Long known primarily for its shopping malls and office towers, Tysons has undergone big changes in recent years, spurred by the opening of new Silver Line Metro stations. A number of mixed-use developments have opened or are under construction, bringing a slew of new residences along with more restaurants and retail. (Some businesses in Tysons—technically a “census-designated place”—use McLean or Vienna as their address.) Meanwhile, the nearby incorporated Town of Vienna has its own new reasons to visit.
What’s New in Tysons
Fairfax County kicked off the Tysons Comprehensive Plan more than a decade ago. The goal: to turn the area into a walkable, urban downtown with 100,000 residents and 200,000 jobs by 2050. (Currently, the population is about 32,000.) Much of the development has been centered around the four nearby Silver Line stations. As Tysons evolves into a “live/work” destination, 1,200 multifamily housing units have been added since 2020, with total inventory up by 16 percent. Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service has expanded, nudging the area’s Walk Score from 54 in 2020 to 57 today. New bike lanes and trails have been created, and more than 15 Capital Bikeshare stations are operating. Three new athletic fields also have been built.
Live, Work, Play
Several big developments in Tysons are getting bigger: Scotts Run, a walkable mixed-use project, welcomed the Heming (1800 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean) in September. The building, near the McLean Metro, has 410 apartments and 38,000 square feet of retail—future tenants include the Japanese restaurant Modan and the fitness studio Body Fit Training—plus a tiered outdoor plaza called the Levels. Scotts Run also has several other residential towers as well as the 178-room-and-suite Archer Hotel, which opened in 2021.
Meanwhile, Arbor Row, a live/work/play development with 2.6 million square feet, boasts new names: The 94-unit condo building Monarch (7887 Jones Branch Dr., McLean)—with some units going for more than $4 million—opened earlier this year. And the Mather (7929 West Park Dr., Tysons), a senior-living community, is slated to open in 2024. Meanwhile, the Boro community, near the Greensboro Metro, is kicking off an expansion, too, with the Trillium (8400 Westpark Dr., McLean) expected next year. The complex will offer independent living, assisted living, and a memory-care program. One-bedroom rentals will start at $7,500 a month, two-bedrooms at $8,500.
Housing for All
Dominion Square (1592 Spring Hill Rd., Vienna), a more-than-500-unit affordable-housing development near the Spring Hill Metro station, is expected to break ground by year’s end. The regional nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing will develop the two-acre site into two 20-story residential towers and a two-story Tysons Community Center, with a gym, fitness rooms, and outdoor areas. The group received $55 million from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund.
What’s in Your Wallet?
The mixed-use development Capital One Center (1803 Capital One Dr. S., Tysons) launched in 2021, and there’s plenty to do around its 26 acres: see a concert or show at Capital One Hall, which has a 1,600-seat auditorium and a 225-seat black-box theater, check into the 300-room Watermark Hotel, catch a baseball game at Capital One Park, or head to the Perch, a 2.5-acre rooftop park 11 stories in the air, where you’ll find Perch Putt, an 18-hole mini-golf course with street food and frozen cocktails, plus the Starr Hill Biergarten. Forthcoming restaurants include Ometeo, a Tex-Mex spot with an alfresco bar, and an outpost of the “neo-Neapolitan” pizza joint Stellina Pizzeria. Also crucial: There’s a Wegmans.
EAT AND DRINK
location_on 8354 Broad St., McLean
A second location of Él Bebe, the Navy Yard Mexican restaurant and bar, serves the requisite chips and dips, plus entrées like mushroom fajitas, taco platters, and chicken-tinga enchiladas. Sip handcrafted cocktails such as My Paloma Is Smoking, made with mezcal, Aperol, and fresh grapefruit and lime, as well as frozen margaritas, including mango, passionfruit, and blackberry. And, yes, it does happy hour—Monday through Friday from 4 to 7.
location_on 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna
Joon gets high marks as a fine-dining destination for Persian cuisine. The forces behind it are Tehran-born cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij and chef Chris Morgan, who previously worked at the 14th Street restaurant Maydan. Raved-about dishes include its kashk-e bademjan (an eggplant spread), cucumber salad, Cornish-hen kebabs, duck fesenjoon (a sweet stew), whole roast chicken, and baklava.
