Though its roots date back to the early 1700s, Clarendon earned its title as Arlington’s “downtown” 200 years later. Today, “laissez les bons temps rouler” might as well be its tagline in this neighborhood known for Mardi Gras parades, weekly children’s music concerts and pub crawls. Bordered by Courthouse Metro station to the east, Virginia Square Metro station to the west, Wilson Boulevard to the north and 10th Street to the south, Clarendon is a lot of fun packed into a little area.
This North Arlington haunt is almost entirely composed of townhouses and condos, which can range from a 750-square-foot, one-bedroom condo in the $400,000s to a 4,000-square-foot townhome for more than $1 million, says Natalie Vaughan, a Realtor with Keller Williams.
Just outside of Clarendon you can find detached homes in neighborhoods including Lyon Village and Lyon Park, but they are in high demand. “The families have seen the value of living maybe in a smaller house with a smaller yard, but being able to walk and take the kids for ice cream on a Tuesday after school,” Vaughan says. A cute, move-in ready, 3-bed in Lyon Park can start in the $700,000s, she says.
You can bring a car to Clarendon, but you might not need it. The Orange Line runs directly through Clarendon with nearby stops at the Courthouse, Virginia Square and, of course, Clarendon Metro stations. Metrobus’ 38B route connects Clarendon to the District, and the Arlington Transit system provides buses for those staying closer to home.
Bike lanes and trails connect neighborhoods, shopping areas and business centers within Clarendon and beyond, but you don’t need two wheels of your own. There are 12 Capital Bikeshare stations close by.
Clarendon is a go-to place for Washington area residents looking for a bite to eat or pint to drink. National chains, including Le Pain Quotidien (2900 Clarendon Blvd., 703-465-0970) and Cheesecake Factory (2900 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-294-9966), share sidewalks with rows of independently owned restaurants and bars. Tallula (2761 Washington Blvd.; 703-778-5051) is a local favorite that serves up fresh, organic dishes such as sirloin steak with celeriac, glazed carrots and merlot mushrooms. At the adjoining Eat Bar (703-778-9951), you can nosh on chorizo-spiced corn dogs paired with a French Syrah at night and bring the kids to the cartoon brunch on Sundays.
There’s a Whole Foods Market smack dab in the heart of Clarendon, a Trader Joe’s steps away from the Clarendon Metro station and a Giant on the western front, about a block from the Virginia Square Metro station. Fresh produce is also available Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. (March-December) at the farmers market held at Clarendon Central Park (3140 Wilson Blvd.).
Parks & Recreation
Dog-friendly Clarendon got dog-friendlier when the James Hunter Park (1230 N. Hartford St., 703-228-6525) opened in August. Two-legged family members can now hang out on benches and picnic tables while the furry ones romp in the pond under a water feature.
Joggers pushing strollers, joggers in groups, joggers bouncing until the street light turns … let’s just say that jogging is popular here. Running store Pacers (3100 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-248-6883) leads jogs multiple days a week and organizes the annual Clarendon Day 10K, 5K and Kids Dash.
Clarendon is big on big-name stores. Williams-Sonoma, Apple, Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel are housed in the Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd.). Moms and dads can do a little shopping every Friday after toddlers and preschoolers finish singing at the weekly Mr. Knick Knack concert out front.
The brain trust behind some of D.C.’s biggest bar crawls — Project DC Events — happen to live in Arlington, so they decided to bring the pub hopping to Clarendon. More than 3,000 ghoulish guzzlers attended the Clarendon Halloween Crawl on Nov. 2. Next up: The second annual Shamrock Crawl in March and a new 5K in the spring.