Arlington, Virginia Gay City Guide

Located on the banks of the Potomac River across from Washington DC, Arlington is close enough to enjoy all that Washington has to offer but is also a wonderful place to call home in its own right. It is also a city with a thriving gay community – in fact, it has previously been named by The Advocate as one of the “Gayest Cities in America”. Arlington is suburbia with an urban feel – it has a hip, eclectic vibe, and there’s always plenty to see and do.

A Look at Arlington’s History

Those who settled in Arlington first did so in the late 1700s. Initially, Arlington was considered part of the District of Columbia, but the area that is now Arlington was returned to the state of Virginia in 1846. Arlington has a rich history both due to the proximity to Washington DC and as a place full of rich history itself. It served in important role during the Civil War when Union forces occupied the area and built 20 forts there in the defense of Washington D.C. and later grew to become a railway hub which further encouraged its growth as a residential suburb. Today, Arlington remains home to several important sites, including Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon, as well as the Arlington Historical Museum, among others. In addition to its rich history, Arlington has its own modern-day progressive vibe and unique personality. It would truly be a wonderful place to call home.

A Few Fun Facts About Arlington

  • Arlington was originally named after a house owned by George Washington’s adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis.
  • At just under 26 square miles, Arlington is the smallest self-governing county in the country.
  • The Pentagon is located in Arlington. In addition to being the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, it is also the biggest office building in the world, with about 6.5 million square feet of space.

Read more fun facts about Arlington here.

Arlington’s LGBTQ Community

Arlington has a growing, thriving, and welcoming LGBTQ community that is loved and well-supported by the city, and by community centers, including:


AGLA is a grassroots community-based organization for the LGBTQ community, friends, and allies. AGLA strives to build relationships, promote equality, and respect diversity. It does this by providing social events and activities, fostering civic awareness, and engaging in volunteer community service. It is welcoming and open to everyone and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Arlington’s LGBTQ community.

PFLAG Arlington

PFLAG Arlington/Metro D.C. is Arlington’s chapter of the national PFLAG organization. PFLAG is the most extensive grassroots organization for the LGBTQ community, friends, and allies in the United States, and it plays a vital role in providing support, advocacy, networking opportunities, education, and resources to the LGBTQ community in the greater Arlington and Metro D.C. area, and across the country.

What’s the Weather Like in Arlington?

Those who live in Arlington will experience all four distinct seasons each year. Summers are typically hot and humid with the high in July reaching up to around 88° on average, and winters are cold and often snowy with lows averaging around 27° in January. Arlington usually gets around 43 inches of rain per year, which is slightly more than the United States average of 38 inches per year. Typically, Arlington receives around 15 inches of snow per year. Spring and fall are usually pleasant and beautiful with spring bringing beautiful, vibrant blooming flowers and fall bringing crisp breezes and changing leaves.

Arlington’s Best Events

NOVA Pride

NOVA Pride is Arlington’s annual LGBTQ pride celebration. This is one celebration that truly lives up to its mission – “Educate. Advocate. Celebrate.” NOVA Pride is Northern Virginia’s largest LGBTQ organization and one of the loudest voices in support of the LGBTQ Community. Since its founding in 2011, NOVA Pride has held over 400 LGBTQ events, the most popular of which is the annual Northern Virginia Pride Festival, which is the largest yearly gathering and celebration of Arlington’s LGBTQ community. You won’t want to miss your chance to join in the fun!

Rosslyn Jazz Festival

For 29 years, the annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest has been a highlight of the summer in Arlington. It takes place in the beautiful three-acre Gateway Park, and this free festival full of great music by a wide variety of talented jazz performers is always a very popular summer event.

The Best Neighborhoods in Arlington

At only 26 square miles, Arlington isn’t quite large enough to truly have a “gayborhood” like some larger cities do. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Instead, it simply means that there are many places – in fact almost every place – in Arlington, where LGBTQ individuals and families can feel welcome.

A couple of popular neighborhoods in Arlington include Clarendon, which is one of Arlington’s most beautiful, and also one of its most expensive. For those looking for homes with a higher-end price tag, however, Clarendon offers walkability, history, plenty of shops and restaurants, friendly neighbors, and beautiful homes. The median list price of homes currently for sale in Clarendon is $725,000.

Another popular Arlington neighborhood is Rosslyn, which is known for hosting many fun neighborhood events that are popular with residents and visitors alike, including the Rosslyn Jazz Fest, the Rosslyn Outdoor Movie Fest, the Rosslyn Holiday Market, and more.  It is also a neighborhood that is home to several corporations, including Nestle USA, Politico, and Deloitte Consulting, among others. Many often describe Rosslyn as offering a great work-life balance. The median list price of homes currently for sale in Rosslyn is $528,500.

Arts and Entertainment

Signature Theatre

Founded in 1989, Signature Theatre is a Tony award-winning theatre well-known for expanding and enhancing the cultural landscape of Arlington and the greater D.C. area. Shows are innovative, progressive, entertaining, and inspiring. Since its opening, the Theatre has produced over 56 world-premiere works.

Ballston Quarter

For those who enjoy outdoor shopping and dining, Ballston Quarter is a must-try retail experience. It used to be a shopping mall before developers had the brilliant idea to turn it into an 850,000 square-foot open-air shopping market. Ballston Quarter has many attractions, shops, and fast-casual dining offerings – there’s truly something there for everyone.

Parks and Recreation

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is perhaps what Arlington is best known for, and it is truly a national treasure. Throughout its 624 pristinely manicured acres lie our nation’s military heroes, from the Civil War through the present. Numerous prominent national figures including President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, President Howard Taft, Jacqueline Kennedy O’Nassis, and others are buried here, in addition to The National Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at which the guard is changed hourly in a somber and moving ceremony.

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

Often known as the W&D Park, this beautiful green space is lovely to spend time in, and features the very popular Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail, which is an asphalt-surfaced paved rail-trail that runs through urban, suburban, and rural areas. Whether you enjoy biking, running, walking, or all of the above, it’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

Arlington Nightlife

Galaxy Hut

Galaxy Hut is a very popular LGBTQ dive known for its great beer, live music, karaoke, old-school video games, and great vegetarian food. A stop here is almost guaranteed to ensure a fun evening with friends.

Freddie's Beach Bar and Restaurant

Freddie’s is a popular tiki-style gay bar that offers karaoke, drag shows, beach-inspired cocktails, beer, pub food, and fun. And even better – it’s not limited to nightlife. Freddie’s is also a well-known go-to spot for brunch, too.

Contact an Arlington Realtor Today

If you’re thinking about making a move to Arlington, you won’t be disappointed with all that this vibrant, welcoming city has to offer. You’ll want to find a home you love in a neighborhood that suits your personality and lifestyle needs, and a realtor who knows and loves Arlington can help you do exactly that. If you’re ready to get started, contact an Arlington gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!