Whether you’re a 20-something, a 60-something, a tot or even a dog, you’ll find food and fun in Shirlington. Five miles southwest of D.C. and tucked next to the “Shirley Highway” — Interstate 395 — this urban village with a mashed-up name (Shirley + Arlington) offers plenty of homes in walking distance of shops, restaurants and parks. Bordered by I-395 to the east, King Street to the south, Walter Reed Drive to the west and Four Mile Run Drive to the north, Shirlington’s center includes a grocery store, public library and Tony-winning theater.
The newest properties in the area are the midrise Shirlington Village Condominiums (2720 S. Arlington Mill Drive), built in 2006, with two-bedroom, two-bath units that can run well into the $600,000s, and Shirlington Crest Townhomes (3507 S. Four Mile Run Drive), built in 2008, with homes up to four bedrooms selling in the high $700,000s.
The bulk of the properties around Shirlington are garden apartment and townhouse condominium communities that date back to the 1980s, including the Windgate Village, Heatherlea Homes, The Arlington and Court Bridge Homes, says Peggy Parker, a Realtor with Keller Williams. Prices for a two-bedroom tend to range from the low-$300,000s up to the low- to mid-$400,000s.
Fairlington — a neighborhood within walking distance of Shirlington’s shops and dining — is made up of condos that start in the mid-$200,000s for a one-bedroom and townhouses.
Shirlington does not have a Metro stop, but it does have an indoor bus station located a block from the intersection of South Randolf Street and 31st Street. Metrobus’s 7ACEF, 10B, 22A, 23AC and 25A connect commuters to the Pentagon, Ballston, Crystal City, Braddock and forthcoming Tysons-Westpark Metro stations. The Arlington Transit buses 75, 77 and 87 also run through Shirlington.
Capital Bikeshare has six stations close by, including one outside of the bus station and one at the eastern entrance to the W&OD Trail, which leads 45 miles west to Purcellville, Va. The Four Mile Run Trail connects Shirlington to the Mount Vernon Trail.
No car is required when you’re looking for food — there are more than 20 restaurants, dessert spots and coffee shops located within a one-mile radius of Shirlington’s center. Be sure to brunch at Carlyle (4000 Campbell Ave.; 703-931-0777) where you can wolf down warm, sweet and buttery beignets before your brioche French toast arrives. Busboys and Poets (4251 S. Campbell Ave.; 703-379-9757) has fare for all kinds of eaters — omnivores, gluten-free dieters, vegetarians and vegans alike. Do what Elvis Presley would have done and order the peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Harris Teeter sits in the town center next to the Shirlington Branch Library. You’ll also find a new Fresh Market and an upcoming Safeway in the Bradlee Center on King Street, a short drive away.
The Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market (4109 Mt. Vernon Ave.), which is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., late April through November, is a 1.5-mile bike ride away along the Four Mile Run Trail into Del Ray.
Parks & Rec
You can hike or bike on a wooded trail, play tennis, baseball, basketball or volleyball, spar in the boxing gym or even play horseshoes at the nearby Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive; 703-228-0701), next to Barcroft Park. For those who prefer the gym, The Energy Club (2900 S. Quincy St.; 703-824-0600) is located across from the bus station.
The Shirlington Dog Park (2601 S. Arlington Mill Drive) is a popular destination for Shirlingtonian pups and their two-legged family members. There’s a stream for the dogs to splash in, plus a dog wash at the exit to rinse off General Woofington before you and he depart.
Shirlington was once home to mid-century powerhouse department store Lansburgh & Brothers, which opened in 1959 where the restaurant Carlyle now sits.
Today, most of Shirlington’s shops are locally and independently owned. In a day, you could pop by Periwinkle (4150 Campbell Ave. No. 104; 703-379-5242) to find a Shoshanna Leia dress for an afternoon wedding, sample a semi-firm manchego at Cheesetique (4056 Campbell Ave.; 703-933-8787) and buy a Thomas train for your little one at One, Two Kangaroo Toys (4022 Campbell Ave.; 703-845-9099). While you’re busy shopping, your puggle can get a bath and blow dry at Dogma Bakery and Boutique (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive; 571-422-0370).