U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-24-2007, 01:00 AM
 
10 posts, read 65,617 times
Reputation: 14

Advertisements

Hi,

We have been looking at the test scores for North Arlington elementary schools (Taylor, Nottingham & Jamestown) as well as the scores for Mclean. Both areas seemed to rank pretty high. Since we are fairly new to the area and currently househunting, we are torn whether to settle in Mclean or Arlington. Any pros or cons to either area in terms of the schools, housing, recreation, etc. Would love some insight. My husband works in D.C. but may be transferred to Mclean. Thank you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-24-2007, 06:06 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,371,569 times
Reputation: 4002
It'll be hard to go too far wrong with either area. It's a little like deciding whether to have the chicken or the veal at a really nice restaurant...chances are, both will be rather good. McLean might be a little spiffier to have as a mailing address (at least the people who have it seem to think so), but in terms of ambience, there isn't a great deal of difference between the two areas. If you think you'll stay around and want to look beyond elementary schools, North Arlington would likely mean Yorktown HS, while McLean would mean McLean HS on the Arlington side or Langley HS on the northwest side. If you wanted to rate those three, putting them in alphabetical order would probably accomplish it, but the differences between them as schools would not be all that great. Pretty well reflecting the locales that they're in, there will be some differences in degree of diversity, though. Langley is 95% white or Asian, while at McLean, it would be 88%, and at Yorktown, 74%. Neither area is by definition great for commuting into DC. As you've probably figured out, Metro is Option-A, but there will be bus or park-and-ride issues to resolve from either one. With a potential job transfer to McLean, obviously McLean would be good, but it's a reverse commute from N. Arlington to McLean, and there are many options available in constructing routes to get over there, so you wouldn't likely lose much at all. All in all, yours is a nice problem to have, the downside of which is that either way you choose, you'll be giving up something, just as with the chicken-vs-veal decision. I'd as much just let the feel of the various available houses and neighborhoods be the driver. That's what you live with every day. But if it came down to needing a tie-breaker, I'd say give a slight edge to McLean...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 09:47 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,053,821 times
Reputation: 995
Our family lived in North Arlington (Tuckahoe elementary) for 10 years, and we've been living in the Chesterbrook area of McLean for 10 years. We found the schools to be comparable, with several exceptions. Arlington County middle schools start in 6th grade; Fairfax starts in 7th. Children in Fairfax who test highly gifted can choose to attend special gifted and talented centers at several elementary schools (Haycock and Churchill Road in McLean) that may not be your neighborhood school. Arlington does not offer separate GT centers. Fairfax also has more language immersion programs. We have neighbors whose children attended Kent Gardens for French or Great Falls for Japanese. Arlington County has fewer of these programs because it is a much smaller district. Fairfax middle schools do not have interschool athletic programs.
Arlington's tax rate is lower than Fairfax. If you are looking for a 4-6 BR home, you will have more choices in McLean, but you will be much less likely to find a house within walking distance of schools, shops, or libraries. There are also fewer neighborhoods with sidewalks.
If you have more specific questions, ask!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 11:31 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,053,821 times
Reputation: 995
I thought of a few more things. Both North Arlington and McLean are well served by neighborhood swim & tennis clubs, but McLean has a much nicer rec center (Spring Hill), which is part of the Fairfax County Rec program. Arlington residents can use Fairfax facilities, but they pay higher rates. Spring Hill has an indoor pool, gym, and racquetball courts. Arlington rec facilities are more limited -- all three high schools have indoor pools open to the public, but they are very bare-bones with tiny locker rooms and limited public hours.
Arlington -- especially Ballston and Clarendon areas -- has much better restaurants than downtown McLean, but McLean is closer to Tyson's Corner, which has a great new theater complex, with a food court and some good restaurants. The traffic in that area is appalling, however.
The commute to DC can be very quick from some parts of McLean. We are one light from DC, a straight shot down the GW Parkway, and it takes less than 30 minutes even during rush hour. (At other times, it's more like 15 minutes). North Arlington has a number of Metro stations, some of which are walking distance from neighborhoods, but most of which would require a trip by car for most people. I-66, which runs right through Arlingon to D.C., is HOV-2 only during rush hour, and extremely congested at all other times.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 12:20 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,371,569 times
Reputation: 4002
Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
I thought of a few more things. Both North Arlington and McLean are well served by neighborhood swim & tennis clubs, but McLean has a much nicer rec center (Spring Hill), which is part of the Fairfax County Rec program.
