A Day Without a Plan in Ballston Quarter

Schedule Your Day or Go with the Flow

Article by Alysha Sideman

Photography by Courtesy Ballston Quarter

Originally published in Arlington Lifestyle

Breakfast. A cooking class. A mixed martial arts workout. An art exhibition. Dinner. A nightcap.   

A visitor can get lost in the variety of offerings at Ballston Quarter. 

Whether you have a plan or want to wing it, upon arrival, let your mind wander and allow the energy of the place wash over you.

The indoor-outdoor center, transformed from the former Ballston Commons Mall, has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and gyms, along with music, art and cultural events. But you’ll soon find the real attraction is the energy of the place. The area, at Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard, now has a pulse.

Former "mall rats" can rejoice. Besides the shops and activities, it’s also simply a vibrant gathering place to meet friends or just people-watch. Due in part by the newly infused culture and its main plaza, the real destination here is the entire location.

It is well-documented that today’s shoppers are looking for more than what's available online. They want an experience. Malls are still considered a destination, but it’s because they now offer amenities, experiences and entertainment to enhance the shopping experience. 

An easy Uber ride or car trip from most of Arlington, locals can also hop on public transportation after work. The Ballston-MU Station on Washington Metro's orange and silver lines is just two blocks away.

Make no mistake, though; there’s lots to do. In the Quarter Market, a kind of upscale food court with globally inspired dishes, order the noodle bowl as a starter, followed by an authentic South American taco. For dessert, enjoy gourmet ice cream and a specialty doughnut to-go. Then work off the calories at the MMA boxing facility, called Bash, or the newly renovated One-Life Fitness. Stroll down to the Whino art gallery, which will feature exhibitions from emerging artists around the world.

From singles to first-time daters to families, there are abundant options for dinner, entertainment and drinks. All will find what they need at Punch Bowl Social. You can also plan a shopping outing with the girls or take the family to Sunday brunch. Find a quiet coffee bistro and read, do some work or just marinate in the atmosphere. Teenagers and adults alike can take selfies at Instagram Alley, a pop-up shop that gives away a $25 gift card every month.

Surprisingly, Ballston Quarter remains a secret to many Arlingtonians, even though the $330 million revitalization of the Ballston Common Mall was completed earlier this year. The 530,000-square-foot mall opened in 1951 as Parkinson’s Shopping Center. In 2016, most businesses closed so the complex could be redeveloped into Ballston Quarter.

So get lost in all the nooks and crannies inside one of Arlington’s newest hot spots.

Before Dinner, Try:

Bash Boxing 


5 Wits



Scout & Molly's

Steadfast Supply

Potomac River Running

DC Lash Bar



Date-Night Choices:

Cucina Al Volo

True Food Kitchen

The Local Oyster

Copa Kitchen & Bar

Mi & Yu Noodle Bar

Ted's Bulletin


For Dessert:

District Doughnut

Ice Cream Jubilee

Yummy and Fast:

Quick Bites

Ballston Service Station

French Exit


Rice Crook


Sloppy Mama's BBQ

Hot Lola's

To see a full list of restaurants, visit BallstonQuarter.com.

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