McLean Quick Facts

McLean is an inner suburb of Washington D.C., and home to many diplomats, military, members of Congress, and high-ranking government officials partially due to its proximity to the city, the Pentagon, and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is in Northern Virginia on the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) between the Potomac River and the town of Vienna and is eight miles northwest of downtown Washington D.C. McLean is often distinguished by its luxury homes and nearby high-profit shopping destinations—Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria—and is the third wealthiest city in the United States. The community has an estimated total population of over 53,000 according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Historical Significance

The community received its name from John Roll McLean, the former publisher and owner of the Washington Post. Along with Stephen Benton Elkins and French aristocrat Jean-Pierre Guenard, in 1902 he bought the charter for the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad. Completed in 1906, it connected the area with Washington D.C. McLean named a railroad station after himself where the rail line (present route of Old Dominion Drive) crossed the old Chain Bridge Road. McLean itself was founded in 1910 when the communities of Lewinsville and Langley merged.

The headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency is located in the Langley area of McLean, and the headquarters of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is also located in McLean. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center is also located down the street from the CIA headquarters.

Living in McLean

A drive through McLean, Virginia takes you past the homes of a veritable who’s who of Washington D.C. McLean’s spacious houses and rolling laws offer a quiet alternative to the capital city’s hustle and bustle, making it popular real estate for government movers and shakers. The McLean neighborhood is well-known for its current and former notable residents, some of whom include Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, some members of Congress, several Supreme Court Justices, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Most locals find living in McLean well worth the higher price tag when they consider the quality of the schools, the safe, peaceful nature of the community, and the family-oriented neighborhood atmosphere. There are nine lovely parks that offer hiking, biking, and picnicking opportunities. McLean is connected by a Metro bus stop, so many residents can get into D.C. quickly for business or pleasure. Due to the easy access to D.C. and the government buildings in the surrounding area, real estate value is significantly more than comparable properties in other parts of the State.

While the city is famous for its high-end shopping at Tyson’s Galleria or Tyson’s Corner Center, residents are still likely to visit local shops and restaurants. The many choices for fine dining within the McLean city limits provide anything from traditional American selections to an array of international options.


McLean residents are zoned to schools in the Fairfax County Public School system. There are eight top public schools in McLean for the 2022 school year and are part of the Fairfax County Public School system. Five elementary, one middle school, and two high schools will service over 8,600 students.
Fourteen private schools will serve over 3,600 students for the 2022 school year. The best top ranked private schools include, BASIS Independent McLean, The Potomac School, and St. Luke Catholic School.

Nearby colleges and universities include the Marymount University in Arlington and DeVry University (Arlington campus). The University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies has an academic center in Falls Church, just south of McLean. George Mason University is located nine miles southwest of McLean in Fairfax, Virginia, while American University, Georgetown University and George Washington University are located six, seven, and nine miles east of McLean, respectively, in Washington, D.C.

McLean Homes for Sale

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