Alexandria, VA

Population: 151,473 livability score shield

Key findings

  • Alexandria has a Livability Score of 80/100, which is considered exceptional
  • Alexandria crime rates are 15% higher than the Virginia average
  • Cost of living in Alexandria is 39% higher than the Virginia average
  • Alexandria real estate prices are 110% higher than the Virginia average
  • Rental prices in Alexandria are 42% higher than the Virginia average

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      Alexandria, VA

      Alexandria is a town in northern Virginia with a population of around 140,000 people. The town is extremely close to the counties capital, Washington D.C., which is only seven miles away. The city boasts beautiful views of the Potomac River with historical charm at Old Town. Alexandria is a very expensive city that boasts some of the nicest neighborhoods in the country and in the state.

      As understood, Alexandria is full of employment available in the military and government industries. This is significant as it is located right outside of the capital. There are also jobs in the tech industry continuously up and coming in the area. This 300 year old city has some of the most beautiful neighborhoods such as North Ridge-Rosemont, Old Town, Northeast and Southwest Quadrant.

      The cost of housing to live in one of these neighborhoods is significantly higher than the rest of Virginia and the rest of the country. The average price for a home in this city, in all neighborhoods, is around $500,000. There are rarely rentals that are less than $1,700 a month.

      Utilities in Alexandria are more reasonable. They are slightly lower than the rest of the country and the rest of Virginia. This includes utility costs of electricity, gas and internet and cable prices. Grocery costs, however are much more expensive than those in the rest of the country and in the rest of Virginia, including the prices of goods and the prices of taxes. Transportation is also slightly more expensive than other transportation costs in Virginia and in the country.

      There are many public transportation offerings in Alexandria. There are metro stations and train stations throughout for a commute to Washington D.C. such as the Alexandria Union Station and the King Street - Old Town Washington Metro Station. There is also a public, local bus system called the DASH Bus. There are also taxis and bus systems such as the Metrobus to transport across the entire D.C. metro region.

      Old Town Alexandria is one of the most unique neighborhoods to travel to once moving to Alexandria. It features cute shops, antique stores and historical theaters. There are also numerous historical places to see in Alexandria including the John Carlyle House, Christ Church and Alexandria City Hall. There are over 30 parks and recreation centers throughout the city including Chinquapin.

      Alexandria is a beautiful, yet expensive, city in northern Virginia. It is close proximity to Washington D.C., offering the employment opportunities and travel opportunities that go along with the capital city. There are many historical features to see in this city including Old Town and other monuments scattered throughout. There is so much beauty to explore and experience in Alexandria.

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      Alexandria Reviews

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      Beautiful City on the River
      I have family in Old Town so, I often get to visit with my partner. I would love to move here but, the price of homes here is steadily climbing. It’s one of the most expensive and elite areas to live in the region. Many of the region’s most prestigious private schools are located here. This city is stunning with a rich history and a lot of great places to eat and go out for drinks. It’s close to DC (about 15 minutes) but, a lot safer and quite a bit more expensive. This is where the Senators commute from to work so, that should speak to the safety and status of the area.

      What I don’t see anywhere is mention of how huge boating is here. Alexandria has miles of Potomac River frontage and tons of marinas filled with yachts and boats. Additionally, there’s a ferry you can take to DC and the National Harbor in Maryland.

      Despite what another reviewer said, the taxes here are lower than those in DC and Maryland. However, the lower taxes likely don’t make up for the higher cost of living. Despite being majority white, there is a fair amount of diversity in Alexandria and a hu
      1 0
      Cultural Mecca in the DMV
      Alexandria is a stunning city on the Potomac River with a lot to offer anyone. There is a neighborhood to fit anything that you're looking for. For instance, Old Town is full of historic sites, amazing restaurants and boutique shopping, as well as architecture similar to Philadelphia and New England. There is a great mix of people that live here as more apartments have been built over the last twenty years which makes the area a little more attainable for renters. With Alexandria's high education rate comes highly progressive politics which have increased offerings for residents. Most recently, the city's public transportation system has gone completely fare free and there are continually projects being done to make sure it remains one of the best places to live.

