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McLean, Virginia, lies approximately 8 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., nestled between the Potomac River and the town of Vienna. Diplomats, members of Congress and high-ranking government officials make it their home. The CIA headquarters sits in the Langley area of McLean.
Although primarily a residential community, McLean includes part of Tysons Corner, a major business and retail center. Large homes, good public schools, a low crime rate and a highly educated, white-collar workforce characterize this wealthy suburb. Although it lacks a cohesive downtown area, McLean maintains a strong sense of community.
Explore the City
As of October 2018, the average apartment rent in McLean, VA is $1,717 for a studio, $2,095 for one bedroom, $2,446 for two bedrooms, and $4,294 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in McLean has increased by 1.2% in the past year.
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Top 10 Apartments in McLean
- Haden, 1-3 Bed, $1,569 - 6,370
- The Ascent at Spring Hill Station, Studio - 2 Bed, $1,753 - 3,540
- Highgate at the Mile, Studio - 2 Bed, $1,610 - 4,674
- The Kingston, 1-3 Bed, $1,965 - 4,500
- Vita Tysons Corner, Studio - 3 Bed, $1,638 - 7,965
- Avalon Park Crest, Studio - 2 Bed, $1,875 - 2,445
- Nouvelle, 1-2 Bed, $1,917 - 4,537
- The Oaks at Falls Church, 1-3 Bed, $1,648 - 2,725
- Adaire, Studio - 2 Bed, $1,900 - 4,077
- Northgate at Falls Church, Studio - 2 Bed, $1,804 - 4,948
Living in McLean
Many restaurants serve the McLean area, and you can find a cuisine to satisfy any palate, including Greek, Tex-Mex, American, Middle Eastern and Italian. Several of the best restaurants have unassuming exteriors and sit in strip malls along the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Dolley Madison Boulevard.
The exterior of Amoo's House of Kabob hides a traditional Persian decor and ethnic meals that taste homemade. Try the gheymeh, a traditional stew, or the kabob barg made of cut filet mignon in an exotic marinade. Top off your meal with the saffron pistachio rose water ice cream.
Dine at Bistro Vivant for a refined French meal in a casual atmosphere. Peruse the extensive wine list while you nibble on the warm crusty sourdough bread, then move on to the foie gras or tuna tartare. Choose the lamb shank, hanger steak or halibut for a satisfying main course.
For dinner, lunch or Sunday brunch, McLean residents rely on J. Gilbert's. This large restaurant occupies a prime spot on the corner of Dolley Madison Boulevard and Old Dominion Drive. J. Gilbert's specializes in wood-fired steak and seafood dishes. Go for the brunch buffet on Sunday, and indulge in the omelet bar, waffles or hand-carved tenderloin as well as oysters on the half-shell, peel-and-eat shrimp and macaroni and cheese in lobster cream.
McLean gets pretty quiet after dinner, so if you want a night on the town, head across the river to Bethesda, Maryland, which takes about 20 minutes by car and can be reached by Metro as well. Most of the activity is centered on or just off Wisconsin Avenue near the Metro station. You can take in a live show at one of two area theaters or see stand-up comedy at the Laugh Riot at the Hyatt. If you feel like dancing, head to The Barking Dog, which features a large dance floor as well as a pool table and skeeball. To watch a game while you socialize, go to Caddies on Cordell, a golf-themed sports bar with lots of TVs and a big outdoor patio. Raise a pint with your mates at Flanagan's Harp and Fiddle, which features live music Thursday through Sunday nights.
McLean began in 1906 after John McLean, former owner of The Washington Post, and Senator Stephen Elkins built a trolley line in the area. Where the trolley crossed Chain Bridge Road, a hub of activity developed. This hub became known as McLean. Residential and commercial development replaced orchards and dairy farms, but McLean remained fairly rural until after World War II. The population grew as many who had come in support of the war effort stayed in the area, and the CIA moved its headquarters to Langley in the early 1960s.
For a glimpse into colonial farm life in McLean, visit Claude Moore Farm National Park.
McLean prides itself on its support of the arts. The McLean Community Center includes the 386-seat Alden Theatre, the McLean Project for the Arts galleries and the Susan Duval Art Studio. The Community Center also hosts the annual McLean Chocolate Festival in January.