That's a good point, and actually McLean residents can use any of the NINE Fairfax County rec centers, not just Spring Hill, and they are all tip-top, clean, safe, facilities. More than a million people used them last year. But I wasn't one of them, so I didn't think of it, and it wouldn't really influence me one way or the other in any case. My wife and daughter, however, are regulars, at least during the winter, so I'm taking their word for it on this one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Arlington -- especially Ballston and Clarendon areas -- has much better restaurants than downtown McLean, but McLean is closer to Tyson's Corner, which has a great new theater complex, with a food court and some good restaurants. The traffic in that area is appalling, however.
Well, that might be because 'downtown McLean' doesn't actually exist? The Greek Taverna is still nice, though. And while it's true that Tyson's traffic is a curse, places like Coastal Flats and Cafe Deluxe help make enduring it worthwhile. It only hurts for a little while :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
The commute to DC can be very quick from some parts of McLean. We are one light from DC, a straight shot down the GW Parkway, and it takes less than 30 minutes even during rush hour.
Old memories. When we lived in McLean, I used to shoot through Chesterbrook to hit the GW Parkway, but at Spout Run. With only one light, I assume you're doing Kirby Road to pick it up at 123. Whatever works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
North Arlington has a number of Metro stations, some of which are walking distance from neighborhoods, but most of which would require a trip by car for most people.
And the problem with driving to Metro anywhere inside West Falls Church is where do you park and how much do you have to pay for it. There are people who drive to the west side of Clarendon, park in the neighborhoods, and then walk around the corner to do the ten-minute bus ride to the Metro station. Whatever works still applies, and they don't seem to mind it, but I think I might if it were me...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 01:11 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,358,698 times
Reputation: 1792
Some terrific advice here offered by saganista and claremarie that I agree with. I have a quick little aside to add myself. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a highly-selective magnet school regarded by some as the best public high school in the country, is located in Fairfax County. Now, I was always under the assumption that only students who reside in Fairfax County were eligible to attend which would be an added benefit to living in McLean; but lately I've been heard that the school is also offered to residents of neighboring counties although there is an even stricter quota in terms of students they admit from Arlington, Alexandria, etc. I'm not sure of the specifics. Maybe others know more about it than I do, but I just thought I'd throw that out there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 01:27 PM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,053,821 times
Reputation: 995
TJ is open to Arlington students, though because the Arlington district has to pay tuition to Fairfax for each student, there is probably a limit to how many students are accepted. However, since getting into TJ is just about as difficult as getting into some elite colleges (it's essentially a roll of the dice for students with high grades and test scores unless you are Hispanic or black or come from an under-represented Fairfax middle school), it probably shouldn't influence one's housing choices.
And I agree with saganista that McLean doesn't really have a "downtown," but some restaurants claim to be in "McLean" when they are really at Tyson's, so I wanted to be clear.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-24-2007, 01:43 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,371,569 times
Reputation: 4002
Quote:
Originally Posted by dullnboring View Post
I have a quick little aside to add myself. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a highly-selective magnet school regarded by some as the best public high school in the country, is located in Fairfax County. Now, I was always under the assumption that only students who reside in Fairfax County were eligible to attend which would be an added benefit to living in McLean; but lately I've been heard that the school is also offered to residents of neighboring counties although there is an even stricter quota in terms of students they admit from Arlington, Alexandria, etc. I'm not sure of the specifics. Maybe others know more about it than I do, but I just thought I'd throw that out there.
Yes, TJ is absolutely la creme de la creme if you're a math-science-technology nerd, and I mean that word in a good way. They have finalists in (what used to be) the Westinghouse Science Competition every year. They get 3,000+ applications per year and admit 500. But there is no formal quota system. You merely need to be resident in a participating NoVa school system and be enrolled at the time of application in one of its public schools. Well, okay...being unbelievably smart would sort of help too. Anyway, TJ is open to otherwise qualified applicants in Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, and the City of Falls Church. Add it up and that comes to 1,100 square miles, giving TJ by far the largest school district of anyplace around here. Students receive free transportation from their neighborhood school to TJ and back again. Tough to get in, and tough to get out. The curriculum is broad-ranging and challenging. Slackers need not apply, but you do get to have one of those very cool bumperstickers that says "TJHSST: We Came for the Sports."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-09-2007, 01:54 AM
 
