Arlington County has traditionally been seen as an extension of D.C., which in the past meant government and defense jobs—it’s the home of the Pentagon—and bland blocks of hotel-and-office high-rises. But just as Washington has evolved, so has this desirable stretch of urban living just across the Potomac River. Technically an area of dense suburbs, its proximity means it can boast big-city infrastructure—excellent metro access to D.C., great scores for walkability and biking, and a park within a 10-minute walk of nearly any place you might live—as well as cultural diversity and a wide-ranging restaurant scene.
It’s also the future site of Amazon’s home away from home, HQ2, which is beginning to reshape the Crystal City neighborhood and the greater northern Virginia region. There’s no denying this is a very expensive real estate market that’s bound to get more costly and competitive, even taking into account its reputation for attracting much of the region’s highly paid workforce. But as tech becomes a bigger part of the D.C. regional economy, Arlington will remain a hot spot for the career-minded in the Beltway.
The biggest news by far is Amazon’s massive redevelopment of Crystal City, a project so vast it’ll bend and shape everything around it. The first proposal, a pair of 22-story buildings first unveiled in May, would cover roughly 2.1 million square feet. New projects like the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in nearby Alexandria seek to piggyback on the big bucks Bezos and company will be spending in the region. In addition, the upcoming extension of D.C. Metro’s Silver Line, with a link to Dulles Airport, makes car-free transit easier, and a score of high-end apartment buildings clustering around nearby metro stations will soon be flooding the rental market.