Living in Arlington, VA: Where Community Meets Convenience

Living in Arlington, VA: Where Community Meets Convenience

Posted on Apr 06, 2023

Despite its proximity to the nation's capital, Arlington has a distinct identity and culture, with a strong sense of community and a commitment to sustainability and social justice. 

The city has a unique blend of urban and suburban vibes, with bustling commercial districts like Ballston and Rosslyn mixed in with quieter residential neighborhoods. Many residents appreciate the walkability and bike-friendliness of the city, as well as the abundance of parks and green spaces. Great hiking areas are easily accessible.

"Arlington is one of the best cities to live in America (ranked!), with entertainment, culture, history, and great jobs all in very close proximity," explains Muoki.

Overall, Arlington is a good place to live, work, and play, offering a little bit of everything for everyone.

If you're thinking about moving to Arlington, VA, there are a few things you should know. Here's a guide to help you get started.


Arlington, VA, the land of cherry blossoms, the Pentagon, and...history! Arlington used to be a part of the District of Columbia until Congress decided to give it back to Virginia in 1846.

During the Civil War, Arlington became the site of a famous cemetery for Union soldiers. Later on, the area saw a lot of development and growth, with the addition of military installations like the aforementioned Pentagon and the Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington has also been home to some pretty famous folks, including President Reagan and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Arlington has a little something for everyone - history buffs, military enthusiasts, and tech moguls alike! But mostly, it’s a great place to live.



Arlington is a diverse community with a variety of neighborhoods to choose from. Each neighborhood has its own unique vibe and attractions. For example, Clarendon is a bustling neighborhood with lots of nightlife, shopping, and dining options. It's a popular spot for young professionals. On the other hand, Ballston is a bit quieter and more family-friendly. Take the time to explore different neighborhoods to find the one that best fits your needs.

"Arlington is like a city of mini-cities known as 'DC's suburbs.' It is definitely urban and city-like in its own right, with areas of more suburban districts with bigger homes, larger lots, and more space," explains Virginia-based Realtor Muoki Musau.

Popular neighborhoods in Arlington include: 

  • Ballston-Virginia Square: A bustling urban hub with plenty of shopping and dining options.

  • Bluemont: A charming residential neighborhood with a small-town feel.

  • Clarendon-Courthouse: A lively and trendy neighborhood known for its nightlife and upscale dining.

  • Colonial Village: A quiet and peaceful community with a historic charm and tree-lined streets.

  • Radnor-Ft Myer Heights: A neighborhood with a mix of residential and commercial spaces, and proximity to major transportation hubs.

  • Columbia Forest: Generally considered to be one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Arlington, this is a quiet and diverse area located near several major transportation routes.

Cost of Living in Arlington, VA

 As with any affluent area, the cost of living in Arlington can be higher than in other parts of the country. Be prepared for higher prices when it comes to housing, dining, and entertainment. However, the higher cost of living is balanced out by a high quality of life, excellent schools, and proximity to Washington D.C.

As we covered in our DC suburb affordability post, Arlington’s cost of living is 7% lower than DC, meaning your salary will go further here when it comes to paying your rent, buying a home, or buying groceries. However, Arlington is more expensive than other suburbs in the region, such as Alexandria or Silver Spring. 

Housing Market

Everyone moving to Arlington wants to know - how expensive are the homes? This is one of the more upscale areas surrounding DC. The average cost of a home in Arlington is $639,000 right now - compare this to Alexandria’s $593,000 or Silver Spring’s $490,145.

"A lot of luxury new construction is happening in Arlington and there may be investor activity in the retail market, so be prepared for multiple offer scenarios," warns Muoki.

According to Redfin’s market data, home prices in Arlington are down 1.3% year-over-year - but don't expect any big discounts. This mostly represents a mild drawback from the sky-high prices of 2021/22.

If you're hoping for prices to really drop, you'll be waiting a long time. Possibly forever. As local Realtor John Marcario explained in Selling a House in Northern Virginia:

"This region is always going to be a competitive region. There are just so many people who have to work in the area due to various contractor jobs, construction jobs, government jobs, etc.," advises Marcario. "It's been recession-proof and bubble-proof anytime there’s been housing problems. People realize this area is a really great area to live in."

