Alexandria Guide For Newcomers

Alexandria waterfront along Potomac River

Alexandria waterfront along Potomac River in northern Virginia. Photo from

Military families new to Alexandria, VA, are in for an amazing experience; just ask the multitude of servicemembers who consistently return to one of Washington, DC’s best communities. Don’t just take our word for it! Check out some of Alexandria’s big accolades: 

Despite the city’s expensive real estate, hundreds of amenities are available to make up for the cost of living. From commuting and working to the city’s central location for travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard, Alexandria has so much to offer military families.

Read What You Need to Know for Your Military Move to Alexandria, Virginia, to understand the differences between the City of Alexandria and Alexandria, Fairfax County.

Alexandria Is the Perfect Mix of a Place to Call Home and Tourist Destination

The City of Alexandria’s Old Town overflows with charming, historic vibes and provides many chances to revisit history, explore new restaurants and shops, and find endless walkways to stroll through.

Old Town Alexandria in the spring

Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria. Photo from Bielko


Out in the neighborhood of Del Ray, artistry of all kinds is revered by its residents. Art and street festivals abound, while the historic Birchmere stage showcases music of all types. Locals and tourists enjoy live music from iconic performers and hometown bands.


Military families will easily find even more history and unique settings within popular residential areas such as Seminary Hill in the West End and the Rosemont Historic District. It's in Rosemont where rows of homes built in the Craftsman, Arts and Crafts, and Colonial Revival styles are located.


Old Town isn’t the only part of Alexandria with charm to spare. In Alexandria, Fairfax County (different from the City of Alexandria), the Mount Vernon area and its namesake, George Washington’s mansion, preside over incredible views of the Potomac River. Both tourists and residents alike admire the location’s sunrises and sunsets.



Alexandria VA rowhouses

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Alexandria Has Every Type of Housing You'd Ever Want

Families flock to both Alexandrias because of the Norman Rockwell feel to dozens of neighborhoods. If kids running and playing through the streets and bursting in and out your front door is your version of an ideal childhood, well then, welcome home because that exact scenario plays out after school and during the summer every day.

Often, single servicemembers and servicemembers who are married without children get lumped into housing categories that cater to families with kids. If kids aren’t in the picture, the entire city is up for grabs. Apartments, townhouses, and condos are just as popular as single-family homes but are likely more affordable and closer to most military bases.

metro stop at Union station in washington DC

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Alexandria's Commuting Options

The George Washington Memorial Parkway spans from points in Virginia through Washington, DC, and Maryland. It is a time saver and a gorgeous stretch of road to pass the time in the car. Heading to Fort Belvoir is a breeze, as is the commute to the Pentagon thanks to "The Parkway."

Multiple Metrorail stations are centrally located throughout the city. In fact, five separate stations serve the community in Alexandria: King Street Station, Van Dorn Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Braddock Road Station, and Potomac Yard Metro Stations.

Don’t forget the Metrobus options. They’ll often have stops that are within walking distance from popular neighborhoods.

Numerous Education Choices for Kids

Families with children are often overwhelmed, in a good way, by the abundance of educational opportunities for their children. The City of Alexandria and Alexandria, Fairfax County, offer dozens of award-winning and highly-ranked public schools.
The private school scene is just as strong, and there will probably be more homeschooling communities in the area than you’ve had within your reach previously.

Alexandria Opportunities for Military Spouses

Across the country, spouses struggle to find employment suitable to a military lifestyle. Remote work is always an option, but living in Alexandria puts spouses in the enviable position of finding meaningful employment, financial and otherwise. The local economy continues to grow, adding new jobs regularly.


business people looking at laptop


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As a bedroom community to Washington, DC, Alexandria benefits from the trickle effect from federal work and companies who find the National Capital Region a profitable place to do business. Working in Alexandria could help simplify the family's commute and school schedules. This community understands the challenges of military life, but still appreciates the skills spouses bring to the table.


Time spent in Alexandria might also mean a period dedicated to personal education or volunteer work. Each has several ways to dive in. Nearby, multiple bases have college campuses behind their gates. Outside the gates, several more reputable college campuses, like Northern Virginia Community College, offer online and in-person classes.


There's no shortage of volunteer opportunities. From volunteering at your child’s school to finding a nonprofit organization close to your heart, they’re all just a short distance from any part of Alexandria you might pick to live.


dog sitting under a cafe table in Old Town Alexandria VA


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Alexandria Is SO Dog-Friendly

Pet stores, dog walking, dog schools, dog parks, dogs on Potomac River cruises, dogs that dine—the list goes on and on for pet-friendly options in Alexandria. Shopkeepers take pride in offering water bowls and doggie biscuits at the front of their stores so your pooch feels welcome. If your dog is the center of your household and pet amenities are a top priority, then Alexandria will suit you just fine. Dogs can even ride on the Metro if confined in a travel crate!

If this partial list of unique Alexandria experiences doesn’t convince you, stay tuned and keep reading because these reasons why military families love Alexandria are just the start to getting to know the city.

Learn more about the Alexandria area: Living in Alexandria, VA.