Insider’s Guide to Exploring Neighborhoods and Hidden Gems After Moving to Arlington

The United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington and the cloudy sky behind

Welcome to Arlington! This vibrant community, strategically positioned next to Washington, D.C., perfectly blends urban and suburban life, offering something special for everyone. If you’re moving to Arlington, you’re in for a treat with its rich historical backdrop, bustling streets, and peaceful parks. This guide is designed to help you, the newcomer, navigate this move and discover the less obvious yet equally enchanting parts of this county. From local cafes and hidden parks to community events and volunteer opportunities, we’ll help you navigate your new surroundings. 

Getting to Know Your New Home

Arlington’s unique charm lies in its diverse neighborhoods, each offering distinct living experiences. Whether you’re a young professional looking for vibrant nightlife or a family seeking a quiet suburban life, this is a place for you. Neighborhoods like Clarendon are known for their lively bars and restaurants, appealing to those who enjoy evening outings and social gatherings. In contrast, Ballston offers a more relaxed atmosphere with plenty of parks and family-friendly amenities. There is also a rich landscape of architectural styles, from quaint Colonial homes to modern high-rises, reflecting its historical evolution and contemporary growth. Understanding the character and demographics of each area can help you find a neighborhood that feels like home.

People with their hands up in the air in a nightclub
Whether you are looking for exciting nightlife or quiet suburban living, this county is perfect!

Moving to Arlington: Ensuring a Smooth Process 

Managing logistics can initially seem daunting when planning your move to Arlington. For instance, consider the complexities of transporting your belongings from your current home to a new neighborhood. This can be the ideal time to reach out to local movers who specialize in navigating Arlington’s unique urban landscape. These professionals can help streamline the moving process, ensuring everything from your precious heirlooms to your bulky furniture arrives safely and on time. Also, local movers are familiar with the best routes and moving times to avoid traffic snags, which is especially helpful given Arlington’s proximity to major commuter routes into D.C. Utilizing their services can remove much of the stress associated with moving day and let you focus more on settling into your new community and exploring all it has to offer.

White moving company van
Moving to Arlington is much easier when hiring reliable local movers.

Discovering Local Hidden Gems

Despite its proximity to the capital, Arlington hosts numerous hidden gems that provide tranquility and a break from the urban rush. One such place is Bon Air Park, a lesser-known oasis with expansive rose gardens, walking trails, and picnic areas, ideal for a quiet afternoon. Similarly, through its educational programs, the Long Branch Nature Center offers a chance to engage with local wildlife and learn about the region’s natural history. These spots are perfect for those looking to unwind or spend quality time with family without straying far from home. Exploring these less popular destinations can give you a deeper appreciation for natural beauty and offer peaceful retreats within your busy life.

Cafés and Restaurants

Arlington’s culinary scene is as diverse as its population, featuring an array of hidden culinary gems beyond the usual chain offerings. Northside Social in Clarendon stands out with its homey feel and excellent coffee, making it a local favorite for working and socializing. In Westover, the Italian Store offers authentic Italian sandwiches and specialty groceries that transport taste buds to Italy. Pupatella, a local legend for Neapolitan pizza, draws food enthusiasts from all over with its wood-fired pizzas and vibrant atmosphere. These establishments serve great food and embody the community’s spirit and diversity. Sampling these local flavors helps new residents connect to Arlington’s rich cultural tapestry.

Shopping Locales

Arlington’s shopping scene offers more than just retail chains. It is home to boutique shops and seasonal markets that capture the locality’s unique spirit. The Village at Shirlington is an excellent example. It features quaint boutiques and artisanal shops that offer everything from handmade jewelry to bespoke clothing. Seasonal markets like the Columbia Pike Farmers Market provide residents with fresh produce and the opportunity to interact with growers. These shopping experiences support local businesses and add to the communal feel, making shopping a more personal and enjoyable experience. 

Local Arts and Music

For music lovers, Arlington has a vibrant local music scene that promises great tunes and lively entertainment. The Iota Club and Café is a renowned venue where up-and-coming bands perform live music spanning various genres. This club, known for its intimate setting, offers a perfect night out for residents looking to unwind and enjoy music. Regular concerts and music festivals also occur throughout the year, offering a platform for local musicians to showcase their talents. That is another opportunity for residents to enjoy accessible live performances. This music scene enhances the nightlife here and helps foster a sense of community among residents through shared cultural experiences.

Sport and Recreation

Moving to Arlington offers ample opportunities for sports enthusiasts. The county provides a variety of sports leagues, from soccer to softball, catering to all ages and skill levels. Numerous gyms and fitness centers are also available, including specialized facilities like rock climbing gyms and yoga studios. For outdoor enthusiasts, the extensive network of trails in parks, such as the Custis Trail, offers scenic routes for jogging. Engaging in these activities helps new residents maintain a healthy lifestyle and facilitates meeting people with similar interests. That enhances their social life and integrates them into the community.

Close-up of a man lifting big weights in a gym
There are plenty of gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios here, perfect for fitness enthusiasts.

Meetups and Social Groups

Arlington has a variety of social groups and clubs that cater to diverse interests and hobbies. From tech meetups and photography clubs to book groups and outdoor adventure teams, these communities welcome new members. Joining these groups can be a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals and make lasting friendships. Moreover, regular meetings and events provide something to look forward to and participate in. That eases the transition for new residents and helps them build their social networks.


Exploring your new community after moving to Arlington can be an exhilarating experience. Take your time to discover all that your new home has to offer. Engage with the community, try new things, and, most importantly, enjoy every moment of your adventure in this urban enclave. By embracing Arlington’s well-known and hidden aspects, you’ll find more than just a place to live—you’ll find a community to love.

Images used: