Arlington is guaranteed to come up as a top recommendation in any conversation about living in the DC area. Located just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, this urban county is home to many distinct neighborhoods as well as one of the nation’s most vibrant and diverse populations.

Living in Arlington places all of DC at your fingertips, without the city-living prices. The Metro system (rail and bus) is robust, and there are multiple commuter options to choose from—no matter the destination! Top-notch restaurants are infused with the international influences of its residents. Walkable neighborhoods, year-round cultural events, festivals, concerts, and ample green spaces urge you outdoors. Amenities like same-day Amazon, restaurant, and grocery delivery are available, as well as many other urban living tech staples like Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub. Car and bike sharing companies are flourishing, and “going one car” is a popular way to offset expenses.  

North and South Arlington are bisected by Route 50 and have their own unique characteristics. Generally, the farther north and west you go, the more grandiose the homes. Commuting to most installations is reasonable with easy access to multiple highways and Metro stops.


Arlingtonians are civilians, government workers, contractors, and all manner of professionals. Military retirees often take advantage of the healthy job market in the government and private sectors. Given the proximity to the Pentagon, you will also reside amongst many of your military counterparts from all branches. Dual income households are common. Singles and young couples without children will often congregate in the hip Ballston, Clarendon, or Courthouse neighborhoods, while small families and those on a budget gravitate towards South Arlington. Larger families and those willing and able to spend more on housing tend to live farther north.

Neighborhood Feel

You’ll find condos, townhomes, row houses, bungalows, brick colonials, and grand estates in Arlington. The area is hilly (more so in North Arlington), so it’s common to see homes and front yards raised and supported by retaining walls. Single-family homes are available starting north of Crystal City, and even though they may be a bit smaller than what you’re used to, the yards are reasonably sized. Many of the area’s homes date back to the 1920s to 1940s and have retained their charm. The neighborhoods in North Arlington tend to have been developed by State Department and other government workers in the 1960’s, but almost any home built during that period is likely to be heavily renovated or on the chopping block to be demolished for a new build.

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Neighborhood Location

Neighborhood Info

Arlington - Pentagon & JB Anacostia Bolling - Washington D.C. -

North Arlington

In North Arlington, you’ll find rolling hills and deep pockets. It is home to some of the area’s most affluent and influential. The homes trend towards the grand colonial style, ornamented with manicured lawns and luxury cars. As you traverse the county farther south, the trees thin out, the hills soften, and prices deflate a bit giving way to more affordable homes.

There is a swath of neighborhoods near Route 50 (the North/South divide) that most military families tend to focus on: Westover, Clarendon, and Ballston just to name a few. The short commute to The Pentagon and Crystal City are key perks for the area, as well as the easy access to DC. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall lies on the Arlington side of the Potomac River, and getting to Fort Belvoir is a reverse commute to neighboring Alexandria.


Home Size in North Arlington


The homes in North Arlington tend to be quite large farther north  (3,500 to 4,500+ square feet), and gradually decrease in size as you head south (1,500 to 2,500 square feet).

Home Prices in North Arlington


The median home value for single family homes in North Arlington is $800,000 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). Land is scarce here, and some of the affordable homes are being bought, torn down, and replaced with new-builds. Keep that in mind when you see a crazy price tag on a small fixer-upper. According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes is $3,483.32.

Commuting from North Arlington

One of the main perks to living anywhere in Arlington is the multitude of commuter options. It is very common for people to bike or walk to work here. There are 2 Metro lines (Orange and Silver) that service North Arlington. Additionally, there are DOD shuttles as well as Metro Bus and local bus options. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is going to be the closest installation, followed by The Pentagon, Crystal City (where some assigned to The Pentagon will report), and then the installations in the District.  

South Arlington

South Arlington checks off all of the real estate boxes for most military families. Along Route 50 there are some fantastic neighborhoods that are affordable and have single family homes as well as townhomes large enough for a family. Places like Arlington Heights, Alcova Heights, Penrose, and Barcroft all came highly recommended from the spouses we’ve spoken with. Detached homes and townhomes give way to high-rise apartments and condos the closer you get to Crystal City.

South Arlington is home to an eclectic and diverse community that has embraced a number of immigrant groups with rich cultures. Most of the area is walkable and the residents are active. As with most urban communities, there are pockets of crime here, but the area is generally considered to be safe. It is recommended that you research crime statistics before renting or buying.

Crystal City makes up a large part of South Arlington and the residences in or near this urban matrix of office buildings are typically multi-family dwellings. Often times apartments or condos come with perks such as gyms, community areas, storage and parking.


Home Size in South Arlington

Condos and high rise apartments in Crystal City are typically one or two bedrooms. As you go farther north and west, the homes gradually grow in size and give way to townhomes and detached bungalows.

Home Prices in South Arlington

The median home value for property in South Arlington is $393,000 for condos, and $630,100 for single family detached homes according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), and the Zillow Rental Index rate for single family homes is $2,779.

