economy thrive.
Lake Anne Village Center is the go-to spot to hang out with and take in the beautiful scenery, eat a ridiculously good Nordic Knot soft pretzel or drink a beer on the patio at Lake Anne Brew House. Lake Anne Brew House has a great beer selection and the patio has a bar that faces out on the lake. Their patio is decently sized so it’s not too difficult to get a seat on the weekends. Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar is delicious and the staff is always incredibly friendly with a warm atmosphere. The wine is excellent and the Brunch menu is to die for. They also serve dinner there and on a warm day, Big Wonton Dim Sum is also so delicious.
In South Lakes there’s Red’s Table, a local place owned by 3 brothers who grew up in Reston. They have live music several evenings during the month – usually Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. It’s not just for adults though, as the Tracy brothers grew up here and they made this place family friendly as well. There’s a kids menu and a kid’s brunch menu.
Reston Town Center has great places like North Italia, with food that is consistently delicious. Capital Burger is there, and you can get awesome tapas at Barcelona, ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar, or gorge yourself at Fogo de Chao.
Reston has attracted top notch small and large chain restaurants There are many of the chain restaurants that DC has and also more local and family-owned restaurants. No matter what you’re craving, you can pretty much find it in Reston, which has helped to attract so many people from places like DC and Arlington.
Fun for Adults & Kids
We weren’t joking when we said living in Reston felt like living on vacation. Reston has four manmade lakes and some homes come with boat slips. If you don’t have your own boat, there are boat rentals at Lake Anne.
Reston Town Center is one of the hubs of a ton of fun. They host over 100 events each year. From May to October on the second Saturday of the month there’s a Sip and Stroll. Adults can drink an adult beverage while the kids entertain themselves in a game zone. There’s music and food of course. There are concerts on the Town which run weekly from May to August. There’s a family fun series which runs through the summer months – they have magicians, music and other entertainment for the kids. There are film festivals which start up in the fall, holiday tree lighting, parades and Valentine’s Day Carriage Rides.
There’s lots to do in the rest of Reston too, it’s not just all in Town Center.
What was formerly the Reston Zoo, and also formerly Roer’s Zoofari is now NOVA Wild. The history with the Zoo hasn’t been good, but it’s now owned by a fellow Realtor. I did a video on our visit in the Summer of 2022, but there are some new and changing exhibits which allow for more interaction with the animals.
There’s a water park in Reston in Lake Fairfax Park. Called the Water Mine Family Swimmin Hole with tons of slides, flumes and splash areas. It’s in a public park but you do need tickets. If you plan on going more than a couple times over the summer, consider getting a season pass.
If you want to ice skate, you can do that year round at Skate Quest, and in the winter you can skate in Reston Town Center. The green in the middle of town center is an ice rink in the winter months.
If the pools in Reston Association don’t suit your needs, there is Hidden Creek Country Club which is known for having affordable dues and a variety of membership options. There was some talk several years ago that it would be sold and turned into a subdivision, but it’s not like this has a $75,000 initiation fee so there’s not much to lose here.
There are tons of trails in Reston. The Washington & Old Dominion trail also goes right through Reston Town Center on its way to Purcellville. And there’s often fitness events hosted throughout the year at Reston Town Center as well.
Also check out the North Shore Drive Underpass. This is a pedestrian path that goes under North Shore Drive, connecting Lake Anne Village Center with Hickory Cluster Neighborhood. There are multiple sculptures and other art throughout, plus places to sit and relax.
If you want to hold your own event, or get married here, the Reston Association offers the Lake House, which is a great venue on Lake Newport.
Finally, don’t miss the Walker Nature Center. This is the centerpiece of Reston’s 1300 acres of open space. This is both fun and educational for kids to learn about the environment and lends itself well to school field trips. Speaking of Schools…
There is something different in Reston compared to most of the rest of the metro area. There are 10 elementary schools and they go through 6th grade instead of 5th. There is one middle school – Hughes, and that serves grades 7-8. How big are these schools? The elementary schools have 500 – 600. The middle school enrollment number is just short of 1000. Then South Lakes High School has 2500 enrolled, and serves most of Reston, but the far north part of Reston is zoned for Herndon High School.
South Lakes High School serves most of Reston. The academic programs include Honors and International Baccalaureate (IB.) There are also opportunities for dual enrollment with colleges in the area. They have 20 sports and over 70 clubs including several National Honor Societies.
If scores are your thing, then you will want to look closer at the schools. The elementary schools range from the low end to the higher end. Middle and high school are both currently 4’s. I say this about the Great Schools Scores all the time but they are strictly test-based. If teachers know how to “teach to the test” then you can see these scores rise to the 9’s and 10’s that everyone values so highly.
This isn’t a place that’s unfriendly to dogs! This is more than a community with 1 dog park that coins itself as “dog friendly.” In addition to the one off-leash dog park at Baron Cameron Park, there are a ton of events centered around animals.
Dog Days of Summer is an event at Reston Town Center where the Pavilion turns into a dog park. There are also several pet-related events that happen in Reston Town Center during the year.
At the end of the pool season, 4-5 of the Reston pools offer a doggie swim day before they close for the season.
For services, there are a ton of local pet supply stores, groomers, walkers and even the 5-star rated Dogbedience trainer are here.
Now that we made you hungry for food and fun, make sure to check out our video about Reston’s history and the real estate!