location_on 7581 Colshire Dr., McLean
Dubbed a “roaming outdoor lifestyle experience,” Shipgarten at Scott’s Run features four separate food and drink spots, each built in its own 40-foot shipping container. A biergarten area, lawn games, live music, a family-friendly kids’ corner, a fenced dog park, and an entertainment area encircle the containers. Lawn games include water pong, darts, and dice. A quick walk from the McLean Metro, it’s open Sunday through Tuesday 11 AM to 10 PM, Wednesday 11 AM to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday 11 AM to 2 AM.
DO AND SHOP
Tysons Corner Center
location_on 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., Tysons
Tysons Corner Center has a bunch of new shops to check out (and now, thanks to its “sip and stroll” program, shoppers can browse with an alcoholic beverage in hand): A Christmas to Remember sells faux wreaths and garlands, tree-toppers, and ornaments, which it will personalize. Egg-Cellent is the new toy spot for Squishmallow stuffed animals, Japanese anime figurines, and Pokémon memorabilia. Head to Dr. Martens for a pair of the iconic British boots adopted by the counterculture rock and punk movements of the ’70s and ’80s. Stay cozy with Sheepskin Gifts and Alpaca Too’s line of alpaca sweaters, plus sheepskin clothes, boots, and moccasins for men and women. And take the kids to Camp, a children’s-store-meets-immersive-experience opening in early December. Half the space will sell toys, clothes, and books, as well as have an area where kids can make their own slime, but behind a “magic door,” visitors will find rotating interactive experiences—the first will be a recreation of scenery and characters from the Disney movie Encanto.
location_on 2001 International Dr., McLean
Can’t get enough shopping? There are new places to do some damage at Tysons Galleria, too: Go to St. John for sophisticated women’s clothes such as knitwear, jackets, and evening gowns; get made-to-measure suiting at Indochino; hop on the athleisure bandwagon with the Gen-Z– and Gen-Alpha–favored Alo Yoga for leggings, jackets, and hoodies; or splurge on Italian-made clothing, shoes, and handbags at Dolce & Gabbana.
location_on 1656 Silver Hill Dr., Tysons
The virtual-reality experience Sandbox VR, opening this month in the Boro, is the San Francisco company’s first outpost in the DC area. Players will head to four game rooms in 7,500 square feet of space to don VR headsets, haptic vests, and motion sensors and be submerged into virtual worlds. The game “Seekers of the Shard: Dragonfire,” for example, explores a fantasy world with a ruined fortress, an underground river, a haunted tomb, and a dragon’s tower. Each room accommodates up to six players. When booking a visit, guests can also order a snack box, though no beverages will be sold.
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What’s New in Vienna
In the Zone
In October, the Vienna Town Council voted to instate Code Create Vienna, a series of amendments that update the town’s zoning regulations for the first time in more than 50 years, making them easier for citizens, regulators, developers, and the town council to read and understand, says David Levy, Vienna’s director of planning and zoning. The amendments tackle things like open-space requirements for multifamily housing, lighting, signage, landscaping, and parking. For example, in the center of town on Maple Avenue, businesses will be able to build a little higher on three-story buildings. Code Create Vienna goes into effect January 1. “This is a zoning-code update, not a plan, not a vision document,” Levy says. In the next year, he says, the town will be revisiting its vision.
Patrick Henry Library
location_on 101 Maple Ave. E.
Patrick Henry Library is getting a $23.6-million-plus facelift: The 13,000-square-foot library, which dates to 1971 and was renovated in the ’90s, will expand to almost 20,000 square feet, with a new community space, study areas, and children’s and teens’ rooms. There will also be a courtyard for outdoor reading and gathering, plus an added 209-space, four-level parking structure. Construction is set to begin next fall, with an anticipated completion in 2026.