Most of the inventory in Crystal City consists of smaller condos and apartments. Home values near the boundary of North and South Arlington rise to about $600,000 to $800,000. Land is scarce here, and a some of the affordable homes are being bought, torn down, and replaced with new-builds. Keep that in mind when you see a crazy price tag on a small fixer-upper.

Commuting from South Arlington


Most of South Arlington is accessible from Route 1, and from there you can hop on either Highway 66 or I-395. Biking or walking to work is popular here, and there are a number of public transit options available to those in South Arlington.  

Points of Interest

Arlington National Cemetery

Theodore Roosevelt Island

Kettler Capitals Iceplex

Clarendon Restaurants and Bars

Crystal City Shops and Underground Mall

Ballston Common and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Abundant county parks, playgrounds, spraygrounds—even a skate park!

Big Plus

There is so much at your fingertips in Arlington! A trip to the city is easy, with bus and/or metro stops within walking distance in some cases. Hop on the metro and take the kids to the National Zoo for a free playdate. Walk to the corner bodega for bagels and a coffee. Without the pressure of “getting home by 3pm to beat traffic,” your options for entertainment, shopping, and outings, really open up. You’ll see what we mean on other pages. We’re really not kidding about the traffic. You’ve also got easy access to just about anywhere due to the robust roads, highways, and public transit options. Living in Arlington is like living in the District, but without the city expenses!

With all the available commuting options, dropping down to one car is a popular way to offset housing expenses.

Arlington has a stellar culinary scene and is a popular brunch destination. Places like Clarendon and Fairlington-Shirlington are known for their eclectic restaurants and hipster cafes. Whether fusion or authentic international fare, almost every cuisine imaginable is attainable.

Things to Consider

Even though the price tags for purchasing a home can be intimidating, consider the market and how long you’ll be in the area. If you’ll be here for more than 3 years, it may be worth making the investment. One spouse we spoke to told us that she was renting a 1,200 square foot home for $3,000/month and when they decided to buy, her monthly expenditure for housing dropped to $2,300 for a MUCH larger home (2,200 square feet). Rentals are commonly priced at or above average BAH, no matter the condition of the home.

Availability is somewhat scarce and bidding wars are common. Having a realtor is highly recommended so that you can move quickly if you find something you love!

Cost of living is higher here than in suburbs, but the trade off for a short commute and proximity to DC is worthwhile for some.

Spouses we’ve spoken to have mentioned safety isn’t as concerning here as it is in neighboring DC, but there are petty thefts to be aware of. As with any urban area, you need to be sure to research crime statistics in the neighborhood you’re looking into. Street parking is common so don’t leave valuables in your car!

How’s the Market?

The median home value for single family homes in Arlington is $796,800 according to the Zillow Home Value Index. Home Values are forecasted to increase by 1.9% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Arlington is $3,288.

From our research and from what we’ve gleaned from spouses in-the-know, home values start at around $500,000 to $700,000 in Crystal City (one to two bedroom condos), rise to about $600,000 to $800,000 near the boundary of North and South Arlington, and break $900,000+ in North Arlington “proper.”

The market in Arlington, as in most of the DC Metro area, is hyper-competitive and bidding wars are common. We recommend that you stalk the market and be positioned to move quickly. An experienced realtor is worth their weight in gold in this region!

School Scoop

Arlington contains 39 primary and secondary schools. One of the highest rated schools is Jamestown Elementary School, which is rated 10. The public schools in Arlington are part of Arlington County Public Schools.

As a district, Arlington County Public Schools’ rating is 7 according to For comparison sake, Alexandria City Public Schools’ rating is 4 and Fairfax County Public Schools’ rating is also 7.

Arlington Public Schools are highly recommended among the spouses we’ve spoken with. Though we reference their school ratings on, keep in mind that is only one way to gauge a school’s fit for your student. Northern Virginia is home to some of the top schools in the country, so even though you may see that a school in South Arlington was given a rating of “4,” that could be equivalent to a “9” elsewhere. Some of the schools in North Arlington are preferable to those in South Arlington according to spouses we’ve spoken to, but there is also a lottery in Arlington County that can alleviate zoning concerns. The curriculum is the same at all schools county wide, except those with magnet or year-round programs.

According to our focus group input, some standout elementary schools are Patrick Henry Elementary, Arlington Traditional Elementary, Taylor Elementary and Key Elementary.

There is a large immigrant population in South Arlington, and students attending these schools may be learning English as a second language. According to the Arlington Public Schools website, the richly diverse student body represents 96 nations, with 81 languages spoken! While this does typically impact standardized test scores, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the caliber of the education.

In Arlington, there are neighborhood schools and countywide schools. If you would like your child to attend a school in a different neighborhood than where you reside, you may apply for a Pupil Transfer and participate in a lottery. Admittance is permitted on a space available basis. There are also public Pre-K, immersion programs, charter schools, and Montessori options available.

Virginia does not follow Common Core standards, so you will want to be acquainted with the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning (SOLs) to be sure that your student is prepared, especially when transferring from a Common Core state.

Highlighted Areas

Arlington Heights


Arlington Ridge

Alcova Heights

Lyon Park