Arlington, Virginia. A stone’s throw from Washington, D.C. Hometown living with an urban beat. What’s not to like about this walking community of 209,300 men, women and children? Where 35% of the population is ethnically and racially diverse? Where, according to Arlington County government, the kids speak one of 95 different languages and come to Virginia from one of 128 different countries?
Arlington, Virginia. Home of Arlington National Cemetery, one of only two national cemeteries administered by the U.S. Army. Arlington: also home to the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, and U.S. Air Force Memorial on the grounds of Ft. Meyer. Arlington also includes the Pentagon which sites on 30 acres housing the U.S. Department of Defense. and nearby Arlington House (or the Robert E. Lee Memorial) which has the best view of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Arlington’s also home to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and George Washington Memorial Parkway, both important U.S. landmarks and local treasures.
If you’re heading to the DC metropolitan area for any reason, work, school or pleasure, walk – don’t run – to Arlington and check out what Virginia residents already know are Arlington’s Top 7 Selling Points:
Kid, Family and Pet Friendly
Arlington County boasts 1,296 acres of public spaces including more than 377 acres that are managed by Arlington Public Schools. These include lovely parks, community centers, nature centers, swimming pools, athletic fields and courts, awesome playgrounds, cultural facilities, community dog parks, picnic and pavilion areas, and so much more. These facilities cater to all ages and demographics. Seniors meet at the community centers. Athletes train on the playing fields. Kids hit the basketball courts, soccer fields, and tennis courts. 20-somethings hit the well-appointed, workout facilities that are located in many of the community centers. Teens keep busy with any number of sports, arts and cultural activities. Because of these and other amenities, once you live in Arlington, it’s difficult to live anywhere else.
Arlington’s green space is particularly compelling. Gulf Branch Nature Center has long sponsored cool nature programs for kids and adults alike. Potomac Overlook features concerts, as does Lubber Run. Lyon Village has a great shaded playground where kids can play as adults enjoy a cooler spot under the trees. Donaldson Run has lots of cool trails and views, and stop by the Iwo Jima memorial for a quiet tribute to our nation’s soldiers. Don’t miss Harrison Street playground where Arlington families find a safe environment for their kids to play.
Arlington County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources is one of only fifty-five agencies in the United States to have received national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). And, these parks and public spaces are open to the public, and ready for reservation for your special, family or sporting event.
Arlington takes the environment very seriously. Arlington County’s encourages and provides incentives for private developers to “go green” in building and renovation projects throughout the area. Arlington also has an extensive recycling and environmental education program for residents and businesses. Arlington joined with Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners to encourage proper disposal and run off, and protect Virginia waterways from chemical run off.
Education and Professional Development Friendly
Arlington public and private schools are the best-of the best, and include several award winning and Blue Ribbon schools. Arlington Public Schools (APS) operates more than 30 schools and programs, and high school graduation rates exceed 90%. Parochial and independent schools abound in the County, providing excellent educational choices for all. Arlington County’s library system is second-to-none. Check out Central Library which has something for everyone, from the very young to County seniors.
Arlington claims dozens of universities, colleges and professional schools, most along the metro corridor/Orange Line, like Marymount University, George Mason University (Arlington campus), George Mason School of Law, Art Institute of Washington, ACT College, Argosy University/Washington, D.C., George Washington University, Strayer University, Troy University, Everest College, Westwood College-Arlington Ballston Campus, Graham Webb International Academy of Hair, VA Commonwealth University, Keller Graduate School-Management/DeVry University, Everest College, and University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute, among others.
Citizen and Consumer Friendly
Arlington’s County Manager is accessible and responsive to citizens and has several staff members tasked with constituency relations. Likewise, the County Board hosts community meetings and listening tours to take the pulse of the community. County Board members are available by telephone, email and in person. Email a member of the Board, including the Chair, and you’ll be quite surprised to get an immediate response.
Arlington neighborhoods have well organized Citizen’s Associations that address neighborhood and development issues, and maintain productive dialogue with County officials and offices. Polling is done on a consistent basis by the County to measure community satisfaction. And, the County publishes an online and paper newsletter called The Citizen which alerts the community to energy saving and other green initiatives, refuse and recycling, leaf collection, housing, parking, construction, schools, and many other issues of interest to County residents. Arlington residents work hand in hand with County government to create and sustain an incredible community that works for all.
Arlington has a mix of housing for residents that cover the lifespan, from condos and townhouses in Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston neighborhoods for the 20 and 30-somethings, to older homes and new construction for more established residents and their families. True, housing prices are always a concern, but Arlington works hard to make sure its community is first-rate and that options are out there for first-time home owners. Community activism and partnerships with County government have ensured that Arlington maintains a fair amount of housing for low income and disabled residents.
Unlike other jurisdictions in the capital region, Arlington has transportation options that are second to none. Indeed, Arlington has it all: metro rail (Orange and Blue lines), metro transit buses that feed metro rail and main arteries, Arlington ART buses that cover the neighborhoods, and miles of bike trails and lanes for the environmental conscious and physically fit. Arlington roads are safe, well-policed, and maintained. If one road is crowded, there’s always another avenue to take to get to your destination. Most roads and highways will get you into the District in a matter of minutes. And, the bridges are not as bad as you would imagine!
Arlington is conveniently located within minutes of two major airports, Washington National Airport (10-20 minutes) and Dulles International Airport (30-40 minutes). Need a driver? Arlington’s Red Top Cab will get you there, safe and sound.
Safety, Security and Faith-Based Organizations
Arlington County is a safe place to live due to the dedicated members of the police, fire, and Sheriff’s Department. Staff and volunteers at its local chapter of the American Red Cross Chapter work hand-in-hand with the County and other jurisdictions to address emergency and other needs. Arlington’s non profit sector is thriving, and an incredible host of services are available through Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army, among others.
Dozens of churches and faith-based organizations may be found in Arlington County
, including: Our Lady Queen of Peace, Clarendon Presbyterian, St. Agnes, St. Ann, Cathedral of St. Thomas Moore, Memorial Baptist, Mount Olivet, Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Arlington United Methodist, St. Mark’s, The Orchard Church, Calvary United Methodist, First Baptist Church of Ballston, Trinity Episcopal, St. Mary’s Episcopal, Congregation Etz Hayim, Buddhist Fellowship UU, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Church of Christ Scientist, Sikh Temple, the Arlington Diocese, among others. Missionhurst is also tucked away in Arlington, Virginia and provides a welcome respite from a busy work week. Indeed, Arlington, like other communities, values diversity and embraces its many faith and cultural traditions from around the world.
I could go on and on about Arlington’s attributes, like its vibrant arts and cultural scene, cool shopping districts, great eateries, historic monuments, local history and ethnic neighborhoods. But, you’ll need to check out Arlington, Virginia for yourself to see what residents already know: Arlington rocks!