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Civic Center

Urban food and fun

Considered Arlington county’s civic center, Courthouse has the bustling appeal of an urban city but the quiet and charm of a suburb.

It may sound stuffy as the seat of county government with its administrative and judicial offices, but Courthouse is so much more than its name suggests. With its convenient Metro station and livable urban design, this small community blends the liveliness of a small city with the residential quiet of a suburb. The neighborhood hub is Courthouse Plaza, a residential and commercial center where locals gather for a bustling Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. They also frequent the open-air Urban Village Market to browse everything from jewelry and clothing, to furnishings and books, to handicrafts and vintage artwork, and The Brew Shop to stock up on local beers. 

Highly walkable, bikeable and dog-friendly, Courthouse is bliss for outdoor lovers. They head to two-acre Rocky Run Park for the playgrounds, picnic tables and fitness equipment. Most shops and restaurants are accessible by foot and new bike lanes continuously expand the neighborhood’s green transportation options. As a result, Courthouse has earned a walk score of 92, making it Arlington’s second-most walkable neighborhood, and a bike score of 77.

Courthouse also boasts one of the first large-scale rental housing complexes built in the United States. Erected in the 1930s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Colonial Revival-style Colonial Village is a 50-acre sprawl of private condos, co-op housing and rental apartments with garden-style landscaping and winding pathways. In 1948, the Urban Land Institute described it as “one of the outstanding developments of its kind in America.”


Neighborhood hangouts range from informal lunch spots to ethnic eateries. Locals frequent Tupelo Honey for made-from-scratch Southern Sunday brunch. Me Jana is where Arlington meets Lebanon with traditional dishes based on family recipes. Old World Afghani-style kabobs and clay-oven-baked bread draw diners to Courthouse Kabob. A community gathering spot, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery serves New Orleans classic gumbo, beignets and pralines dished up by Food Network star David Guas. Fire Works Pizza is a casual standby for wood-fired pizza and craft beer. Right on Courthouse Plaza, savor authentic Thai specialties based on recipes straight from Thailand at Sawatdee Thai Restaurant.

David Guas, chef at Bayou Bakery, home to New Orleans inspired baked goods
Celebrity Chef David Guas


With live concerts and an energetic vibe, Courthouse Social is a popular beer garden and sports bar, serving American-style cuisine. Go for acoustic music, handcrafted cocktails and local craft brews at Courthouse fave Ragtime, or for karaoke, beer bingo and live music at Ireland’s Four Courts. Join sports fans to watch the game, hoist a draft beer or a signature cocktail, and enjoy special game-day food and drinks at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, where you can search for the stars in good weather. Watch a first-run film from the reclining-seat comfort of the AMC Courthouse Plaza 8 movie theater.