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Old 01-17-2010, 10:53 AM
 
12 posts, read 23,258 times
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Ok -- I think based on my desire to be near a metro train station, I'm looking at Clarendon-Courthouse-VASquare-Ballston areas vs. Pentagon City/Crystal City area, and ruling out Shirlington.

Looking at the bus map, if I'm in the N.Arlington neighborhoods (clarendon/ballston) I'll probably have to make one or two bus transfers to get to work (Skyline City area), but at least bus fares will probably be reimbursed, or I can drive to work (short 3-5 mile commute) and pay for parking, but have the convenience of not relying on public transportation or shuttle.

Or I can live in Pentagon City/Crystal City, have a free shuttle ride to/from work every day, still be close to and have access to metro to get to DC and the N.Arlington neighborhoods.

The only big reason I can see myself needing a car in the area is because I play tennis, so in the spring/summer/fall, I may have to drive to public courts, or in the winter, to a tennis club. I'd also need a car for getting groceries if there isn't a place in walking distance. I mean, I really do like the idea of not having a car, especially in an area that ranks second behind LA as having the worst traffic. Plus I know a lot of apartment buildings charge extra for parking. So I think I can resolve my tennis and grocery needs by finding something near a Safeway and a public court. I can always Zipcar my way to a private tennis club, I suppose.

For anyone else who finds this thread, please drop your thoughts about Clarendon/Ballston vs. Pentagon City/Crystal City. It'll really help me make the right decision. Thanks!
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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Both Ballston and Pentagon City have public outdoor tennis courts

Ballston (really VA Square, I guess): next to Central Library.

Pentagon City: off of S. Hayes between 15th and 18th Sts.

Ballston area has a Giant grocery store at N. Washington and N. Lincoln. Harris Teeter is closer to Ballston's main development.

Pentagon City has Harris Teeter, and a drive away, Shopper's Food Warehouse, Giant, and Safeway.

The traffic isn't bad if you're making short local trips, like to the grocery. The traffic is more an issue to people who have to commute every day on 395, 495, 66, Route 7, or some of the outer suburb roads.

I live in Alexandria and put fewer than 5,000 miles a year on my car (I drive to work). Pretty funny to think that, when using synthetic oil, my scheduled oil changes could be once every other year!
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Great to know! And just saw somewhere that the tennis courts at Virgnia Highlands Park are lighted. So looks like Pentagon City, when factoring in the free shuttle ride to work and possibly not having to bring a car to town b/c of proximity to metro and Zipcars, might be my best option.

Am I overblowing or overemphasizing the need to be in the Ballston/Clarendon area b/c of its social atmosphere and things always going on at night? I mean, to be honest, I can't see myself out at the bars that much during the week; probably most likely going out on Friday or Saturday, maybe some Thursday-type happy hours. But at the same time, I just don't want to be living in what might be considered to be the boondocks or away from everything. Then again, it is the DC area, I imagine there are things going on everywhere, no?
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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I think you might be thinking about it too much.

Either way (in my opinion), you can't lose. You're looking to rent an apartment, right? So the worst-case possibilities are:

Move to Pentagon City, feel like it's too sleepy and you're frequently driving or taking public transit to go someplace you really like for socialization/fun. Or..

Move to N. Arlington, and then feel like the commute to work is a hassle or more expensive.

Neither are all that terrible of outcomes, and either way, if this happens, you could move to the other place after a year!

Personally, I'd give the nod to N. Arlington if I wanted a social scene right near my doorstep, but I don't know how prices compare to Pentagon City and what kind of places are available in you budget. Perhaps now is the time to start evaluating specific apartments at both locations, and maybe some other factors (price, facilities, on-site parking, etc) might make the difference. And I doubt you'd feel Pentagon City was the boondocks.

You are correct that there is plenty to do in the DC area.

Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Ha, yeah ... I think I'm overthinking all of this, too!
But good suggestion ... time to start actually narrowing it down to apartment price and amenities, and go from there. Thank again for your (and everyone else's) suggestions and advice!
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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When I first moved here (in my 20's) I was always going into Arlington on evenings or nights off. But once i got into my 30's I realized that it wasn't that important. There's tons of things to do & places to see near Pentagon city. In fact Pentagon city is halfway between Clarendon and Old Town Alexandria. So unless you are a party animal, you will probably venture down to old Town for a night out.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:40 AM
 
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Yeah, I'm definitely not a party animal, so I guess as long as I can make sure I'm near a metro station, I should be good to go in terms of socializing wherever in the area.

But here's a new consideration! Just found out that there's also a free shuttle from the Ballston Metro Station to Skyline City, where I'll be working. So now Pentagon City has lost what I thought was its main advantage for me -- the free shuttle ride. I guess it'll just boil down to whichever area I can find the best apartment deal, be it Ballston, Pentagon City, or worst case Crystal City (also a free shuttle ride to work), near the metro.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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The two places have very different vibes as well. Consider that you will spend more of your time having to commute to work then you will going out two nights a week. I found living in Arlington and going downtown that we all ended up having to cab it home since the Metro does not run very late.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire2900 View Post
The two places have very different vibes as well. Consider that you will spend more of your time having to commute to work then you will going out two nights a week. I found living in Arlington and going downtown that we all ended up having to cab it home since the Metro does not run very late.


Thats a good point, but how often is he going into DC during the week? If he indeed does end up partying in DC then he should definitley consider living in DC. I would hope that Clarendon would suffice for his weeknight socializing. The metro stays open til 3am on weekends, so he should be good there... If he's out past 3am then a $20 cab ride is a price worth paying.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,037 posts, read 8,060,227 times
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I did not know there was a free shuttle from Skyline City to the Ballston metro. How about that? Well Ballston def has a city feel. I personally would not want to live in VA without my car but its not hard in Ballston or Clarendon. But I've always felt that the District is a better place to live without a car.
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