I love the area I grew up in, which is right outside D.C., in Alexandria, Virginia. -Actor: Casey Wilson
The Best Thing About Alexandria?
It’s not DC
As a bedroom community to the nation’s capital, Alexandria is steeped in history. In fact, no one will ever let you forget that it’s the home of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. But it’s also like a suburb, with a lot more green space than DC, fewer tourists and quieter streets. For those who work in Northern Virginia it's a heck of a lot more convenient, less expensive, easier for doggos, but also has a ton to do in the big historic commercial district, Old Town. The historic Potomac River not only divides the community from DC, but it provides a fun and vibrant waterfront to visitors and residents alike. Locals will claim that if you're choosing between Alexandria and one of the quieter neighborhoods of DC like Southeast, then you're far better off in Alexandria due to the better restaurants, better views, proximity to bars/nightlife and cheaper living options.
One Alexandria resident notes:
I pretty much live ON TOP of a metro here for half of what I was paying in rent in Cap hill. I'm not in Old Town but am one stop away, its a 2 min walk for me to the metro and a 2 minute ride to Old Town. Surprisingly the commute from where I live to U street is the same time, the commute via metro is slightly shorter.
I ride my bike a LOT more now with the abundance of running and biking trails. The dog parks are great! and there are several close enough we can mix it up. (You'll have to drive but check out shirlington dog park sometime) It was easier to find a pet friendly place. I get out to go hiking and camping a lot more now that I live out here. Parking is much easier. There is a surprising amount of interesting places to eat and I keep finding more.
For more reviews of what living in Alexandria is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Alexandria?
The costs/ The traffic
It’s true that there isn’t as much traffic as in DC, but there’s still a lot. Many folks in Alexandria commute to other places to work and so traffic can get snarled during rush hour and Northern Virginia finishes high on lists of worst traffic in the country. There is a decent public transportation system, the Metrorail, that serves both the city and commutes out of the city, but driving in Alexandria can make you nuts.
Here's a local on the difficulties of affording Alexandria:
Cons: unless you're independently wealthy it's impossible to buy a home in Old Town, even the smallest town home is more than a million bucks. Rent is also expensive for small apartments and Old Town has a food tax which makes food more expensive than elsewhere.
Lifestyle of Alexandria
Like you’re in the past and the present
Alexandria is definitely a modern city, but it is older than the United States and much of it has been meticulously preserved. The aptly named Old Town in particular is full of historical buildings that the founding fathers used to frequent such as Christ Church and Gadsby’s Tavern. King Street is a great place to walk around and indulge in some retail therapy. Dog-friendly Del Ray, just minutes from Old Town, is far more contemporary and is currently booming for families and young people.
Check out the calendar of events in Alexandria: visitalexandria.com/events/
Why You Should Move Here Now?
Alexandria is an amazingly livable city, with its own social and cultural experiences and is only 20 minutes to DC. That combo is extremely hard to beat and makes it one of those best of both worlds experiences.