Top 10 Best Arlington VA Neighborhoods
With over 50 different Arlington neighborhoods, it’s an impossible task to pick the best 10. Making a “best of” list depends on what someone is looking for. Are you price sensitive? Need great schools? Want walkability? The answer would change based on what you need. There are a lot of really great neighborhoods in Arlington and despite what people may think – there is also a good bit of variety.
What Are the Best Arlington VA Neighborhoods?
Ever drive through an area and think, “This could be so much more if only…” or “this place has seen better days.” You won’t say that in most areas of Arlington. Residents living in Arlington, VA cite easy DC access without living in the city, walkability, and good public schools as the attractive reasons to call it home. Those who aren’t Arlington fans would say there is not enough of a city environment or the schools that don’t rank high enough. Another thing that may not be appealing? Housing types include almost everything. There are older run down homes to the McMansion that is so overbuilt on the lot that when your neighbor sneezes in his house some of it sprays on you.
What are the top 10 Neighborhoods?
- Lyon Village & Lyon Park
- Westover & Bluemont
- Ashton Heights
- Maywood & Woodmont
- Crystal City
We’ll break each neighborhood down into more detail, covering the location within Arlington, the appeal and the price and availability of real estate.
Just over the Key Bridge from Georgetown, Rosslyn is the gateway to DC. Rosslyn used to go dark around 6 p.m. when the offices cleared out. But, things have changed. While it’s still not the nightlife capital of the Washington, DC area, there are some well rated restaurants and a handful of bars open until 2 a.m. Rosslyn is part of a business corridor that runs through a few other neighborhoods you are going to hear about on this list. The 18 mile Mount Vernon Trail also starts here and follows a very scenic route through Arlington and Alexandria, offering the best views of DC. This is one of the most “city-living” places you can find in the area – lots of pricey condo high rises and some townhomes. You’ll pay dearly to be able to walk over the Key Bridge into DC – $1M and up. Looking for a huge backyard? It’s not in Rosslyn.
This is one of the neighborhoods on the Rosslyn – Ballston corridor. Clarendon offers a restaurant and retail-packed, metro and highway accessible, urbanized suburban lifestyle. There are single family homes on the western edges toward Virginia Square. Clarendon has lots of parks and green space, restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, and a hustle and bustle. It’s very walkable – not just within Clarendon but to the adjacent neighborhoods. Kids even walk to school here! The Clarendon/Courthouse metro stops are just 3/4 mile apart. Condos start in the $400’s and go up from there, and townhome/single family home prices are in the low to mid $1M’s.
Lyon Village & Lyon Park
Lyon Village lies north of Clarendon, and Lyon Park is south. The lines are blurred here as to where Clarendon truly starts and stops, which is why I’ve included both of the Lyons together. (No one calls them that.) Lyon Village was sometimes viewed as a little fancier, but Lyon Park caught up.
Ten years ago I was showing an adorable bungalow in Lyon Park and the owners wrote a letter describing your life in the neighborhood. I have to admit, it sold me. Over the next few years, whenever I drove through Lyon Park, I truly understood what they were talking about. Yes, I would walk my dog here! Yes, I would take my kids to this neighborhood park! Yes, I would go to dinner in Clarendon. It was like this amazing little Mayberry tucked next to a cool retail area you could easily access on foot.
Now, many of those bungalows are gone, replaced with McMansions selling for $1.5M and up. There are a variety of house types. I personally loved Lyon Park with its bungalow filled streets. But things changed and the neighborhood has developed into the big brother to its former self.
Westover / Bluemont
These are two different neighborhoods, but there is a reason they are paired with each other. Westover lies north of 66 and Bluemont lies mostly on the south side, but because they border each other, residents are often told they live in either.
Wilson Boulevard runs right through Bluemont and has several unassuming but extremely highly rated restaurants with Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian and Mexican food. Or if you want pizza and beer, go to the Lost Dog Cafe, which donates a portion of their proceeds to dog and cat rescues. If the outdoors is your thing – this is a place to check out. Bluemont Park has sports fields, tennis courts and tons of trails. The W&OD connects through here as well as the Bluemont Trail, Four Mile Run and Custis Trail.
