Alexandria Virginia is located in Northern Virginia and is home to
Alexandria is an historic city located in Northern Virginia that is largely populated by diverse professionals and young families. The city offers a great deal of real estate to choose from and is home to over 70 major parks and terrific schools, as well as museums and cultural attractions.
Alexandria, Virginia is bounded by the Potomac River to the east, I-495 and I-95 to the south, Turkeycock Run Stream to the west, and the Four Mile Run Stream as well as sections of Route 7 to the north. Adjacent jurisdictions include Arlington, Virginia to the north, Fairfax County to the southwest, Washington, DC to the northeast, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, to the east.
List of all Virginia Military Bases
Have military orders to the Pentagon or a military installation in the D.C. area?
Play: Whether you live here or are just visiting, Extraordinary Alexandria is a great place to shop, dine, take in the arts, get outdoors, and just have fun.
Services: Browse the topics to the right to learn more about the programs and services offered by the Alexandria City Government.
Business: Ideally located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Alexandria is nationally recognized as one of the best places to live and do business on the east coast.
Government: Learn more about Alexandria's accountable, effective, and well-managed government.
Projects & Plans: Learn more about major projects and plans here, and how you can get involved.
Events & Meetings
There's always something to do in Alexandria! Browse community events, government meetings and activities, and important deadlines.
Hollin Hills, Franconia, Groveton, Hybla Valley, Huntington, Belle Haven, Mount Vernon, Fort Hunt, Engleside, Burgundy Village, Waynewood, Wilton Woods, Rose Hill, Virginia Hills, Hayfield, and Kingstowne.
Less than ten miles from Washington, DC, Alexandria, Virginia is close enough to the city to take advantage of the best in cultural activities the nation has to offer. But Alexandria holds its own, providing residents the sophistication of a city filled with amenities, coupled with a small town feel perfect for raising families.
Portions of the city are nestled into suburbs that are picturesque and quaint, while others are bustling with commerce and the hub-bub spill over from D.C. Still, in other sections along the Potomac River, outdoor enthusiasts travel the same path George Washington did hundreds of years ago.
Alexandria is as varied in its population as it is in its neighborhoods. Plenty of government workers reside here, as do those in the private sector. Families, singles, and couples have everything they could ask for in very close vicinity. A robust tourism industry demonstrates just how attractive Alexandria really is, for numerous reasons–great schools, low unemployment, and plenty to see and do.
This all sounds amazing, right? And it is, but to love Alexandria means you’ll have put up with a host of inconveniences like the amazing lack of parking (forget free parking!) in addition to the major lifestyle changes required to manage your finances and traffic navigation skills needed to live here.
For a solid start in your Alexandria research, read on; you’ll appreciate every detail.
Terms to Know About the D.C. Area:
Inside/Outside the Beltway
Interstate 495 is a 64-mile loop around Washington, D.C. that encompasses suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. The Beltway is used to describe where real estate is located, a reference to where political action occurs (inside the Beltway in D.C.), and most frequently in traffic reports.
Northern Virginia, considered a region, but without hard boundaries. NOVA consists of the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, as well as the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
National Capital Region
The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms qualifies the geographic area encompassing the District of Columbia and eleven local jurisdictions in the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Some government entities such as the Census Bureau will add portions of West Virginia to this area.
The Differences between the City of Alexandria and Alexandria, Fairfax County
One of the most basic but tricky pieces of information to understand about Alexandria is that Alexandria is actually split into two different geographic locations and governed by separate bodies. This is a confusing concept for newcomers especially as it relates to schools and zip codes because casual conversations usually lump all references to Alexandria into one category.
Maps from Military Town Advisor
City of Alexandria
Alexandria, Fairfax County (sometimes referred to Lower Alexandria or South Alexandria).
Important Facts and Figures
Review of Kingstowne from Military Town Advisor:
"What a welcome! Lots of military and retired military. The day we moved in, the whole row moved their cars. People brought cleaning supplies, refreshments, and dinner. Very easy drive to Ft. Belvoir, short bike ride or medium walk to metro, right next door to a school parents love."
