Upon first glance
Ballston and Virginia Square are the last two stops in Arlington on the Orange Line. While Ballston brings the downtown feel to the area, Virginia Square is much more residential. Residents enjoy a mixture of shops, restaurants, parks and nightlife that suit different lifestyles. No matter the lifestyle, all can agree that convenience is key when it comes to living in the area; most who work and live in Ballston can enjoy doing so without a car.
Who lives here
The Ballston and Virginia Square area is quite unique to Arlington. Urban qualities and village qualities split the neighborhoods in two. Ballston, especially around the metro stop and Ballston Common Mall is a hub of activity. There are well known public and private organizations housed in high rise buildings only a few blocks from the metro. The National Science Foundation, DARPA and the United States Coast Guard all call Ballston home. Venturing a bit further away from the heart of Ballston brings residents to Virginia Square, a much more “village-like” section of the urban village, and for that reason, draws in a wider demographic. Virginia Square offers the quieter suburban living that is generally associated with Fairfax County, not Arlington. Virginia Square is home to the Arlington Campus of George Mason University, housing its law school, graduate and continuing education programs and the fine arts gallery.
Food and entertainment
The restaurant scene in Ballston and Virginia Square does not disappoint. Other than great finds in the Ballston Common Mall, there are fantastic bars for the after-work crowd including Front Page and American Tap Room. For foodies with a sweet tooth, look no further than Willows, with award winning pastry chef Kate Jansen. Virginia Square also has some can’t miss staples including Mario’s Pizza, an establishment that has been open for over fifty years.
In terms of community value, Ballston and Virginia Square rank quite high on the list. The Ballston Farmers Market brings in large crowds for its organic selection. Taste of Arlington, is an annual food festival and street fair hosted by Ballston since 1987. Restaurants from all over Arlington gather and offer a variety of food options to festival goers. It is a wonderful opportunity for business and community development. Ticket sales estimate that nearly 15,000 people attended the festival in 2009.
For sports fanatics, The Kettler Capitals Ice Complex, located in the Ballston Common Mall’s parking garage is where the Washington Capitals professional ice hockey team practices. There are two full sized rinks for both practices and public use. The Capitals hold open practices that are free of charge.
There are several parks for the more outdoorsy residents, including Quincy Park and Lubber Park & Community Center. Curtis Trail access points are open in the village which leads to the Mount Vernon Trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail and the Capital Crescent Trail. For more educational activities, the area is home to the David M. Brown Planetarium, the Arlington Arts Center and the Arlington Central Library.
This area houses the Ballston and Virginia Square stops along the Orange line of the D.C. metro system which allows for ease of access to all parts of Arlington and the District. The area is also serviced by the Metrobus and ART buses. For drivers, Ballston was founded upon the major intersection of North Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard. Capital Bikeshare and several bicycle racks are located throughout Arlington county including Ballston and Virginia Square.
The Bottom Line
Ballston and Virginia Square are for those looking for a place to live that include both the downtown feel of Washington, and the quiet residential feel of Fairfax County. It has great community value, a wide selection of restaurants and shops, and both luxury and moderately priced housing. Convenience is the main draw to the area; food, entertainment and work are all located within walking distance of both metro stations.