Clarendon, Virginia

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Clarendon hums with activity morning, noon and night. Clarendon is especially known for lively nightlife, a perfect location for a great date night at any age, and a center of activity for the younger crowd. If you’re looking for fun in the evenings, you’ll always find it in Clarendon.

Visit a craft brewery, dine at one of many only-in-Arlington eateries, kick back in a pub or hear live bands. Clarendon is one of two Arlington courses for the annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic each summer, and Clarendon Day is one of Arlington’s favorite fall festivals, featuring multiple music stages, kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors, and more.

Once a settlement for Vietnamese refugees, the neighborhood once was nicknamed “Little Saigon” and still has a few of the Vietnamese restaurants that opened when the area rose to prominence in the 1970s. You will find shoppers browsing at Market Common Clarendon and other local favorites, families enjoying a weekend brunch on the patio, and visitors exploring Clarendon’s dining and entertainment. You can also find restaurants here that serve tapas, Balkan cuisine or classic American, plus rooftop and sidewalk dining in warmer months. It’s easy to be drawn to Clarendon, a neighborhood that defines urban chill.

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Top Photo: Regency Centers

An Original Urban Village

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Clarendon residents represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds: they may be people in their early 20s attracted to the area’s music scene; condo-living young professionals who work on the Hill or in private-sector jobs; families in townhouses; or older couples who’ve lived in the area since long before the real estate boom sent prices climbing. Because of Clarendon’s relatively high housing prices, residents tend to be on the more affluent end of the spectrum.

The neighborhood is home to many young families, most of whom live in Lyon Village and Lyon Park, in part because Arlington public schools are considered some of the best in the D.C. area. Both areas are remarkably safe for kids: though major thoroughfares border both regions, the streets are largely protected from heavy traffic and are dotted by several spacious parks.

A View of Clarendon

Annual Events in Clarendon

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February

The Clarendon Alliance annually hosts a Mardi Gras parade, ball and “jester jaunt” to celebrate the impending start of Lent.

April

The Arlington Festival of the Arts a weekend of true visual inspiration, as over 100 artists will showcase their works including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry, and pottery; providing all sorts of opportunities to appreciate and purchase art.

June

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic refers to a weekend of road bicycle racing events held annually in June in Arlington. The weekend consists of several amateur events, and two professional races in the criterium format, the Clarendon Cup and the Crystal City Cup

The annual Bark in the Park event is held at James Hunter Dog Park, also known as the Clarendon dog park. The event features live music, food, and plenty of activities and goodies for human children and four-legged “kids” alike. Dog exhibitors will also be on hand to answer any pet related questions. And don’t forget to vote in the “Cutest Pooch Contest.”

September

Clarendon Day is one of Arlington’s best loved and most diverse street festival, with several music stages, a large kid’s area, arts and crafts vendors, business and nonprofit exhibitors from Clarendon and the region, plenty of great food from local and regional restaurants, Craft beers and Virginia wines, and more. 20+ years of fun, 8 blocks, 20,000+ people!

October

Paint Clarendon Pink helps raise fund to provide women in need in the Arlington area, prevent, screen, and treat breast cancer. Shop at participating area retailers, order cocktail at participating restaurants, and take donation-based class at participating gyms  and a portion of the sales will benefit the Power of Pink. 100% of the funds from PAINT CLARENDON PINK will benefit Arlington Free Clinic’s Breast Health Program.

December

Experience the festival of lights with the lighting of a giant 6 foot Menorah at the Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration. Enjoy delicious hot potato latkes, chocolate gelt, dreidels, and lively Chanukah music.

Clarendon events

Off the Beaten Path Places to Explore in Arlington

  • DEA Museum is Tucked in the back of the lobby of the Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters in Arlington, Virginia is a public museum detailing the effects of drug addiction and the law enforcement agency’s history in fighting their manufacture and trafficking. On display are hundreds of pieces of paraphernalia, firearms, photographs of celebrities and athletes that died of drug overdoses, disguises that were used by undercover agents, passports belonging to former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the wreckage of a crashed makeshift aircraft that was flown over the USA-Mexico border, and numerous other objects. The collection provides an extensive history of law enforcement’s war on drugs.

  • At 207 feet, the street escalator in the Rosslyn Metro Station is the second longest continuous escalator in North America and one of the longest in the world. Washington’s Metro system is deep: Rosslyn’s bank is the width of four escalators plus a decommissioned elevator shaft.  It is the most vertigo-inducing in the system. Normal travel time from top to bottom is nearly three minutes (159 seconds to be exact).

  • Clarendon Central Park is located in the heart of Clarendon, this one-acre park features a War Memorial dedicated to Arlington citizens who gave their lives in wartime. The site also plays host to a seasonal farmers market, serves as a concert venue and has a bicycle repair station.

  • Fort C.F. Smith is  beautiful 19-acre site includes a lush tree canopy, an open meadow, the lovely Hendry House and preserved earthworks of the Civil War fort built in 1863, and many other outstanding features. The Civil War earthwork ruins at this park are the best preserved ruins of the 22 forts that were located in Arlington during the Civil War. The ruins include the bomb proof, the fort well, the North magazine, and 11 of the 22 gun emplacements.

  • Since 1966, the Gulf Branch Nature Center has instilled the love of nature in thousands of children and adults. The dugout canoe, Mr. Owl, the Robert Walker log cabin and the many other nature exhibits and animals have been as important to the lives of local families as is the tranquil wooded stream valley.

  • The TJ Art Studio at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center provides a creative space for artists to attend classes, workshops, independent studies and artful events. They also have an open studio drop-in for pottery. First-come, first-serve. Previous experience is required. Clay must be purchased at the TJ Art Studio; outside clay is not allowed.

Pola Negri

Fun Fact For Your Next Trivia Night

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Gulf Branch Nature Center is located on Military Road, in a building that dates back to the 1910s and used to be a private home. In fact, its many rooms were once home to famed silent film star (and one-time Rudolph Valentino fiancé) Pola Negri. The center celebrates this fact each year with screenings of her films.

Photo: Andrew L. Stone Productions/United Artists

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