If you’ve been looking at Alexandria houses for sale but have wondered about living in Arlington while working in DC, you’ll find there aren’t many places that can provide the type of versatility that Arlington does. Many people move here thanks to its proximity to Washington, DC, and the many career opportunities available within a short commute.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Arlington isn’t without its downsides, so you’ll want to consider both the pros and cons before making your move.
Pro: It’s Easy to Get Around Without a Car
Arlington is close to practically everything, making it easy to get around without having to get behind the wheel. Odds are, you’ll be within walking distance to grocery stores, shops, and restaurants. It’s also very bike-friendly, with lots of bike lanes and bike-designated routes. If you need to go further, public transport is easy, with more than 20 routes from here to DC alone. Other options include taxis, Uber, and other ride-sharing apps.
Pro: The Food Scene
There is a wide range of restaurants in Arlington with something to be found from nearly every corner of the world, from Greek and Persian to Russian and Viennese, and at just about every price range.
While world-renowned chefs make for a truly memorable culinary experience here, not everything is fine dining. There are great diners serving comfort food and plenty of popular hangout spots like Northside Social, an institution here with an outdoor patio. Many coming for breakfast, but you’ll want to go back for the very enticing happy hour.
Pro: Outdoor Activities
There are a surprising number of parks and trails here, making it easy to get active while enjoying the outdoors. The park system has been recognized among the top four of the country’s largest cities. Its vibrant, walkable neighborhoods are home to 1,100 acres of parks and open space lined by over 75 miles of multi-use trails. You can walk, run, or ride through forests and over streams, passing plenty of scenic vistas along the way.
Pro: It’s Diverse
One of the reasons the food scene is so diverse is that Arlington itself has a diverse array of residents. Its a giant melting pot in most areas, with Spanish widely spoken but plenty of people from all over the world. You’ll even find lots of Middle Eastern and Asian grocery stores here.
Con: It’s Expensive
The cost of living in DC and Arlington is higher than the national average, but Arlington is nearly 11 percent higher than DC and 55 percent higher than the national average. Groceries and dining out are pricier here too.
Con: Parking and Traffic
The traffic congestion in the area can be a nightmare and finding a parking spot is difficult. Most of the time you’ll have to pay to park which can add up quickly. As mentioned, you really don’t have to drive a vehicle unless you’re traveling outside the region, so you might be able to avoid the expense and the hassle. Save your car for trips to the beach where there are lots of options close by that sit along the Chesapeake Bay, or you can head south to Virginia Beach to enjoy the Atlantic, it’s just a few hours away.
Con: Overcrowded Schools
Arlington is frequently rated among the top school districts in Virginia. Niche ranked it No. 2 in the state for quality and safety. While that’s a definite pro, the con is that it’s led to overcrowded schools, attracting many families to move here.