Reston, Virginia, takes pride in having been the first modern planned community in the country and that it still embodies the goals its founder envisioned. A self-sufficient community in a suburban setting, Reston emphasizes convenience and community instead of sprawl for a better quality of life. It consists of five different areas encompassing lakes, pools, housing, shopping areas and more, each one within walking distance of one of Reston’s village centers. The heart of the community lies in Reston Town Center, a place to gather, shop, dine and attend events.
Located in western Fairfax County, 20 miles from Washington, D.C., and approximately 6 miles from Dulles Airport, Reston has a strong economy that relies heavily on high-tech and information businesses in the region. About one-third of Reston residents work in the community.
Residents express a sense of community and belonging in this neighborly town. Some parts of Reston have started to show signs of age, but true to their commitment to community involvement, residents and the Reston Association have begun to look at revitalizing those areas.
Restaurants & Nightlife
You can find restaurants throughout the Reston area, but the largest concentration of them lies in Reston Town Center.
Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food and Lucky Lounge defines itself as serving comfort food classics with some unexpected twists. Start with some sushi or the deviled eggs before moving on to the tender and juicy lobster roll or the perfectly prepared steak frites. Enjoy the lively atmosphere as the friendly and efficient wait staff takes care of you.
Busara Thai serves authentic cuisine prepared by experienced Thai chefs in a contemporary setting. Try one of the duck dishes or the spicy drunken noodles for a memorable meal.
For fresh seafood, go to PassionFish. Try the Fisherman's Wharf cioppino with prawns, clams and mussels. For dessert, let the caramel creme brulee top off your dining experience.
A night out in Reston usually means heading to the Town Center. Several of the restaurants, including local favorites like Clyde's and Jackson's have large and lively bar areas, and the Conservatory Lounge in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Reston features live music regularly. The staff at The Tasting Room wine bar can help you pick a wine or explain how the card system works for prepaid wine sampling. This relaxing bar features live music on Saturday nights. For a more raucous time, head to World of Beer for craft beer selections, lots of television screens, live music, trivia contests and more.
Other options in the Town Center include seeing a movie at the 11-screen Bow Tie Cinemas or ice skating at the pavilion in the winter. Reston Town Center hosts several events with a party atmosphere during the year such as Taste of Reston and an Octoberfest celebration as well as a free summer concert series at the pavilion from June through August.
History & Culture
In late 1960, Robert E. Simon, Jr., bought a tract of farmland and woods and began planning his dream community, one with the convenience of a city life and the open spaces of the suburbs. Fairfax County adopted his plan, and in 1964 Simon founded Reston, the name derived from his initials plus the English suffix for town. Simon faced financial difficulties in 1967 and relinquished management to Gulf Oil Corporation, his major lender. Gulf kept to Simon's original concepts.
Learn about the town's history at the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, which also hosts an annual Founder's Day celebration.
The arts hold a dominant place in Reston, where murals and sculptures dot the community's pathways. Each year, the streets of Reston Town Center become an art gallery when the Greater Reston Arts Center produces the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival to showcase contemporary fine art from around the country.
You can get around easily in Reston with lots of options, from walking and biking to driving and public transportation. Reston's 55 miles of pathways make walking a good option. Most residences lie with a half-mile walk of a village center. You can bike around Reston as well. Extensive trails help connect you to your destination. Lawyers Road and Soapstone Drive include bike lanes, but most of the main roads are not bike friendly.
Regardless of the convenience of Reston's design, driving remains the main mode of transportation in this suburban community. You can park for free in most places either in lots or on the street. A good network of roads runs through and around Reston, but traffic in the Washington suburbs is notorious. Major roadways in the area include the Dulles Toll Road, the Fairfax County Parkway, Route 28, Leesburg Pike, Route 66 and the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495).
If you don't own a car, ridesharing services Uber and Lyft operate in the Reston area. In addition, several taxi companies serve Reston, but you should call rather than rely on hailing one.
Public transportation options include the Reston Internal Bus System and the Fairfax Connector bus system. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority operates Metrorail service to and from Reston via its silver line. You do have to pay to park at the Metro stations. Commuting on the silver line from the Wiehle-Reston East station to Washington's Metro Center takes approximately 40 minutes. Commuting to Tysons Corner's Greensboro or Tyson's Corner Stations takes 10 to 12 minutes. Dulles International Airport lies approximately six miles from Reston.
