55°Mostly Cloudy

Arlington Ranks 27th on ‘Best Cities’ List

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2012 at 10:20 am 7,937 97 Comments

Arlington has ranked #27 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s new 2012 list of “American’s 50 Best Cities.”

The county got high marks for having the highest median household income and the lowest rate of unemployment on the list. But while the county’s economy may be strong, Businessweek gave Arlington low marks for its bar scene.

“The city could stand to be a bit more fun — it’s held back by weak nightlife,” the magazine said of Arlington.

At #27, Arlington ranked between Chicago (#28) and Milwaukee (#26). Washington, D.C. ranked third on the list, just below second-place Seattle and first-place San Francisco. Cities were ranked based on “leisure attributes, educational attributes, economic factors, crime, and air quality.”

Hat tip to @wfpman. Photo by Steve Uzzell/Rosslyn BID.

  • Tabs

    Weak nightlife? Maybe if you’re into ‘bottle service’ and velvet ropes.

    Ridiculous article, in any case.

    • Mary-Austin

      Or if you are into a variety of nightlife options.
      Everything in Clarendon/Ballston is pretty much the same.
      It’s people that still want the college bar scene (sloppy drunk bros and desperate gold-diggers).
      Nightlife in DC has a lot more options and I guess why they ranked way higher.

      • drax

        Yes, that’s both a reason Arlington’s isn’t better AND why it doesn’t matter – people can go to DC.

  • PearDPea

    Kind of a weird list. Data indicates 12 bars but VA ABC laws don’t really allow for bars exactly. Also, like that the picture of the “city” is of the cemetery. Really a vibrant scene there

    • CrystalMikey

      Must have been a lazy Google image searcher

  • B22201

    “The city could stand to be a bit more fun — it’s held back by weak nightlife”

    Indeed. . . the nightlife is WEAK.

    But, looking at that list. I’m pretty sure Reno Nevada wouldn’t make any list I’d ever compile. Unless it’s for “Best Cities that have a TV show about cops”

    • Tabs

      whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

      • B22201

        Yeah. . . the Cops show is there a lot. But I was thinking of Reno 911.

        • DrTchock


    • dog

      but they have legal hookers we don’t

      • SomeGuy

        We do too. You just have to call it a “date,” and launder the payments through dinner and drinks.

        • Tabs

          Be honest: that doesn’t work for you ever.

          • SomeGuy

            You’re right. I don’t resort to cheap tactics… or tricks. Are you trying cyber-bully me, Tabs?

          • B22201

            http://library.arlingtonva.us/2012/09/24/picture-books-about-bullying-ys-collection-spotlight/ You can find books about bullying, and other great subjects at the Arlington Country library.

          • Tabs

            Excellent. Chapter 1: Top bullying tactic: accuse those you bully of being a bully.

          • SomeGuy

            Thanks, B22201. Looks like I have some reading to do over the next few days! Good thing too, because according to Tabs, I won’t have much else going on this weekend.

          • Tabs

            I’m sorry for your pain.

          • SomeGuy

            I forgive you for this one instance, Tabs. And I hope you’ll be more considerate in the future before subjecting other victims or me to those kinds of hurtful attacks.

          • Jackson

            Allegedly, SomeGuy, okay? You know better!

          • Clarendon Skank

            SomeGuy showed me a good time.

          • SomeGuy

            You and your girlfriend are welcome for a repeat anytime.

          • Clarendon Skank

            I thought you knew…”she” wasn’t a girl.

          • SomeGuy

            TMI about your choice of designated driver. As long as “she” delivers you to my place and waits patiently in the car like last time, you’re both welcome for a repeat.

        • Clarendon Skank

          It’s totally true. Buy me a drink!

  • HighViewPunk

    So all cities in Virginia automatically have a weak nightlife because their bars go into the restaurant category?

  • Becoming indifferent

    Did Arlington County change something while I was sleeping? City?

    • TCE

      +1 … I always find this anoying when Arlington is on some list for Cities or even towns sometimes.

      • PearDPea

        Arlington would be a city anywhere else. It is the smallest county in the country not considered a city and much smaller than almost all cities. I believe there are some advantages to being considered a county under VA law that would prevent this.

        • Westover

          And yet Virginia has the most independent cities of any state in the union. By a huge margin. Counties are overrated here.

