Arlington offers a lot for millennials: Access to a major city (while still being pretty large itself), huge job opportunities, the ability to walk (safely) to your office, plenty of foodie options, a population that still enjoys a drink out on the town, and famous parks are just a few of the things that make it great.
Containing the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, VA offers a major draw to tourists and government employees alike. In fact, for the top six employers of the region, five are government offices (the other being the major financial advisory firm Deloitte). The Department Of Defense, Homeland Security, the Department Of Justice, the Department of State, the FDIC, the National Science Foundation, the EPA, and others are all squeezed into Arlington’s 26 square miles.
Because of the government emphasis of Arlington, there tends to be a lot of turnover in the population. Often, residents come to work when a new government administration begins and then leave when they do four to eight years later—leading to 40 percent turnover in registered voters every four years. Plus, the residents come from more than 140 different countries—so no matter how new you are or where you are from, it’s not hard to find communities of other people in the same boat.
Further, the diversity of the population leads to a wide variety of cuisines to try across the city, making it a foodie paradise. It’s no wonder, then, that Arlington is rated highest on this list for going out on the town.
Of course, the city rates well in terms of walkability, bikeability, and public transport—it’s serviced by the Washington Metro, so D.C. is only a short trip away. In fact, D.C. is near enough that more than 1,000 people bike into the capital for work every day. And yet it’s far enough away that it’s actually quite a safe area to live in. In terms of violent crimes per 1,000 people, D.C. averages 12.44, while Arlington averages 1.39—which is even well below the national median of 3.8.
In terms of raising a family, not only is Arlington safe, but there is an emphasis on education that can’t be ignored. There are nine libraries with more than 1.1 million kids’ books in circulation, and the local public school districts spend around $18,700 on expenditures per student—significantly more than neighboring counties and the U.S. average of $12,296. There are also a large number of universities within Arlington’s borders, including Marymount University and campuses of George Mason University, Argosy University, Georgetown University, and the University of New Haven (plus more than 10 other campuses and technical schools).
And Arlington is a great place to get or stay healthy: It’s full of parks, athletic fields, and fitness centers; has multiple farmers’ markets for locally grown and organic produce; and has a high ratio of doctors to residents. It’s easy to see why it’s often found on lists of America’s healthiest cities.
If Arlington just doesn’t quite fit your needs, you’ll want to check out #8--especially if you’re more of a West Coast kind of person.