Houses are going to run in the $800’s to $900’s for a 1940’s rambler and from $1.5 to $2M if you buy one of the teardowns-turned McMansion.
I may catch some side eye for adding Ballston. Let me defend this choice. A few years ago, you would drive through Ballston and think, “This is cool…if you’re Brenda Walsh and Dylan McKay blasting ‘Losing My Religion’ in Dylan’s porsche.” But Ballston getting a face lift. Obsolete office buildings are being replaced with shiny new ones. Ballston Quarter now has a Food Hall and an indoor/outdoor collection of restaurants. There is skating rink and a cooking school that hilariously faces right into a fitness center! Parking costs just a few dollars in the garage.
You can get a condo right in the middle of everything in the $400’s, or you can get a house over $1M up to $2M on the edges of Ballston. But this is a highly dense area, where condo living reigns.
Ashton Heights is in the center of Arlington County. Just north of Route 50, the neighborhood offers an easy walk to two metro stations, library, movie theater, gym, lots of restaurants, grocery stores, parks, art center, and kids can walk to school.
This is a neighborhood of houses and guess what? The old house has survived here! You will find a lot of colonials and bungalows from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Being that this neighborhood lies south of Ballston and Virginia Square and west of Lyon Park, the prices are in line with those areas but you can still find homes below the $1M mark.
Maywood / Woodmont
Well done, Maywood! In 1990 you got yourself declared a historic district – the only one in Arlington County! This is pretty impressive because generally speaking, Arlington hasn’t tried hard to win any gorgeous hosing contests. Nor do they require that builders make housing have any sort of a uniform look, which is why you can see every house type and even things you didn’t know were house types all on the same block!
There are 99 pages of do’s and don’ts for residents of Maywood. Fun fact – the architectural beauties you see here – the American Foursquare, bungalow, farmhouse, most were not designed by architects. They were built by local builders who also lived in the neighborhood.
Woodmont lies to the northeast, along the Potomac River. The YMCA’s gymnastics program is run from the Y that’s buried in this residential neighborhood. But it’s a hub of activity for kids. As I’m sure you expected, once you heard words like “Potomac River” and “historic district,” you surmised prices here would be high. And you would have surmised correctly. Over $1M, up to $2M.
This is not Lake Barcroft, which is just to the west and not inside the Arlington County border. Barcroft is a cute neighborhood with a great sense of community, in close proximity to Columbia Pike. If you’re like my husband and you hate waving at your neighbors when you drive through the neighborhood, you may not want to live in Barcroft. Many of the roads in Barcroft dead end at Glen Caryln Park, and I think this is the reason it’s so friendly here. No one is passing through, this is their destination.
Prices in Barcroft can be in the $700’s for a rambler or into the $1M’s for a newly built home where a rambler once stood.
Columbia Pike is a business development corridor. While some parts of the Pike may not be so shiny and new, there is a lot of development happening here and a huge selection of ethnic foods to be found.
Shirlington reminds me of the same journey Ballston has taken – once cool, then fell out of favor, now cool again. As North Arlington neighborhoods became too pricey, people found their way to South Arlington where there is a lot more value to be had. The other day, my clients closed on a 2 bedroom condo in Shirlington for $450,000. There is a whole village area which serves like a downtown, with grocery stores and a ton of restaurants. You also have Four Mile Run Park, a dog park, and the W & OD Trailhead as well. Shirlington is right off 395 as well, which makes commuting a breeze.
Crystal City / Pentagon City / National Landing
Ok let’s cut through some stuff first. This area would not have made a best of list since Reagan was in office. But as I said in another video, Jeff Bezos called and said, “Shove over” and the beginnings of history were made. Now all kinds of things are happening in the area thanks to the arrival of HQ2. Is this area living its best life? Not yet. But, as Crystal City turns into National Landing, this is one to watch. These neighborhoods are lumped together because they straddle Route 1 in South Arlington.
Arlington has definitely earned it’s place as one of the shining stars of Northern Virginia. While there is a higher cost of living than the national average, the proximity to Washington DC, good schools, easy commute, public transportation have made it one of the highly desired areas in which to live.