Before she attended college in Charlottesville, Sarah Falls grew up in McLean. But after graduation, she returned to the region and was drawn to Arlington’s Virginia Square neighborhood.

Virginia Square is easily overlooked by Clarendon, its rowdier neighbor to the east, and Ballston, the shopping and dining hub to the west.

Yet the neighborhood is a convenient compromise for residents wanting to be near dining and entertainment options but not necessarily living right above them. Plus, large, leafy Quincy Park offers a variety of playground equipment and an abundance of calm for residents seeking serenity.

“Personally, I would rather be a little bit further from the fun stuff and have a nice place to come back to,” Falls said. She said a cab ride home is usually cheaper than living in the heart of a popular nightlife area. Falls added that she likes that there’s “not so much stuff here,” and that the streets are better for her to walk Macy, her black-Tri Australian shepherd.

Laura Adriazola moved from Bolivia to Arlington to study interior design at Marymount University. Now, she lives in Virginia Square with her husband and her Yorkie.

“I like privacy, so I’d like to be close enough but not into an area, you know, where you hear music and there’s police,” Adriazola said. “It’s just nice here.”

The neighborhood may not have the bustle of other Arlington neighborhoods along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, but Virginia Square enjoys a number of restaurants, bars and amenities. Some are relatively new, but others, including El Pollo Rico and Mario’s Pizza House, have been around for decades.

“The biggest changes [to Virginia Square] I would say [are] the closure of the mom-and-pop businesses and the increase in density of the commercial corridor,” said John Snedden, owner of Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company, a neighborhood stalwart. He added that many of his customers are families, but as Arlington’s property values have risen, he’s seen a more affluent clientele coming for his baby-back pork ribs and Texas-style brisket.

Living there: According to a Virginia Square sector plan map, Virginia Square is bounded by Washington Boulevard to the north, North Quincy Street to the west, Wilson Boulevard to the south and North Kirkwood Road to the east.

The neighborhood is almost entirely condo or apartment buildings, according to Shawn Battle, an associate broker with Orange Line Condo. It has seven mid- to high-rise condo buildings. In the past 12 months, 79 condos have sold. Battle said condo sales have been down since the pandemic began.

The highest-priced condo sold in the past 12 months was a top-floor unit with a large outdoor terrace in an upscale building. The two-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,884-square-foot apartment sold for $1.12 million. The lowest-priced condo sold was a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 650-square-foot apartment for $382,500.

Battle said potential buyers should factor condo fees into their decision. He noted properties may have comparable layouts but higher fees per square foot. In some older buildings, the apartments cost less but the fees are high because of neglected maintenance on the building.

Virginia Square has no detached single-family homes, but it does have townhouses. Four townhouses have sold in the past year, ranging from a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,164-square-foot unit that sold for $715,000 to a 2,082-square-foot home with four bedrooms and five bathrooms for $1.07 million.

Schools: Arlington Science Focus and Innovation Elementary schools, Swanson Middle and Washington-Liberty High.

Transit: Several bus lines provide service to and through Virginia Square, for those who want to visit Washington or explore Northern Virginia. The Virginia Square-GMU Metro station is on the Orange and Silver lines.

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