Getting around in McLean can be a challenge with heavy congestion on the major arteries during commuter hours. The main local roads in the area include Dolley Madison Boulevard (which becomes Chain Bridge Road on either side of McLean), Old Dominion Drive and Georgetown Pike. McLean residents have easy access to the George Washington Parkway, the Capital Beltway, Interstate 66 and the Dulles Toll Road, which all run through McLean.
Most people use cars to get around the area, but you can usually find a place to park. Shops and businesses often have free parking lots, and some side roads allow street parking. You may occasionally need to pay to park at a hotel or business, especially in the Tysons area.
The community does not lend itself to walking or biking, although people do commute by bicycle, especially if they live close to Tysons Corner and can bike to work there or to the Metro. Only a few roads in the area include designated bike lanes, and side streets tend to be windy with little-to-no shoulders, which can make biking dangerous.
In 2014 the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened the McLean station of its silver line rail service, which has made it easier for residents in McLean to use public transportation. Commuting from the McLean station to Metro Center in D.C. takes less than 30 minutes.
Other available modes of transportation include buses operated by Metrobus and the Fairfax Connector, Uber ridesharing service and taxis. Although you won't have any luck hailing a cab, you can call one of the companies that serve the area and arrange a pickup.
The cost of living in McLean sits 97 percent higher than the national average, 81 percent higher than elsewhere in Virginia and 32 percent higher than D.C.
You can expect to pay on average $1,880 per month to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the area, while a tank of gas costs roughly 11 percent more than the national average.
If you use Metro for your commute, the fare from the McLean station to Metro Center costs $4.65 during peak and $3.60 off-peak using a SmarTrip card. You pay $1 more if you use a paper fare card. If you go out with friends for a beer after work, expect to pay about $6 per bottle.
Home to Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, McLean serves as a destination for serious shoppers. These upscale shopping malls house more than 420 retailers between the two of them, including high-end shops at the Galleria, such as Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Away from Tysons, you can find local retailers tucked into McLean's small shopping centers. For handcrafted gifts, jewelry, clothing and accessories, head to the Artisans, which carries items from local and nationally recognized craftspeople.
Medicine Chest Pharmacy gives customers the personalized service of an old-fashioned drug store. This family-owned, independent store stocks your basic pharmacy needs as well as cutting-edge products at competitive prices.
Residents of McLean have many options for grocery shopping. At the Giant Food in the McLean Shopping Center you can take advantage of valet parking and pick up a custom-made smoothie inside the store to energize you as you shop.
McLean shoppers also have two Safeway supermarkets and a Harris Teeter to choose from as well as specialty shops such as The Organic Butcher of McLean, Russian Gourmet in the Langley Shopping Center and Balducci's Food Lover's Market, where shoppers can pick up chef-prepared foods for a quick but elegant solution to dinner.
McLean hosts a farmers market in Lewinsville Park on Friday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from early May through late November. You can find close to 20 vendors featuring fresh fruit and vegetables, pastries, wine and meats.
A variety of parks dot the landscape of McLean. Children of all abilities can enjoy the playground side-by-side at Clemyjontri Park where ramps connect structures; swings have high backs, arm rests and special safety features; monkey bars sit lower for easy access; and wider openings and rubber surfacing accommodate wheelchairs. The park also includes a carousel and a picnic pavilion.
Lewinsville Park features a playground, baseball and soccer fields, two basketball courts and six tennis courts. Residents in the area can rent and cultivate a plot in the small community garden located toward the back of the park. Lewinsville Park also hosts the annual McLean Day celebration in May, which features rides, games, food and live performances. Admission is free, but you need to buy tickets for the rides.
Turkey Run Park contains more than 700 acres of mostly forested land along the Potomac River. Your leashed dog can join you for a picnic or for a hike along the miles of trails accessible from the park.
At Great Falls Park you can watch as the Potomac River roars over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the Mather Gorge. You must to pay $5 per car to enter the park, but admission is good for three days, and leashed dogs are welcome.
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Apartments for Rent in McLean, VA
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