518 posts, read 1,295,086 times
Reputation: 210
Thumbs up Arlington schools, etc

The 2 high schools in North Arlington are being completely rebuilt. The Washington-Lee and Yorktown projects are at about 100 mill each. The new W-L pool will be an olympic size one, because of the school's central location. Upon the completion of these projects, Arlington will have the best school facilities of any achool district in the DC area--this is possible because of the district's small size. Taylor is a great school with diverse student body. Taylor feeds into both Swanson and Williamsburg for jr hi/mid schl. And students attend either Yorktown or Washington-Lee for high school. Jamestown and Nottingham feed into Williamsburg-Yorktown. Both W-L and Yorktown are among the top 25 high schools in the nation according to last year's Washington Post rankings. H-B Woodlawn, the alternative secondary school (noted for its small classes and independent study), I believe ranked in the top 5 or 10. Test scores/demographic data are all on the Arlington public schools website. And students may attend Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax County.

The county does have excellent rec centers--two that come to mind are the new Barcroft fitness center and TJ, both in South Arlington. The County is planning to build a new sports/aquatic/rec center in South Arlington near Crystal City. Hargreaves Associates, the prestigious Boston-based landscape architecture firm will design the surrounding parkland. Arlington also built the area's first concrete skatepark. And there are a number of private swimming clubs in North Arlington. The largest is Overlee. The county was one of only a few communities to be honored as a Sports lllustrated Sportstown.

The best thing about raising a family in Arlington is that most amenties are within walking distance of the residential areas (schools, parks, shops, bike paths, Metro). Mclean lacks a good sidewalk network and a car is necessary even for short trips. And Arlington has a very strong sense of community because of its small size.

Arlington's neighborhoods are older than those in Mclean and have a more traditional feel. Lyon Village, Tara, Country Club Hills, et al have large colonials on tree lined streets. Lyon Village is adjacent to the Clarendon Metro and feeds into Taylor. Country Club Hills is adjacent to the Washington Golf and Country Club--the oldest in the region. Other neighborhoods like Maywood, Woodmont, Cherrydale have bungalows, victorians, etc.

hope this helps.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-09-2007, 06:15 AM
 
1 posts, read 9,883 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann8 View Post
Hi,

We have been looking at the test scores for North Arlington elementary schools (Taylor, Nottingham & Jamestown) as well as the scores for Mclean. Both areas seemed to rank pretty high. Since we are fairly new to the area and currently househunting, we are torn whether to settle in Mclean or Arlington. Any pros or cons to either area in terms of the schools, housing, recreation, etc. Would love some insight. My husband works in D.C. but may be transferred to Mclean. Thank you.
From where will you be moving? Purely based on public schools, I would give Mclean the edge. But the two cities have very different character. I like Arlington better because I think it has a "richer" personality.
Mclean is very nice, but all you have is the big mall at Tysons Plus, for old timers like me, I'm still upset that Mclean destroyed Evans farm and built those super-ugly jam packed homes on top of it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top