Unless you're arriving from very expensive duty stations like San Diego or Hawaii, it’s likely that newcomers to Alexandria and the D.C. area will notice an uptick in the price of everything. It’s just a part of life in NOVA, and military families become experts on how to make the cost adjustments work. Utilizing on-base amenities like the Exchange, gas stations, day care, and recreation becomes a regular savings technique.
Fort Belvoir has a brand new Commissary and an Exchange that is only a couple of years old, making it less of a hassle to navigate the inevitable crowds. Other nearby bases such as Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall have privileges, too.
A helpful but potentially eye-widening resource to put the cost of living into perspective further is Numbeo. Numbeo is a website detailing all aspects of costs of living sources by zip code. They have a comparison tool that allows you to enter your current zip and compare it to your potential Alexandria zip code. Take a look at this example comparing the cost of living in Alexandria to Fayetteville, North Carolina. One entry says a bottle of Coke or Pepsi is going to cost you a buck more in Alexandria: $1.33 vs. $2.33.
It’s important to factor commuting fees into your cost of living as well. Payments for riding the Metrorail, parking, and more frequent trips to the gas station affects what you can afford for real estate options.
Alexandria Real Estate
Buying a Home in Alexandria
In general terms, real estate in Alexandria stays stable. For most who relocate here, the sticker shock takes some getting used to. As unemployment rates decline and interest rates hover at historically low numbers, homes for sale at competitive prices move quickly and will likely entertain multiple offers. The benefits of living in the area (commute, access to good schools, and amenities) drive the constant high demand.
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors compiled November 2017 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton. The average home sale price in this NOVA region rose by 7.6 percent to $580,733 from last November’s average of $539,750.
This is a wide swath of real estate geography; however, premium locations will price far above these averages. In the sought-after Alexandria neighborhoods near Fort Belvoir and the George Washington Parkway such as Waynewood, Riverside Gardens, and Stratford Landing, these sale numbers reflect a market entry home with many renovations needed.
Review of Waynewood from Military Town Advisor
"We lived in Waynewood during my husband's joint tour at the Pentagon. While we expected it to be a stressful tour, we ended up having the best tour for our family due to this neighborhood. Waynewood is a family-friendly neighborhood with great schools, many social activities, an overall active community that supports its residents (both renters and owners were more than welcome at all social neighborhood functions). Waynewood is a very central location in between Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon/Fort Belvoir. We were able to enjoy the restaurants and city life in Old Town but able to keep our budget in line by shopping at the commissary at Fort Belvoir and using the medical center on base. Waynewood is an amazing community in a fabulous location off of the Potomac River."
Renting a Home in Alexandria
Due to the lengths of typical PCS cycles and expensive real estate prices, many military members choose to rent a house for the duration of their tour. Although with any move the goal is to stay at or near the servicemember’s BAH, the likelihood of renters paying beyond their BAH is a distinct possibility in Alexandria–not always, but often enough to mention, particularly in the desirable area and historic city center of Old Town. Those who don’t need access to public schools have more room for negotiation for affordable living near their workplace.
This is the 2018 BAH Calculator for an O4 with Dependents in the 22314, Old Town Zip code: $ 3,090 per month.
In comparison, MilitaryByOwner advertises rental homes available in this zip code or nearby. Rental prices for a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse range from $2,900-$3,995 per month.
It’s very common to encounter military landlords in the Alexandria area. They realize the need for staffing in military facilities in the NCR isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so the income stream is likely to remain. Fluctuations with annual BAH reconfigurations occur, but the opportunity to, at minimum, pay the mortgage payment exists. Military landlords also find plenty of advantages in working with other military members, including the consistency of monthly payments and the natural feeling of camaraderie.