        • TCE

          PearDPea: “Arlington would be a city anywhere else” …

          It’s depends what you’re requirements for a ‘city’ are… size? Population? Wyoming is only 568k people while somewhere like Fairfax is 1mil… so maybe Fairfax should be a state and Wyoming just a county… but by law… Arlington is a County… not a recognized City within the state of Virginia. So if someone is making a list of stats about Cities… Arlington should not be on it.

          There was another recent list of ‘Best Places to Live’ and Arlington was on that… but the difference was that the list did not limit itself to a jurisdiction type (town, city, county)… it just said ‘Place’.

    • YTK

      you are still sleeping– this is definitely a dream.

    • NoVapologist

      Arlington is neither a county nor a city. It is an urban village. And a vibrant one at that.

    • drax

      Oh, come on, people. Arlington is a city. It’s form of government and legal status is a county, but it’s a city. Stop all this hypertechnical nitpicking.

  • Tabs

    #1 San Francisco–yes, it’s near a lot of cool outdoor stuff, it’s stunning, has great dining etc. But as a commenter on the article’s site noted, there are so many homeless people, AND it’s very expensive, AND California is broke.

    • Quoth the Raven

      And the weather is horrible!

      • Tabs

        hm, I disagree. I don’t like extreme temps (and especially bitter cold winds)

    • gmfbcc

      It is full of the weirdest people in the US.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Have you been to Portland?

    • Westover

      I can’t think of a single thing about Arlington that is better than San Francisco.

      • Jane-Dallas

        Maybe that’s why SF ranks #1.

      • Miss Priss

        You can buy a home here for less than a million dollars. That’s a big fat plus!

        You can get a cab here.

        You can watch football on Sundays in the afternoons like God intended, not over breakfast as on the West Coast.

        You can wear shorts in summer instead of freezing to death.

        Arlington is much closer to Europe if you like to travel that way.

        There are not as many earthquakes in Arlington.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      And it’s not built in a swamp

      • Opie

        No, it’s built on barren sand dunes.

  • Arlingtron

    I suppose you would say it’s dead at night in Arlington if you didn’t go any farther than Rosslyn. Looks lively once you get to Courthouse/Clarendon.

  • househoor

    Week nightlife?? I live 2 blocks from Clarendon Metro and there are people partying everyday of the week.

    I went to buy milk at Whole Foods at 8pm on a Thursday and there was a wine event and pub rocking.

    • Tabs

      Lazy reporting. They obviously didn’t ask the residents of the cities covered. They just relied on statistics and stereotypes.

      • Hattie McDaniel

        Lazy is right. The picture they use for Atlanta is actually in Savannah.

        • Clarendon

          Savannah actually is a cool city.

          • Hattie McDaniel

            But not on the list.

      • Observer

        Probably because they wanted it to be an objective ranking and not a popularity contest.

      • drax

        And read the comments on Arlnow.

    • Likely based on categories of businesses also

      As mentioned above with ABC laws (though I agree that I don’t know how 12 categorize themselves as “bars”) we do not have “bars and nightclubs” we have restaurants. All businesses that sell liquor must have a percentage of sales (exact number I can’t remember) be food. SO, if they’re pulling from stats only, it’s likely that we have “weak nightlife” rankings because we don’t have many businesses officially classified as bars and nightclubs. Also, not to be a grammar jerk or anything, but @househoor, “weak” nightlife and “week” nightlife… not the same thing. 🙂 Doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday, Thursday, or Saturday “weak” nightlife applies to all of them. 😉

    • NoVapologist

      There is more to “nightlife” than a bunch of 20-somethings getting wasted.

      • Mary-Austin

        Thank You!

    • Brian

      Compared to Baltimore, where people like to go out to actual BARS, Arlington is pretty weak (not week). There are so few bars where you can really become a regular and get to know your neighbors. It’s the biggest disappointment I have with living here.

  • JMB

    DC #3? Quality of education, corruption of local government and crime rate must not factor into the best cities algorithm.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Not to mention they say Foggy Bottom is a “lively district”. Yeah, right.

      • drax

        It is if you’re a student at GW.

        • Willard Romney

          I don’t think so. Even they go to other ‘hoods to party.

    • Southeast Ben

      Trev cost us 25 spots or else we would be ahead of DC.

  • internet tourettes

    All of these best cities articles are “Link Bait” put together by unpaid college interns.

    As to the night life here, it is “weak” although I think bland and formulaic is more descriptive of the entertainment options.

