Moving to Alexandria
Welcome! If you're considering a fresh chapter in Alexandria, Virginia, you're in for quite an adventure! Famed for its charming Old Town, its astounding mix of history and modern appeal, and its proximity to Washington D.C., Alexandria offers a unique blend of culture, convenience, and coziness. Our comprehensive relocation guide is here to ensure that your move is as seamless and enjoyable as an afternoon jaunt down King Street. Whether you're contemplating which neighborhood suits you best or pondering the local food scene, we've got you covered. Let's embark on this journey to your potential new home - Alexandria awaits!
What to Know Before Moving to Alexandria
1. An Abundance of Historical Sites
Alexandria, Virginia, is a treasure trove of history. Established in 1749, Alexandria has preserved several buildings, streets, and landmarks that date back to its early days. The city boasts a multitude of historical sites, such as the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Carlyle House, and Gadsby's Tavern. A stroll along King Street will transport you back in time, providing a fascinating peek into the city's rich past. But it doesn't end there! Try to discover for yourself Alexandria's lesser-known historic gems.
2. A Foodie's Paradise
Food and drinks are a big deal in Alexandria. Thanks to the city's wide array of eateries and bars, you'll never run out of gastronomic adventures. Enjoy fine dining experiences or simple comfort foods, reveling in international menus from French to Ethiopian cuisine. Little known to most, a not-to-miss spot is the Farmer's Market at Market Square. Operating continuously since 1753, it offers fresh local produce, pastries, and lots of unique local flavors every Saturday.
3. A Love for the Arts
If you're an art enthusiast, you'll be mesmerized by the city's vibrant arts scene. Alexandria is home to several renowned art galleries and studios. Every second Friday, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the 'Second Friday Art Walk' in the Del Ray neighborhood, which showcases works from local artists. In addition, the Torpedo Factory Art Center, an old converted munitions plant, houses over 165 visual artists in one single, funky space.
4. Get Ready to Explore the Outdoors
Alexandria offers many opportunities for outdoor activities. With more than 900 acres of parks, trails, and recreational centers, nature-lovers can enjoy hiking, biking, or picnicking while soaking in Virginia's natural beauty. One lesser-known fun fact: Alexandria is home to the nation's first publicly funded forest reclamation project, the Winkler Botanical Preserve, a hidden oasis within the city.
5. Easy Access to D.C.
One massive perk of living in Alexandria is the ease of access to Washington, D.C. Hop onto the metro for a stress-free commute or take a scenic bike ride along the Potomac River to reach the capital. This makes Alexandria an excellent choice for those who work in D.C. but crave a less bustling, more historic hometown vibe.
6. Close-Knit Community Feeling
Despite being part of the Washington metropolitan area, Alexandria maintains a small-town charm with its close-knit community feeling. Expect local neighborhood parties, cultural parades, and vibrant farmers' markets. The sense of community is further amplified during the annual Birthday Celebration for the city, which features a grand fireworks display and draws a town-wide crowd hailing Alexandria's rich heritage.
In conclusion, moving to Alexandria offers a dynamic blend of history, culture, food, and art, along with the convenience of being close to the nation's capital. From its historic brick sidewalks to its scenic waterfront landscapes, every corner of the city has a story to tell and an experience to offer. Welcome to your new home; the city of Alexandria is waiting to unfold its fascinating secrets just for you!
Pros and Cons of Living in Alexandria
Pros of Living in Alexandria
Rich History and Culture
When living in Alexandria, you are surrounded by some of the nation's most historic landmarks and sites. Alexandria is steeped in rich history, dating back to the 18th century, and offers a multitude of museums, historic homes, and cultural experiences.
Strategically located along the Potomac River, Alexandria provides picturesque scenery and ample opportunities for outdoor activities. This includes exploring the famous waterfront or Mount Vernon Trail.
Excellent Dining and Shopping
Alexandria boasts a wide variety of dining options and high-end shopping areas. King Street is renowned for its vibrant food scene and unique shops, making it a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike.
Quality Education System
The city prides itself on an excellent education system, with highly rated schools and multiple esteemed universities within the vicinity. This can be a significant draw for families with children or those planning on pursuing higher education.
Vibrant Arts Scene
Alexandria has a lively arts scene with unique galleries, theaters, and an array of events and festivals. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is a standout feature in the city, housing over 82 artists' studios and seven galleries.
Cons of Living in Alexandria
High Cost of Living
Alexandria, like many areas near the nation's capital, has a high cost of living. This can affect all aspects of life, including housing, groceries, and transportation, which are all significantly higher than the national average.
Traffic and Parking Issues
As a densely populated city, Alexandria tends to have issues with traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. Parking can also be scarce in certain parts of the city, adding to the overall hassle of commuting.
