Alexandria, Virginia

Old Town-ish

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What's it like to live in Alexandria?

What is it like to live in Alexandria, VA?

Having lived in Alexandria 3 times in my life, the current time for 4 years, the answer is, it depends.

Alexandria is a huge area. In this area you have typical suburbia (areas like Kingstowne), you have historic Old Town, unique neighborhoods like Del Ray, and you’ve got vast swaths of areas in between those options.

Your experience in each of those areas is going to be very different.

Living in Old Town (my current situation) is great. Everything is walkable, there are great restaurants, shops and recreation, just a few steps away. The waterfront always has events going on, and being able to walk by the Potomac is really nice. And now, you’re just moments away from the National Harbor and the activites there at the MGM Grand and the rest of the national harbor.

Living in Kingstowne is a bit like living in any suburban area.

In between there is good and bad. Some areas of Alexandria are a bit sketchy.

So bottom line, it really depends where in Alexandria you’re going to live.

What are the best places to live in Alexandria, VA?

Alexandria is a great city and my favorite place to live. I prefer the West End--within the City limits--for living--close enough to Old Town and Del Ray and, even closer to 395--a hop to DC, museums, etc. The Lincolnia area offers GREAT family, kid friendly, communities with quiet streets (really), houses with MUCH more space than you will find in Old Town and Del Ray with yards, trees, etc. --and, at bargain prices compared to most of the City. But, if you stay within City limits, you still get the great services offered by Alexandria (compared to Fairfax). Oh yes--and a wonderful diversity in terms of ages, ethnicity, income, etc. A great place to raise a family. That's my take!@Where to live in Alexandria?

**Pros of Alexandria (specifically old town or certain parts of Del Rey) over DC?
Here is the pro/con list we have come up with for each:



More Accessible - this includes easier access to groceries, gas, gym, parking, and highways

Closer to both of our works - I work in Fairfax, she works right off the Courthouse stop on the Orange line.

It's "prettier" than DC - aka there are trees, parks, etc.

It's cheaper than DC - this includes groceries, especially rent, travel to work

Our dog is better in Alexandria - there are a number of pet fees and restrictions that exist in DC that I haven't found in Alexandria

Safer - according to the crime maps the area we want to live in Alexandria has less crime. (please don't jump down my throat on this point. I know DC is not the same city. I visit friends all the time in DC and I am aware that if you aren't a moron you are fine. However, the statistics don't lie and Alexandria does have less crime. This is a pro for me.)

moving in would be easier in Alexandria


Far from our friends in DC

Isolated from the cool stuff we like to do in DC

hard to get to cool places in DC

Lack of culture

Yuppy-douche-bro atmosphere

Music/bar scene is worse than DC

night life is not as good as DC

Restaurants are not as good as DC

It's just…boring compared to DC

going out would be more expensive and harder - cabs/uber, metro, etc.

Pros of Alexandria (specifically old town or certain parts of Del Rey) over DC? (x-post from /r/washingtondc)

Basically around Capitol Hill area/Lincoln Park/Capitol Hill Southeast

I used to live a block from Lincoln Park and now live in Alexandria. Here are my observations. Lincoln Park 15 minute walk to metro, then a short ride to Chinatown. However, my friends always wanted to go out on U street or Dupont so you're looking at 45-50 minutes to get there.
Parking heaven forbid you get home after 8pm on a week night you can plan on parking several blocks from your house Its a bit of a grocery desert (two terrible safe ways and a Harris Teeter thats just a bit too far to walk for groceries) Rent pretty damn expensive if you want to actually live close to Lincoln Park and LOTS of places aren't accepting dogs.
There are actually decent bars and restaurants within walking distance from Lincoln Park and a lot of quaint eateries.
I did a lot more walking about when I was living in Capitol Hill

Alexandria 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. Del Rey has a cool bar in a BBQ place called Pork Barrel thats kind of like Cheers, the bartenders know all the regulars the regulars know each other and its and interesting mix of people. I've even seen some Nats players in there before, the manager said one of the owners is friends with them.

Overall, I'm happier living in Alexandria. I save enough money between rent and utilities and cheaper COLA that I don't mind splurging for an UBER ride home when I'm drunk on U street. I've got more space in my house and yard than any of the places I've lived in in DC.

If you've got any specific questions I might be able to help with those too.

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