Alexandria Guide For Newcomers

Why Military Families Love Alexandria, VA: A Newcomer's Guide



Military families new to Alexandria are in for an amazing experience; just ask the multitude of service members who consistently return to one of Washington, D.C.’s best communities. Don’t just take our word for it! Check out some big accolades that came in during 2020-2021.

  • Best Small Cities in the U.S. Alexandria #3 Conde Nast Traveler 2021
  • Friendliest Cities in the U.S. #2 Conde Nast Traveler
  • Certified as a Better City for Pets Mars Petcare Program

Despite the expensive real estate, there are hundreds of amenities 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.

RELATED: What You Need to Know for Your Military Move to Alexandria, Virginia

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



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 isn’t the only part of Alexandria with charm to spare. The Mount Vernon area and its namesake, George Washington’s plantation, preside over amazing views of the Potomac River. Both tourists and residents alike admire the location’s sunrises and sunsets.


Out in the neighborhood of Del Ray, artistry of all kinds is revered. Art and street festivals abound, while music is showcased at the historic Birchmere. 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 style of Craftsman, Arts and Crafts, and Colonial Revival are located.

Alexandria Has Every Type of Housing You'd Ever Want



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


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

Lots of Commute Options!

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The George Washington Memorial Parkway spans from points in Virginia through Washington, D.C., 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 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, and Braddock Road Station. A sixth station, Potomac Yard Metro Station, is due to open in early 2020. Don’t forget the Metrobus options.They’ll often have stops that are walking distances from popular neighborhoods.

Numerous Education Choices for Kids

Families with children are often overwhelmed (in a good way) with the abundance of educational opportunities for their children. Both 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 in your reach previously.

Plenty of Opportunities for Military Spouses

Across the country, spouses continue to 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 to find meaningful employment, financial and otherwise. The local economy continues to grow, adding new jobs on a regular basis.


As a bedroom community to Washington, D.C., Alexandria benefits from the trickle effect not only from federal work, but from companies who find the National Capital Region a profitable place to do business. Working in Alexandria could help to simplify commute and school schedules for the family. This community is one that understands the challenges of a 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 fostering volunteer work. Each have several ways to dive in. Nearby, multiple bases have college campuses behind their gates.Outside of the gates, several more reputable college campuses like Northern Virginia Community College offer classes, both online and off.


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

Alexandria Is SO Dog Friendly


Photo by Heather Whitfield


Pet stores, dog walking, dog school, 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 right up 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 you aren’t convinced by this partial list of amazing experiences, then stay tuned and keep reading, because these reasons why military families love Alexandria are just the start to getting to know the city.