Shirlington, like the Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and other urban communities in Arlington County, is not an actual city, but defined as an urban village under the county's administration. Unlike most of these other urban villages, Shirlington does not lie on the Metro, but rather on busy I-395, also called the "Shirley Highway," hence the community's name.
Shirlington boasts a population of about 10,000, mostly in the 25 to 35 year old age group. This area is younger with more unmarried people than most of Arlington. While Shirlington is popular and trendy, real estate is a little cheaper here than most of Arlington, probably because of the absence of a convenient Metro stop.
The areas businesses, restaurants, nightlife, and theaters are centered around Shirlington Village, a compact, three street area that is one of the busiest little spots in all of Northern Virginia. Shirlington Village began in the 1940s, and was completely revamped in the 1980s, and expanded in 2005 to its current pedestrian-friendly designed with plenty of free parking in the surrounding garages. Shirlington is serviced by the Shirlington Bus Station, a transport hub in southern Arlington that handles some 2,000 commuters daily. During our visits we have ventured into several of the bars and restaurants including Busboys and Poets, Ping, Guapos, Carlyle, and the Bungalow. My personal favorite place to eat was Ping, theough the food was cheap and good at Busboys and Poets, and the service was better.
Clarendon boasts some 60 restaurants and more than 80 shops. This neighborhood is one of several unincorporated urban centers in Arlington County, and it is located on the Metro's Orange Line. Some of the core businesses are giant chains like Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble, but there are dozens of smaller little places tucked in and around these corporate giants like local chain Hard Times Cafe, King Street Blues, and Kitty O'Shea's Irish Pub. Clarendon also has a weekly Wednesday Farmers Market in the summer months with organic produce, baked goods, plants, and other items.
Clarendon is located between the Rosslyn and Ballston areas, with the majority of businesses on Wilson and Clarendon Blvds.
In normal situations, the skyline of the Rosslyn district wouldn't stand out. However, these gleaming futuristic buildings don't seem congruent with the monuments of Washington, DC. Still, the contrast on taking the snap from the Key Bridge is noteworthy. What sets Rosslyn off from the surrounding neighbourhoods is that its skyline an island of normal America (as we know it at the beginning of the 21st Century) in a relative sea of the preserved past.
VT-room, Nat and beds
Nat was great but, as I already stated, originally unplanned guest of our room 425 in Sheraton National Hotel. Surely we enjoyed a lot his company despite the shortage of place to sleep. There were two very large beds in the room: one Queen size (for VT-Queens) and the second King size (for VT-Kings).
Despite the USA never had queens or kings they had to remember from colonial times how large beds queens and kings used. They larger them at least by a half and now you can easily find them in all U.S. hotels. Believe me, they are almost wider than longer and cover as much area as the whole average sleeping room in an apartment house in Poland. Anyway, they are designed for comfortable sleep of 2. So, poor Nat had to spend a few hours on the floor of 425. Despite his hard southern bones he desperately tried to compensate for it in the morning when we got up and made our beds, as you can see on my picture.
Huge apartment buildings
Such tall (17 stories), huge apartment buildings, as on my picture, are surely not unique to Arlington. But, I saw them for the first time in the USA just there which was a bad surprise.
Keep in mind that this is NOT typical architecture in both Arlington and in any US city, I visited as for now. Most locals live in never-ending residential neighborhoods full of mostly pretty houses with yards.
I don't like such apartment buildings a lot and I wouldn't like to live there even if they are economic (are they?) and offer additional services (parking lot, security guards, swimming pool, tennis courts etc.). They look somewhat unhuman and simply ugly in my opinion. Although those in Arlington are painted in interesting way and, in contrast to numerous appartment buildings in my part of the world (post-communist architecture), their shape, balconies, entrances and other details are more varied and less ugly.