Falls Church, VA

Overview

The City of Falls Church, also known as Falls Church City or just Falls Church, holds the status of an independent city in Virginia. Nicknamed "the little city," Falls Church covers just over 2 square miles, making it one of the smallest municipalities by area in the country. This tiny city lies about 9 miles west of Washington, D.C., but it manages to keep its small-town feel. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Falls Church has the lowest level of poverty of any independent city or county in the United States. That, combined with its low crime rate and excellent public schools, make Falls Church a desirable place to live.

Restaurants & Nightlife

More than 125 eating establishments operate in the City of Falls Church, and they represent an assortment of flavors from around the world. You can find most of the restaurants clustered near the main intersection at Routes 7 and 29, known by the locals as Broad Street and Washington Street, respectively. Sweet Rice serves a variety of authentic and contemporary Thai dishes for dine-in or take-out. It has a warm, relaxing atmosphere, and friendly and efficient service. Try the green curry, softshell crabs or the wild pork. Have lunch at Luzmila's Cuisine, featuring Bolivian food. Try the salteñas, large dough pockets with meat and vegetables. Daily specials include soup, an entrée and dessert, so arrive hungry. The restaurant serves large portions at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, it closes at 5 p.m. No discussion of Falls Church restaurants would be complete without mentioning Anthony's Restaurant. Since 1972, Anthony's has been serving Greek, Italian and American specialties. The restaurant moved out of the city in 2013 to make way for a multi-use complex at its former Broad Street address, but the owners relocated it just beyond the city limits in the Annandale area. Anthony's menu includes burgers and sandwiches, as well as Greek and Italian entrées and pizza, all in large portions. The nightlife in Falls Church City consists mostly of a few bars in the downtown area that help residents lure their friends from Arlington for a night out. Spacebar uses a simple formula of craft beers and grilled-cheese sandwiches to keep people coming back. Spacebar keeps 24 different beers on tap, and they change frequently. You can drink your beer with one of their creative grilled-cheese sandwiches, or create one of your own. Try the apples, gouda and havarti on multi-grain bread. Spacebar doesn't open until 5 p.m. and maintains a strict over-21-only policy. Clare & Don's Beach Shack gives you a little taste of Florida in Northern Virginia. This funky spot has beach-themed decor and includes an outdoor seating area even in cold weather. They keep things toasty with heat lamps. On any given evening, they may have live music, karaoke, a DJ or trivia contests. The State Theatre also give residents in Falls Church a place to go for live-music performances.

History & Culture

Falls Church began as a colonial settlement in the late 1600s. The area got its name from The Falls Church, an Episcopal church founded in 1734. The community became a township within Fairfax County in 1875 before gaining independent city status in 1948. You can visit the Cherry Hill Farmhouse, which preserves a piece of Falls Church history. Built in 1845, the farm survived repeatedly being overrun, raided and requisitioned during the Civil War. The State Theatre began as a movie house in 1936 and now serves as a live-music venue. ArtSpace Falls Church, a 95-seat theater and art gallery, also stages live performances. Each year Falls Church holds a Memorial Day Parade and Festival, which attracts more than 10,000 people. The city also holds the Fall Festival and Taste of Falls Church, and the Holiday Gift and Craft Show at the Community Center.

Transportation

The City of Falls Church, like the rest of the Washington metropolitan, area suffers from notoriously heavy traffic. On a map, the system of roads flows well through the city and connects to major highways, but the roads handle much more traffic than intended. Residents can walk to do errands in the downtown area of the city, but cars remain the primary mode of transportation. Routes 29 and 7 serve as the main roads through the city. Falls Church also has easy access to Routes 66 and 50, and lies near Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) and the Dulles Toll Road. A number of streets within the city require parking permits for residents, which they obtain for free. Not all residential areas require a permit. Where signs read "City Decal Exempt," the city tax decal serves as the permit. Most shopping centers have adequate lots for parking, but some of the smaller stores or restaurants with lots fill up quickly. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority provides bus service throughout Falls Church that can take riders to offices in suburban business centers or to Metrorail stations. Two Metrorail stations serve Falls Church, although neither of them lie within the city limits. It takes approximately 20 minutes to ride the Metro from the East Falls Church station to Metro Center in D.C., and it takes 22 minutes from the West Falls Church station. Other modes of transportation in the city include the ride-sharing service Uber and taxicabs. If you need a cab, call one of the companies that serve the area to arrange a pickup, since you won't have any luck hailing one. Avid bikers make use of neighborhood roads and area trails to get around, but in general, the main arteries have lots of traffic and no bike lanes.

Cost

The cost of living in Falls Church City sits 61 percent higher than the national average, 48 percent higher than elsewhere in Virginia and 17 percent higher than in D.C. Rent on a one-bedroom apartment goes for $1,591.71 on average, and having a beer at a local bar costs roughly $6 per bottle. You can expect to pay 10 percent more than the national average for gas. If you take the Metro rather than drive to work, the trip from the East Falls Church station to Metro Center in D.C. costs $3.55 during peak time and $2.80 off-peak. From the West Falls Church station to Metro Center costs $4.10 for a peak fare and $3.15 off-peak. Add $1 to the cost of your trip if you use a paper fare card instead of a SmarTrip card.