      Though COVID forced businesses to close everywhere, you wouldn't notice when walking down the Main Street (King Street). You can find a handful of bigger name stores (Anthropologie, Lululemon, Patagonia, West Elm, etc) but, many are locally owned boutiques. The waterfront is likely one of the biggest selling points. It's the only waterfront in the area that was truly designed for pedestrians with acres of continuous parks stretching the entire length of the city. You can walk/bike from North to South going almost only through parks.

      There are some people who work for the government here but, with housing as expensive as it is, most residents work in the private sector in finance, consulting, and some in military contracting. The people I do know here working for the government are mostly Senators/Reps and Generals working at the Pentagon. There is no crime to speak of in Alexandria and you're hard pressed to even see people speeding. In recent years, the roads have been made increasingly narrow and sidewalks and protected bike lanes expanded as an incentive to walk or bike which keeps speeds low. I've never had an issue with parking here. There are some metered areas and it's very clear that in those areas it isn't free and you can pay with the ParkMobile app. Additionally, parking garages here are relatively inexpensive compared to nearby areas.

      Commute times are pretty amazing. Before being ceded back to Virginia, Arlington and Alexandria were a part of DC which means that many areas of Alexandria are closer to downtown DC than other areas of DC. There is great public transportation connectivity as well as highways. Virginia maintains their highways and roads so, you only face potholes once you get to DC. The commute to downtown DC is roughly 15 minutes and the commute to downtown Arlington is about the same. The commute to Amazon's new headquarters which is partly in Alexandria will only be 5-10 minutes depending on where you live. Perhaps most convenient, DC's airport (DCA) is located in Arlington on the border of Alexandria making travel convenient.
      2 0
      Great place to visit, caution if considering moving here
      I have lived in Alexandria for over 50 years. I have always thought of it as "the biggest small town you know" because it covers a very large area, and to make it more confusing there are two counties that parts of Alexandria are in. Fairfax County and The City of Alexandria. There are many shops in Old Town Alexandria and all over the Northern Virginia area with a vast array of diversity in offerings with numerous cultures and interests represented. It is about 2 hours to the beach or mountains. However in the past several years the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has ushered in massive new development that increases density in an already very crowded area, and residents have made numerous pleas against such development as there are issues with flooding, public schools failing the children that they are supposed to serve because Teachers Unions are holding them hostage to negotiate for other things they want rather than putting the interests of children in families first. Housing is incredibly expensive. There are numerous private schools that are functioning beautifully with no corona incidents, further illustrating the failing of the public school system. Pre Covid there was many bars and restaurants in the area, and Washington DC is very close with even more variety before Covid. Now however thousands of businesses have been forced to close their doors forever due to the COVID lockdowns. Northern Virginia is heavily liberal and dominated by Democratic polices. It is not friendly to Conservatives. There are many lovely neighborhoods and communities with great diversity. There are diligent efforts to support the lower income residents with various supplements through the local government as well as communities that have food banks, counseling, job training and more. In addition there is an enormous effort of residents & local government concerned about diversity, inclusion and fairness for all and this is visible upon walking around. It is a very expensive area to live. Virtually everything costs more here than in other areas. It is a sanctuary city, and has many residents who live and work here that were able to get a drivers license without being a legal resident or legal entry to the United States. This is also common in MD right across the water. The taxes here are some of the highest in the country, and the Virginia General Assembly passed numerous bills last year that will increase taxes on many things including real estate, gas, cars, and much more. However because there is so much military and Federal jobs in the area, the housing market is quite stable so it is unlikely that any housing values will ever decline. I consider that the quality of living has gone down considerably in the past few decades. Hopefully this information is helpful for those considering the area.
      2 -4
      This place really is a terrible place.
      There are a few familiar restaurants. McD's, Applebie's, Panda Express and IHOP are fairly standardized but the food can be an unappetizing deviation from what you're used to, and it's still an uneasy different world experience...unless you grew up in ghetto. it's better than a getto! Walmart is still Walmart and Home Depot is still Home Depot but they're both somehow freaky and scary because of the indiginous people's aggressive cult-like attitudes..

