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15 Things to Know About Living in Arlington, VA

Right across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. is Arlington, VA. With excellent job opportunities, a strong military history, and plenty to see and do, Arlington is a great place to live for practically anyone! If you’re thinking of moving to this Virginia city, here are a few things to know before you get there!

A Great Place to Live

Townhouses on street in Arlington, VA

Photo by Ron Cogswell

With a crime rate 61% lower than the national average, lots of green space, a hot housing market, a lively restaurant and bar scene, and an unemployment rate of 2.8%, Arlington is an excellent place for singles, young professionals, families, military personnel, and retirees to live. It was voted the second best city in the nation for millennials and the best city for new college grads in 2016. And due to its proximity to our nation’s capital, some of the largest employers in the area include the U.S. Department of Defense, United Airlines, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Airways—perfect for anyone who wants career in government or with an airline!

Education Is a Priority

George Mason University in Arlington, VA

Photo by Ron Cogswell

The average school test scores in Arlington are 25% higher than the national average, and Arlington residents are among some of the most educated in the nation with 72% of the population holding bachelor’s degrees. For anyone moving to the Arlington area in search of higher education, there are multiple institutions in and around the city, including Marymount University, George Mason University, Strayer University, and The Art Institute of Washington.

A Dog-Friendly City

Dog lying in grass

Photo by Tom Maier

Dogs owners love Arlington because of the pet-friendly parks: Shirlington Dog Park, Fort Ethan Allen Dog Park, James Hunter Dog Park, Utah Dog Park and Towers Dog Park. Many of these locations have fenced areas that offer plenty of shade, water, benches, and lights. So if you and Fido want to head out for some puppy playtime, Arlington’s got you covered.

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A Proud Military History

With 27 military bases and nearly 117,084 active military members, Virginia is full of military history. Check out Twilight Tattoo, a free, live-action military pageant featuring soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment and music from the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Shows run from May through August every year and are a great way to learn about military history through song and stunning performance.

Arlington National Cemetery Is a Must-See

Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA

Photo by Jim Bowen

Arlington National Cemetery always makes the list when talking about Arlington. With 624 acres and sites like The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President John F. Kennedy’s grave, this beautiful yet somber cemetery is a great place to explore on your own. While you’re there, stop by the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

Get Your Exercise at The Pentagon

The Pentagon is another must-visit spot with nearly 106,000 people visiting annually. Home of the U.S. Department of Defense, it’s the largest low-rise building in the world. Learn about the branches of the military and more during walking tours that cover nearly a mile and a half throughout the building.

The Army Ten-Miler

Army Ten-Miler

Photo by U.S. Army

The Army Ten-Miler has become a major attraction in Arlington! This road race is the third largest ten-mile road race in the world. It’s organized by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (MDW), and the proceeds support soldiers and their families.

Sports in the Nation’s Capital

Washington Redskins

Photo by Keith Allison

Need a professional sports team to root for while residing in Arlington? The Washington Redskins are the metro’s favorite football team, and they’ve won three Super Bowls! Anyone who loves the American pastime can catch a Washington Nationals game. For fans of hockey, the Washington Capitals play at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Of course, we can’t forget D.C. United, the Major League Soccer club that won the U.S. Open Cup in 1996, 2008, and 2013!

Take Advantage of the Trails

Stretching from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Trail encompasses 17 miles with gorgeous views of Arlington and Washington, D.C. The trail is open year-round and connects with other trails throughout the state, so it’s a great walking, running, or biking spot for Arlington residents. Also, check out Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Lady Bird Johnson Park, and Bon Air Park.

Pedal to the Metal

If you see red bikes around Arlington, that’s because it’s home to Capital Bikeshare, a regional project between the District of Columbia and Arlington that makes bikes accessible for residents. With 200 different bike stations that take credit cards, locating a bike for a day out is a breeze!

Visit Lubber Run Amphitheater

Drummer at an outdoor concert

Photo by Will Fisher

Lubber Run Amphitheater in Arlington Forest offers free, family-friendly shows from June to September. Operated by Arlington County and the nonprofit Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation, this venue hosts a variety of acts, from magicians to violinists. Bring a blanket, and enjoy the show!

One of the Longest Escalators in the World

Rosslyn Metro Station in Arlington, VA

Photo by m01229

At 207 feet, the Rosslyn Metro escalator (off the Orange line) is the second longest escalator in the nation, just behind Maryland’s Wheaton Station (230 feet). It’s also one of the longest in the world. Because the metro has to pass under the Potomac, the metro travels pretty far underground from D.C., resulting in a three-minute escalator ride back to the surface. Even if you’re afraid of heights, this quirky stop is something you have to experience!

A Museum Dedicated to Drugs

DEA Museum in Arlington, VA

Photo by Joe Loong

Arlington is home to the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, the only museum in the country dedicated to the history, evolution, and battle against drugs in America. Free to the public, this museum showcases exhibits, educational displays, and films focused on the history and current trends of drug abuse and how law enforcement has been changing drug abuse in the U.S.

Amazing Food in Every Neighborhood

The Liberty Tavern in Arlington, VA

Photo by Ron Cogswell

Looking for great places to eat in Arlington? Stop by The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon for a Bone-In Pork Chop or a Liberty Tavern Burger. Or head to Hula Girl Bar and Grill in Shirlington for a Tiki-inspired cocktail and Grilled Mahi-Mahi. Or slurp down a number of ramen delicacies at Gaijin Ramen Shop in Cherrydale. And you can’t forget about the Penrose neighborhood’s Marble & Rye, where you can pair a slice of fresh-made pizza with one of more than 150 bourbons!

A Hopping Beer Scene

Glass of beer on bar counter

Photo by Ruocaled

There are more than 93 breweries throughout Virginia with a few gems like New District Brewing Company in Arlington. This package brewery is the first of its kind in over 100 years in Arlington and boasts a great selection of seasonal, specialty, and year-round brews. Try the zesty Ginger Saison, which is refreshing no matter the season! Also, check out Sekraft Brewing, another Arlington staple, and try a Pro Forma Pilsner or Good to Go IPA. No matter what type of beer you’re into, there’s an Arlington brewery or bar to fit your taste!


Are you moving to Arlington soon? Extra Space Storage has several storage facilities in Arlington that can help with your transition!

Data found from AreaVibes, Zillow, Trulia, Yelp, and Forbes.

All images are licensed under the Creative Commons.

city line of buildings in Arlington, VA
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