Arlington, VA


This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

With their busy schedules of helping buyers and sellers get great prices on homes, our agents need the chance to blow off some steam — so why don’t you join them? They wanted to take some time today to show you two of our favorite places to have fun in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.

Ballston is full of hidden gems and amazing spots for revelers of all ages, and we wanted to take the chance to talk about a couple of them today!

What’s your favorite place to go for fun in Ballston? Let us know in the comments below — we’d love to check it out!!

Are you interested in moving to Ballston, another neighborhood in Arlington, or anywhere else in D.C., Maryland, or Virginia? The Keri Shull Team can help make sure you get a great price for the perfect home!

If you want to learn more about how we can help you find AND WIN your dream home, contact The Keri Shull Team today!

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With snowflakes almost starting to fly, now might be a good time to provide a helpful tip for one way to avoid walking in the elements.

After much anticipation, the new Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge opened in November. The snazzy, lighted bridge over Wilson Blvd links the second floor of the Ballston Quarter mall with the office complex and Metro station across the street, allowing people to get from one place to the other in climate-controlled comfort.

There’s no direct access from the Metro station to the office building, which means a brief walk outdoors. Also, it can be a little tricky to find on the first try. But don’t worry — we have a quick video guide on how to use the pedestrian bridge to get from the station to the mall.

Video by Jay Westcott 

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A D.C. man has been arrested after police say he pepper sprayed an employee while trying to steal from a store in Ballston on Christmas Day.

The alleged crime happened on the 4200 block of Wilson Blvd — Ballston Quarter mall — around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Arlington County Police say a man who was trying to conceal merchandise was confronted by an employee, who he subsequently sprayed with a caustic substance. Undeterred, the employee “tackled the suspect and detained him until police arrived on scene.”

More from an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2019-12250074, 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on December 25, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect was observed allegedly concealing merchandise from a business. When approached by an employee of the business, the suspect produced a bottle of pepper spray and sprayed the employee. The employee tackled the suspect and detained him until police arrived on scene. Patrick Riley, 54, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Robbery and Malicious Wounding by Caustic Agent. He is being held without bond.

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Arlington County’s 2019 DESIGNArlington award winners were announced earlier this week.

The big winners receiving the Award of Excellence include a cemetery, a mall, a school and two houses. Others were recognized with Merit Awards.

“DESIGNArlington 2019 award recipients were recognized for projects including public art, private home renovations, new construction, open space, sustainable design and historic preservation,” says the awards’ website. The winners were selected by a panel of local judges with architectural, planning and design backgrounds.

The Award of Excellence winners are:

  • Arlington National Cemetery’s Millennium Project — “The design accommodates an additional 56,000 interments through a combination of in-ground casket burials, cremation burials, and cremation interments in multiple courtyards across the site.”
  • Ballston Quarter mall (Ballston) — “The mall’s reconfiguration creates a shopping loop along Wilson Boulevard and through the newly converted ‘street.'”
  • The Heights Building (Rosslyn) — “[The school’s] vertical design creatively responds to site constraints and meets the main goals of providing a central space that connects the building levels with access to outdoor space at all levels.”
  • Manifold House (Lyon Village) — “Inspired by the owner’s passion for repairing small-scale engine parts, Manifold House is an ode to the precision of manufactured assemblages.”
  • Rubio Residence (Donaldson Run) — “This addition enhances a classic, early 1940’s Art Moderne house with both complimentary massing and similar architectural vocabulary.”
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Ballston Quarter will be hosting a festive, day-long “Holiday Kick Off” event this Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m..

Across all four levels of the mall, there will be family-friendly holiday activities — “from holiday movies, to crafts (for all ages), to photo ops, and of course a special appearance from Santa.”

Beginning on the lower level in Quarter Market and outside plaza, there will be a snowman ice sculpture and photo booth, along with face painting, glitter tattoos, and a hot chocolate bar from District Doughnut.

