The Air Force Memorial is one of the many historic monuments that Arlington County is known for.

Arlington County may be the smallest self-governing county in the United States, but according to the Niche website, it is also the best county to live in. In its latest ratings refresh, Arlington was given an A+ overall grade for Niche’s best places to live in, with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.

This didn’t come as a shock to a lot of students, one of them being freshman Ian Smith.

“I was not really surprised that Arlington was ranked one of the best cities,” Smith said. “Arlington’s location is convenient, as it is really close to Washington, D.C.”

        Arlington County is only 5 miles away from the district, and because of that, it attracts a lot of people. Despite being the smallest county geographically, it does have the fourth largest population in all of Virginia.

      Most of the people living in Arlington are young professionals. This is due to the county having many bars, restaurants, parks, and recreational facilities. Arlington is one of the few small counties in the country that has multiple gym facilities, fields of all sorts of sports, and multiple parks.

       “There are so many sports programs offered here,” sophomore Thomas Sap said. “I am able to play recreational soccer, basketball and football.”

       Arlington Public Schools (APS)  is another reason for the high quality of life in Arlington. APS was ranked second for top school districts in Virginia, by the Background Checks Organization. APS was a major reason for the A+ grade from Niche.

      “My family moved here three years ago because they wanted me to have better schooling,” Sap said. “I noticed the differences between the teachers, too. Here, they want to help and are willing to stay after school to give that help.”

       The lowest rating Arlington received was for cost of living. It should not come as a surprise that living in Arlington is pretty expensive. Having easy access to the district comes at a high price. Arlington received a C- on this particular rating.

However, Arlington was not always expensive to live in.

          “In just twenty years, it has gone from a large town with a distinct sense of not being too urban, to an ever growing community that is now an unquestionably urban area of it’s own,”  history teacher Mr. Peter Vogel said.

         Mr. Vogel has lived in Arlington for about twenty years, and dislikes how much his neighborhood has changed.

“Although it’s a common economic process, the transformation of my neighborhood from one of what some call human scale houses with nice yards, into which some refer to McMansions with no trees or yard and little to no charm,” Mr. Vogel said.

Senior Roger Stanley has lived in Arlington for about five years. Stanley’s family has moved to various locations across the globe under Department of Defense Schools. He lived in England and South Korea before moving to the United States.

Stanley has lived in Arlington in the years which it became more urban. During these years the renovation of Ballston Mall and the construction of more houses has taken place.

“Arlington has more advantages than other urbanized areas,” Stanley said. “Things like good infrastructure, everything being close together, and plenty of opportunities make living here worthwhile.”

Arlington keeps expanding especially with the huge development at Ballston Mall which offers a lot of entertainment, shopping, and dining.

More and more young families are moving into Arlington and the school systems are doing their best to be prepared for the increased amount of students they will have to accommodate.   

Arlington’s rating will only go up, especially with amazon coming to town.

“I would not be surprised if the population nearly doubles in the coming years,” Smith said.