Home to the Virginia campus of George Washington University and adjacent to the Potomac River, University Center
has low crime rates and high graduation rates. As a part of Loudoun County, famous for its wineries and equestrian facilities, University Center lies close to old estates rich in history. This area was buzzing with activity during the Civil War, and even today visitors can walk through nearby battlegrounds and churches that once served as barracks. This area was once known for wheat production, but the tech boom and suburbanization have resulted in its rapid growth. The proximity of Washington Dulles International Airport has also spurred the growth of this neighborhood, just 35 miles northwest of Washington DC.
Schools in University Center
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Portuguese, Japanese, Greek, or all-American, find all the cuisines you crave in and around University Center. The area's clubs and bars serve up local wines and brews as well as tons of entertainment for residents.
D.C. Prime brings an upscale cosmopolitan steakhouse destination to University Center. Make reservations to enjoy some of the finest steak and most succulent lobster around when you want to impress a client or celebrate a special occasion with friends and family. The open kitchen allows you to watch as your meal is being prepared. Save room for dessert; the portions are large, and the flavors are decadent.
For authentic Greek food, stop by Opa Mezze Grill at the Ashburn
Village Shopping Center, and dig into some chicken gyro, zucchini fritters, and lamb kabob. Load up on some freshly-made pitas, hummus, and tzatziki sauce. Also try the baked feta and chicken soup with lemon and orzo at this family-style restaurant.
Try some fish and chips at Ford's Fish Shack at Cameron Chase Village Center, or bite into some fried oysters, lobster tail, and baked cod. This New England-style restaurant serves up fresh seafood and has a healthy kids' menu. Be sure to try the Maine chips served with lobster, tomatoes, and bits of blue cheese.
Locals enjoy Trivia Tuesday, happy hour on Friday with wings for 50 cents, and game day on Sunday with a brunch menu at the Ashburn Pub in the Ashburn Village Shopping Center.
Craft beer from local breweries, an extensive wine and cocktail menu, and flavorful food draws locals to the V Eatery & BrewHouse, where happy hour happens every day of the week. A full bar, live music, and outdoor seating make this a fun place to hang out.
History & Culture
In 1757, Fairfax County was divided, and the western portion was named Loudoun County after James Campbell, the fourth earl of Loudoun. During the Civil War, the Battle of Ball's Bluff was fought just west of here, and it was the headquarters of the Laurel Brigade, a cavalry unit. Dominated by agriculture until 1960, the growth of the city of Washington, and the opening of the international airport attracted new businesses and families to this area.
Heritage Farm Museum in Sterling showcases the agricultural history of Loudoun County through exhibits, activities, and events. It hosts the Autumn Apple Festival, where families can make cider in the historic barn, taste heirloom apples, view old orchard tools, and enjoy crafts and activities. At the SterlingFest in October, locals gather to eat a variety of foods, do crafts and activities, and listen to live music and entertainment. Kids can enjoy rides and activities as well.
Some residents commute in private vehicles, some carpool, and quite a few people walk to work. Loudoun County's local bus service connects Sterling, Ashburn, and Leesburg. The Loudoun County Commuter Bus connects Dulles and Leesburg to Washington Metro stations. This bus uses express lanes to avoid traffic and gets commuters to the city in a short time. Biking trails in parks, and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail afford residents recreational biking opportunities.
Washington Dulles International Airport, 10 miles south of University Center, allows residents to fly to destinations in Europe and Asia as well as other American cities.
Route 7, which forms the southern edge of the neighborhood, connects University Center residents to Interstate 495, the Dulles Toll Road, and Interstate 66 to bring commuters to Washington. For carpools, van pools, and bus rides, the county provides free parking at three Ashburn park-and-ride lots. Taxi services include Washington Dulles Cab, Ashburn Dulles Cab, and Green Ride Transportation. Uber serves Washington and the surrounding areas.
The cost of living in University Center remains lower than the cost of living in DC, with the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in University Center around $1,280. Gasoline prices sit at three percent lower than the national average. It costs $8 for a bus trip to Washington and $6 for a mug of beer.
The closest mall, the Dulles Town Center, has fine dining options and retail stores. One Loudoun, a smaller shopping complex, has a movie theatre, restaurants, and few shops.
For knickknacks, jewelry, and gifts, try Zazu in Ashbrook
Commons Plaza. Eclectic merchandise such as candles, accessories, and keepsakes -- and good customer service -- bring locals to this boutique.
The Ashburn Wine Shop in the Ashburn Village
Shopping Center sells a great selection of wines and craft beers. Free wine-tasting events, discounts, and attentive and helpful staff have earned this specialty store some loyal customers.
Nearby supermarkets include Fresh Market, Giant Food, Harris Teeter, Safeway, and Wegman's. International grocery stores include Global Food and Lotte Plaza Market.
The closest farmers market runs along Exchange Street by One Loudoun on Saturday mornings from May to October, where shoppers peruse goods ranging from homemade breads and cookies to beeswax candles to the freshest fruits and vegetables from local farms. On Sunday mornings from May to November, shoppers can find fresh produce, baked goods, local wines, meats, and eggs at the Cascades Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Senior Center in Sterling.
With trails, athletic centers, playgrounds, and fields, University Center gives residents many options to enjoy outdoor spaces. Locals enjoy fishing, hiking, and sports. Bles Park, adjacent to the Potomac River and Broad Run, features 30 acres of walking and hiking trails, soccer fields, and a tot lot. Wetlands make up the rest of the park, which contains sections of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. The park permits dogs with leashes in designated areas.
The nearby area offers more opportunities for outdoor recreation. The 16-acre Ashburn Park has three play areas suited for different age groups, trails, and a picnic pavilion. The award-winning Potomac Lakes Sportsplex in Sterling -- with four softball fields, six soccer fields, a large playground, and picnic shelters -- brings locals together for soccer leagues and softball tournaments. Claude Moore Park in Sterling has nine sports fields, along with trails that wind through the park's woodlands and meadows; it hosts events that include a fishing derby, art and craft shows, and holiday events.