The cost of living in Reston rests about 37 percent higher than the national average, 26 percent higher than elsewhere in Virginia and about 2 percent higher than in Washington, D.C.
The rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,570, and commuting on Metro from Wiehle-Reston East Station to Metro Center in Washington, D.C., costs $5.90 during peak time and $3.60 off-peak using a SmarTrip card.
Going out for a beer after work costs approximately $6 per bottle at a local bar, and gas costs about 11 percent more than the national average.
Since its inception, Reston has integrated residential areas with retail, making shopping easily accessible for everyone. Most of the shopping in Reston consists of national chain stores, but you can find some local gems tucked amid the shopping centers.
The Reston's Used Book Shop in Lake Anne Plaza overflows with titles and serves as a meeting place for the locals. The shop hosts a unique book club where everyone shares and discusses the book they're currently reading. It also supports local authors, theirs being the only new books in the shop's shelves.
Stop by The Wine Cabinet in the North Point Shopping Center to browse a collection of fine wines, culinary tools and gourmet foods in this warm, friendly atmosphere. The owners and staff share their knowledge and expertise to help you find just the right wine.
When you need to find a nice gift or feel like splurging on yourself, shop at Appalachian Spring in Reston Town Center. This shop features handcrafted jewelry, toys, art glass, home decor, scarves and more, all made by artisans in the United States.
Reston Town Center includes many of the stores you find in malls but no department stores. For indoor mall shopping, head to Tyson's Corner Center, with more than 300 stores and eateries, or Tysons Galleria, featuring high-end retailers, such as Burberry, Cartier and Saks Fifth Avenue. The two malls sit across the street from each other, and the silver line Metro can take you there quickly.
You can shop for groceries at many places throughout Reston. The tiny and assuming Lake Anne Market carries the necessary staples for a quick run to the store, but locals know that this place is much more than a corner market. In the rear of the store, you can find the best tacos and empanadas that the city has to offer. While picking up a gallon of milk and some eggs for tomorrow's breakfast, you can grab a delicious Latin dinner for tonight.
Other grocery options include Giant in North Point Shopping Center, Safeway in either South Lakes Shopping Center or Hunters Woods Plaza, Whole Foods in Plaza America, or Trader Joe's near the Reston-Herndon border. At the Harris Teeter in the Spectrum Center, you can order a freshly made pizza and pick it up before you get in line with your groceries.
The Reston Farmers Market takes place in Lake Anne Village from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays from May through November. Listen to live bluegrass as you shop 28 different vendors selling produce, honey, seafood, kettle corn, pastries, bison meat, fresh dairy products and more.
Parks and recreation played an important role in Reston's initial design, and in spite of tremendous growth in the Northern Virginia suburbs, Reston has held on to its open spaces.
Reston includes four lakes for boating and fishing as well as numerous neighborhood parks and playgrounds. Baron Cameron, one of its biggest parks, buzzes with activity between its many athletic fields, its community garden area and its fenced dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs.
Fairfax County owns and operates Lake Fairfax Park, but it lies within Reston's borders. This 476-acre park includes a lake with fishing and boat rentals, a carousel, a playground, picnic areas with grills, picnic shelters, campgrounds, restrooms, athletic fields and a skatepark. Within the park lies the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole, a water park featuring a lazy river, slides and shallow pools for young children. The Water Mine charges an admission fee. Lake Fairfax also holds an annual Fourth of July celebration with activities throughout the day and a fireworks display after dark.
The Vernon J. Walker Nature Education Center conducts a variety of programs for children and adults. This park includes a small nature center, picnic area, trails, a campfire ring and a pond.
In addition to the pathways that connect the neighborhoods, schools, and businesses, Reston connects to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, a 45-mile paved, mixed-use trail extending from Shirlington to Purcellville.
Reston also includes 15 community swimming pools and 52 tennis courts. Residents pay a small fee for a pass to use these facilities. Other recreation options include the 18-hole Reston National Golf Course and ice skating at the Reston Town Center pavilion in the winter.