Housing Stock

Home types range from the symmetrical, neo-classical Georgian style to the more homey Cape Cod and Bungalow looks. 

Only 24% of the housing stock in Arlington is single-family detached homes - the majority of living options available are low, mid, and high-rise multifamily, as well as a smattering of townhouses and duplexes. The “missing middle” of townhomes and duplexes has been a topic of conversation locally as home prices have shot up, leaving some hopeful that zoning laws will change going forward as a way to combat the areas diminishing affordability.

"People shouldn't live in Arlington if they are looking for true suburban living, but that is more of a lifestyle choice than a drawback," notes Muoki.

The median age of Arlington real estate is 46 years old, so homebuyers should be prepared for typical older-home issues to potentially come up on a home inspection such as outdated electrical wiring, a settling foundation, an older roof, et cetera.

Resource: What do home inspectors look for? Experts weigh in

Property Taxes

Taxes can make a difference in both closing costs and monthly mortgage payments.

  •  The real estate tax rate is $1.013 per $100 of assessed property value

  • Virginia levies a recordation tax on bonds or other obligations secured by the deeds of trust or mortgages at a rate of $0.25 per $100 (or portion of $100). (one-time closing cost for buying a home)

  •  On average, Virginians pay 0.8% of their home value in property taxes each year. So for a $700,000 house, expect to pay $5,600 annually in property taxes - or $470 a month.

Want to find out exactly what your taxes would be for a particular property?

Talk to a Local Realtor


Arlington is known for its great public transportation system. Experience easy access to Washington D.C. and surrounding areas thanks to multiple bus options as well as the Blue Line. The greater DC metro system is known for being both clean and safe. Additionally, Arlington is a very bike-friendly community, with lots of bike lanes and trails. Many people choose to walk or bike to work or use a combination of transportation options.

Commute to DC

Arlington residents will have an easier time of it and commute times that rival that of any other DC neighborhood.

  • By public transportation: 12 mins by train
  • By car: 15 mins (traffic dependent) 
  • By bike: 32 minutes


There's always something to do in Arlington. The county is home to numerous parks and trails, including the popular Potomac Overlook Regional Park and the Four Mile Run Trail. Arlington also has a thriving arts scene, with the Arlington Arts Center and Signature Theatre offering top-notch performances. Of course, being so close to Washington D.C. means there are endless attractions to explore, from the Smithsonian museums to the National Mall.

Food and Drink

Arlington is a foodie's paradise. There are tons of great restaurants and bars to choose from, ranging from casual to upscale. Try a classic Virginia-style BBQ at Texas Jack's or enjoy some Mediterranean fare prepared by Turkish chefs at Yayla Bistro. There's something for everyone in Arlington. Come summer, get a rooftop tropical cocktail at Buena Vida Gastrolounge

Plus, DC and all its culinary options is only a train ride away.

Festivals and Events

 Arlington hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including the Arlington County Fair and the Arlington Arts Festival. There are also plenty of farmers markets and craft fairs to explore. Check out the county's event calendar to stay up-to-date on what's happening.


Finally, one of the best things about Arlington is its sense of community. People are friendly and welcoming, and there are always events and activities to get involved in. Whether you're joining a community garden or attending a neighborhood block party, you'll quickly feel at home in Arlington.

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What if Arlington Isn't for You?

Moving to Arlington everyone - for a variety of reasons. Maybe the commute is too far, or the homes aren't in your budget. There are plenty of other suburbs and neighborhoods in the greater DC area that could be a better match.

"Alexandria is the neighboring city that residents of DC and Arlington have found attractive over the years, offering more of a suburban feel while being close to the capital, and maintaining the proximity to entertainment, history, jobs, and transportation," recommends Muoki.

For further info, we recommend checking out one of our local guides:

Or have a chat with one of our on-the-ground agents, like Muoki, who can give you expert advice on the right fit.

Start Here

(it's free to talk and there's no obligation - but they can give you up-to-the-minute, personalized advice that won't always be reflected in neighborhood guides!)

So: is Living in Arlington, VA Part of Your Future?

In conclusion, moving to Arlington can be a wonderful experience. From exploring different neighborhoods to enjoying the many attractions and events, there's always something to do in this vibrant community. Be prepared for a higher cost of living, but know that it's balanced out by excellent schools, great transportation, and a high quality of life. Welcome to Arlington!


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