    • CW

      I agree with this. I wouldn’t call it “weak”. People go pretty hard around here and I doubt the reporter has seen Clarendon Boulevard at 2 AM. But it certainly is boring. Very little in the way of live music, true dance clubs, etc.

      • LastNight

        There was live music at Wilson Tavern and Clarendon Grill last night…

        • V. Putin

          And Iota.

          • Clarendon

            Wish we had more places like IOTA for live music of varied types. Always though the large upstairs over Ethan Allen (extends over the whole building) would be a good place for bands.

          • B22201

            I always thought Clarendon Ballroom would be good for bands. . . unfortunately, they have the same people over and over again. (though, I haven’t been there in a couple of years. . . but from past experience it’s a tour of bands that hop from The Ballroom, Whitlows, and Clarendon Grill and rotate bi-weekly.)

            I do like Iota. . .

          • Mary-Austin

            Clarendon Ballroom/Spider Kelly’s are the very worst of Arlington nightlife.

  • YTK

    “The city could stand to be a bit more fun — it’s held back by weak nightlife,” the magazine said of Arlington. And a County Board that makes people whitewash over CUTE murals.

  • carlynglen

    Ha!!!! Milwaukee beats Arlington 🙂

    • Brewer

      That shows you right there that the list is bogus.

      • CW

        Compare cost of living and then get back to us.

        • Brewer

          I’m back with you and I’ll take Arlington’s wages over Milwaukee’s any day.

          • CW

            Calculate ratio of average wages. Calculate ratio of average housing prices. Elaborate further.

          • Tabs
          • CW

            Ding, ding, ding we have a winner.

          • Brewer

            Well I’m living where I want to be. But if you’d prefer Milwaukee, be my guest.

          • CW

            The grass is always greener…I just want Arlington at Milwaukee prices!! 🙂

    • B22201

      They have Laverne and Shirley. . . Lenny and Squiggy. . . and I’m sure other things going for it.

      • Tabs

        Those would be good kitten or puppy names.

      • Ballston Resident

        We have Shirlington, why not LaVernington?

        • Tabs

          Ha. Sounds like a new Redskin.

          • bum


        • B22201

          There should be. And a Lennytown, and a Squiggsville Towne Center.

  • gmfbcc

    This list is total garbage for all the reasons pointed out above. But, the only thing I need to see to know it’s complete garbage is that CLEVELAND MADE THE LIST.


    • internet tourettes

      Actually the quality of life in Cleveland is pretty good these days. Good Inexpensive housing stock, The lake (which has been cleaned up), some good employers (but not enough though like most of the nation outside the beltway), good night life.

      • SomeGuy

        I’m not sure it was unique to Cleveland, but I saw a woman on Youtube yesterday who was boasting about getting free phone service in Cleveland.

      • gmfbcc

        If Cleveland is so great, how come they can’t convince any good football or basketball or baseball players to sign there? Even the Nats convinced Jayson Werth when they were horrible. Redskins convince guys every year.

        • Willie Horton

          So you’re saying the residence choices of over-paid crybabies are a sure indicator of a city’s desirability?

          • SouthPikeGuy

            If that were true Arlington would have finished much higher.

          • DCBuff

            It’s worked for Boston and NYC for years, so why not?

    • drax

      Cleveland is pretty nice. You should rely on reality instead of vague stereotypes from decades ago about a city you’ve never visited.

  • Mc

    Arlington is weak for nightlife. Too many sports bars with big screen TVs, too few venues for live entertainment.

  • Andrew

    Personally, one of the reasons I chose to live in Arlington 15 years ago was because there was little night life. If I want to go out and have a good time, there’s always DC. Arlington is a nice place to be …quiet. It is a suburb after all.

  • TJLinBallston

    I’ve visited nearly all the cities on the list. Every place has it’s charms and pitfalls. By far, beautiful Arlington ranks far, far higher than #27. I live here by choice and objectively place our County in the Top 5.

  • justin

    arlington has some PR department. they’re on every best city list ever compiled. terrible traffic, no arts/music scene, horrid bro-oriented bar scene, poor restaurants, no sense of community and generally rude, unfriendly people…oh, and the most expensive housing of any city. what a GREAT place to live.

    • drax

      We urge you to leave then. Please.

    • been here a while

      Traffic is better than the rest of the area. Birthplace of the DC punk scene. Only idiots don’t know how to avoid the bros or find the good restaurants. Great sense of community, if you’re actually part of it and aren’t a jerk whining about it on a website.

      Yeah, housing is expensive though.


Subscribe to our mailing list