Arlington is west of the Potomac, just on the other side of DC. It is home to the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport and the future home of Amazon’s HQ2.
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.
This video is specifically about South Arlington, so, everything below / or south, of route 50.
Arlington used to be part of surrounding Fairfax County, and was also part of the land ceded to the capital. But by the mid 1800’s as slavery was at the forefront of the brewing war, the folks in Alexandria realized they had no Congressional representation, and if they retroceded back to the Commonwealth of Virginia, they would pick up two new representatives who favored slavery.
Initially everything was Alexandria County, but all that was super confusing and the Arlington portion as we know it now became Arlington County in 1920.
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. Because of this, there are a ton of neighborhoods in Arlington!
Pentagon City & Crystal City are often grouped together. Pentagon City is pretty much the mall, and some surrounding streets. Crystal City is the area just to the west, off Route 1 and is mostly hotels and condos.
This area also includes Aurora Highlands & Aurora Hills – the Single Family homes to the south of Pentagon City, as well as an area called Arlington Ridge.
Penrose, Arlington View, Alcova Heights, Westmont, Barcroft, Douglas Park, Shirlington, Columbia Forest, Arlington Mill, Glencarlyn are some of the other neighborhoods in Arlington that we will talk about.
The blue/yellow metro lines head south from DC into Pentagon City and Crystal City. And no, just because they call them “cities,” they are incorporated cities! If they were, there is a law on the books for the State of Virginia, really, the Commonwealth of Virginia that cities function independent of any county. This is why there is Falls Church City, Fairfax City, etc. When compared to North Arlington, South Arlington is smaller in land area, and is much more residential.
Before we talk about anything real estate, we have to talk “BA” and “AA” Before Amazon, After Amazon.
South Arlington was overlooked for many years. It 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 thru the roof.
Prices were a lot more palatable here – sort of. But the Amazon effect is real. Places like Pentagon City and Crystal City, high rise condos with high fees. Prices can seem more affordable until you dig in. But you will find some rare condos in the $100’s and $200’s in high rises. They have all crept up though.
Smaller 2 level townhomes which are 2 bed and 1 or 2 baths will cost in the $400,000’s. You can get a single family home here too in the $500’s, but of course if you want to go over $1M, you can!
Other than the strip in Shirlington, restaurants and grocery stores are not as concentrated in one area like they are in North Arlington along Wilson Blvd. But you have Safeway, Giant, Trader Joes, Harris Teeter and Costco.
Don’t miss the W & OD Trailhead which starts in Arlington. Washington and Old Dominion, called the W &OD is a 45 mile paved trail that starts in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington and follows the road of the former railroad, out to Purcellville, VA.
A huge component of 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 two High Schools that serve North Arlington. Most of South Arlington goes to Wakefield High School, with the exception of part of the Glencarlyn and Forest Glen neighborhoods which go to Wash Liberty.
The county spends half its revenue on education and they have the top notch schools to show for it. South Arlington is catching up. If we use the infamously questionable Great Schools, which is based on test scores, you’ll see 4, 5, 6 in South Arlington elementary schools and 8, 9, 10 in North Arlington. Scores drop across the board for middle and high school.
There are tons of parks – Barcroft Park, Shirlington has Jennie Dean Park, Drew Park and Sprayground, Fort Barnard Park, the list goes on!
As a resident of Arlington you also have the opportunity to take advantage of so many activities offered through Parks and Recreation. There are classes, camps, and they offer a really amazing program that I’m jealous of.
Can’t leave without mentioning the doggies. You want dog parks and trails? You got it! – Shirlington has a dog park along Four Mile Run River. Fort Barnard and Glencarlyn both have a dog park. Pentagon City has a Bark Park.
I hope this gave you a good idea about South Arlington, a pretty underrated area of Northern Virginia in my opinion, but thanks to Amazon that’s all changing. If you’re interested in finding out more, let me know! I’ve sold plenty of homes in South Arlington and am happy to show you around!