On level M1, there will be a “Ballston Quarter Gingerbread House” for take-home photo ops. In addition, children can write letters to Santa and leave it in the “Ballston Quarter mailbox for special delivery,” per the event website.

On M2, crafting opportunities include making holiday ornaments with local art studio Art House 7 along with special Ballston greeting cards.

Starting a 11 a.m., there will be a pajama party at the Regal Cinemas with a free movie screening of the animated Disney movie, The Polar Express, as well as train rides around the M3 level of the mall until 5 p.m. (Seats for the movie are reserved, so advanced tickets are required).

Continue Saturday’s festivities into the evening at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd), where the Ballston Business Improvement District has begun pop-up weekly holiday movie nights.

“Each movie will be held in our pop-up theater in Ballston Exchange, so bring your own chair, and blanket to complete your experience,” the BID said. “DIRT, Shake Shack, CAVA, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee will have food and drink specials prior to showtime for moviegoers. Guests will also enjoy free popcorn, candy, and drinks in the theater. For the adults in the family, Movie Night is BYOB!”

The movie schedule is:

  • December 7: A Christmas Story (PG)
  • December 14: The Polar Express (G)
  • December 21: Elf (PG)
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A new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant is opening soon in Ballston Quarter.

Mezeh Mediterranean Grill is expected to open before the new year, according to Director of Marketing Patrick Mika.

“You could say we’ll be a good spot to hit up for those New Years resolutions,” Mika said. The assembly-line style restaurant specializes in bowls featuring fresh ingredients and local produce, such as hummus, caramelized eggplant, and tabbouleh.

The regional chain first announced its Ballston location last year during the initial rollout of new restaurants in Ballston Quarter mall. Once open, it’ll be its eighteenth location — Mezeh currently operates across Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Inspiration for the Ballston location came after finding success at its first Arlington location in Crystal City, said Mika.

“Ever since we opened in 2015, we’ve had great success,” Mika said. “We’re very excited about our new location.”

Mezeh will have some familiar competition in Ballston. Just across Wilson Blvd there is a very similar fast-casual restaurant — Cava.

In 2017, Cava Group Inc. sued Mezeh, claiming its logo and stores unfairly copied one Cava’s intellectual property. Per a press release from Mezeh, one of the accusations was thrown out by a judge and the rest later rejected by a federal jury.

“Mezeh is unique because of our bold flavors, our variety of toppings, and the warm feel in our dining experience,” co-founder Steve Walker said in the release.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Ballston Quarter and Pentagon City malls are shifting their hours and offering special activities.

At the Fashion Center at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street), the hours will vary by day, with the full holiday weekend schedule as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 28: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 29: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 30: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 1: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

On Black Friday (Nov. 29), shoppers can present their receipts at “Santa’s Grab Bag” for a chance to win prizes like retailer gift cards, American Express gift cards and more. In addition, there will be hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies.

In the meantime, Santa arrived earlier this month and is available for photos with children on the first level of the mall, near Nordstrom. And this weekend, the “Snow Sisters” will be joining Santa, according to the mall’s social media account.

At Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd), the mall will be closed all day on Thursday (Thanksgiving), except for Onelife Fitness, Regal Cinema, and Macy’s.

On Black Friday, the entire mall is expected to be open by 10 a.m., with the exception of Macy’s at 6 a.m. and Scout & Molly’s at 7 a.m. Stores, restaurants, and more across the mall will be offering exclusive specials:

  • True Food Kitchen, buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $40 bonus card
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ is offering a $20 gift card with the purchase of a $100 certificate.
  • Scout & Molly’s will have staggered discounts throughout the day — from 7-9 a.m., 40% off an entire purchase, then 30% off from 9-1 p.m., and from 1-9 p.m., 25% off.
  • Steadfast Supply will have 15% off the entire shop, with special gifts offered at tier purchases.
  • Gossip will have 40% the entire store all day
  • Special Cookology classes, with a $10 voucher towards a bottle of wine.
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Delayed by about a year, the opening of the new Ballston pedestrian bridge finally happened this week.

