News & Politics

Suburban Wonders: McLean

McLean, boasts top schools and nice homes, is close to good jobs and not surprisingly real estate comands top dollar as a result.

Who lives here: Proximity to the CIA, Pentagon, and Dulles corridor draws lots of well-traveled defense and contractor types. McLean is also popular among power players—Colin Powell, Frank Carlucci, Fred Malek, and Dick Darman, to name a few.

Homefront: “It’s hard to find a single-family home in McLean for less than $1 million,” says Weichert real-estate broker Walter Burns. For newer developments like the Reserve and Woodlea Mill, prices start around $3 million. Older neighborhoods south of Route 123 such as Potomac Hills and Salona Village still have houses in the $800,000 and $900,000 range.

Local favorites: McLean Family Restaurant serves up comfort food to CIA employees and carloads of kids in soccer uniforms. More than 180,000 children, teens, and adults walked through the McLean Community Center’s doors last year for art and cooking classes, kids camps, theater performances, and more.

Biggest draw: It’s a quick drive to downtown DC, Tysons Corner Center and nearby employers, and the Dulles corridor. McLean’s public schools consistently rank among the best in Fairfax County, particularly Langley High. Private schools such as Potomac and Madeira are also draws.

Drawback: McLean’s lack of a Metro stop has slowed commercial development. There are few good restaurants, and nightlife is sparse: “We’re a very quiet community; our sidewalks clear out at 9 pm,” says 30-year resident and McEnearney agent Dee Dirr.

Popular neighborhoods: Evans Farm has cachet and big, new homes; McLean Hamlet offers a neighborhood feel—and good-size lots—in the shadow of Tysons Corner Center; in West Lewinsville Heights, kids walk to the sought-after Kent Gardens Elementary, Longfellow Middle, and McLean High School.

What’s new: In October, Clemyjontri Park opened with a two-acre playground that accommodates disabled kids and adults with an accessible carousel, monkey bars, swings, and mazes. In the first 25 days, more than 12,000 kids rode the carousel.

Why it beats Bethesda: In many parts of McLean, houses are newer and larger and sit on bigger lots.

On the Web: Fairfax County (; McLean Citizens Association (; Times Community Newspapers (; Langley High School (