Separated by a short stroll up Wilson Boulevard, Ballston and Clarendon stand as two distinctive neighborhoods in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. Despite their close proximity, each area possesses its own unique charm and character. Ballston is known for its urban vibe, featuring modern high-rise buildings, bustling streets, and a vibrant mix of residential, commercial, and office spaces. Clarendon offers a more eclectic and energetic atmosphere with its historic architecture, trendy shops, popular bars, and thriving nightlife scene. Both neighborhoods boast excellent access to public transportation, a wide array of dining options, and proximity to the nearby Clarendon and Ballston-MU Metro stations. Whether you prefer the contemporary allure of Ballston or the lively ambiance of Clarendon, both neighborhoods offer an exciting and dynamic urban experience in the heart of Arlington. Read more to find out which Arlington neighborhood is right for you!
The Average Apartment Cost
Many potential renters are curious about how the Ballston area compares to Clarendon. While both offer rents slightly below those in downtown DC, there are many luxury buildings in Arlington with prime amenities that are on par. Based on recent analysis, these are some average prices for studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments in Ballston vs. Clarendon.
Studio – $1823
One – $2182
Two – $3346
Three – $4800
Studio – $1871
One – $2015
Two – $2782
Three – $4417
While apartment buildings throughout the DMV range dramatically in their offerings and pricing, Ballston and Clarendon offer fairly comparable rates — though Ballston apartments may offer a slightly better value for larger spaces. For someone deciding which neighborhood is the best fit, likely the choice will come down to location and neighborhood-feel rather than the actual cost of the unit.
Finding Transportation In Arlington
Like many of the populous areas surrounding the District, the Ballston neighborhood is very accessible. The Ballston Metro (on the Orange and Silver lines) is located right in the middle of the neighborhood making it easy for people to commute to and from DC without a car. There are also many bike trails for transit via bicycle — and the Custis Trail which runs alongside 66 to take cyclists directly downtown.
Ballston is also a great place to own a vehicle because there is ample underground parking in the newer buildings and residential spaces throughout the neighborhood. Residents can easily hop on a number of major roads including Route 66, Route 50, Glebe Road, and even The Beltway. Ballston is an ideal place to live if you want ease of transportation.
Geographically, Ballston is one of the major hubs located closest to Tysons Corner and the rest of Northern Virginia beyond Arlington. The Silver line runs directly from Ballston to the Tysons Corner stations and will soon run all the way to Dulles International Airport. This will be an exciting perk of the neighborhood when the project is completed in early 2021.
Like Ballston, Clarendon is also well situated for commuters. The neighborhood is bustling — particularly in the immediate vicinity of the metro station. There is a Capital Bikeshare station just outside the Metro entrance so locals can hop on a bike to complete their trip.
Clarendon is a few stops closer to DC so many residents live here if they work downtown. The Orange and Silver lines both run from Clarendon directly into Washington making it an easy, non-stop trip. Clarendon is close to the Rosslyn neighborhood as well (located about a mile East) which is a bustling business district. Clarendon residents may choose to walk to work in Rosslyn or take the metro two stops for a lightning-fast commute.
From Clarendon, residents have easy access to Reagan National Airport, by taking the metro to Rosslyn and transferring to the blue line. During rush hour, Metro is by far the quickest way to get around town and downtown DC is approximately 15-20 minutes by train.
Shopping & Dining In Arlington
While Ballston has trailed a few years behind in development compared to Clarendon, a handful of large projects have recently delivered, and the neighborhood now has everything you could want in one spot. Favorite places to dine include La Pupatella, Ted’s Bulletin, and the many fast-casual dining options in the Quarter Market. When you’re in the area, don’t miss the Chick-fil-a, District Donut, or South Block Juice Co.
The area’s best shopping can also be found in Ballston Quarter – just steps from The Waycroft. Residents can pop in for beauty services and products at DryBar, or get running gear at Potomac River Running. Ballston Quarter is also home to a number of new and exciting dining options.
Arlington has some of the best restaurants in the DMV — with a strong focus on international cuisine. Some Clarendon favorites include Ambar, Green Pig Bistro, and Northside Social. The dining and shopping scene has grown dramatically in Clarendon in the last decade. Popular spots include the Apple Store, Lululemon, Whole Foods, Pottery Barn, LOFT, and other shops in the Market Common (http://marketcommonclarendon.com/).
Things to Do
There are lots of ways to stay busy in Ballston. If you’re looking for things to do in the neighborhood, it’s worth checking out the new movie theater, the Medstar Capitals Iceplex — where skating is offered year-round, or nearby Quincy Park.
While Ballston Quarter draws crowds for all the dining options, there is more to do there than just eat! The walls all feature fun murals for the perfect Instagram shot, as well as chairs and couches for hanging out with friends. There are also shops, a hair salon, and coworking space.
Of course, there are plenty of things to do in Clarendon as well. Many buildings offer resident exercise classes and happy hours and there are numerous fitness studios and gyms to stay fit. Clarendon also has a large public library that serves as a great spot to while away a rainy day or to get work done in a quiet space outside your home.
Clarendon residents can find a little bit of everything in their neighborhood. Whether it’s grabbing coffee at Northside Social or Starbucks, shopping at the local Pacers Running Store, working out at SoulCycle or PureBarre, or picking up groceries at the Whole Foods or Trader Joes, you can accomplish everything you need to right there within the neighborhood.
Ballston vs. Clarendon
Living in Clarendon, Virginia offers residents a vibrant and energetic urban experience. The neighborhood is known for its lively atmosphere, with trendy shops, popular bars, and a thriving nightlife scene. Residents enjoy the convenience of easy access to public transportation, including the Clarendon Metro station, which connects them to downtown D.C. and other parts of Arlington. Clarendon also boasts a rich history, with its historic architecture adding to its charm. With a diverse range of dining options and a bustling social scene, this neighborhood is an ideal neighborhood for those seeking an exciting and dynamic lifestyle.
Living in Ballston provides residents with a modern and bustling urban lifestyle. The neighborhood is characterized by its high-rise buildings, commercial and office spaces, and a vibrant mix of residential areas. With excellent access to public transportation, including the Ballston-MU Metro station, residents can easily navigate the area and commute to downtown D.C. and beyond. Ballston offers a wide array of dining options, shopping centers, and entertainment venues, making it a vibrant and convenient place to live. Additionally, the neighborhood’s modern infrastructure and amenities provide a comfortable and contemporary living experience for residents.
Ready To Make Arlington Your New Home?
Both Ballston and Clarendon are excellent places to live in Arlington. While Ballston still has a slightly more commercial feel, the sense of community is growing stronger than ever as more people move to the area. Hopefully this overview of Ballston vs. Clarendon is helpful for anyone deciding to move to Arlington. Check out our Arlington, VA Statistics to learn more about the area’s demographics, and crime rates.