The communities of Shirlington and Fairlington occupy the southern most corner of Arlington County. Shirlington is platted in the Four Mile Run valley, rising toward Fairlington in the south. Both are bound by I-395 to the east except for South Fairlington, which lies to the west. Shirlington takes its name from a combination of Shirley Memorial Highway (now I-395) and Arlington. Fairlington’s was derived by similar means: Fairfax + Arlington = Fairlington.
The history of Shirlington and Fairlington is closely related. Both communities were predominantly rural areas until World War II. Fairlington developed first when, in 1941, the federal government bought most of the land and began constructing houses to meet wartime living demands. The Shirlington Shopping Center was built in 1944 to accommodate the residents of Fairlington and provide services and shopping.
Quality of Life:
Fairlington is calm and inviting; it is a comely, refined community that boasts large shade trees, open green space and a homey ambiance. Architecturally speaking, the community of Fairlington is comprised of townhomes built in the colonial revival style. Fairlington is on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2002, was given a “Test of Time” award by the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. Fairlington’s community center, nestled next to the community’s basketball courts, provides art and fitness programs. There are tennis courts too. Meandering paths are perfect for dog walking or a leisurely stroll.
Getting down to Shirlington is easy and accessible by foot, bike or car. Apartments and condos are the norm. The nearby neighborhood of Nauck offers more in the way of townhomes. In Shirlington, one can find plenty of restaurants with pleasant, outdoor seating (best enjoyed in spring and summer). Boutique shops are also included in the mix. A Harris Teeter and a modern library are conveniently located in the center of the community. The Signature Theater plays home to traveling Broadway and other theatrical acts. There is also a seven-screen movie theater.
Fairlington is bound by Route 7/King Street on the east and Quaker Lane on the west. I-395 is the main commuter thoroughfare. Shirlington has a world-class bus station that can compete with any Metro stop on the WMATA network. And the best part is, you won’t have to deal with any escalators.
Ronald Reagan National Airport: < 5 miles.
Washington Dulles International Airport: < 30 miles.
Baltimore Washington International Airport: < 40 miles.