McLean, Virginia

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McLean, Virginia got its name from John Roll McLean, the former publisher and owner of The Washington Post. Along with Stephen Benton Elkins, in 1902 he bought the charter for the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad. The community was founded in 1910, when the communities of Lewinsville and Langley merged. McLean is a suburb of Washington, D.C. with a population of 47,075. McLean is in Fairfax County and is one of the best places to live in Virginia. Living in McLean offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In McLean there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The public schools in McLean are highly rated and the crime rate is very low.

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Top Photo: Tysons Corner Center

The Center of it All

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McLean is home to many diplomats, businesspeople, members of Congress, and high-ranking government officials partially due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is also the location of Hickory Hill, the former home of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. It is also the location of Salona, the former home of Light-Horse Harry Lee, the Revolutionary War hero. McLean is often distinguished by its luxury homes and its nearby high-profit shopping destinations: Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria.

The two McLean zip codes – 22101 and 22102 – are among the most expensive ZIP Codes in Virginia and the United States.

This Fairfax County suburb 10 miles west of Washington, D.C. with a moderately sized population of close to 50,000, is considered one of the best places to live in Virginia. If finding a family-friendly city is important to you, look no further. With more than 89% of the population considered married and 50% with kids under the age of 18, McLean could be considered a very suitable city for families.

With low crime rates, an abundance of employment opportunities, stellar schools, and an easy commute into DC, it’s easy to understand why McLean’s real estate is some of the most expensive in the area.

A View of McLean

Tysons: The Next Great American City

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It’s been nearly a decade since the audacious vision for the future of Tysons was unveiled: Planners want to turn the 4.3-square-mile swath of Fairfax County known for shopping malls, office parks, and snarled eight-lane highways into a beacon of 21st-century living. By 2050, the goal is for Tysons to be a genuine 24-7 city where people live and play outside of office hours. Companies are growing increasingly bullish and want to get in on the action of region’s greatest development hotbeds.

The Tysons Partnership, a public/private alliance, is the umbrella organization leading the charge. It collaborates with dozens of developers involved in the multibillion-dollar transformation—the largest re-urbanization effort by square-footage in the entire country. Since the overhaul broke ground in 2010, Tysons has indeed changed considerably. New construction has brought four Silver Line Metro stops, Capital One’s towering headquarters, and a smattering of modern apartment and office buildings.

The Boro, a 15-acre mixed-use development near the Greensboro stop on the Silver Line, just opened with 677 apartments and condos plus a Whole Foods with a food hall, a 14-screen movie theater, and 250,000 square feet of additional retail space.

Just when you think Tysons couldn’t get hotter — things are about to really heat up.

The Boro

Rendering Courtesy of Meridian Group

Places to Explore in McLean

  • Clemyjontri Park is a 2 acre park in McLean, Virginia, featuring a unique playground where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. It is a playground where every child is welcome;  it’s a place where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration. It also includes a carousel and walking trails.

  • Turkey Run Park, a 700-acre habitat preserving an ecosystem filled with a unique combination of flora and fauna, riverbanks, flood terraces, upland forest, and streams. Over 140 species of breeding and migratory birds, as well as a large diversity of reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals live here. The site includes a walking trails and access to the 10-mile Potomac Heritage Trail.

  • Potomac Heritage Trail hikes in Northern Virginia offer shady trails with varied terrain, frequently following the banks of the Potomac River through land explored by George Washington. There are even sections of stone wall from Washington’s days, and a portion of the Patowmack Canal that he spearheaded, along the trail. The Scotts Run loop hike includes a cliffside view, a scenic waterfall, and a nice, moderately challenging stretch of the PHT.

  • Combining high-end suburban amenities with easy access to D.C., McLean offers residents a luxurious suburban feel with abundant upscale shopping and restaurant options. Hundreds of stores and eateries, a cinema and an elevated outdoor plaza (which is turned into an ice skating rink in winter months) are at Tysons Corner Center. Across the street you’ll find luxury designer shops, more restaurants and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Tysons Galleria.

  • The Robert Ames Alden Theatre is a beautiful, 383-seat performing arts venue presenting nationally and internationally touring acts in music, comedy, dance, film, children’s programming and much more. The citizens of McLean find it to be a cultural resource that presents high-quality performances, lectures and educational programs for audiences of all ages.

  • Fort Marcy Park is one of several remaining Civil War forts originally erected to protect our Capitol. Fort Marcy is a relatively undisturbed fort and was named in honor of a native of MassachusettsRandolph B. Marcy, a distinguished soldier, father-in-law, and chief of staff to General George B. McClellan.  The fort was connected by a long series of trenches and roads, which were used to transport troops and supplies to the nearby Fort Ethan Allen. A side note: This park experienced bloodshed long after the war ended. In 1993, former White House Council Vince Foster committed suicide here.

President George W. Bush stands with the 2005 Little League Softball World Series Champions Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006, in the Oval Office. The McLean, Va., All-Star team represented the South Region and bested six regional championship teams during a week-long tournament in Portland, Ore. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Fun Fact For Your Next Trivia Night

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In 2005, the girls’ All-Star softball team from McLean Little League won the Little League Softball World Series Championship in Portland, Oregon. MLL’s girls’ All-Star softball team has been the Little League Softball World Series runner-up twice, in 2004 and in 2013.

Photo: The U.S. National Archives

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