Hanging out in Ballston

When one thinks of Ballston, one tends to think of all the corporate buildings that line its city streets and its two metro stations. But look beyond the glass high-rise office buildings, and you will find a bustling neighborhood of active residents. So what is the appeal of Ballston other than its metro stations and plethora of offices? Here, we have curated some of our favorite spots to visit when we have a little downtime in Ballston.

Kettler Capitals Iceplex

This incredible state-of-the-art indoor ice skating rink is open year-round for those who feel ice skating is more than just a festive activity to be enjoyed only in December. They also schedule adult ice hockey pick up sessions several times a week for all levels of skill. The cherry on this cake? The Kettler Capitals Iceplex is the official home of the, you guessed, Washington Capitals. All their practices are held here, and are open to the public, free of charge.

Rustico Restaurant 

With its extensive beer list, inventive starters and dedication to fresh, rustic cooking, Rustico was a welcomed addition to the Ballston restaurant scene. It’s found a unique niche in being a restaurant that is perfect for any occasion, whether it be a family brunch, a working lunch, a gossipy happy hour or a romantic dinner. Buzzy yet cozy, romantic yet comfortable, trendy yet homey, and with food that packs a punch, Rustico will quickly become your local go-to.


This Pop Art, automobile-themed bar is quite simply, in one word, cool. It is frequented by people of all ages, who come for the numerous gaming options (pool, shuffleboard, skee ball and darts), the sports (they have 30 screens for your sports viewing pleasure) and the camaraderie. Everyone here is a friend you haven’t yet met. And they make a mean burger. What more does one need?

Northside Social

Surprisingly, a decent, local coffee shop is hard to find in Northern Virginia. Luckily, there is one just down the road from Ballston, at Northside Social. They serve a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on fresh, artisan and local foods. There are ample seating options, including a spacious patio for warm days, so it’s easy to spread out and find the perfect spot to study, grab a working lunch or catch up with friends. Most important is the coffee, and Northside Social excels with their coffee. They work with with local, sustainable, organic, Fair Trade partners to bring the best of ingredients to their cafe, and they all meld together in the most aromatic, addicting brews. And it must be noted that they serve wine, making this the perfect neighborhood spot for any time of day or night.

The Team @ Dwel loves exploring the many interesting, vibrant neighborhoods of Northern VA and Washington, DC, and sharing our finds with our guests. Any questions about a particular area? Simply get in contact with us and we will be happy to help!