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Old 05-24-2012, 01:47 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,689 times
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And by LA I mean Los Angeles, not Lousiana (yes, that drive is going to suck).

Anyways, I'm a recent college grad who just took a position with a company located in Reston, VA. My salary will be 85k and I'm having a tough time figuring out where to live. Ideally, I'm looking for a 1ba/br apartment around the $1500/mo range. Here's my predicament:

Do I live in Reston and drive into D.C./a metro when I want to (which will be fairly often), or live by West Falls Church Vienne/Fairfax and commute to work? How bad is that traffic? I'm in my lower 20s so having things to do and a younger crowd is important. I've done a lot of research on this site and Reston looks like a pretty cool place to live, but it's away from the metro.

I would appreciate any and all advice, thank you so much.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:19 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
159 posts, read 227,738 times
Reputation: 90
Young, single college grad? Check out places to live in Arlington, Olde Town Alexandria and then DC. Falls Church is an option but not my first if I was in your shoes. There is no Metro out to Tysons or Reston yet. Traffic is bad everywhere but places further out is more family related, suburbia.

Do that for the first year or two then go from there. Welcome and enjoy.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,562,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelborne_22033 View Post
Young, single college grad? Check out places to live in Arlington, Olde Town Alexandria and then DC.
Scratch Old Town off your list. The commute to Reston would be a bear.

When I was young and fresh out of college working in Reston, nearly all my counterparts lived in N. Arlington (Ballston was the biggest hub, for its ease of access to 66). They were all willing to sacrifice an easier commute for night life, and when you're 22 you're absolutely right that you will likely want to go out 4 times a week, whether for happy hour or dinner or to a bar or what have you.

Reston's not a bad option, but if your coworkers are in Arlington/DC, you'll miss out on a lot of the social activities. Might want to ask HR where they suggest a recent grad live.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:12 AM
 
301 posts, read 586,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LADevil View Post
And by LA I mean Los Angeles, not Lousiana (yes, that drive is going to suck).

Anyways, I'm a recent college grad who just took a position with a company located in Reston, VA. My salary will be 85k and I'm having a tough time figuring out where to live. Ideally, I'm looking for a 1ba/br apartment around the $1500/mo range. Here's my predicament:

Do I live in Reston and drive into D.C./a metro when I want to (which will be fairly often), or live by West Falls Church Vienne/Fairfax and commute to work? How bad is that traffic? I'm in my lower 20s so having things to do and a younger crowd is important. I've done a lot of research on this site and Reston looks like a pretty cool place to live, but it's away from the metro.

I would appreciate any and all advice, thank you so much.

North Arlington would be my first choice if I were you. Tons of twenty-somethings, nightlife, restaurants, etc. Really nice area. When my brother graduated from law school at 25, he rented a high-rise apt with one of his college friends in Ballston. My brother took the metro to DC and his friend drove to Reston for his job...they lived there for 2 years and both loved it. If you commute to Reston you'll be going against traffic too.
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:40 AM
 
1,176 posts, read 2,754,291 times
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How often is "fairly often" and on what days and hours? That's critical. You're going to make an exploratory trip, right?
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:56 AM
 
1,196 posts, read 1,864,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yolli71 View Post
North Arlington would be my first choice if I were you. Tons of twenty-somethings, nightlife, restaurants, etc. Really nice area. When my brother graduated from law school at 25, he rented a high-rise apt with one of his college friends in Ballston. My brother took the metro to DC and his friend drove to Reston for his job...they lived there for 2 years and both loved it. If you commute to Reston you'll be going against traffic too.

This is misleading. Much like with LA, going against downtown, does not mean that you want have considerable traffic. The worst will be the stretch of Dulles toll road/I-66 between Tysons Corner and Lee Hwy. Most days you can do it in 35-45 minutes though.
Also, I would recommend living at least a mile from the metro if you dont need it. Your $1500 budget will go much further if you do that (and/or getting roommates).
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:07 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,345,113 times
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The downside of Reston is the one you suspect -- it's a long way from DC and you won't go there as often as you presently want to and think you will. Otherwise, it's a beautiful area with tons of amenities at least nearby and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Ballston is different. It's high-density, walkable, urban smart-growth that is packed to the gills with alcohol-consuming 20-somethings who've completed an education and are now at some stage of launching some sort of career for themselves. It can be expensive. The city is an easy 15-20 minutes away via Metro. A commute to-and-from Reston from there should not be awful, but it will clearly not be the piece of cake that it might be from a place like say, Reston. Most people on this forum are probably going to lean toward recommending Ballston over Reston. I think I'd join them, mostly on the basis that you pretty much only get one chance to be an idiot, this is it, so you may as well take advatage of it. You'll thank yourself in the long-run.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:15 PM
 
2,980 posts, read 3,718,081 times
Reputation: 1651
how do you make 85k out of college with no experience? SMH
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,739 posts, read 8,950,593 times
Reputation: 3857
Young 20s = Arlington or DC. Unless you're introverted and super-frugal, in which case you could save money by living somewhere cheaper. Of the two options you've presented, the latter would be a shorter commute.

On your way here, be sure to listen to "LA Freeway" by Jerry Jeff Walker (written by Guy Clark).
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:29 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,345,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeman804 View Post
This is misleading. Much like with LA, going against downtown, does not mean that you want have considerable traffic.
True enough. More people living in Northern Virginia work someplace else in Northern Virginia than work in the District. This leads to people trying to go in all sorts of directions during rush hour such that away from the city in the morning and toward it in the afternoon isn't a guaranty of anything. Still, whatever direction they might be going in, there are many patterns of dominant traffic flow in the area, and hence many places where a reverse commute can indeed be had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeman804 View Post
The worst will be the stretch of Dulles toll road/I-66 between Tysons Corner and Lee Hwy. Most days you can do it in 35-45 minutes though.
Since to my knowledge there is no particular problem through that area outbound in the morning, I assume you are speaking of the 66/267 merge problem inbound in the afternoon. There is a simple solution for that. Don't go there. It is always awful. If you are on 66 or 267, get off and use back roads to get home or at least to get past the problem area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeman804 View Post
Also, I would recommend living at least a mile from the metro if you dont need it. Your $1500 budget will go much further if you do that (and/or getting roommates).
Quite so. You of course pay a premium for living close to Metro whether you use it or not. But there's the "across the street" sort of close (very expensive), and there's the "quick bus ride or reasonable walk for a young person" sort of close (not so expensive). People have to balance the cost-benefit issues no matter where they live.
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