The snazzy, lighted bridge over Wilson Blvd, connecting the second floor of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall with the office complex and Metro station across the street, officially opened on Monday, a mall spokesperson said.

In addition to providing a refuge from the weather, the bridge also affords a view of traffic below on Wilson Blvd — with benches in the middle for that very purpose.

“We are excited that the Ballston pedestrian bridge opened this week and the community is making great use of it as a connector between Ballston Quarter and our neighbor, Ballston Exchange,” the mall spokesperson said. “The bridge has already made Metro and retail access more convenient for our guests and is a beautiful symbol of community connection.”

(The new bridge connects the mall to the Metro station via another, older pedestrian bridge from Ballston Exchange.)

Tina Leone, the CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, said the bridge enhances the pedestrian experience in the neighborhood.

“To say we are thrilled with the reopening of the newly redesigned Ballston Pedestrian Bridge would be an understatement,” said Leone. “It makes navigating around the heart of our vibrant neighborhood so much more seamless. It truly bridges together our community, making us more connected and we’re already enjoying the enhanced walkability experience the bridge provides.”

Besides offering bird’s-eye views and a warm, dry walk to and from the mall, the bridge also figures prominently into the overall streetscape of Ballston, providing a decided visual upgrade from the dated, previous bridge, which was torn down in 2017.

“The new design is extraordinary and it serves as another proof point in solidifying Ballston as a best-in-class destination for locals and visitors alike,” Leone said.

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After over a year in development, the Compass Coffee and Union Kitchen locations in Ballston Quarter look to be opening soon.

Representatives from Compass Coffee declined to comment on when the store would be open but said the delay in opening was “due to the unpredictable nature of construction.” Most of the interior of the cafe looks to be near completion, with lights installed and the counter set up.

Compass Coffee specializes in craft coffee, offering drip coffee, cold brew, classic espresso drinks, tea, and other food and drink options. The beans are imported seasonally and roasted locally in D.C.

Ballston will be the Compass Coffee’s twelfth location, ten of which are currently in D.C. Its only other Virginia location is in Rosslyn at 1201 Wilson Blvd.

Union Kitchen did not respond to several requests for comment, however, the location is now hiring, with several job listings posted online.

The retail food outlet will be the first Virginia location for the D.C.-area food business incubator. Union Kitchen features locally-sourced produce, meats, and to-go options such as sandwiches and a salad bar.

Both stores will be located at the corner of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Blvd.

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The Arlington County Police Department is kicking off its annual Fill the Cruiser holiday toy drive tonight.

ACPD is “asking community members to donate new, unwrapped toys to bring holiday cheer to children ages newborn-17,” the department said in a press release. “Donations will be distributed by the Police Department throughout the month of December.”

Three events are being held this week, starting tonight at Ballston Quarter mall. A fourth is planned on Black Friday — Nov. 29 — at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

More from ACPD (emphasis added):

Officers will collect toys at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. — Ballston Quarter — 4238 Wilson Boulevard — A cruiser will be located on the sidewalk between Ted’s Bulletin and True Food Kitchen
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church — 830 23rd Street S.
  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Lee Harrison Shopping Center — 2425 N. Harrison Street
  • Friday, November 29, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — 1100 S. Hayes Street — A cruiser will be located in the food court next to the Christmas tree

Those wishing to donate toys, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events can drop off donations at Police Headquarters, located at 1425 N. Courthouse Road, until Friday, December 13, 2019 at the 2nd Floor Administrative Support Unit Front Counter.

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Despite a Tornado Watch and a forecast calling for severe weather, dozens of Arlingtonians descended on Ballston Quarter to trick-or-treat in the shopping center on Halloween.

ARLnow was there and some costumed characters posed for our cameras.

Popular costumes included classics such as superhero characters, Disney princesses, and animals. Many paid homage to our recent World Series champions and several families, impressively, came in fully coordinated costumes.

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