Apartment Living in Alexandria, Virginia


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Alexandria, Virginia, continues to be on reader’s choice lists as one of the best cities in the U.S. to call home. It recently ranked as the third-best small city in the country, according to Conde Nast Traveler, October 2023. 


While it’s fantastic news that the city checks so many desirability boxes, its popularity strains housing availability and affordability, as many people relocating to Alexandria look for apartments.


The apartment lifestyle in Alexandria offers many convenience factors, such as the ability to live near Washington, DC, and have a car-free commute. Apartments within walking distance of any Metro stops always draw apartment seekers. 


Add the traditional benefits of maintenance-free living and perks like high-end gyms and pet washing stations, and apartment life becomes even more appealing.

Apartment Styles Found in Alexandria

Renters looking for apartments in Alexandria, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria have plenty of home-style options to consider, from relatively affordable units to luxury options. 

Apartments in Alexandria, Fairfax County

In Fairfax County, you can tour dozens of apartment complexes, including the traditional spread-out configuration and high-rise apartment buildings. There’s also a subcategory of apartments catering to single professionals temporarily living in Alexandria—commonly found in lower levels of single-family homes, with the owner living above.   

Apartments in the City of Alexandria

The City of Alexandria’s apartment options usually feature the traditional look of a high-rise tower or smaller complexes. However, you’ll also find separated multi-family units within large (probably older style) row houses. 


If you’re interested in the perks of luxury apartment living, Old Town has the answers, but it’s a competitive and expensive market to have Potomac River access. Renters like the city's choices because of its walkability and access to shopping, dining, and entertainment.

From high rises to smaller units, there are many apartment rental options in Alexandria, VA.

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Why Rent in Alexandria Varies

For a rental budget reference, reports the average rent in Alexandria is $2,220. The cost continues to rise, on average, 4.5% year after year. 


It’s not unusual for rent to reach far above these averages. Amenities like parking spaces, pet-friendly properties, in-house gym, pools, and proximity to Metro bus and train access affect monthly rental prices. 

Understanding Alexandria, Virginia Zip Codes and Borders is a useful tool as you explore housing options.

the pros and cons of apartment living in alexandria, VA

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The Pros and Cons of Apartment Living in Alexandria, VA

The Pros


The high-quality lifestyle that Alexandria offers draws newcomers. Many parts of the city are walkable, and every amenity is available. Cultural attractions, including museums, art festivals, concerts, and historical events, are just the beginning of things to do. You’ll always find a new restaurant to try, although you’ll have to reserve weeks in advance for the most coveted spots. 


If you’re looking for easy access to public transportation, Alexandria has a solution, whether train, bus, or shuttle. But most commonly, apartment dwellers prefer a walkable Metro train station.


There are six Alexandria metro stations: 

  • King Street Station
  • Van Dorn Street
  • Eisenhower Avenue
  • Huntington
  • Braddock Road Station 
  • Potomac Yard

The Cons

The greater Washington, DC, real estate market is one of the most expensive in the country, and Alexandria’s real estate and cost of living mimic these prices. You’ll pay more for gas, groceries, entertainment, and everyday shopping. 


As you house-hunt, consider accessible parking. Apartments don’t necessarily have assigned parking, and renters may need to apply for residential parking to avoid tickets while parking on the street.


If you're considering an in-home apartment, understand that some apartments offer little more than a room with a mini-fridge and a microwave. Other in-home apartments occupy entire floors or basements outfitted with one or two bedrooms with access to a private entrance. Basement-style apartments have multiple types of renters competing for access in Alexandria. Students, single government workers, and TDY military members go head to head, competing for these more affordable rentals.


Learn more about the area housing market in Home Shopping in Alexandria, VA: Styles and Prices.

apartment building with pool

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Tips for Choosing an Apartment in Alexandria

1. Understand Alexandria, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria. 

If this is your first time living in Alexandria, it’s crucial to understand the differences between Alexandria, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria.  Each has its own government and school system. It can be challenging if you aren’t confident about the rental's location when it comes time to register your vehicle or enroll in public school.

2. Consider the commute to work. 


Because Alexandria is so large and diverse, the apartment search can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t choose a general location within the two different parts of the city. Commuters often narrow down apartments according to their proximity to work.


For example, lower rental prices entice apartment searchers, but later, they realize the commute into Washington, DC, becomes difficult without easy access to a Metro stop. Or, the apartment rental savings are eaten by parking fees each month.

3. Location matters. 

The closer housing is to the Potomac River, the more expensive the rent is. However, if you look at the West End, it’s the City of Alexandria’s largest and fastest-growing area. New construction, more space, and up-and-coming live, work, and play communities are in various stages of development. It’s also close to I-395 and I-95 if your commute takes you into DC, Maryland, or other parts of Virginia.


carlyle crossing apartments alexandria



Photo from Carlyle’s Crossing Facebook Page


Popular Apartments in Alexandria


If you research the most popular apartments in Alexandria, it's obvious that the most sought-after apartments are in the luxury category. 


The good news is everyone has their version of luxury, whether it’s on-site parking, high-end finishes, or the availability of shared amenities. Depending on your version of luxury, the pricing structure varies. 

Popular apartment complexes or towers in Alexandria:

  • The Elms at Kingstowne
  • Parc Meridian at Eisenhower Station
  • The Asher
  • The Alexander
  • Carlyle Place Apartments
  • Carlyle Crossing 
  • Gables Old Town North
  • Seminary Towers
  • Del Ray Tower

There are dozens of solid reasons to rent an apartment in Alexandria and even more listings. To find your ideal apartment, consider your budget and match it with your desired lifestyle. 


Alexandria, Fairfax County, and the City of Alexandria have options for various types of apartment living, so don’t be discouraged while looking for the perfect fit. Click below to see all the MilitaryByOwner listings in Alexandria.