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Old 05-23-2012, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,634,807 times
Reputation: 8315

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If you are willing to cross the river, downtown Bethesda really has it all - bars, restaurants, parks, library, theatre, Metro, bookstore, TJ's, and bagels! It's certainly not NYC, but it's a great, walkable town.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,034,287 times
Reputation: 6824
Why not just live in DC if you want a more urban environment?
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
2,842 posts, read 1,435,347 times
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To me, Arlington is a urban environment. Hopefully you're not in your 30's or older, as most of Arlington's urban area is full of recent post college kids. So be prepared to see a lot of drunken frat boys looking for fights (seriously, I saw this like nightly when I lived in N Arlington).

Reston Town Center is nice...but...it's very...fake. If that makes any sense. It's like a tiny mini city but it just feels like its not real, very commercialized, everything is a name brand store/restaurant. But I mean it's really nice and clean compared to Arlington.

Other than that, there are no walkable sections of NOVA. Old Town Alexandria is nice. Fairfax isn't walkable at all unless you happen to live next to a shopping center.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:51 AM
 
1,783 posts, read 3,354,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post
Sadly, even Arlington is really only a minor urban area when you really look at it. I just came back from St Louis, and except for the availability of Jobs (which nova has in spades) St Louis is just a far better city. Strange I know. Charlotte is a much better city. Clearly NYC and Chicago are better walkable cities. This area is the 4th largest consumer and economic center of the US, and yet we have no real city to show for it.

Back on track, living in RTC is nice from what I hear from friends who do, but often they say they get bored and stay (honeymoon period lasted very short). I like Tysons because what it could become and its central location keeps more urban areas within a quick metro bus ride or train. And Arlington is the best place for that environment if you can afford it.
Nice to read good things about St. Louis. I think you should head over to the STL board and post your impressions...there's a good urban contingent over there.

Back on topic, I would mention Pentagon City/Crystal City/Shirlington as good alternatives to the areas mentioned. You can get in that area cheaper than North Arlington and Old Town, and still be in a walkable environment. But really if you want "urban" in the DC area, the District itself is your best bet.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,849,198 times
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Even though the OP is not interested in RTC, I thought I would briefly talk about walking there since the thread title will attract people using the search engine and looking for "RTC + walking". For those who are interested, here's a photo tour showing the walking trails to RTC from other parts of Reston.

Photo Tour: Reston Town Center & Lake Anne. Warning, lotsa photos.

I don't agree with tysonsengineer that Reston Parkway is some sort of psychological barrier that keeps people who live there from walking to RTC. I know lots of people in Reston who don't even think twice about taking the tunnel or crossing at the light. Reston Parkway isn't that intimidating of a road, it's not like it's the Dulles Toll Road. The trails are pleasant and the tunnels and bridges to Reston Town Center are wide, airy, and used all the time.


Markers along the trails make it easy to find your way to RTC


This tunnel under Reston Parkway is next to a Barnes and Noble and attracts many people especially on a Sunday morning when people walk over for coffee.


The trails are wide, and have lighting, benches, and trash cans.



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Old 05-24-2012, 01:41 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,343,172 times
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Once again, it seems the suburbs all fail for not being urban enough. If you want urban, go live in an urb. How many times do people have to be told. The suburbs are not urbs, and they are not supposed to be urbs. They are different. Because people want them to be different. I mean seriously, folks...why are you looking in the bread aisle for salad dressing? It's not there.

In the present case, the OP seems to find the supposedly livelier and hipper sections of Reston a little offputting because they seem planned. This could be because they were planned. Not everywhere was so meticulously laid out, however. Look in particular to the older and typically incorporated communities in the area -- Fairfax City, Herndon, Vienna, and Falls Church, for example. Each of these in fact has an old-style, unplanned to somewhat haphazard downtown area that incorporates the literally old with the literally new. These are all rather famous locally for being walkable in their own right as well as from rather large swaths of nearby residential neighborhoods. Significant areas of the east side of Fair Lakes have become rather surprisingly walkable as new amenities and trails have been added. New meaning to the saying "I'd Walk a Mile for a Wegman's!" has been found out there. And if one had the time to wait, two large planned-walkable areas are in the process of coming on line at Metro West and in the Mosaic District. The big TARGET sign was put up at the latter this week, and it's already drawing big crowds. Of walkers, of course.

Last edited by saganista; 05-24-2012 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:49 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,343,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Why not just live in DC if you want a more urban environment?
Gee, there's a thought. Some people might want to bookmark your post.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
2,842 posts, read 1,435,347 times
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Depends on where the OP works. If they work in Reston or Ashburn, living in DC makes no real sense at this time. Vice versa if the OP works in DC or Arlington and wants to live in Reston.


If I had a job in Reston, I'd be happy to live in Reston Town Center, even if it is a "suburbian fake downtown".
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:12 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,343,172 times
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By the way, there is nothing contiguous about Falls Church, Tysons, and Vienna. And Dunn Loring and Merrifield have those distinct and separate names because they aren't near or any part of the other three.
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