Reston is unique on our list of Main Street communities on our site. It may not have the history of some of the other towns and communities featured here, but it does have many of the other characteristics we look for in a Main Street. Reston is a master planned community in Norther Virginia's dense, fast-growing high-tech coordior. Like other master planned communities, Reston could have ended up with a gigantic mall for its town center.
But what it got instead was a downtown to be proud of and an example for other suburban areas across the country to follow. Reston Town Center is made up of high-rise office, and residential towers with shops and restaurants located on the ground floor. You'll also find movie theaters, a skating rink, and a hotel. And it's all located within a walkable urban area like you would see in a traditional downtown.
Reston is located in northern Fairfax County. The town is approximately 22 miles west of Washington, DC by way of Interstate 66 and the Dulles Toll Road. In fact, you can get to Reston Town Center by taking Exit 12 on the Dulles Toll Road for Reston Parkway. Market Street is the Main Street for Reston Town Center but other businesses can be found on the side streets as well, including Freedom Drive and Democracy Drive. Other Main Street areas nearby in Northern Virginia include Alexandria, Leesburg, Middleburg, Manassas, and Warrenton.
We start our tour of Reston Town Center by parking in one of the large garages that surround the complex. I took the elevator to the top of the Fountain Garage and snapped this shot of the surrounding landscape to give you an idea of the suburban area. Fairfax County features a large number of strip shopping centers and high-rise residential and office buildings.
I turn my camera towards the heart of Reston Town Center and you can see it's more dense than typical suburbs, making it easier to walk around in. Unlike many Main Streets we have put on our site, Reston is different because it's a mostly newer development, but we did want to show it because the Town Center does feature all of the aspects that make up a great Main Street.
We make it down to the ground floor and cross Freedom Drive to face the back side of one of the large office towers in Reston. Right now, we're a block north of Market Street, which is Reston's primary Main Street.
Here's a row of some small shops and eateries along Freedom Drive. We're still along the back side of Reston Town Center.
This is the corner of Freedom Drive and Library Street. If you head down Library Street, this will take you towards Market Street and the heart of Reston Town Center.
We finally make it over to Market Street. We'll start our tour of Market Street on the west side and work our way east. This is the newer part of Reston, part of its Phase 3. In front of this office building is the Reston Town Square.
And this is a view looking back at where we were in the previous picture. The office building in the previous picture is behind us now and we have a better picture of Reston Town Square. Across the street are condos.
Looking up and eastbound from Reston Town Square we see high-rise condos and office towers. Yes, Rolls-Royce has offices in Reston Town Center. The statue is titled Iris and is by Daniel Goldstein.
We walk east along Market Street. Here is a restaurant with an outdoor cafe at the base of the high-rise condos we were looking at in the previous picture. The name of the development is Midtown at Reston Town Center.
Here are some boutiques and restaurants at the intersection of Market Street and Explorer Street. Explorer Street is the dividing line between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of Reston Town Center. As we head east, we'll head towards the older parts of the area.
Some more boutiques and a sidewalk cafe. You can see the offices and condos above the storefronts. One of the reasons we chose Reston as a great Main Street, was its an excellent walkability between the various mix of land uses.
Speaking of walkability, Reston features wide, brick sidewalks with plenty of room for walking, window shopping, or sidewalk cafes. And don't forget the other touches like the landscaping and the lightposts.
Here's a vertical view to give you an idea of the scale of the high-rise buildings along this stretch of Market Street. The density helps support the businesses below.
Check out the interesting awning between the two office buildings along Market Street. We are in the Phase 2 section of Reston Town Center, which is located between Explorer Street and Library Street.
One Freedom Square is one of the tallest office buildings in Reston Town Center.
You will find many chains in Reston Town Center similar to what you may find at a mall, but the experience is definitely better than a typical mall.
This is a view looking southbound down a small plaza that connects Market Street to Democracy Drive. There are more shops and restaurants along Democracy Drive. Also, notice the parking garage in the distance.
Here's a busy street scene along Democracy Drive, including several eateries with outdoor seating. From this angle Reston looks like it could be a community in the heart of any large city in America.
We head back to Market Street. Here is a view of the intersection of Market Street and Library Street looking west back at the direction we came from.
And if we turn around, here's a view looking eastbound from the intersection of Market and Library. Now we're facing the oldest section of Reston Town Center, Phase 1. This section was built in the early 1990s. Notice the row of low-rise offices here.
A restaurant located the intersection of Market and Library Streets in Reston Town Center.
Recently renovated movie theaters can be found along this stretch of Market Street, so you even have entertainment within walking distance in Reston Town Center.
More shops, boutiques, and even an ice cream parlor along Market Street.
A view looking eastbound all the way down Market Street. There is a high-rise residential tower in the distance. On the left, the twin towers of One and Two Fountain Square were the landmarks of the original phase of Reston Town Center.
A view looking westbound down Market Street. You can see the high-rise development of the newer sections of Reston Town Center. In the older section, the large windowless area above the Ben & Jerry's is part of the movie theater.
More upscale shops along Market Street. This stretch also features more landscaping along the sidewalks. In the distance, you can see one of the archways that are common in this section of the town center.
More shops with offices above. When this section of Reston Town Center was built it was very unique and innovative for its time, even if some of the stores here are not as unique.
Notice how the offices extend over the sidewalk and form a cover for pedestrians below? It's an interesting architectural feature.
Here's a better view of One Fountain Square one of the two towers that made up part of the original Reston Town Center skyline. And below is a public plaza with a fountain (of course) in the middle of it, which features a statue of Mercury.
Also part of the original skyline is the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Across the street from the Mercury Fountain on the right side of this photo is the Pavillion.
Here's a better view of the Pavillion across from the Mercury Fountain. During the winter months it's used for ice skating, but during the rest of the year it's used for concerts and other special events.
We continue heading east along Market Street. Here's a view looking back west the way we came. You can tell by the banners across the street that there's a lot going on in Reston. Also you can see the arches that cover the sidewalks. This was a pretty unique feature and seemed mostly located in the older part of Reston Town Center.
Now we're looking eastbound along Market Street. Shops and other business line the street.
We're almost to the corner of Market Street and President Street, which will mark the far eastern end of Reston Town Center.
And now we're at the eastern end of Market Street. Another striking piece of public art greets folks shopping in the area.
We come to the end of our tour but not before taking one more picture. We cross the street for that last shot. Here's a matching piece of public art. This one seems to have a collection of constellations. Something to entertain the guests of this nearby sidewalk cafe.
Featured Sites & Businesses
Would you like to be listed in our Featured Sites & Businesses section? Contact us to find out how. Hint! It's free. Check out our list of Partners.
For More Information
Reston Town Center
Check out these other nearby Main Streets!