Fairlington/Shirlington – Arlington, VA

The Fairlington/Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington County, VA, serves as a mecca for young professionals who work in Washington, D.C., and its surrounding suburbs. The residents enjoy a low crime rate and the convenience of urban amenities in a suburban location. Fairlington's red brick colonial revival-style buildings sit on tree-lined streets and lure residents with its close-knit sense of community. Meanwhile, in adjacent Shirlington, an economic renaissance has turned the area — especially the four-square-block Village at Shirlington — into an urban village, with upscale residential housing, retail, restaurants and entertainment. Shirlington lies in the valley of Four Mile Run, a tributary of the Potomac River, and the land rises out of the valley toward Fairlington to the south. The Fairlington/Shirlington community sits just off Interstate 395, less than 5 miles southwest of the Pentagon and less than 10 miles from D.C.

Schools in Fairlington/Shirlington

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Restaurants & Nightlife

Stroll the streets of Shirlington Village, and you pass restaurants to please your palate no matter what you crave. The Carlyle makes a nice spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner. If you go for brunch, try the brioche French toast or the squibnocket scrambled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, potatoes and cheddar, but don't leave without sampling the crab fritters. Other choices in the village include Guapo's for Mexican food, Aroma Indian Restaurant, Medi for Greek food, and Busboys and Poets for a truly unique experience. Busboys and Poets, like its counterpart in D.C., serves multiple purposes: bookstore, eatery, entertainment venue, and gathering place for intellectual discussions on culture, politics, and social issues. The cafe menu features lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, such as the vegan meatballs with penne in a tomato-basil sauce or the portobello mushroom panini, but if the food doesn't draw you in, the poetry readings, art exhibits, book signings, and video screenings might. Nightlife in the area also centers on Shirlington Village, with lots of choices for spending time with friends. For a neighborhood bar to watch a game and have a beer, head to Samuel Beckett's Irish Gastro Pub, where you can also hear live music, and Capitol City Brewing Company serves up its own house-brewed beer. Try the Prohibition Porter for a rich, dark brew or the Capitol Kolsch for something lighter. The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse offers a place to relax and watch a selection of films. Sit back and relax in the comfy chairs for a good night out with your other half. Locals love the $2 Movie Mondays and Tuesdays, but admission is kept low throughout the week anyway.

History & Culture

In response to a D.C. housing shortage during World War II, President Roosevelt ordered Fairlington be built for defense workers and their families. In 1944, a local businessman built Shirlington Shopping Center, one of the earliest suburban shopping centers in the country. In the 1970s, Shirlington declined with the rise of suburban malls. After a partial renovation in the 1980s, Arlington County breathed new life into the area in the 2000s by expanding the main street and adding housing, retail and entertainment. Arlington's arts and entertainment district, Shirlington houses the Signature Theatre — a Tony-Award winning regional theater company — Theatre On the Run and the Synetic Family Theatre. It also has a 7-screen art-house cinema. Shirlington hosts several festivals each year, including Wags and Whiskers in August, a Celtic Festival in September, an Oktoberfest celebration and Shir-la-la, with live music and wine tasting, on Thursdays during the summer.


Fairlington and Shirlington do not sit on Washington's subway line, known as the Metro. However, when Arlington County decided to develop Shirlington, it tackled that issue head-on by building the Shirlington Bus Station, a commuter hub with buses that deliver riders to the Pentagon in less than 10 minutes. From there, commuters take blue or yellow line Metro trains, or other buses to their destinations. Both Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrobuses and Arlington Transit buses serve the area. It takes approximately 10 minutes to get from the Pentagon Metro station to D.C.'s Metro Center station. Arlington County has made strides toward being a bike-friendly community. Bike lanes on Arlington Mill Drive, Walter Reed Drive and on 34th Street in Fairlington help bikers navigate the area, and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, a 45-mile paved, multi-use trail that begins in Shirlington, connects bikers to many towns and other trails. Capital Bikeshare operates a few stations in the Fairlington/Shirlington region for those who don't own their own bike. Parts of the area are somewhat walkable, but the commercial area in the Village at Shirlington shines as a pedestrian-friendly space. If you need to get somewhere by car, Uber ride-sharing service operates in the area, or you can get a cab by calling a taxi company for a pickup. For those who drive, Fairlington and Shirlington abut Interstate 395, which takes drivers straight north into downtown D.C. Route 7, Quaker Lane, Walter Reed Drive and South Arlington Mill Drive provide the other main arteries in the area. Most condominiums, apartments, shopping and business centers provide parking, and Shirlington Village includes both metered street parking and garage parking for visitors.


People new to Washington, D.C., and its suburbs often face sticker shock when they arrive, and the Fairlington/Shirlington area makes no exception. The cost of living here rests 13 percent higher than in D.C. Rent on a one-bedroom apartment can set you back $1,723 per month, and if you go out for a beer, you can expect to pay $6 per bottle. Driving costs more as well, with gas prices sitting about 9 percent higher than the national average. You can catch a bus to the Pentagon for $1.75, and then take a Metro train from the Pentagon station to the Metro Center station for $2.15 during peak time and $1.75 off-peak.


You don't have to go far for shopping in the area. Route 7 in Fairlington has several shopping centers for the basics, and the Pentagon City Mall lies approximately 4 miles north on Interstate 395 and includes national chain stores plus high-end retailers, such as Coach and Michael Kors. For the best boutique shopping, look no further than the Village at Shirlington. Capture a bit of Parisian culture at Le Village Marche, a French-themed shop stocked with scented candles, handcrafted cards, perfume, vintage-inspired furniture and kitchen items. It's a great place to find a gift for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. Expect outstanding customer service and an owner who remembers his customers at One, Two Kangaroo Toys, where you find playthings to stimulate a child's imagination. The closest grocery store, Harris Teeter, sits conveniently in Shirlington Village, but its small size and two-level layout make it less than ideal for large shopping trips. Go a little farther to the Fresh Market or the Safeway on King Street in Alexandria for a wider selection. Residents in Shirlington and Fairlington don't have a farmers market to call their own, but the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization holds one every Sunday morning in Pike Park. In addition to fresh foods, you can also find different local artisans selling their wares most weeks.


No matter what your outdoor interests, you can find a suitable park in the Fairlington/Shirlington area. The Fairlington Community Center and Park features playgrounds, picnic shelters, basketball courts, walking trails and an amphitheater. The community center includes six multipurpose rooms, a gym, a fitness room, lockers and an art studio. Although all Arlington County parks are free, residents do pay a fitness membership fee at the community center. Parents enjoy watching their children play baseball, softball and soccer at Utah Park, which also includes a volleyball court. While the kids practice, take the dog for some exercise at the fenced dog park. You can also take your dog to play at Shirlington Park, which includes a separate area for small dogs and puppies, and a stream for dogs that like to swim. Shirlington Park also includes a walking path with benches. For a nice place to walk, Fort Reynolds Park features a winding path and an outdoor amphitheater. Jennie Dean Park packs its 22 acres with lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. Here, local children play baseball or softball on two fields, friends get some exercise on the two lighted tennis courts or the lighted basketball court, and families set out picnics in the shelter. Take the kids to the playground or let them run around the open drop-in field.
IO Piazza by Windsor
2727 S Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22206
1 / 66
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Shirlington House
4201 31st St S, Arlington, VA 22206
1 / 32
3 hrs
$1,290 - 1,780 Studio - 2 Bedroom Available Now