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Old 06-13-2009, 09:33 AM
313 posts, read 461,289 times
Reputation: 348


Hey everybody,

23 year old single guy moving to NOVA for my first experience as a productive member of society (no more saying "Can I help you find something!). I could use some advice on where to live

The job I have is located in Chantilly, VA and after perusing other threads, pretty much anywhere I choose will result in a hellish commute. I have narrowed down my choices to the area around Centreville, Herndon, Reston, Oaktown, and of course Chantilly.

I have a budget of 1500/month and would prefer somewhere that has the following attributes (ordered in terms of my importance)...

- relatively low crime area
- commute under 45 minutes
- walking distance to bus lines or metro stops (have a couple friends living in DC)
- nearby shops and restaurants
- just a fun place to live

Anybody have any ideas or suggestions or is this just a pipe dream?
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:00 AM
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any one of those areas are good shown above. Caveat is how many illegal immigrants will be living in your apartment complex with you.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:05 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
55 posts, read 230,327 times
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You won't have a hellish commute - that's for the people from out west, like Chantilly, Leesburg, etc, who work closer to DC and have to deal with the rush.

The places that you've narrowed down are all good in terms of safety. There's really no really bad place in the area; Herndon is where I work, and that seems to be the "worst" of your list, and that's not even really that bad.

None give you easy access to the metro. You have to look east starting in Vienna before you'll be close to any metro stations. There are plenty of bus routes all over Fairfax county though.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:49 AM
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The Fair Lakes area of Fairfax is adjacent to Chantilly/Centreville. You should be able to find a nice single bedroom apt. with that budget or half that with roommates.

- relatively low crime area
I lived in the area over 30 years in Oakton/Reston/Fairfax/Chantilly and there is very little crime.

- commute under 45 minutes
Your commute to Chantilly should be way under 30 minutes in traffic.

- walking distance to bus lines or metro stops (have a couple friends living in DC)
The closest Metro is in Vienna. There is a commuter shuttle for a lot of the Fair Lakes area, I'd imagine it would take 30-40min. in traffic. More than likely you'll be driving into the city/metro only on the weekends.

- nearby shops and restaurants
LOTS of good restaurants in the area and on the weekends you can go closer in for more options(Falls Church, Arlington)

- just a fun place to live
Lots of young single people, on the weekends you will probably still want to go into Arlington/DC but there are plenty of watering holes in Fairfax if you don't feel like driving anywhere.

Good luck!
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:07 AM
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,846,784 times
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Originally Posted by Badger21 View Post

23 year old single guy
Reston and Fair Lakes (near the government center) seem to attract most of the single 20-somethings who work in your area. Welcome to Virginia.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:33 AM
Location: Arlington, VA
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I agree with several other posters...you should probably look in the Fair Lakes area. Centreville and Chantilly aren't anywhere near walking distance to the nearest Metro station which is in Vienna. There are extensive bus lines in Fairfax County, but they won't be in service late at night as you return from visiting friends or watering holes in Arlington or DC. You could however easily get a cab at the station.

Reston is also a great place for young singles but at the moment it isn't very close to a Metro stop either. Keep in mind that will be changing within the next 5 years as the Silver Line is extended through Tysons, Reston, and on out to Dulles airport.

With your budgey you also have the option of living in Arlington which probably has the highest concentration of young singles and the accompanying entertainment options for them in Northern VA. However it might not meet your desire for a commute under 45 minutes.
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:16 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,242 posts, read 67,420,642 times
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I'm 22 and live in Central Reston and work on the Reston/Herndon border at an office with a lot of fellow single 20-somethings. Two of them room together at a place in Centreville. I live in Reston, as stated earlier. The others live in or around the Beltway (one in Burke, one in Annandale, one in Falls Church) and reverse-commute west to our office.

Having lived here just under a month I can distinctively say that I'm pretty happy with my choice of Reston. The "mecca" for dudes around our age seems to be to live in Arlington, but then again most of them undoubtedly also work in Tyson's, Arlington, or DC and have an easy Metrorail commute. For those of us "stuck" far outside the beltway with no mass transit because our employers thought it would be "cute" to set up shop in the middle of suburbia, much to the chagrin of their young incoming new hires, Reston seems to be the emerging "downtown" of sorts with Reston Town Center being jam-packed on Friday afternoon happy hours especially with all sorts of single young professionals.

My experience with the Reston Parkway has been that it is congested southbound (towards I-66) at the evening rush-hour and heavy northbound during the morning rush, indicating that more people live south of town and work in Reston than vice-versa. For you this means you'll have heavy (but probably not congested) traffic for your commute if you were to live here in Reston and drive south in the mornings to work in Chantilly, as it appears to be a "reverse-commute." 45 minutes is definitely doable. My aforementioned two office mates who room together in Centreville have a commute of under an hour to get to work up here in the mornings, and they hit "very heavy" traffic in that direction. I suspect that if you're heading against most of that heaviest traffic that a Reston to Chantilly commute might be more like a half-hour to 35 minutes.

Out of those towns listed I would definitely pick Reston. My experience here has been that most people are in their late-20s to early-30s here. I've already made many friends, and I'm the "baby" in each crowd at age 22. My pending significant other even jokes about being a "cradle robber" because I'm four years younger. I think the early-to-mid-20s people all live as roomies in Arlington and then use places like Reston as "stepping stones" when they've transitioned beyond wanting to live the party every night lifestyle but are not yet ready to "settle down" (at which point they move to places like Ashburn, Vienna, McLean, etc. to raise children). Centreville/Chantilly is suburbia at its finest (or worst in my view, but I digress), so you'll have to hop into your car for ANYTHING. At least here in Reston thanks to the trail networks and the continuing infilling of areas with more mixed-use developments a considerable number of neighborhoods are walkable or semi-walkable.
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:18 AM
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As stated earlier, the highest concentration of young urban professionals is going to be in Arlington. Fairfax County has great places to live, but if you want to yuppie environment, Arlington is where it's at. So the question is whether you want to do the reverse commute.

I was just walking through the Courthouse section in Arlington last night and was thinking how great it is to be here in Arlington. Tons of young people out and about, enjoying the summer night and all the bars and restaurants.

I go to Madison every year and love State Street. If you want State Street, you need to come to Arlington. If Verona and Sun Prairie work for you, then move to Chantilly or Centreville.

Go Badgers!
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