What to Know When Moving To Northern Virginia

Whether you’re moving cross-county or cross-country, moving to Northern Virginia is a smart decision. Affectionately dubbed “NOVA” by locals, this area is a bundle of opposites. The region possesses both small-town charm and dizzying city vibes, conservative communities and liberal campuses, developed shopping centers and rural main streets.

Want to know whether NOVA is right for you? Read on!

What Area Is Considered Northern Virginia?

To start, what cities comprise Northern Virginia? Before you make a decision you might want to know what the label is referring to. If you’re wondering what living in Northern Virginia actually means, here’s the breakdown:

  • Cities in Northern Virginia:
    • Alexandria
    • Falls Church
    • Fairfax
    • Manassas City
    • Manassas Park
    • Clifton
    • Vienna
    • Herndon
    • Ballston
    • McLean
    • Reston
    • Tysons

While each city certainly has its own hidden gems, this overview will tell you what to know when moving to the area. Exactly where to live in Northern Virginia is up to you!

8 Things To Know Before Moving To Northern Virginia

  1. You get to experience all four seasons. People living in Northern Virginia get to experience true winter, spring, summer, and fall! You’ll want to pack clothes for every season and activity. No matter what time of year you plan on moving to Northern Virginia, you’ll be in for a treat. A summertime kayak excursion on the Potomac River. A spring stroll around the Tidal Basin as you take in the famous cherry blossoms. An autumn view of the changing leaves from Shenandoah National Park. A wintertime snowball fight on the National Mall.  You have the to chance to experience all of this while living in Northern Virginia
  2. There’s a reasonable cost of living. The East Coast is known for its high cost of living. The good news? Northern Virginia is much more affordable when compared to cities like Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. There are plenty of ways to get a good deal on an apartment, so if you plan on living in Northern Virginia, you could be doing your wallet a favor!
  3. You’re close to both the nation’s capital and scenic terrain. Just because you’re working in the city, doesn’t mean you have to live there. There are plenty of affordable apartment communities in Northern Virginia that offer the best of both city life and idyllic escape. Everyone’s preferences are different, so while we can’t tell you precisely where to live in Northern Virginia, we can tell you that the options are plentiful! The area offers so much more than just close proximity to the Washington Metropolitan area. When you choose to reside just outside the capital, you open the door to a huge variety of outdoor activities. For instance, there are breathtaking park settings all over the place:  Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, Great Falls Park, and Potomac Overlook Regional Park just to name a few.
  4. There’s no shortage of diversity. The population in Northern Virginia is growing. In fact, since 2010, Northern Virginia has accounted for 60% of the state’s population growth. With growth comes diversity. This has created a melting pot of cultures and demographics. Alexandria City Public School Board Member Meagan Alderton believes that Alexandria’s public school system is so successful because of its uniquely rich cultural diversity. She has been quoted saying, “Our students and families represent more than 100 different countries and speak more than 100 different languages. We have managed to shape a microcosm of the world under one common goal: to educate and prepare our students for global citizenship.” If that’s not the epitome of diversity, we don’t know what is.
  5. A hot political climate awaits you. Its diversity naturally lends Virginia to be a swing state when it comes to elections. Every vote matters in Northern Virginia! Although politics are certainly a part of life in the area, by no means does it define the relationships you’ll create there. “At the end of the day, whatever political affiliation you have or don’t have, in Alexandria we find our common ground with our core values,” said Alderton. “As a community, we value diversity, kindness, and thoughtful discussion. Sometimes (even within political parties and affiliations) we agree to disagree, and that’s okay too. There is little to no tolerance for hateful rhetoric or acts of bigotry here. But, from my purview, there is nothing political about that.”
  6. Northern Virginia has a team for almost everything. Buy a Nationals’ baseball cap or a Capitals’ jersey and you’ll blend in with the locals. Northern Virginia is close to several high-profile professional sports teams, so you can cheer for the home team no matter what sport you chose to spectate. The Redskins’ football training facility is close by and the Capitals practice at their hockey facility in Ballston. If football and hockey aren’t your thing, ball out with the Wizards’ at the Capital One Arena or buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Nationals Stadium.
  7. Easy access to airports. When you plan on jetting off, Northern Virginia is a great place to live!  Nothing adds stress to a vacation like the hassle of getting to and from the airport. Luckily, there are two major airports in Northern Virginia: Dulles International Airport (IDA) and Reagan National Airport (DCA). Dulles offers many direct flights across the globe and Reagan has a wide offering of domestic flights to get you anywhere in the nation.
  8. Accessible public transportation. The Metrorail continues to expand its service area deeper into Northern Virginia. Currently, the Orange line snakes through Arlington, ending in Vienna. Meanwhile, the Yellow and Blue lines take riders to Reagan National Airport then to Alexandria and Springfield. The Silver line is one of the newer expansions, currently passing through McLean, Tysons Corner, and ending in Reston, with plans to expand all the way to Dulles. Additionally, the Virginia Rail Express takes passengers from Fredericksburg or Manassas into the heart of the nation. There is also an Amtrak station in Alexandria that takes commuters to and from Northern Virginia.

Do You Know Where To Live In Northern Virginia?

The most intimidating part about moving can be figuring out exactly where to live. So often we are asked, “should I live in DC if I work in DC?” While we can’t answer that question for you, we can assure you that you have options! Northern Virginia is a lovely region with plenty of cultural attractions, alluring natural wonders, local cuisine, and fascinating people! There’s nothing not to love about Northern Virginia.

If you’re moving to Northern Virginia and looking for a place to live, start by browsing Southern Management’s Northern Virginia apartment communities. The best thing to know before moving to Northern Virginia is that you’ll be in good hands with Southern Management.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to answer any questions about living in Northern Virginia, specific communities, pricing, our Corporate Partner Program and more.

Contact our team online!