Schools in Alexandria
For PCS purposes, families with school-aged children are faced with a significant challenge to find the right school for their children that also allows for a high quality of life at home. The cost of living and BAH numbers rarely match up, and commute times separate busy military families even more.
There are plentiful options for private schooling in Alexandria. Expect private schools to be competitive and expensive, which forces many military families to make difficult choices: choose a high performing public school (at the cost of high priced real estate) or make use of homeschool opportunities.
Against a national backdrop, the NOVA region is gifted with strong public school systems. Many schools are either highly rated in Virginia, nationally ranked, or both. In fact, Fairfax County has a very strong reputation for educating kids, and has for decades. But in recent years, the Fairfax County Public School System has struggled to make their budget meet their needs. Shortages have been regular hurdles to overcome.
Both the City of Alexandria and Alexandria, Fairfax County, have more than acceptable public schools to choose from, but they also have less desirable options. Using school research tools is a must in Alexandria because the addresses associated with The City of Alexandria and Alexandria, Fairfax County are vast and diverse.
Military Spouse Careers and Jobs in Alexandria
Because of the close proximity, Alexandria on the whole is often lumped into job searches with Washington, D.C. Linkedin recently published a workforce report for Washington, D.C., but these facts relate to spouses who are on the job hunt while their service member is stationed in the NCR.
Sought After Skills in the Washington, D.C. Area:
Alexandria is also home to many nonprofit and for-profit offices for military support groups you’ve probably heard of: Blue Star Families, Military Officers Association of America, and National Military Family Association, to name a few. Not only are they options for volunteering, but all have support for spouses to advance professional skills and conduct job searches.
Northern Virginia Community College is an excellent and affordable option for progressing spouse education. The school has six campuses near Alexandria (Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield, and Woodbridge) and offers online learning as well.
Fort Belvoir is another wealth of education opportunities. Their satellite college campuses include:
Working with hyper local information is often the best way to become of aware of the details needed to determine your best neighborhood, school, work, and commute options in Alexandria. Military families are always up for sharing their advice and experiences.
As soon as PCS orders for the D.C. area are a strong possibility, start subscribing and following several social media outlets to get a good compilation of opinions and local news. This is especially helpful for finding upcoming rental homes, as military families tend to pass on their housing gems word of mouth to incoming families months in advance.
Military Town Advisor (the quotes above are from this site) is a must to research the Washington, D.C. area, including Alexandria. The website’s creator is a former Navy spouse with years of PCS experience in the region. Honest reviews curated from military families with personal knowledge are written in effort to make the next family’s transition easier. You’ll find descriptions and reviews for neighborhoods, shopping, restaurants, housing and much more.
More Useful Information for Life in Alexandria
Fairfax County Schools info for military families
The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity reports that military children move six to nine times throughout their school years. As parents, this is a daunting statistic when realizing how important each one of those schools is as the kids move through grade levels. Interrupted schooling isn’t ideal, but one of the best perks of military service is the opportunity for our kids to attend the schools of our choice each time we PCS.
The options are plentiful, and it is reassuring to have this little facet of control over an unpredictable military lifestyle. The amount of information may seem overwhelming when beginning a school search, because the intent is to choose the best school that will easily mix in with other important quality of life factors such as BAH restrictions and commute times. By maintaining a portfolio of trusted resources, each move and school roundup will be a little less mysterious.
School Deadlines and Timeliness
Families learn through their own experiences the best ways to begin their hunt, but there are research tools designed to make the process simpler and more efficient. Two factors remain steadfast when school shopping: timeliness and word-of-mouth reviews.
Regardless of the avenue--public, private or homeschooling--there will always be a deadline to meet. In particular, the most popular magnet or charter schools will often require a lottery for acceptance and specific dates for registration to enter. It’s wise to begin understanding those processes as soon as the "Where are we moving next?" questions begin.
