Arlington County is a self-governing county located in Northern Virginia. The county lies on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River, directly across from Washington, D.C.
As of the most recent census estimate, Arlington County has a population of 237,521. The population in Arlington is growing, having increased by 14.4% between April, 2010 and July, 2018. There is an active real estate market in Arlington — in the last 12 months, there have been 3,662 homes listed or sold in Arlington.
The median family income in Arlington County is $112,138, as recorded by the U.S. census between 2013 and 2017. The median home value, recorded during the same years, is $643,300. Homes in Arlington tend to be listed for more than their sale value; the median listing price between 2013 and 2017 was $700,000, while the median sale price was $601,200.
A Brief History of Arlington
Prior to the American War of Independence, the area that is now Arlington was part of Fairfax County, in the Colony of Virginia. Following the victory of the American revolutionaries, the government of Virginia ceded this part of Fairfax County to the newly-formed federal government. Due to the intricacies of the Residence Act of 1790 and the Organic Act of 1801, the territory that now comprises Arlington (known at the time as Alexandria County) became part of the District of Columbia. It remained unified with D.C. until 1846, when Congress allowed residents of Alexandria County to vote on a referendum to return all property south of the Potomac to Virginia. This referendum passed, and the Arlington area returned to Virginia.
In 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union. Alexandria, despite its proximity to D.C, voted overwhelmingly to join the Confederacy. During the war, many areas in Northern Virginia became battlefields, and the federal government seized many tracts of land due to their Confederacy-supporting owners not paying federal taxes. One such property was the Arlington House — the former home of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and current location of the Arlington National Cemetery.
After the war, the new constitution which was ratified by the Commonwealth of Virginia separated the city of Alexandria from its county. To avoid confusion, the county was renamed Arlington County in 1920. The name is derived from the Arlington House.
Though there was a rapid influx of people to the Arlington area in the 1950s, the business and residential districts of the region saw marked decline until the creation of the Washington Metro. This public transit system, which extended into Arlington, helped bring businesses to Arlington while allowing people who worked in the District live in Arlington suburbs.
Arlington has seen another expansion in the past several years, with enormous companies such as Nestle and Amazon opening headquarters in Arlington.
Located directly along the Potomac River, Rosslyn is a prominent business district within Arlington. High rises are common in the neighborhood, and the Rosslyn metro station affords easy access to the rest of the D.C. Metro area
Ballston is a bustling neighborhood which sits further from the Potomac than Rosslyn, though it is still on the Metro lines. Ballston is a very walkable neighborhood — bike sharing services are common, and a prominent Metro stop is situated in the middle of the area. Ballston is more residentially-focused than Rosslyn, but there are still many businesses that call Ballston home.
Clarendon, which lies between Rosslyn and Ballston, offers and interesting and unique blend of urban and suburban living. Like many other prominent Arlington neighborhoods, the convenient Metro stop allows Clarendon to be a very walkable neighborhood — residents can easily use the Metro to travel between the many interesting areas of Arlington, or take a day trip into D.C
Courthouse was a neighborhood that was designed to be incredibly walkable, and that effort shows. The Courthouse Metro stop is central to nearly everything in the neighborhood, so residents and visitors are rarely more than a few minutes away from being able to access the delicious food and hip nightlife in Courthouse — all without sacrificing the option for a quiet, suburban feel.
Built in 2009 in the Rosslyn neighborhood, Turnberry Tower was the tallest residential building in the entire Washington Metro area at the time of its construction. The 26-story building is outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, state of the art and luxurious appliances, a modern spa and fitness center, and a 24-hour valet service.
Arlington contains 12 primary and secondary schools, located in the county’s various neighborhoods. One popular, highly-rated school is Arlington Science Focus School. Arlington Science Focus School was assigned a rating of 8 by GreatSchools, a non-profit which specializes in providing comparative grades of primary and secondary schools. This score was given based on average testing scores, as well as metrics indicating academic improvement among students. At the most recent count, 575 students attended Arlington Science Focus School.
Fun & Leisure
Visitors and residents of Arlington have enjoyed and recommended the following experiences and attractions in the area:
- Crystal City Water Park
The Crystal City Water Park is a beautiful, tranquil outdoor park located in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington. The Water Park, which is one of the many gorgeous outdoor parks in Crystal City, is a popular way to beat the summer heat in Arlington. It is conveniently located near the Crystal City Metro station, as well as a Capital Bikeshare bike rack.
- Arlington National Cemetery
Perhaps the most famous feature of Arlington, the National Cemetery is the resting place of more than 400,000 service members and veterans. Arlington National Cemetery is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
- Signature Theatre
Located in the Shirlington Neighborhood, the Signature Theatre is a Tony Award-winning production company. The Signature Theatre focuses on producing musicals, particularly those penned by legendary composer Stephen Sondheim.
- DEA Museum and Visitor’s Center
This museum aims to teach attendees about the history of illicit drug use and drug enforcement in the United States. As with the other federal museums, the DEA Museum is open to the public and does not charge any admission fee.
- The Village at Shirlington
The Village is a central hub of shopping, night life, and culture in the Shirlington area. In addition to the Signature Theatre, which is located in The Village, patrons can enjoy a movie theatre, myriad restaurants and bars, and plenty of locally-owned stores.
Suggested Restaurants and Nightlife Spots
- The Local Oyster
Located in the Quarter Market in Ballston, The Local Oyster is a business whose roots are found in Baltimore, Maryland. The oyster experts brought their wisdom to Virginia in 2019, along with a large collection of Maryland beers and cocktail recipes.
- Don Tito
Don Tito is a three-story love letter to tacos, featuring a gorgeous rooftop bars and plenty of varieties of tacos, both the classics and their own concoctions. Want another endorsement? Don Tito was the first place that the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals ate on their victory tour!
- Arlington Drafthouse
If you’re looking for an all-in-one night out, there’s few places better than Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. This theatre, located in the Ballston neighborhood, offers both films and live performances for your viewing pleasure, and you can enjoy either one with delicious food and strong drinks — all with tableside service!
For the adventurous, Baba is a speakeasy in Clarendon that specializes in food and drinks that hail from the Balkans. Step outside your comfort zone with traditional eastern European pastries and fruit liqueurs, and drop by on the weekend to dance the night away with Baba’s in-house DJ.
- Whitlows on Wilson
If you’re looking for a tried-and-true favorite, look no further than Whitlows on Wilson, located in the Clarendon neighborhood. Whitlows, with its live music, weekend brunch, and rooftop tiki bar, has garnered enough popularity to be a mainstay in the Arlington nightlife scene.
Highlighted Attraction: Quarter Market at Ballston Quarter
The Quarter Market offers the convenience of a traditional food court with a selection of high-quality, local fare, all within the bustling Ballston neighborhood in Arlington.
There are over a dozen local restaurants within the Quarter Market — and they run the gamut of flavors from deliciously sweet donuts to mouth-watering, freshly-shucked oysters. Due to the sheer variety of food available for purchase, as well as the hip and cozy atmosphere, the Quarter Market at Ballston Quarter is a perfect place to take friends and family!