Ballston is closer to urban than it is suburban life with its own mini skyline. The real urban village of Arlington. The Ballston community is filled with high-rise office buildings, apartment buildings and condominiums, street-level retail, and small pockets of single-family houses as you move away from the Ballston Metro station. The few notable neighborhood communities include Arlington Forest, Buckingham, Boulevard Manor and Bluemont.
If you’ve lived around here before 2016 you may recall Ballston Common Mall, probably the place of last resort for many local shoppers. The transformation into Ballston Quarter is nearly complete. Residents here are looking forward to this new modern, urban epicenter. The shops and eateries bring the outside in and the new design is a breath of fresh air to an otherwise ignored part of town. There is a mix of regional, homegrown businesses and boutique retailers and chains with an emphasis on fun and activities like PunchBowl Social, DryBar, Scout & Molly’s, Francesca’s, Muse Paintbar, Yogibo, Ted’s Bulletin, South Block and Timber Pizza Co. This thoughtful design and selection of storefronts is exactly what makes the Arlington area unique.
Besides Ballston Quarter, the area has many other notable attractions including Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where the Washington Capitals practice and area residents can skate. Thursdays, May thru October there is FreshFarm market days in Welborne Square. Most weekdays there’s a great selection of food truck eats just outside Ballston Metro Station. Ballston Bid hosts the annual Taste of Arlington, a spring food festival and street fair.
Ballston is a business hub for several United States government agencies and organizations. It also is home to several university facilities, including Marymount University, Virginia Tech research center, George Washington University graduate education center.
Many might say Ballston has no character or charm just beige buildings, but if you look you can find it. One longtime Ballston landmark — the Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership from the 1960s was a classic example of Googie architecture in our area. The dealership sat on the corner of Glebe and Wilson Blvd. It was torn down in 2008, but not without a fight to preserve some of its history. Community historians and activists encouraged the developer and county officials to recognize the historic value of the building. If you pass by today you will see a true replica of the signature blue diamond canopy and windows of the Bob Peck Chevy showroom. It’s just one indication of how Ballston has managed to blend past and present.