Shopping

The City of Falls Church has a combination of small shopping centers and a walkable downtown area with shops that include chain stores and time-tested local businesses. Along West Broad Street, find The Needlewoman East, which specializes in supplies and finishings for threaded needle art. Shop the array of threads and designs, or sign up for a needlepoint class. You need some time if you stop at Hole in the Wall Books because this used book store, specializing in science fiction, fantasy and comic books, overflows with inventory. Located in a small blue house, each room packs floor-to-ceiling with a well-organized selection of books. Several blocks away sits Brown's Hardware where you can pick up home repair items and get knowledgeable advice from the staff at this old-fashioned hardware store. If you can't find what you need in Falls Church, the shopping Mecca of Tysons Corner lies just to the west of the city, with two large malls with more than 420 retailers between them, many of them high-end. Tysons also includes several strip malls and shopping centers, which feature chain stores for clothing, sporting goods, housewares, electronics, jewelry and more. Falls Church has several grocery stores to choose from, and all of them sit nearby in this small community. Trader Joe's in Tysons Station Shopping Center sits across the street from Whole Foods Market in the Idlywood Shopping Center on the west end of the city. A little farther east at the Giant Food in Falls Plaza Shopping Center, you can take advantage of the deli department's $5 sub, chips and soda deal for lunch. The Local Market near the center of town stocks locally grown produce, organic dairy products and fresh baked goods. Falls Church City operates a year-round farmers market on Saturday mornings in the parking lot of City Hall. You can find 40 to 50 vendors, depending on the season. The market also hosts a monthly Chef Series, which brings chefs from area restaurants to showcase recipes developed using local, seasonal food.

Parks

The City of Falls Church contains 12 parks that encourage residents and visitors to exercise, play or picnic. You can bring your leashed dog to any of the parks, and admission remains free. Cherry Hill Park includes a lighted basketball court, a horseshoe court, a volleyball court and lighted tennis courts. This park near the center of town also makes a nice place for a picnic with grills, picnic tables, a picnic shelter, park benches and play equipment. You can follow the pretty, tree-lined path through Donald S. Frady Park, and stop for a rest at the gazebo. This park includes a mini amphitheater, a horseshoe court, a game table, a playground and picnic tables. Cavalier Trail Park lures outdoor exercise enthusiasts to its paved trails for walking, hiking, biking or jogging. You can also make use of the lighted basketball court. Take the kids to the park for a picnic lunch and some playtime on the swings and slides, or let them stand on the bridge and watch the creek flow past. About 2 miles of the 45-mile-long Washington and Old Dominion Trail run through Falls Church. Bikers, joggers, walkers and rollerbladers use this paved trail to exercise and enjoy nature.

6 Neighborhoods in Falls Church, VA

  • Bailey's Crossroads

    Bailey's Crossroads holds the proud distinction of housing a larger population of residents with South American or Arabic ancestry than almost any other neighborhood in the United States. The diverse background of the people living here is reflected in Bailey's Crossroads' shops, restaurants and nightclubs. This tightly knit neighborhood nestled in picturesque Falls Church, Va., rests approximately nine miles west of downtown Washington, D.C.

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  • Idylwood

    With its rolling hills, mature trees, and neat houses on tidy lawns, Idylwood is aptly named: it is both idyllic and wooded. But there's more to this picture-perfect neighborhood than meets the eye. Sure, it has paved bicycle trails, wide sidewalks, and beautiful parks -- but it is also strategically located. Idylwood is on the west side of Falls Church, framed by I-66 and I-495. Washington DC is directly west, roughly 12 miles away. The Metro train's Orange line takes commuters to the city in about 20 minutes, making Idylwood perfect for those who work in the city but want a quieter place to call home.

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  • Jefferson

    The Jefferson district in Virginia features a diverse community of subdivisions and apartment complexes, centrally located to every nook and cranny of Fairfax County and the greater Washington metropolitan area. The neighborhoods here range from quiet enclaves of single-family homes to bustling complexes popular with college students from nearby Northern Virginia Community College, Marymount University, and other area campuses. Located about 10 miles west of Washington, D.C., Jefferson enjoys easy access to major transit routes.

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  • Lake Barcroft

    Swimming, boating, fishing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, or just sitting at the water's edge watching a sunset … perhaps it sounds like a great vacation, but if you rent an apartment in Lake Barcroft, it's a way of life. Lake Barcroft has everything a vacation resort should have -- beautiful views, private beaches, an abundance of wildlife -- but it is also just seven miles from Washington DC, providing a quiet oasis in the heart of this busy metro area.

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  • Pimmit Hills

    Pimmit Hills lies around 13 miles west of Washington, D.C. in Virginia’s Fairfax County. This community sits inside a triangular piece of land just west of Tyson’s Corner, and boasts large area as well as national employers. Since Pimmit Hills encompasses less than two miles of residential neighborhoods, it is considered by most to be a quaint neighborhood. Pimmit Hills is also located in Fairfax County’s a high-ranking public school district. The residential area is actually considered by many to be a neighborhood of Falls Church. Therefore, most local shops and eateries aren't within the area’s boundaries. This unique dichotomy allows residents of Pimmit Hills to retreat to a cozy homestead after work without having to live hours away from city amenities.

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  • Seven Corners

    Located just eight miles west of Washington, D.C. in the southern part of Falls Church, Seven Corners features a mixture of residential and commercial properties. This neighborhood includes three major shopping centers and a varied selection of restaurants and bars. In spots, Seven Corners features sweeping views of Fairfax City and Annandale, thanks to its position on Munson's Hill.

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