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Old 11-05-2008, 09:51 AM
 
10 posts, read 37,004 times
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As with everyone on here I am in need of advice. Recently I was relocated to the Arlington area for work. I moved here completey blind (no family or friends). My office is off Seminary Road (near George Mason rd) on the Alexandria/ S. Arlington border (not a big fan). I am looking to buy a 2bd condo or townhome but have no idea about the area demographics. I've been here a month and it seems I've hit Ballston and Georgetown more often than not and recently found the Shirlington/Fairlington area. Can anyone give me info on the Ballston vs. Shirlington area? (I'm well aware of home market value in both these areas which is why I haven't mentioned my budget)

Some background on me, I'm single, no kids, 32 y/o female, thus safety is a must have. My personality is very outgoing and am looking for an area where it will be easy to meet people, neighbors, friends, but I'm not that into the club scene or weekday partying anymore. I'm from NY so the convience of having restaurants, bars, deli's outside my door is appealing and walking doesn't bother me.

Appreciate any and all feedback.
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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I think they both fit your criteria. The biggest question is "Metro or no Metro?" If you feel that being near the train is important in your life, go Ballston. If not, I think Shirlington is a bit better... you would find more people around your age. Ballston is more of a mid-20's area.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:37 PM
 
446 posts, read 1,560,150 times
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Definitely agree that the question is Metro or no Metro. Owning a property with Metrorail access will be very nice to have if you ever decide to sell. All that being said, however, I like what Shirlington has done for itself and being 5 minutes from work can't be bad either...lol. I definitely feel Shirlington is more close-knit and a little less intense. I had a nice breakfast at Busboys and Poets a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. The food, the atmosphere, the safety....what more can one ask for?
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,866,937 times
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I would also lean toward Shirlington in your situation - assuming, as everyone else has said, that Metrorail is not the deciding factor for you.

I lived in Ballston in a temporary apartment for 30 days. It had a wonderful city vibe and I could walk to everything. If I had been 22, I would have been in heaven. But I was 29, and I kind of felt like the old lady of the neighborhood.

Westover is a nice grown-up place to live, too (it's part of North Arlington) with decent walkability, but I'm not sure if there are many condos available there. I think it's mostly single family homes.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:53 PM
 
73 posts, read 263,949 times
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Given your desire to be close to shops and delis, but not as into bars, I would also recommend the Clarendon and Courthouse areas. Courthouse has a great farmers market every saturday and also had random antique or flea markets set up around the metro. Clarendon has the clarendon shops and the whole foods and is great for walking around, grabbing a book and sitting outside, etc. I think the demographic in Courthouse and Clarendon is slightly older than ballston too (tho I lived in courthouse for the last 6 years and I'm in my late 20s now).

As far as Shirlington is concerned --- Like some of the restaurants there (Carlyle Grand), but in general, not as many walking around/random coffee shop options imo (tho I might be biased having been in the courthouse/clarendon area). I absolutely loved living in the Courthouse/Clarendon area (even over Ballston) and would still be there if I hadn't moved out of state... Hope this helps!
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:46 PM
 
286 posts, read 1,165,886 times
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If you could rent for a year and really check out the places that have been mentioned here, I think that would work best. There are so many great neighborhoods in DC and in NOVA, that you might buy and then regret that you chose a place so quickly. It takes time to learn the city and if you could rent in Shirlington / Ballston for a year or even 6 months and then take it from there...that's what I would do...
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,866,937 times
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pgwiz1 is DEFINITELY right about Courthouse. It's worth a look. You're closer to Georgetown there, too, if that's where you like to spend your free time.
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