Resting alongside the Potomac River, Alexandria, VA, offers the perfect mix of historical landmarks, vibrant arts, waterfront dining, and diverse neighborhoods. With its cosmopolitan feel and pedestrian-friendly design, this petite gem has been included in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 5 Best Small Cities in the U.S. in 2020, and it was voted one of the South’s Best Cities 2020 by Southern Living.

But is Alexandria, VA a good place to live? From farmers markets and dining in Old Town to eclectic boutiques and charming festivals in Del Ray, here’s a breakdown of all of the things to do in Alexandria, VA, and what makes it a good place to live.

Alexandria, VA is Ideal for Commuters

Alexandria, VA, is a fantastic fit for commuters or anyone looking to live in a small-city environment that’s just outside of Washington, D.C. Alexandria is conveniently located just seven miles and a short subway ride south of D.C., making it an attractive commuter suburb for its approximately 157,000 residents.

The heart of Alexandria is located inside I-495 (also called the Capital Beltway), and the city is easily accessible by the Metrorail service. Metro stops include the King Street station, which gives easy access to Old Town; Braddock Road station, which sits near the charming Del Rey neighborhood; and Eisenhower Avenue station, located just off I-495 and near the Eisenhower East area. In addition, Alexandria borders the Reagan-Washington National Airport, located right off the George Washington Parkway/U.S. Route 1.

Alexandria City Public School system operates 17 schools and educates over 10,000 students in the area. The city is also home to some of the area’s top private schools, including St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, Episcopal High School, and Bishop Ireton High School.

Cost of Living in Alexandria, VA

Seated right outside the hub of the nation’s capital, you can expect the cost of living to be a bit higher than most places in the country.

The cost of living in Alexandria is among the highest in the United States, clocking in at 50 percent above the national average, primarily due to the cost of housing and transportation. The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Alexandria is around $1,700 a month, and the median cost for a home is about $500,000. Other costs, such as utilities, food, and healthcare are fairly comparable to the rest of the country.

That said, the cost of living in Alexandria is on par with similar Northern Virginia suburbs, including nearby Falls Church. There are still affordable and convenient Alexandria apartments available—you just need to know where to look!

Things to Do in Alexandria, VA

With roots tracing back to 1669, Alexandria is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. But Alexandria has more than just 300 years of American history. It’s also home to events, food, and entertainment for the whole family. Many of these attractions are open on a limited basis during the COVID-19 pandemic and are taking extra safety precautions, including requiring face masks and social distancing. Here are a few things to do in Alexandria, VA:

  • Old Town Farmers’ Market: Among the favorite things to do in Old Town Alexandria is the oldest farmers’ market in the country. It’s held every Saturday in Market Square, in front of Alexandria’s historic City Hall.
  • Mount Vernon Estate: The historic home of George and Martha Washington combines 500 acres of gardens and grounds, a museum, immersive programs, dining, and shopping in addition to the 18th century home.
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center: Housed in a former munitions factory which closed after World War II, the Torpedo Factory is the largest collection of working-artist studios in the entire nation, housing more than 165 artist studios in the three-story campus. Artists maintain their own studio hours. Due to pandemic restrictions, it’s best to confirm availability before you visit.
  • Mount Vernon Trail: Cyclists, walkers, and runners will love this 18-mile paved trail that stretches from George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. As the trail winds alongside the Potomac River, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted views of the D.C. skyline.

Best Restaurants in Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is a gourmand’s delight, offering everything from upscale seasonal farm-driven fare to street tacos served out of an Airstream. Many Alexandria restaurants are offering outdoor dining (including heated outdoor options) or fun, themed to-go/takeaway specials during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing visitors and residents the opportunity to safely experience the unique tastes and cuisines this Virginia suburb has to offer.

In addition, the West End houses the city’s craft brewery scene, with Port City Brewing Company, as well as Aslin Beer Co, which has a dog-friendly outdoor beer garden open for masked, socially distanced visitors.

Where to Live in Alexandria, VA

The Northern Virginia area is growing fast, and with the Amazon HQ2 project well underway, there will be even more people flocking to the area to join the swiftly growing tech sector. Want to claim your own place in this Northern Virginia hot spot? Check out these apartment communities.

Conveniently located near the Metro and the Capital Beltway, Kings Gardens offers a range of features and amenities packaged in generously sized 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments that offer great value for their location. The pet-friendly apartments at Kings Gardens come cable- and Internet-ready, with a patio or balcony for your comfort. Plus (COVID-19 dependent) residents can enjoy a community pool, family-friendly playground, and picnic area for relaxing.

The elegant Cherry Arms community is located just minutes from Old Town Alexandria, VA, and Washington, D.C. on the Metro’s yellow line or via I-495 and I-395. Featuring a balcony or patio, walk-in closets, and reserved parking, as well as fully furnished rental options, Cherry Arms 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom floor plans offer the ultimate flexibility and are move-in ready. There are also discounts for teachers, students, police and military personnel. 

If you’re looking for large windows offering panoramic views, look no further than Landmark Ridge. With easy access to the Van Dorn Street Metro station and the interstate, you can get around the area quickly and conveniently. Amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a community pool, and a residents’ lounge ensure you won’t want—or need—to leave home. You can even take the stress out of moving by selecting a fully-furnished option.

Make Alexandria, VA Your Home

While there are plenty of reasons to love Alexandria, VA, the variety and value of Southern Management’s Alexandria communities are at the top of the list.

If you need help figuring out how to find a place to rent, turn to Southern Management for guidance on navigating your options. Our commitment to our residents and the surrounding communities is what sets us apart from other property management companies.

Tour any of our Northern Virginia apartment communities virtually or contact us for move-in or relocation specials and more information. Our team will happily discuss availability, pricing, amenities, and more!