Rosslyn – Arlington, VA

Cross the Key Memorial Bridge from Washington, DC and you'll find yourself in the neighborhood of Rosslyn in Arlington, Virginia. Ironically, if you were to view Rosslyn from across the Potomac River in DC, you would be looking at a much bigger city than the one you are in. Although it doesn't have the big name cache, high rise commercial and residential buildings light up the night sky in Rosslyn, as opposed to DC where building height restrictions keep everything below the Washington Monument monolith. Rosslyn is primarily a business district and doesn't have the same number of activities as neighboring DC or other neighborhoods of Arlington, especially on the weekends. The neighborhood's proximity to both still make it an ideal place to live, however. Young professionals are the primary demographic of Rosslyn residents, but as with anywhere in the greater DC area, there are always large amounts of tourists visiting the many memorials that stretch across the river to Rossyln as well.

Restaurants & Nightlife

While Rosslyn is a small neighborhood and very walkable no matter what restaurant or bar you're headed to, Wilson Boulevard is the main thoroughfare through all the Arlington neighborhoods and has the most options. Although paling in comparison to its neighbors, Rosslyn still offers a decent amount of restaurants and nightlife opportunities. For delicious Mexican food, head to El Chilango, the food truck parked on the corner of 14th and Quinn. The mixto taco with beef and pork sausage will keep you coming back time and time again, and the friendliness of the staff certainly doesn't hurt either. Despite its location being off the beaten path location, El Chilango has quite the following, and you won't want to miss it. For a great place to kick back for a few hours sipping on coffee, make sure to check out Caffe Aficionado. The interior will remind you of a chic European coffee shop, while the delicious lattes and espressos make your insides jump for joy. The place is small, but be sure to snag a window seat if you can, as nothing beats soaking in the sun as you sip on a honey cinnamon latte. Once all the employees leave for the weekend, Rosslyn can feel a bit dead, so the nightlife leaves something to be desired. In spite of this, Continental Pool Lounge remains a popular local spot to have a beer. Patrons can choose from a number of games -- shuffleboard, skeeball, ping pong, pool, darts and even board games -- while they enjoy the chill atmosphere with a few close friends. The colorful and eclectic interior decor brings you back to the '90s, but at this point, it just adds to the style of the bar. Stop by during the Saturday happy hour from 6 to 9 p.m. and snag a pool table for $20 an hour.

History & Culture

Rosslyn was originally known as Ross Lynn, the name of a local farm owned by William and Carolyn Ross. The first land connection between Rosslyn and Georgetown, the Aqueduct Bridge, was completed in 1843. Major develop failed to take root, however, as the post-Civil War 1860s brought rise to a lawless community that developed at the base of the bridge. Rosslyn became known for its gambling halls, pawnshops, saloons, brothels and unsavory inhabitants. This finally changed in the early 1900s when a group called the "Good Citizen's League" united to oust the rebels who thwarted the community's ability to adopt the major developments of the 20th century. Today, the neighborhood is completely modernized. The famous Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn honors the Marines who have died defending America since 1775, the Artisphere houses amazing art exhibits and events, and annual evens like the Rosslyn Jazz Festival keep the community happy.


Transportation in and around Rosslyn could not be easier, as there is ample public transportation as well as very walkable sidewalks and bikeable streets. Still, the vast majority of Rossyln residents commute on the metro. The convenient blue and orange lines that serve the Rosslyn metro stop on Fort Myer Drive transport people all throughout Arlington and Washington, DC. Many cabs run up and down Wilson Boulevard, making grabbing one a relatively easy task. Uber cabs are another option in Rosslyn, with rides within Arlington and DC pricing around $10. While driving in Arlington and DC is not nearly as intimidating as cities like New York, parking is the major deterrent. Finding an open spot is often a nightmare and when you finally do, don't expect it to be free. Rosslyn does offer great access to Interstate 66, however, which stretches from DC in the east to Middletown, Virginia in the west.


Living in Rosslyn is not cheap. The average rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment is steep; the $2,000 a month is almost 20 percent higher than the Arlington average of $1,700 and nearly 90 percent higher than the Virginia average. Other basic needs are slightly higher in Rosslyn than national averages as well, but not as much as housing. Gas, for example, is around 5 percent higher than the national average. Metro rates range between $1.75 and $5.90 depending on the time of day and how far you go. To get the best rates and most convenience, purchase a reloadable SmarTrip card. These cards can also be used on the Circulator buses that have a route between Rosslyn and Georgetown and Dupont Circle in the District. These buses only charge $1 per ride and come every 10 minutes, making them a cheap and reliable alternative. A beer at a local bar will set you back $5, while a decent restaurant meal will be around $15.


There is no major commercial shopping in this neighborhood, but Rosslyn residents benefit from the amazing shopping in Georgetown just across the Key Memorial Bridge. Walkers can reach the shopping epicenter of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street from Rosslyn in just 15 minutes. Once there, the options are essentially endless, from high end stores like Jonathan Adler for home furnishings or Tory Burch for women's apparel to Zara, Anthropologie, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren, H&M, Kate Spade, Coach, LOFT and even budget stores like TJ Maxx. One hidden gem back in Rosslyn is the women's clothing boutique, Malena. On the second floor of the Rosslyn Metro Mall, Melena sells stylish clothes and great jewelry. Mimi’s Card Shop is another cute little speciality store in the neighborhood. You can grab your stamps, stationary and nice selection of greeting cards here. The Rosslyn Safeway provides neighborhood residents a convenient place to shop for groceries. It's underground and a bit dingy, but it has everything you need. The Rosslyn Farmers Market, open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. across from Cupid's Garden Sculpture, also offers up a nice selection of fresh produce, bread and jams.


Arlington Gateway Park, the 3-acre urban park with DC views, a fountain and an amphitheater hosting many events is one of the great outdoor spaces in Rosslyn. The park also hosts outdoor movie nights every Friday evening between May and August. Hillside Park is another neighborhood gem, offering a small forested reprieve from the urban jungle. It's a wonderful place to walk your dog, jog or just sit and relax for a while. While there aren't any particularly exercise-centric parks in the neighborhood, Roosevelt Island stationed between Rosslyn and Georgetown in the Potomac is a great place to bike, run and even kayak around. Many residents head to the island on the weekends to get outside and be active. These parks are all free as well as dog- and family-friendly, so bring every member of the household for a day outdoors.
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