Located a convenient 10 miles west of Washington D.C. and 5 miles southwest of Bethesda, MD, McLean is one of Fairfax County’s premier suburbs. Many affluent professionals live here with their families and the quality of life is considered unparalleled within Virginia and the country. Suburban amenities coupled with easy access to downtown D.C. make it a popular choice for commuters. And though peak traffic time can be a challenge, most resident quickly learn how to navigate the best routes to their jobs.
A Closer Look at McLean, VA
Home to just under 50,000 residents, McLean has a diverse population, with nearly 25% of its resident born outside the U.S. Asians make up about 22% and Blacks, Hispanics, and Latinos make up about seven percent. Well-known for its affluence and the upper-class lifestyle that comes with it, the median household income at $180,000 is almost three times the state average. A low unemployment rate of 2.6% is less than half of the national rate, and only slightly over two percent of McLean’s residents live at or below the poverty level. Virtually all of the residents here graduate high school, 80% have a bachelor’s degree, and nearly 50% have a master’s degree.
While many surrounding communities are known for their growing millennial populations, McLean is home to a higher percentage of families with older children. A third of the residents are in the 45-64 age bracket, while 40% of the town is made up of families with children under the age of 18. Approximately 70% of the residents are married, making it easy to see why many of McLean’s amenities are geared towards a family lifestyle.
History of McLean, VA
In 1910, McLean was a sparsely populated farming community. Then Henry Alonzo Storm established a general store which included the area’s post office, an event that is now considered McLean’s unofficial beginning. Located by a stop on the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad named after the Washington Post publisher and owner, John R. McLean, the area was soon home to a village and vibrant community. Area farmers used the electric rail line adjacent to Storm’s store to ship produce, milk, and other dairy products.
In 1914 the first consolidated public school in Fairfax County, The Franklin Sherman School, opened here, and in 1915 the first McLean Day was held to raise money for it. Though McLean doesn’t get the same amount of historical attention as the surrounding area, it is rich in Civil War history, with Camp Griffin, Chain Bridge, and Ft. Marcy all playing important roles. Today the town is home to the CIA’s headquarters, which were established here in 1961.
One of McLean’s notable landmarks is a log structure that dates to the 1700s. Located at the corner of Virginia Avenue and North Nottingham Street, it has been modified over the centuries, but still offers a glimpse into the time period.
A Family-Focused Community
Despite the ritzy homes and nearby CIA HQ, residents see McLean as a laid-back, lovely place to call home. It is a safe community filled with older trees and offers easy access to the Potomac River and its recreational opportunities, making it a popular choice for families with children. The schools are highly ranked nationally, with Langley High School recognized as one of the top in Virginia. Most of the neighborhoods here predate the gated communities boom.
Franklin Park is one of McLean’s oldest neighborhoods and a highly-coveted area for homebuyers. It may be located right next door to Arlington and the D.C. Metro area, but this picturesque neighborhood feels a world apart. Together with Langley Forest, it is one of the two hottest neighborhoods in McLean. But don’t call it snooty. The “Franklin Frolickers” group has for decades been coming together to plan and host such social activities as a Halloween parade and neighborhood potluck.
There’s a big emphasis on arts and education in McLean and weekend festivals and concerts can be found throughout the area just about every weekend. There are regular performances at the Alden Theatre, and the galleries at the McLean Project for the Arts highlight contemporary art. The popular Clemyjontri Park and Playground offers recreational activities for children of all ability levels, including wheelchair accessible swings.
Everyone who lives here would agree that shopping in McLean has been elevated to an art form. Tysons Corner Center is still the largest mall in Virginia, boasting more than 300 stores and a whopping 2.4 million square feet of retail space.
Remodeling Your McLean, VA Home
McLean is a family-focused town with excellent schools which despite its proximity to downtown D.C., offers a peaceful retreat from city life. If you’re ready to build or remodel your McLean, VA home, why not schedule an in-home consultation with us today? We’d love to help you bring to life the home you’ve always dreamed of.