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Old 11-03-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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Forgive me if this question has been asked a thousand times before. I'm someone who's planning to move to the DC area and trying to gather more info on potential places to live. Being in IT, I know there's a good chance I'll either work in DC, Tysons Corner, or further out in Reston and Herndon. I also know just how awful the traffic is in DC, which is one reason I'm trying to avoid living too far west or too far from the Metro. I was recently in town and had the chance to explore the area. I really like Arlington and Alexandria, but I have a feeling both will be too expensive for me. Plus, if I work in Tysons, Alexandria may be too far to be feasible. Two areas that I didn't get a chance to explore were Fairfax and Springfield. I noticed that the Metro reaches out to both points. Commuting from Fairfax to either DC or Tysons looks like it would be better than commuting from Springfield to Tysons. But as a single 30something with no kids, I'm wondering what both would be like in terms of having a social life. How would you compare the two and what are the pros and cons of each?
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Fairfax near the Govt. Center would have lots of young 30-somethings without kids. IMO you also find other people your age in Reston Town Center. If it was me, I'd rent a place right in the middle of RTC. If you haven't been there, this will give you an idea. Photo Tour: Reston Town Center & Lake Anne. Warning, lotsa photos.

I'm not an expert on Springfield, but I believe it's mostly families.

Welcome to northern Virginia.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
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I'd concur that Springfield is not a hotbed for singles, except perhaps for those who conceded socializing elsewhere during the weekends in favor of a relatively affordable and Metro accessible location. I also agree that Reston would be a good choice as well, assuming the rents were within one's budget (which I'd hope with an IT salary ).

Interesting to note about Fairfax's Government Center area, Caladium.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Springfield to Tysons is not as bad as you might think, especially if you're on the Kings Park/North Springfield/Annandale side of things. You can take secondary roads all the way to Gallows Rd. or just take the Beltway, it depends on when you travel and how bad the Beltway is at that time.

The Springfield area generally is more family-oriented than the Fairfax City or Reston Town Center areas, if you're looking for local singles-oriented stuff those might be better options for you. But that being said, Tysons, Old Town, Shirlington, Del Ray and Crystal City are all 10-15 minutes away from Springfield non-rush hour so you have rapid access to these areas at a lot less cost for housing. It depends on where you are in Springfield though, it's a large area. It's faster for me to get to Old Town than to some other parts of Springfield for example.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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I lived in Springfield for most of my life, and if you are looking for a good social life it is probably not the best place. It is mostly 30 to 40 year old something military families, and older folks. If you are looking at Fairfax, try closer to GMU, where you are going to get some of the bars that cater to college age kids. Auld Shabeen on Main Street in Fairfax City is always a good time on a Friday or Saturday night.
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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OK. I guess I can rule out Springfield. I'd heard good things about Reston. But it looks like it's pretty far out there. Plus, it's not near the Metro, which I assume I would need if I have to work in DC. Fairfax is closer to DC and near the Metro. I guess my next question should be how bad is it to drive from Fairfax to Tysons or Reston?
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
OK. I guess I can rule out Springfield. I'd heard good things about Reston. But it looks like it's pretty far out there. Plus, it's not near the Metro, which I assume I would need if I have to work in DC. Fairfax is closer to DC and near the Metro. I guess my next question should be how bad is it to drive from Fairfax to Tysons or Reston?
It depends which part of Fairfax you lived in but..

If you lived near George Mason or the Fairfax Corner area you could easily get to Reston via the Fairfax County Pkwy. It would probably take you about 30 minutes (I'm guessing because I don't drive that route very often).

Commuting from the GMU area to Tysons, you could take 123 all the way there. Length of commute would depend on the time of day and how much road work is being done.
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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OK, the first thing you need to know is whether the job is in DC or in Reston or in Tysons. Reston and Tysons are fairly close, so you'd get more or less the same advice for both those locations. But DC is another story entirely.

Also, be sure to ask if you're likely to be transferred to another office after you move here. If that's the case, it's another thing to take into consideration.

If the job is in DC, you'll want to live inside the beltway. Rosslyn, Del Rey, etc. are your best bets. Maybe Falls Church or Vienna, since they're on the orange line. But that's about as far west as I'd go.

If the job is in Tysons, you won't be able to take metro to work (at least not right now. It's coming.) Tyson's is a very congested area, especially now while the construction is taking place. So you'd want to live as close as possible. McLean, Falls Church, or even right in Tyson's would be good possibilities. Fairfax might not be the best commute to a job in Tyson's. Reston is 7 miles from Tyson's. Looks like a short distance, but it can be a nasty drive.

If the job is in the Dulles Corridor (Reston/Herndon/Sterling/Ashburn) Fairfax works as a commute. Reston, of course, would work.

I'd try to find a short term rental, if you can. Maybe renting someone's condo would be a good option. Then, once you've been here a few months and you know your way around you can move to a place that suits you.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:09 PM
 
7,483 posts, read 8,378,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Fairfax might not be the best commute to a job in Tyson's. Reston is 7 miles from Tyson's. Looks like a short distance, but it can be a nasty drive.

If the job is in the Dulles Corridor (Reston/Herndon/Sterling/Ashburn) Fairfax works as a commute. Reston, of course, would work.
What I'm trying to do (and I realize this may not be possible) is pick a place that's ideally situated no matter where I end up working. Suppose I start out living in Reston and working in Tysons. Then I lose my job. I then go looking for a new job but all the offers I get are in DC. Commuting from Reston to DC? No thanks. But at least if I was in Fairfax, switching from a commute to Tysons to a commute to DC wouldn't require moving again. I just don't want to be in a situation where I'm having to move to a different part of the DC area every time I change jobs. I already know I'll be renting for at least the first year. But after that, I would prefer to buy a place. Instead of Fairfax, maybe I should be looking at Vienna since. How that does compare to Fairfax and how is it for a single 30something?
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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In terms of social life for single 30 somethings I would say:

Reston
Tysons/McLean
Fairfax (the biggest area on here, and depends a bit on area)
Vienna
Springfield

All a bit below Arlington/Alexandria, but a lot of singles throughout.

In terms of commute, I don't see Reston and Fairfax as all that different from each other (both are really bad; Reston involves taking the slow Toll Road to the orange line, Fairfax involves taking the even slower I-66 to the orange line, neither one will be fun long term).

If there's any way to find out where you'll be working before you move, it will be worth your while commute-wise. If not, I'd say your safest hedge, if you really think your odds of DC and tech corridor (Tysons, Reston, Herndon, Sterling) are equal, would be Arlington or Falls Church, since you'd have public transportation to DC and a reverse commute to the Rt 7 jobs.
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