Personal experiences and referrals from your friends and their friends are invaluable. Begin networking and exploring. Read blogs, Facebook pages, and neighborhood forums relevant to your next city. Post a general inquiry about what the schools are like in the area, and the answers will pour in. Moms and dads love to talk about their kids’ lives! Examine the general trend and ignore the worst and best comments to formulate an opinion based on the overall tone of the reviews.
Best Places to Begin Researching Schools
Nation’s Report Card
State Boards of Education and Local School Districts
State Boards of Education explain an overall view of education philosophies and goals for each school year. Budget information and state standard testing information will also be available. The local school district websites describe, in detail, a wide variety of topics from specialized education programs to before and after school care and school boundary calculators. Don’t underestimate the importance of investigating boundary lines and proposed future changes.
Newspapers for your new city will always report on school happenings. Local news websites such as the Patch network have reporters relaying neighborhood and school events weekly, often with an archive to read previous stories. This is an efficient way to learn about school specific issues, such as scheduled building improvements or the new bell schedule taking effect for the high school.
Families should consider visiting prospective schools for a tour and schedule time for questions with the principal. Topics should include the average number of children in a class, extra-curricular opportunities, and curriculum inquiries, to name just a few.
PTAs and PTOs are a wealth of information regarding the level of parental involvement, the need for fund raising, and representation at school board meetings. Some may even have a committee or volunteer as a welcome wagon to new families, providing useful school and neighborhood information.
Most military installations provide a School Liaison Officer (SLO) to help navigate the process of school transition for all military children and their specific needs. The SLO can offer advice for private and public school research as well as homeschool activities, and often has relationships with local principals and teachers.
Familiar standbys such as GreatSchools and SchoolDigger still offer very relevant information and reviews from families. These, compiled with the previously mentioned information, should produce viable choices for a new school where your child can thrive!
ARCTURUS ON THE POTOMAC
BELLE VIEW CONDOMINIUMS
BROOKVILLE SEMINARY VALLEY
CARLYLE TOWERS CONDOMINIUM
CLUSTERS AT WOODLAWN
CONDO AT ISLAND CREEK
CONDOS AT CAMERON BLVD
COURT AT MT VERNON
CREST OF ALEXANDRIA
EMMA P HUME
FORT HUNT ESTATES
FORT LYON HEIGHTS
GEORGE WASHINGTON PARK
GRIST MILL WOODS
HOLLIN BROOK PARK
HOLLIN HALL VILLAGE
HYBLA VALLEY FARMS
ISABELLA AT MONTICELLO MEWS
KEYS AND RUSSELL
MANORS AT MOUNT VERNON
MANORS AT STONEGATE
MOUNT VERNON GROVE
MOUNT VERNON HILLS
MOUNT VERNON MANOR
MOUNT VERNON PARK
MOUNT ZEPHYR COMMONS
MT VERNON MANOR
MT VERNON PARK
MT VERNON TERRACE
MT VERNON VALLEY
NORTHAMPTON AT KINGSTOWNE
OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA
OLD TOWN SE QUADRANT
OLD TOWN VILLAGE
PARKER GRAY HISTORIC DISTRICT
PAVILION ON THE PARK
PENN DAW VILLAGE
POINTE AT PARK CENTER
PRINCE STREET CLUB
PRINCESS STREET TOWNHOUSES
RESIDENCES AT SULLIVAN
ROSE HILL FARM
RUSSELL G C
ST ASAPH SQUARE
STRATFORD ON THE POTOMAC
SUNNY RIDGE ESTATES
TERRACE OF BEVER
THE CREST OF ALEXANDRIA
THE DUKE AT OLD TOWN
THE TOWNS AT 1333
THE VILLAGES CON
TIERS OF MANCHESTER LAKE
TIMBER BRANCH PARK
VALLEY PARK CONDO
VILLAGES AT HUNTINGTON
WATERGATE AT LANDMARK
WATERGATE OF ALEXANDRIA
WEST END CONDOS
WINDY HILL AT LINCOLNIA
YACHT HAVEN ESTATES
OLD TOWN VILLAGE COMMUNITY RESOURCES