The Twin Charms of Northern Virginia: A Comprehensive Comparison of Reston and Herndon

Reston, VA versus Herndon, VA: Which Fairfax County Suburb is Right for You?

Are you considering relocating to the heart of Northern Virginia and are torn between Reston and Herndon? These neighboring communities, part of the flourishing Fairfax County, offer unique advantages and attractive options for housing. Herndon, which comprises an incorporated city and the Oak Hill area, and Reston, mostly overseen by the Reston Association, each bear distinctive appeals.

Exploring Reston, VA: A Modern Planned Community

Reston, Virginia, is known for its meticulous planning. Created as a post-war model community, it uniquely blends natural beauty, architectural innovation, and abundant amenities. Governed largely by the Reston Association, the town upholds a high standard of living with beautifully maintained properties, well-kept recreational facilities, and top-notch educational institutions.

Residents of Reston enjoy a balance of urban convenience and suburban tranquility. The town boasts of ample green space and trails, including the 1,300 acres of Lake Fairfax Park. It also features a bustling town center filled with a mix of shops, restaurants, and businesses. Reston is a dream for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, convenience, and a sense of community.

Discovering Herndon, VA: Small-Town Charm Meets Urban Progress

On the other hand, Herndon offers a quaint small-town charm coupled with the vibrancy of a growing urban center. The town is split into two distinct parts: the incorporated city of Herndon and the Oak Hill area, governed by Fairfax County.

The incorporated part of Herndon exudes a historical ambiance, with Victorian-era homes, the old town hall, and the famous W&OD Trail. It has a robust community spirit seen in events like the annual Herndon Festival. Conversely, Oak Hill provides a more suburban feel with a mix of townhouses, single-family homes, and condominiums.

Housing: Reston Vs. Herndon

When it comes to housing, both towns offer varied options catering to diverse needs and budgets.


In Reston, the housing landscape is as diverse as its residents. From luxury condos in the Reston Town Center to single-family homes nestled in quiet neighborhoods, there are options for all types of homebuyers. However, due to the premium amenities and meticulously planned neighborhoods, property values in Reston tend to be slightly higher.


Herndon’s housing is split between the incorporated city and Oak Hill. The city area retains historical homes, perfect for those who appreciate architectural character. Meanwhile, Oak Hill presents a variety of housing styles, from expansive single-family homes to modern condos. Despite the urban growth, Herndon’s property values tend to be slightly lower, offering more affordable options compared to Reston.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

Choosing between Reston and Herndon largely depends on personal preference and lifestyle.

If you value a planned community with upscale amenities, abundant green spaces, and a mix of urban and suburban living, Reston might be your ideal home. It’s perfect for those wanting a balanced life in a self-contained town.

Meanwhile, Herndon could be your top choice if you’re drawn to small-town charm with the option of a suburban lifestyle coupled with historical heritage and community festivals. Herndon, particularly the Oak Hill area, could also be appealing for homebuyers looking for more affordable housing.

In conclusion, Reston and Herndon, with their distinctive charms and diverse housing options, make excellent living choices in Northern Virginia. It all boils down to personal preferences and the kind of lifestyle you envision for yourself and your family.

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About the Author
Graham Tracey
Graham is the Co-Founder and Team Leader for Greater Reston Living. He strives to use the latest data, digital marketing strategies, and negotiation tactics to support clients buying, selling, or investing in real estate. In addition to being a REALTOR®, Graham is a certified Pricing Strategy Advisor, designated Seller Representative Specialist, and certified by GRID as an agent expert on building wealth through real estate investment.