Living in Arlington County, Virginia: Pros & Cons

Living in Arlington, VA, has become appealing to people who prefer an urban lifestyle and move to the metro DC area. But, of course, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before making a decision, whether you’re a professional, couple, family, or retiree.

So, what are the pros and cons of living in Arlington, VA? The pros include low crime and unemployment rates, walkability, good public transportation, diversity, retiree-friendly communities, and endless activities. The cons are high property costs, cost of living, and heavy traffic.

To help you have a good understanding of all these benefits and drawbacks, let’s discuss each of them in more detail. This way, you’ll make a more informed decision about moving to Arlington County. We will also quickly compare living in DC and Arlington, VA, for better decision-making.

Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia

What Are the Pros of Living in Arlington, VA?

While there are many benefits to be had when you choose to live or retire in Arlington, VA, the most notable ones are:

Low Crime Rate

You surely will agree with me that your family’s and your safety is of utmost importance when deciding where to move. Fortunately, Virginia is among the safest states in the country (

For Arlington, the crime rate ranges from very low to moderate, while the safety when walking during the day and night is very high and high, respectively, based on a survey residents answered.

This low crime rate can be due to the strong military presence or many military bases in VA. It’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to bump into or meet individuals in the military, from veterans to uniformed personnel currently in active service.

Good Public Transportation

While you can always drive your own car, it isn’t one thing you always want to do, especially if you’re a retiree. The same goes for families with children in high school.

So, fret not; moving from point A to point B and vice versa, no matter the distance, won’t be a problem when you live in Arlington, VA.

Not only can you ride the bus, metro train, or cab, but you can make use of Uber and other ride-sharing apps to book a ride. Even better, the county boasts many bike lanes and bike-designated routes, allowing you or your child to commute safely to nearby places and get good cardio exercise while doing so.

As someone planning to move to Arlington, whether you’re a retiree, student, working individual, or a couple, I have no doubt that you will surely want to visit your family or travel to another state. The same goes for those with a family member who moved to the county; you will want to visit them occasionally.

The good news is that Ronald Reagan National Airport is in Arlington, VA. It means you can easily book a flight if you live in another state (even country) without needing to travel to another county to access an airport.

Did you know that Arlington even has water taxis and ferries you can book to reach your destination while enjoying the good weather? This isn’t just convenient but also allows you to do some sightseeing while traveling.

Walk-Friendly for Both Humans and Pets

You’ll also love that Arlington has several walkable (even jogging) areas you and your pets can enjoy. From small neighborhood and dog parks to large state parks, you can enjoy a morning, afternoon, or evening walk (or jog) without worrying about getting hit by a car.

Those who love a long walk or hike will also love Arlington because of the many trails available for you to traverse, not just in the county but throughout the State of Virginia. It’s also worth noting that you can find kid-friendly trails for safe hiking and biking. You surely will be able to bond with your children and grandchildren and limit their screen time during the weekends, school breaks, and holidays.

Endless Activities To Keep You On the Go

Besides hiking, walking, biking, and sightseeing, you won’t run out of things to do alone or with your partner, friends, or relatives while living in Arlington, VA. Whether you or your family love the outdoors or want more laid-back indoor activities, boredom isn’t something you have to worry about.

You can visit museums, botanical gardens, and zoos or beat the summer heat in one of the community swimming pools. You can also join several group recreational activities open to residents and visitors, such as sports events and camps.

Do you love window shopping, shopping, watching movies, arcades, or other mall-related activities? The county also offers several shopping centers and malls that you can visit.

Festivals and fairs, such as the Floriade Floral Show, Food Truck Festival, and Arlington County Fair, are also common in Arlington County. Those who love theatrical shows will also enjoy performances in any of the award-winning theaters within the county.

How about those who love the nightlife? Don’t worry, as finding a place appropriate for your age or with an older crowd isn’t impossible in Arlington, VA. There are even nightlife hubs for older individuals, perfect for retirees who love to dance the night away.

If that’s not enough, you can always travel to DC, which is approximately 20 minutes away from Arlington, VA. Thanks to the connecting bridges, you can drive to and from DC or ride a bus, cab, train, water taxi, or ferry.

Low Unemployment Rate

With a low unemployment rate, you’re sure to find a well-fitting career in the county, from government to food service and technology-related jobs. Even those already at their retirement age can find a part-time or full-time job if they want to stay productive while still earning a good source of income.

A Well Diverse Population

Arlington, VA, is among the melting pots in the US in terms of ethnic and racial diversity. It means that you will get to enjoy interacting with individuals of different cultures and traditions.

A Good Neighborhood for Retirees

When looking for a retirement home community, over 55 community, and assisted living in Arlington, you’ll be glad to know you have several options. As such, you can find a neighborhood suited to your needs and lifestyle as a retiree.

What Are the Cons of Living in Arlington, VA?

Of course, there are certain drawbacks to living in Arlington that you need to make a note of, and they are:

High Property Cost

Whether you plan to buy a home, rent an apartment, or live in a condominium, the cost is higher than the national average. The top two reasons for this are the county’s close proximity to DC and the very competitive real estate market in the county.

You will also expect to pay higher property taxes when living in Arlington, VA.

High Cost of Living

Housing in the county costs 121% higher than the national average, affecting the overall cost of living in Arlington. Not only that, but groceries and transportation costs are also much higher, around 10% and 9%, respectively.

Consider your (and your partner’s) salary or retirement benefit before moving. Make sure it can compensate or exceed your expected monthly expenses.

Heavy Traffic

Arlington, VA’s proximity to DC and the number of tourist spots are among the reasons traffic in the county is heavy, especially during the rush hour and large events. The traffic becomes worse because of aggressive drivers who cut off other drivers without using their blinkers and those who squeeze into spaces between two vehicles.

Muggy Summer

Yes, Virginia isn’t the only state with a humid and hot summer, but it will surely become an issue for those not used to this kind of climate. The average humidity in Arlington, VA, is around 68%, a bit higher than in Texas.

Temperature-wise, the average maximum during summer is around 83°F (°C), which can peak at 88°F (°C), while the average minimum is from 64.2°F (°C) to 69.1°F (°C).

Expect to sweat every day when you’re outside, especially during the day and in the afternoon.

Is It Better To Live in DC or Arlington, VA?

This question isn’t uncommon because of their proximity to each other, making some wonder whether it’s better to move to the bigger DC area.

While you’ll find several retirement communities, 55+ communities, and assisted living in Arlington and DC, there are more job and business opportunities in DC. You’ll also be surprised to learn that property taxes are lower in DC than in Arlington, VA.

However, the overall cost of living in Arlington is much cheaper than in DC. If you want a more slow-paced kind of lifestyle, Arlington is also a better option than the much busier and more competitive DC lifestyle. After all, you can always visit the area without the need to ride an airplane and sit for hours before you reach the area.

Is Arlington, VA a Good Place To Live In?

Virginia Flowers

Arlington, VA, isn’t perfect like most counties; there are pros and cons you need to know about before finally deciding to move to the area.

Overall, Arlington, VA, is a good place to live if you don’t mind the high cost of living and property taxes. From getting good exercise through walking, biking, and other activities to enjoying nature while staying healthy to not needing to drive daily to save on gas and have a more relaxed commute.

Staying employed or running a business won’t also be a problem if you choose to live in Arlington, VA, because of the number of opportunities available. Just remember to invest in good, breathable summer clothes, a fashionable, UPF 50+ sun hat (view on Amazon), and a water bottle (view on Amazon) to help keep you cool when you’re out during the summer season.


Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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