Herndon & Reston, VA Neighborhood


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What is your favorite thing about raising kids in the Herndon/Reston area?

Reston and Herndon are in the suburbs of DC, so they are a little further away from the bustle of city life but still centrally located in Northern, VA making for an easy commute to DC or to the beautiful countryside of Western Loudoun. Both Reston and Herndon have plenty of outdoor activities, community events, local restaurants, and shops to choose from. There are also beautiful parks, dog parks, playgrounds, community gardens, waterparks, and splash pads.

What makes Herndon/Reston family-friendly and unique?

Herndon specifically has a small-town feel to it, which I absolutely love. More and more businesses are coming in to make the Herndon Historic District even better. There are plenty of convenient shopping centers and restaurants to choose from. From farmer’s markets and festivals to outdoor movies & concerts and parades, there is almost always something going on in both of these areas. Both Herndon and Reston are walkable, especially with the W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion) Trail connecting the areas. The trail makes this area friends to lots of cyclists and runners. There is a combination of well-established neighborhoods with single-family homes, townhouses, and apartment complexes that attract a lot of families.

What community events or local attractions are there?

Frying Pan Park in Herndon is a FREE working farm that is always open to the public. From ducks to cows and horses, this is my kids’ favorite place to visit. Lake Fairfax in Reston is a beautiful park on a lake with picnic areas, campsites, hiking trails, boat rentals, a carousel, and the Water Mine (an awesome water park). They offer classes and camps for kids as well.
Reston Town Center has everything you could want – shops, theater, restaurants, splash pad, and an ice skating rink. Lake Anne Plaza has a bunch of restaurants and stores, including a coffee shop and wine bar, a brewery, a used book store, and a place to rent paddle boats and kayaks. Friday Night Live in Herndon is a family-friendly outdoor concert every Friday night in the warmer months on the Town Green. The Herndon Festival is a huge festival with concerts, vendors, food, carnival, etc. This is typically held the first weekend in June. The ArtSpace in Herndon is a community art center that offers classes for all types of art for both adults and kids.
While not technically in Herndon or Reston, The Udvar-Hazy Center is a 10-minute drive from my house in Herndon and is my kids’ FAVORITE indoor activity. It’s the companion museum to the National Air and Space Museum in DC. With lots of space to run around, tons of cool planes to see (including the Space Shuttle and Discovery), an observation tower, an IMAX theater, and activities for children, it’s a great place to take your family!

Why would you recommend Reston or Herndon to families?

If you’re looking for something outside the city that still has easy access to the rest of Northern VA (from the country to the city), this is a really wonderful option. There are so many options as far as where to live (apartments, townhomes, single-family homes), and you can have a good-sized yard if that’s important to you. Plus, the further you get outside of the city, the more house and land you’ll get for your dollar. The pace of life is a little slower than inside the city, and I especially love the small-town feel of Herndon while still having the convenience of having everything you need (shopping-wise) nearby. Plus, the metro is already coming to Reston and will soon be open in Herndon.

What nearby schools or childcare places do kids go to?

As far as schools go, your personal situation will determine what will work best for your family, but know that there are a lot of options. The Fairfax Country Public School System is wonderful; there are a lot of private school options as well, plus there is a strong homeschooling community with support and co-ops. So, whichever way you want to educate your children, there will be community support available. Here is a list of top-rated schools in Herndon and Reston.

Where are your favorite places to shop in Herndon/Reston?

Honestly, I do most of my shopping at Target or online. Local to me in Herndon, there is a great thrift store called The Closet as well as a locally owned bike shop called Green Lizard Cycling (which doubles as a coffee shop). The Sunset Business Park has a ton of amazing local businesses like Aslin Beer and Weird Brothers, a local coffee shop that offers products from local businesses like River Sea Chocolates.
downtown Herndon
Photograph by Mark Sawatzki

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Herndon/Reston?

Mellow Mushroom is a pizza place in Herndon that is great for families and parties! They host community game nights, and they also have gluten and dairy-free options. In the town of Herndon, Jimmy’s Oldtown Tavern is a popular place, as well as the Herndon Biergarden. Over in the Sunset Business Park, there are so many awesome local restaurants, including Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant, Wooboi Chicken, and 100 Bowls of Soup.
If you’re a taco fan (I mean, who isn’t), Bar Taco in Reston Town Center is the best place for delicious tacos and even tastier margaritas. It’s a super fun atmosphere and always draws a crowd. Founding Farmers in Reston is always delicious. It is a farmer-owned, from scratch restaurant that will never disappoint. Plus, it has an even tastier brunch!

What places make Herndon/Reston feel kid-friendly?

There are playgrounds and parks everywhere in Herndon and Reston. My kids just love walking or riding their bikes to our local playground or driving to a park where we can do a nature walk. There are so many to choose from. The local Reston and Herndon Community Centers offer wonderful classes that our kids really enjoy and are reasonably priced. We also love the Fairfax County Club Run Rec Center!
We can’t forget Bach to Rock in Herndon. It has a variety of music classes for kids of all ages. Plus, the Herndon Library has a calendar full of activities and story times. Because Reston and Herndon are centrally located, there are so many fun activities for kids nearby, like Skate Quest, Greater Reston Arts Center, and Art Space Herndon.

What advice would you give to families who are new to Herndon/Reston?

Depending on where you’re coming from, moving to the Northern VA area can be a bit of a culture shock. Even though Herndon and Reston are pretty friendly and “neighborly” compared to the rest of the DC area, it’s still in the middle of a fast-paced, busy, independent culture. You’ll have to work harder to connect and make friends than you might be used to. But keep at it; everyone wants to be more connected and find good friends!

Expert, experienced Realtor Group for Reston and Herndon, VA:

The Royster Hearth Group – Your Local Real Estate Team in Northern Virginia

HEARTH /härTH/ noun 1: HOME, especially when seen as a place of comfort and love.
Home is more than a place with a roof over our heads. It is a place of comfort, love, warmth, rest, and security – “HEARTH”.  The Royster Hearth Group is a dedicated team in Northern Virginia to help you reach that place. Their mission statement is simple: Serve Our Neighbors, Not Ourselves. Whether you’re buying or selling or just weighing your options, The Royster Hearth Group will love to talk to you! Tim Royster, Team Lead of the Royster Hearth Group, is a U.S. Army Veteran. Contact Tim at [email protected] or 571-275-0871. Look at their website at www.roysterhearthgroup.com, and be sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram, too.