EAT AND DRINK
The Pagonis family—behind the Greek restaurant Nostos, a Vienna classic for 35 years—will open the Yellow Diner (501 Maple Ave. W.) by spring. Get ready for an upscale take on diner staples like French toast, pancakes, eggs Benedict, and meatloaf, plus a full bar. Brunch will be served until 4, after which the cheerful, yellow spot will switch to dinner.
Meanwhile, the Maple Room (377 Maple Ave. W.) is expected to be the new eatery where Amphora Restaurant once stood. It will combine American cuisine with outdoor dining (42 seats) in warmer months. Indoors will be room for 170 diners. At press time, the restaurant was shooting for a November opening.
location_on 380 Maple Ave. W.
Tango Pastry—an Alexandria bakery serving treats from Argentine chef Katriel Menendez—opened a street-level cafe, open to the public, on the ground floor of the new Sunrise at Vienna senior-living community. Since late July, patrons have been swinging by for facturas—Argentine pastries in varieties like medialuna (the Argentinean version of a croissant), dulce de leche, quince jam, and vanilla cream—as well as cañoncitos, delicate puff-pastry horns filled with cream. Also on the menu: beef, chicken, and spinach empanadas, plus espresso.
Café de Vienna
location_on 131 Church St., NW
Café de Vienna, which launched in September, is the brainchild of owners Afsaneh Jafari and Reza Sadeghi—he’s a general contractor, and she had a dream to open her own cafe. “We wanted an old vintage-look coffee shop,” Sadeghi says, “with a feeling of home.” The drip coffee is organic and from local roasters such as Red Rooster in Floyd, Virginia. (There’s also a Nespresso bar.) Fresh French pastries from another bakery arrive before the 8 AM opening daily except Monday, and include almond croissants, double-chocolate muffins, hazelnut croissants, and cinnamon rolls. There’s also ice cream made by an outside vendor, with no eggs or artificial ingredients. Of the 16 flavors, Coffee Oreo is reportedly a favorite.
location_on 111 Church St., NW, Suite 101
In September, James Beard Award–winning chef Roberto Donna and his restaurateur wife, Nancy Sabbagh, opened Le Bistro in the former Blend 111 space. The French spot—an ode to the Gallic chefs who inspired Donna, including Michel Richard and Jean-Louis Palladin—serves dishes such as coq au vin, beef bourguignon, and baked gnocchi à la Parisienne. And for those who dig that food, another of Donna’s restaurants, Roberto’s Ristorante Italiano, is just down the street (144 Church St., NW).
Royal Nepal Bistro
location_on 131-A Maple Ave. W.
Just off Church Street, Royal Nepal Bistro is celebrating its second year of serving Nepalese cuisine in downtown Vienna. The second location of this restaurant—the original is in Del Ray—offers a menu with picks such as momo (Nepalese dumplings filled with meat or veggies), rack of lamb with cilantro chutney, majhi sekuwa (smoked charred salmon), and nauni chicken masala (smoked chicken cubes with Himalayan herbs). Opt for add-ons like naan, dal, or mango lassi.
When this article appeared in the December 2023 print issue, it included the restaurant Jiwa Singapura. But after the article’s publication, the restaurant closed, so it has been deleted from the online version.
These neighboring Fairfax County towns are a hub for luxury shopping and gourmet dining, with Tysons featuring a mix of condos and townhouses and Vienna offering more single-family houses. Here are examples of what has sold in recent months.
A renovated two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in Vienna with 909 square feet and two parking spaces.
A recently updated three-bedroom, two-bath condo in Tysons with 1,350 square feet, an in-unit washer/dryer, and an assigned garage parking space.
A three-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath Vienna townhouse with 1,980 square feet, an updated kitchen and bathrooms, a deck, and a fenced backyard.
An updated Tysons townhouse with 2,402 square feet, three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a fenced backyard, and an oversize two-car garage.
A new-build in Vienna (above) with five bedrooms, five and a half baths, and 5,074 square feet across three levels, plus high ceilings, a screened porch, a recreation room, and an exercise room.
This article appears in the December 2023 issue of Washingtonian.