The weather in Alexandria can be unpredictable and extreme at times. Summers can be humid and hot, winters cold and icy, potentially making outdoor activities and commuting less pleasant during these times.
Due to Alexandria's popularity and appeal, overcrowding can be an issue in certain areas. This can lead to crammed public transportation, crowded public spaces, and a general feeling of congestion.
Like in many urban areas, there is visible income inequality, with pockets of wealth adjacent to struggling neighborhoods. This disparity can be evident in various aspects of life in Alexandria, from education to housing opportunities.
Is Alexandria a Good Place to Live?
Alexandria, VA is a great place to live because of its historical charm, cultural diversity, and an array of recreational activities, from water sports to hiking. In addition to this, it boasts top-notch schools, a vibrant arts scene, and excellent dining options. Best of all, it's tucked conveniently close to Washington D.C., so you have the advantage of small-town charm with big-city amenities just a stone's throw away!
What Is Alexandria Famous For?
Historic Old Town Alexandria
In Alexandria's picturesque old town, cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and red-brick sidewalks tell the story of a city that has kept its charm from yesteryear intact. Here, visitors can cafe-hop, browse unique local shops, take river tours and enjoy the stunning views of the Potomac. It's a walkable, Instagram-worthy haven bursting with old-world character and charm.
Alexandria's Ghost Tours
For those craving a little ghostly adventure, Alexandria is infamous for its spooky, lantern-lit ghost tours. Guides decked out in period-accurate attire weave tales of the city's haunted history, where guests can potentially come face-to-face with the spirits of old Alexandrians. It's an after-dark activity that's sure to send shivers down even the bravest visitor's spine!
The Torpedo Factory Art Center
The Torpedo Factory Art Center is nothing short of a creative powerhouse, located on the city's revitalized waterfront. Once a World War II-era torpedo factory, this sprawling, three-story building is now home to the largest collection of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S. If seeking artistic inspiration, look no further!
Del Ray Neighborhood
Known as the city's coolest, quirky neighborhood, Del Ray boasts a boho vibe that perfectly complements its family-friendly feel. This 'hood offers everything from eclectic boutiques and diners serving comfort food to lively markets, craft breweries and independent coffee shops. If looking for an authentic slice of local life, Del Ray is old-school Alexandria at its best.
Overview of Tax Rates
The property tax rate in Alexandria, VA as of 2023 is $1.13 per $100 of assessed value. This is slightly higher than the average property tax rate in the United States, which is around $1.07 per $100.
The combined sales tax rate for Alexandria, VA is 6%, which includes state, county, and city taxes. This is lower than the national median sales tax rate of 6.2%.
Alexandria, VA follows Virginia's state income tax brackets, which range from 2% to 5.75%. Compared to the national average, where state income tax rates can range from 0% to over 13%, Alexandria's income tax is quite average.
In Alexandria, VA, the median home value stands at approximately $590,000, compared to the national median of about $281,000. While this disparity may seem daunting, it's important to note that Alexandria offers robust amenities, a strong job market, and excellent schools, attracting a high demand. Rental prices also reflect this, with the median rent at $2,100 compared to the national median of $1,500. Considering Alexandria's strategic location near Washington D.C. and its high-quality offerings, it can be a rewarding long-term investment opportunity for shrewd homeowners and renters alike.
Cost of Living
Currently, Alexandria, VA, registers a significantly higher cost of living compared to many other US cities. The factors contributing to this are housing, utility, and grocery costs. A relatively expensive real estate market pushes the overall living cost above national averages. Moreover, utility costs can also be higher than in other areas of the country. However, the area boasts high wages, excellent schools, and a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, offering a high quality of life in return.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Alexandria, VA, situated on the Potomac River, is characterized by a humid subtropical climate. It experiences hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters, with moderate to heavy rainfall occurring throughout the year. Winter months may bring occasional snowfall and ice events while springtime often ushers in beautiful blossoms amidst fluctuating temperatures. During the summer, thunderstorms are quite common, oftentimes featuring intense rainfall. Natural disasters in Alexandria primarily include hurricanes and tropical storms, typically from August to late October. Flooding, particularly in low-lying areas, can also pose a risk during periods of heavy rains. Residents should be aware of winter snowstorms and the occasional risk of tornados.The city's coastal location also brings the potential threat of sea-level rise due to climate change. Despite these weather-related challenges, Alexandria's charming appeal continues to endure, attracting visitors year-round.
Economy & Job Market
* Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
* Health Care and Social Assistance
* Educational Services
* Retail Trade
Located just south of the nation's capital, the beautiful city of Alexandria boasts a diverse economy heavily influenced by its strategic location. