If you’re dating but on a budget, Arlington is a good place to be.
That’s according to a new-for-2021 set of rankings from the website SmartAsset, which examined cities and places from around the U.S., comparing to cost of things like coffee and wine, in addition to access to parks and employment.
“One small upside is that dates during COVID-19 may be cheaper than usual,” SmartAsset wrote about the study. “Many COVID-friendly dates such as picnics and takeout are less expensive than typical activities, so wooers won’t have to dig as deep into their savings accounts to make Cupid strike.”
The couple seen above, Justin and Alexis, proved that thesis on Valentine’s Day this past Sunday. They headed to the View of DC observation deck at the top of 1201 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn — which is free for Arlington residents — and danced to a record player amid the breathtaking vistas.
Arlington ranked No. 2 on SmartAsset’s budget-friendly list, between Madison, Wisconsin (No. 1) and St. Petersburg, Florida (No. 3).
From the website:
Arlington, Virginia ranks at the top of our study for economic favorability, which means that your date in this D.C. a suburb is likely employed and has a decent disposable income. In November 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.8%, the fourth-lowest in our study, and on average, residents pay only 26.14% of their income on housing costs, the second-lowest for this metric. Those looking to share a special meal with a significant other also have a vast variety of options: Arlington ranks 15th for the greatest density of restaurants, with almost 230 for every 100,000 residents in the city.
The rankings compared metrics like “date affordability (cost of two cappuccinos, cost of takeout and a bottle of wine, average monthly internet cost), date access (coffee and snack shop density, restaurant density, percentage of households with internet access, percentage of city made up of parkland) and economic favorability (housing costs and unemployment rate).”
Jay Westcott contributed to this report. Image (bottom) courtesy SmartAsset.
Snow Removal Ordinance in Effect — “A recent weather event has concluded and deposited snow/ice accumulations of less than 6 inches. Arlington’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance requires residents and businesses to clear adjacent public sidewalks of snow and ice by 1:00 PM on Wednesday, February 3.” [Arlington County]
More Back-to-School Dates Expected Soon — “We look forward to welcoming Level 2 Career & Technical Education students to the Arlington Career Center for hybrid/in-person instruction starting [today]. We continue to assess additional student return dates… The next group to return will be Level 2, PreK through second grade and countywide elementary special education students. Return dates for this group will be communicated at the Feb. 18 School Board meeting.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington Rent Declines Slowing — “Arlington’s COVID- and shutdown-caused drop in apartment rents appears to be hitting bottom for now, according to new data from Apartment List, but the county’s rental market is still significantly more affordable than before the pandemic. For the year ending in January, rents in Arlington were down 14 percent from a year before… the drop from December to January was just 0.5 percent, lower than in preceding months.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Ranks No. 14 in ‘Walk-Friendly’ List — “About 30 years ago, Arlington took the lead in suburban redevelopment in Virginia, creating walkable urban areas around the metro system. Now that momentum has pushed Arlington (and its most walkable neighborhoods of Clarendon-Courthouse, Ballston-Virginia Square, and Lyon Village) into the top walkable cities — something we can expect to continue when Amazon moves in.” [MSN]
Hope’s Prison Oversight Bill Dies — From Del. Patrick Hope (D): “This is not the end — only the beginning. Every agency in Va must be transparent and accountable to the public which they serve. We will regroup and come back next session with a bill that prioritizes [Virginia Dept. of Corrections] oversight.” [Twitter]
Case of the Stray Hockey Sticks — A shipment of hockey sticks destined for the Washington Capitals practice facility in Ballston, to be used by new Caps acquisition Zdeno Chara, was apparently mis-delivered to a random New Jersey man’s home. [ESPN, Barstool Sports]
Bezos Relinquishing CEO Role at Amazon — “Jeff Bezos said Tuesday that he will step down as chief executive of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of this year, which starts July 1, the company said. Andy Jassy, the chief executive of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO of Amazon.” The company yesterday revealed designs for the second phase of its Arlington HQ2. [NBC News]
Arlington is one of the top places in the country for having a positive work-life balance, according to a new set of rankings.
The website SmartAsset ranks Arlington No. 6 on its list, which quantifies “the best cities for work-life balance” in 2021. The top 3 were Madison, Wisconsin (1); Virginia Beach (2); and Minneapolis (3).
To compile the list, SmartAsset took into account factors like walkability, concentration of cultural establishments and restaurants, housing costs, hours worked per week, commute length, and unemployment rate.
Arlington scored well in many categories, but not as well in some others.
The county “has the highest labor force participation rate in this study, 78.0%,” SmartAsset noted. “Arlington also ranks second-lowest in the study for housing costs as a percentage of income – housing costs make up just 26.14% of income on average.”
“People do work a lot in the town, though,” the website added. “Arlington ranks dead last in both the metrics measuring how much people work – an average of 41.3 hours per week and 41.80 weeks per year.”
Arlington ranks No. 21 on a new 2021 list of top places for working from home.
The list, compiled by the website SmartAsset, takes into account factors like “estimated percentage of the workforce who can work from home,” “percentage of the workforce who worked from home in 2019,” and “housing costs as a percentage of earnings.”
Arlington was No. 1 on the list in terms of ability to work from home — 40.4% of the workforce — but ranked lower as a result of our high housing costs. Also, only 6.1% of workers worked from home pre-pandemic.
A previous set of rankings explained by Arlington’s work-from-home ability is so high.
“A large percentage of the workforce in Arlington, Virginia is involved in two white-collar occupations: management, business & financial operations and professional & related job,” SmartAsset wrote. “According to [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data, 60% of management, business & financial operations workers and more than 42% of all professional & related workers can work from home, so many Arlington workers have that ability.”
SmartAsset noted that remote work is likely here to stay for many workers.
“In the late spring of 2020, about half of American workers were working from home, according to two surveys conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research,” the company wrote. “Many researchers believe that increased work flexibility and work-from-home opportunities may continue even after the pandemic is over.”
Arlington County is the safest city in the country, according to national data compiled by the website MoneyGeek.
Arlington beat out 303 localities for the distinction by having the lowest societal cost of crime, estimated at $132 per person — or $31.3 million total — in 2019.
That means that the direct and indirect costs to Arlington and its 237,000 residents as a result of violent and property crimes is lower than any other U.S. jurisdiction with more than 100,000 people.
The second safest city in the U.S. is Thousand Oaks, California, with a crime cost per capita of $163, followed by Allen, Texas, at $176.
“Behind all these averages that people like to cite about the crime rates in different communities are individual people and their decisions about how they choose to engage in their community,” Brown University professor Jesse Bruhn told MoneyGeek.
According to the website:
The direct economic costs of crime to individuals and society include medical and mental health care needs of victims, damage to and loss of property and police and corrections costs. Aside from the imminent danger of crime, people living in higher crime areas see depressed home values and pay higher prices for crucial needs, including home, renters and auto insurance.
St Louis, Missouri, was named the most dangerous city, with $9,334 in crime per capita. It was followed by Baltimore, Maryland, at $8,179 and Detroit, Michigan, at $7,080.
If there’s one thing Arlington does particularly well, from a culinary perspective, it’s barbecue.
Four Arlington restaurants have made it on to Washington Post critic Tim Carman’s new top 10 D.C. area barbecue joints list, placing Nos. 3, 4, 8 and 9.
The BBQ joints that made Carman’s 2020 list (below) include two that opened this year: Smokecraft and Ruthie’s.
- Texas Jack’s (2761 Washington Blvd, Lyon Park) — “This Arlington restaurant has topped this list for the past two years, a difficult task given the vagaries of barbecue, and it might have retained the title if not for some tiny slippages.”
- Smokecraft Modern Barbecue (1051 N. Highland Street, Clarendon) — “Darneille buys Duroc pork, Wagyu beef and all-natural chicken and cooks them over six different types of wood, constantly tinkering with techniques to get the best out of his gas-assist smokers. The results are often mouthwatering.”
- Ruthie’s All-Day (3411 5th Street S., Arlington Heights) — “Formerly the culinary director for the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, including its smokehouse in Falls Church, Hill is blessed with an all-wood smoker at Ruthie’s… where he turns out superb specimens of brisket, pulled pork and spare ribs.”
- Sloppy Mama’s (5731 Lee Highway & 4238 Wilson Blvd in Ballston Quarter mall) — “The shop’s chopped pork, rich and smoky, remains the gold standard. The housemade sausage, a pork link emboldened with brisket fat, snaps on first bite, its richness cut ever so gently with pickle brine.”
New Italian Eatery Opening Soon — “Antonio Ferraro, whose Napoli Pasta Bar in Columbia Heights was named a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in 2018, is opening a new market concept in Arlington’s Pentagon Row. Napoli Salumeria is specializing in grab-and-go-style meals, including Neapolitan street food (fried mozzarella and focaccia), homemade pastas, and sauces. Expect classic sandwiches, including cheesesteaks, Italian subs, and sausage and peppers… the hope is to open the market late next week.” [DCist]
Arlington ‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Still On — Jason Foster, a former pro football player who lives in the Courthouse area, remains a contestant on ABC’s ‘Bachelorette,’ though Bachelorette Clare seems focused on another beau: Dale, who the other contestants spent part of Tuesday’s episode roasting. [Washingtonian]
Some Skeptical of County’s Race Conversations — “James Moore is an Arlington community activist and owner of a 60-year-old neighborhood barbershop in the Hall’s Hill neighborhood. ‘Our communities in Arlington will want action more so than just conversation,’ Moore said. Moore said he would like to see the county support Black people living in the community by providing more mental health and housing resources.” [The Wash]
Kid’s Skatepark Petition Gets 600 Signers — “I would like for the Arlington county board to add a new skatepark to our area. As you may have noticed the Powhatan Springs skatepark is starting to get very crowded and is hard to ride around without bumping into other people. This park is actually becoming dangerous with all of the people riding in the bowls at one time.” [Change.org]
Chamber Names ‘Best Business’ Honorees — “Last night, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 34th Annual Arlington Best Business Awards at the Crowne Plaza Crystal City-Washington, D.C., in a hybrid format that allowed attendees to join in person and virtually.” [Press Release]
Arlington Among Top Places for Nature Lovers — A list of the “best places in America for outdoor enthusiasts to live and work” has ranked Arlington No. 21, between Scottsdale, Arizona and Tampa, Florida. Seattle ranked No. 1. [SmartAsset]
Garvey Stands By Streetcar Stance — “It cost her the goodwill of many in the county’s Democratic ranks, and four years ago nearly cost her her job, but Libby Garvey says she has no regrets. Garvey, now seeking a third full term on the Arlington County Board, used the Sept. 8 Arlington County Civic Federation candidate forum to remind voters of her full-throttle opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar system – the biggest political controversy of recent years.” [InsideNova]
Local Man Facing Child Porn Charges — “An Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigation by state and local agencies has resulted in the arrest of an Arlington man. Detectives arrested Luis Hernandez Orozco, 25, and charged him with two counts of Possession of Child Pornography. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Somewhat Affordable for Renters — Arlington has ranked No. 18 on a new list of the “Cities Where Renters Can Afford to Live Alone,” which ranks locales based on average rent for a studio or one-bedroom apartment, relative to the median income in the area. [SmartAsset]
Drive-In Movie on Saturday — “The drive-in is back, and coming to a neighborhood near you. Gather the family and cruise down to Ballston to watch an exclusive screening of Night at the Museum at Ballston’s Drive-In Movie Night. Tickets include free sweet treats, but be sure to bring your own movie snacks.” [Ballston BID]
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) The pandemic has made work more stressful for many.
There are those in jobs that require in-person interaction, presenting a health risk. There are workers staying at home but juggling new-found childcare duties. And there are those who — whether to make ends meet or to keep up with the shifting demands of a COVID-19 world — find themselves working longer hours than ever.
Unfortunately for Arlington residents, the county was already a place where workers were predisposed for burnout, according to a new study.
The website SmartAsset has ranked Arlington No. 7 on its 2020 list of places “where worker burnout is more likely.” While not quite as burnout-prone as San Francisco or D.C., according to the list, Arlington still ranks ahead of Dallas and fellow Amazon office locations Austin and Seattle.
Among the major data points used by SmartAsset to crunch the numbers among 100 of the largest U.S. locales are average hours worked per week, and average weeks worked per year. At 41.7 hours and 41.3 weeks, Arlington was at the top of the list for both. The county ranked lower overall due to lower housing costs as a percent of income, and a lower portion of workers with a “severe commute.”
The trend of working longer goes well beyond Arlington.
“The days of a strict 40-hour workweek, with evenings and weekends spent relaxing, are a distant memory for many people,” SmartAsset said. “More than 10 million Americans work at least 60 hours per week and recent data shows that people are working three hours more per day during coronavirus lockdowns than they were prior to the pandemic.”
Separately, a local consulting firm released the results of a survey about COVID-19 Burnout Survey.
“As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Labor Day, national polling of the U.S. workforce indicates a majority of employees are burnt out (58 percent), up from 45 percent in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Crystal City-based Eagle Hill Consulting. “Among employees who report burnout, 35 percent say it is attributable to COVID-19 circumstances, up from 25 percent in April.”
The surveys were conducted from April 8-10 and August 13-17.
“Labor Day can serve as an inflection point for employers to re-calibrate with their workforce,” said Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting. “This level of burnout is problematic and could increase as millions of employees continue to work from home, and many schools remain unable to fully open. We’re in this pandemic for the long haul, and employers have got to find a way to make workloads sustainable for employees and better equip managers to lead. Otherwise, companies risk harming their bottom line and brand.”
Arlington Again Named Top Digital County — “Arlington today was named the No. 1 Digital County in the U.S. by the Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2020 awards. This marks the fourth time Arlington has received the top spot for its 150,000-249,999 population category.” [Arlington County]
County Swamped With Would-Be Poll Workers — “Earlier this summer, some Washington-area election officials were warning of a possible shortage of volunteers to work the polls come November. But a recent surge in interest has left those same officials with a good problem to have… ‘We have too many right now, to be honest,’ says Eric Olsen, the deputy director of Arlington County’s Board of Elections.” [DCist]
Yard Waste Collection Resumes With Delays — “Due to heavy yard waste volumes associated with the resumption of curbside yard waste collection, some customers may see their yard waste carts delayed until the following day.” [Arlington County]
Turkey Trot 5K Goes Virtual — “Organizers of the annual Arlington Turkey Trot have opted for a ‘virtual’ format for 2020. Instead of running as a group on Thanksgiving morning, the hundreds of Turkey Trot participants are being asked to run on their own the weekend of Thanksgiving.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: D.C. Getting New Area Code — “D.C. has had one single area code — 202 — for more than 70 years. But it will soon be joined by a second area code… The nation’s capital is expected to run out of 202 phone numbers in the third quarter of 2022.” [WTOP]