29 Mar Featured Neighborhood: An In-Depth Look at Ballston, VA
I am looking to relocate into the Arlington area, and I am not sure which neighborhoods I should consider. What do you think are the best neighborhoods to explore? I have heard a lot about Ballston, VA.
In our last post, we uncovered what makes a neighborhood great and highlighted a few of the best neighborhoods near the Pentagon. This week, we are taking an in-depth tour of one of those neighborhoods—Ballston, VA—and sharing what we have personally learned makes this such a special place to live.
Most people relocating to the area do so because they have a new job in Arlington, Alexandria, or Washington, D.C., and are looking for a safe, desirable neighborhood that offers the best of suburban and urban living, When making a short list of places to consider, Ballston immediately comes to mind. It has a city feel without being in the actual city, and it offers a little bit of everything. It’s an ideal setting for apartment and condo dwellers, but head a few blocks north or south and you encounter the single-family homes and townhouses a plenty, creating a more suburban feel.
Where is Ballston?
Ballston, named after the Ball Family, whose family burial ground can be found on Washington Boulevard (look for its historical marker), is a neighborhood in Arlington, VA, situated across the Potomac River from DC and along the Orange and Silver Lines of the area’s Metro system. It’s relatively close to I-66, the only Interstate Highway running west from Washington, D.C. into Northern Virginia, which makes traveling to the state’s rural counties, Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains a breeze. The Ballston Corridor, as this area is sometimes called, is ideal for those looking for a relatively easy commute into the city.
Ballston is a popular neighborhood among both young, single professionals and families with small children. As with any community near a major metropolitan city with Metro access, the closer you are to the epicenter, the higher the rental rates and mortgages. If you’re interested in purchasing a home in Ballston, you can expect to pay around $600K for a 2-bedroom condo in the heart of the neighborhood. Rental prices tend to run between $2,500 and $3,100 a month for a similar sized unit. If you prefer a single-family home, your options will start at $800K and go up from there. Rental prices for single-family homes here start at $3,700 per month.
According to AreaVibes, the cost of living in the Arlington area, including Ballston, is 49% higher than the average in Virginia and 61% higher than the national average. What this means for those looking to move into the area is that the Arlington real estate market is hot, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, the median price of homes currently for sale in Arlington is $539,000, and the median rental price is $2,255. And we do not predict anything but growth for this neighborhood!
Ballston’s students attend school in the Arlington Public School system. As of last year, there were 25,678 students attending these schools, originating from more than 120 countries. For families looking for alternative schooling options, there are many. Virginia allows parents to send their children to local charter schools, choose online schooling options, or apply to attend better performing schools in their district. The state even offers low-income students the opportunity to apply for scholarship funding to attend private schools in the area.
According to Niche.com, the public schools in Arlington County are top-notch. Based on “rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education”, they were given an “A+.” As with any information from a third party, ratings can vary depending on the size of the data pool and the source, so make sure to seek out more than one source of information when you are researching which school system is ideal for you and your family.
The crime rate for Ballston has been decreasing 6 percent annually, and the overall crime rate is 73 percent less than the U.S. average. It’s a very active community. People are out jogging, walking their dogs, shopping, and socializing at all times of the day. It’s not uncommon to see residents walking home from the Metro after midnight. To stay on top of the most recent safety information as well as learn about how to prevent crime and protect yourself, visit the Arlington County Police Department website.
One of the biggest benefits about living in Ballston is access to the Metro. Being directly on the Metro line makes Ballston a convenient place to get around and creates a very pedestrian-friendly community. Just about everything you can think of is within a reasonable walking distance from the Metro station, plus or minus a block or two. The blocks are lined with shopping options, including the Ballston Common Mall (which is currently undergoing a major renovation), restaurants serving any and all kinds of cuisine, popular bars, and its share of corporate offices.
Ballston is also a great neighborhood for families and the health-conscious resident. Families with small kids will find many outdoor play areas and open spaces where they can run and play. And there are many well-maintained, safe trails accessible via the Metro that are perfect for running, biking, or strolling with little ones. For four-legged family members, there are also quite a few nearby off leash dog parks. Public recreational options include the outdoor track and public pool at the Washington-Lee Aquatic Center, and there are many private fitness gyms to choose from as well.
Ballston offers other family-friendly activities and events, including:
Taste of Arlington: In its 30th year, this yearly outdoor event, held in the spring, attracts more than 50,000 people from all over the region and turns the local streets into a family-friendly, fun dining and shopping festival. Not only does it highlight the local food scene but it gives back to the community as well by donating its profits to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex: Located atop the Ballston Common Mall Parking Garage, this state-of-the-art facility is the official home of the NHL Washington Capitals. Kettler offers public skating year-round as well as private and group skating lessons. And the public can watch the area’s professional hockey team practice free of charge.
Farmer’s Market: Every Thursday from April through October, local vendors set up on Welburn Square across from the Ballston Metro Station to sell fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, and other goods. It’s a wonderful event during which residents meet up with friends, get some fresh air while they support the local farming industry.
As you can see from our brief tour of Ballston, this neighborhood could be an excellent starting point for anyone looking to relocate to the area. Whether you are looking for an apartment to rent or a home to buy, Ballston is a safe, family-friendly neighborhood with a perfect blend of big city and suburbia. If you would like to explore the neighborhood of Ballston in person, please do give us a call!