      Ir's commonplace to see people sharing home rolled cigarettes that stink to high Heaven. Whatever it is, it's either legal or not policed. The profitability of drug dealing and ballot harvesting seem to be popular topics of conversation.

      The vast majority of residents seem to be black. I've seen only ONE Native American, a handlful of Caucasians and zero Asians. I have seen some Hispanics however. I absolutely don't believe the demographic statistics. I would characterize the people as those whom you would expect to meet in any other-side-of-the-tracks big city downtown neighborhood. I would liken it to being slightly better than seeing McDonalds in Beirut.

      It's not that the city is "run down", per se. There seems to be a modicum of effort but mostly superficial. It's just that everything you expect to be nice...isn't, and neither is anything else either.

      Exceptions: the roads are nice and some (brick) buildings (externally) appear charming. There are some modern looking (externally) office and apartment buildings. There are a lot more trees there than in some of the worst U.S. ghettos.

      Gas is kind if cheap, so they've got that!
      0 -9
      This is a terrible place to live do not move here
      Alexandria is as bad as Oakland California. The only difference is that they have made it legal to steal here. If you are not white and have a lot of money you are targeted by the police who ticket and tie vehicles faster than they can be parked. The dmv is difficult to deal with at the best. DO NOT move here. They steal faster than you can make money and again they make it legal. Everyone is in on the take including apartment managers who don't issue parking permits so you can be towed. Liars and thieves run this town. The police are so bored they troll the streets handing out parking tickets and towing vehicles. Again liars and cheats run this town. Do not move here.
      2 -6
      Avoid hourly street parking in Alexandria
      Avoid parking in Alexandria in the hourly, non-meter spots at all costs!!

      The parking enforcement people give out bogus $40 parking tickets even though you have parked less than the hours on the sign. They know that if you try to contest it based on your word, they will make you go through a rediculous hearing process for additional $10 fee which you will not win. Then you can appeal their decision and go to court, which if found guilty you will have to pay court costs and more admin fees.. not to mention the time it takes to go through the "pre-hearing" and then the court date itself.

      So if you park in Alexandria, be sure to find a garage or meter.

      I am going to avoid going back to old town alexandria for any reason now after learning how disguisting their parking enforecement "TAX" department is.. what kind of city gouges its visitors so badly.. so much worse than DC even!
      3 -2
      Alexandria, VA - Wine, Dine & Out on the Town!
      I currently live about thirty minutes outside of Alexandria, VA and I would have to say that it is a fantastic place to visit. I find myself spending more time in Alexandria than I do at home because of the wide array of shopping, entertainment, attractions, restaurants and bustling nightlife!

      Alexandria is on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. and has all the hustle & bustle including the outstanding nightlife just like Washington however you will also find a wonderful; almost small-town environment that Washington can not offer! I was very surprised when I first visited Alexandria with its green parks, small streets with houses on each side and some gorgeous white picket fences!

      This should not fool you, downtown Alexandria features some great historical places to visit; one of the best is the "Friendship Firehouse" which makes a great family stop! If your more interested in shopping you will delighted to visit the Landmark Mall. One of my favorite entertainment stops was the Cinemark movie theater located right in the heart of "downtown" Alexandria which is a gorgeous two story movie theater; I was impressed by the large escalators which bring you to the second level. If your looking for some quality Nightlife be sure to visit 930 Night Club. Don't let the name fool you, the party gets started much later than 9:30 PM but it may very well go until 9:30 the next morning! Alexandria is a great city with an outstanding night life and equally great restaurants, bars and dining!
      3 -1
      Source: The Alexandria, VA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).