Orange Line Project: Clarendon

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my Orange Line Project idea, but I found myself in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington yesterday and decided it was as good a time as any to get started on the project. I met a friend at Northside Social for an impromptu happy hour (great place for a laid back happy hour if you like wine) and then walked around Clarendon to take some pictures for this project.

First the hard facts (actually, not so sure how accurate these are, but oh well): According to my Google searches, Clarendon is a small neighborhood in North Arlington best known for its bar and restaurant scene along Clarendon and Wilson Boulevards. It’s technically called an urban village and features mostly mixed-use development, although there are detached single family residential neighborhoods a few blocks from the metro station.  I couldn’t find any clear, recent racial breakup data, but in 2000, Clarendon was 84.2% White, 3.0% Black, 4.5% Asian, 6.7% Hispanic and 1.5% other. After yesterday’s Clarendon exploration, I feel I can safely say there are still lots of white people, though I’m not sure of the exact percentages.  According to City-data.com, 44% of Clarendon residents are between the ages of 25-44 and the average ages is about 30.5 years old. Approximately 55% of residents are single, 32.3% have a B.A and 21.69% have a Master’s degree. was $114, 308 and the average home price was $654, 694, though I’m sure both of these numbers have gone up in the last three years. The average renter can expect to pay $1,807 for a one bedroom apartment. According to City-data.com, 3,044 people live in Clarendon with an average density of 17,465 people per square mile, way above the Arlington average of just over 7,000 per square mile.  

If I had to select the yuppiest of yuppy neighborhoods in the DC Metro Area, Clarendon would be up there. This place is young, professional, educated, attractive, in great physical shape and upwardly mobile. The restaurants and bars that line Wilson and Clarendon Boulevard are full most nights of the week and are frequented by the 22-35 year old crowd. This is the kind of place with a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s within a few blocks of each other, a year-round farmer’s market and plenty of bikers, joggers and walkers. Everything here feels a little too new and shiny for my taste, kind of like a super town center, but there’s no denying that Clarendon is a well-thought out development where residents can walk or bike just about everywhere.

Please note pictures were taken with my iphone under less than ideal lighting conditions, but hopefully these pictures will give you a pretty good feel for Clarendon. Also, I still have 25 metro stops to go, so if anyone is interested in joining me, it’s always much more fun to have company!

Market Common Clarendon, home to Barnes and Noble, Crate and Barrel, Apple, the Container Store and Pottery Barn.

Market Common Clarendon, home to Barnes and Noble, Crate and Barrel, Apple, the Container Store and Pottery Barn.

The Clarendon Metro stop is surrounded by mid-rise apartment complexes and mixed-use development.

The Clarendon Metro stop is surrounded by mid-rise apartment complexes and mixed-use development.

I prefer narrow streets because I feel a city tends to get lost in wide boulevards. Clarendon has mix of narrow streets and wide boulevards.

I prefer narrow streets because I feel a city tends to get lost in wide boulevards. Clarendon has mix of narrow streets and wide boulevards.

The town square look that characterizes the Clarendon neighborhood.

The town square look that characterizes the Clarendon neighborhood.

Mixed-use develoment.

Another example of mixed-use development on Wilson Boulevard.

I have spent many a Friday getting drinks and appetizers at Cava.

I have spent many a Friday getting drinks and appetizers at Cava.

Patio dining. Always popular in warmer weather.

Patio dining. Always popular in warmer weather.

Liberty Tavern, a Clarendon staple.

Liberty Tavern, a Clarendon staple.

The always popular Northside Social. I would describe the crowd here as yipster: Part yuppie, part hipster.

The always popular Northside Social. I would describe the crowd here as yipster: Part yuppie, part hipster.

From the top looking down: Northside Social on a Monday evening.

From the top looking down: Northside Social on a Monday evening.

Patio dining and mixed-used development.

Patio dining and mixed-used development.

And more patio dining.

And more patio dining.

And yet more patio dining.

And yet more patio dining.

Like any upwardly mobile urban area, biking is big in Clarendon.

Like any upwardly mobile urban area, biking is big in Clarendon.

D.C's bike share program extends to Clarendon.

D.C’s bike share program extends to Clarendon.

More bike culture. This is the land of expensive street bikes.

One of the things I like about Clarendon is that it's residential neighborhoods are home to a wide variety of styles of homes.

One of the things I like about Clarendon is that its residential neighborhoods are home to a wide variety of styles of homes.

An example of a detached single family home in residential Clarendon.

An example of a detached single family home in residential Clarendon.

An older Clarendon home. Most Clarendon single family homes have been renovated and remodeled, but you still find a few here and there that look like they belong in small town America.

An older Clarendon home. Most Clarendon single family homes have been renovated and remodeled, but you still find a few here and there that look like they belong in small town America.

A more creative Clarendon house.

A more creative Clarendon house.



Categories: Arlington Nightlife, D.C, D.C Culture, Orange Line Project, The Urban Anthropologist Files, Virginia

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4 replies

  1. I remember thinking Clarendon was a city when I was in highschool and would venture out of Manassas to go dancing at Clarendon Grill or Guarapos. Living close to there after college, and especially after living in New York, changed my perspecitive quite a bit.

    What I miss most now that I´m living in Colombia is the Whole Foods, although my food expenditures are much lower now. Another place I miss is a hidden Clarendon treasure – a Vietnamese restaurant with amazing Pho soup – MINH´s 2500 Wilson Boulevard. Definitely worth trying out.

    • Will have to try it out! You know how I love summer rolls. Clarendon feels a little “fake” to me, kind of like Fairfax Corner or Reston Town Center, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy going out there. It’s easier than driving into D.C (especially for people like me who tend to get lost) and a little closer to home. It’s just so strange to me that it was built up so fast and became this yuppie haven where everyone is young, smart, professional, attractive and relatively wealthy. Not much in the way of character, but I suppose that will form over time.

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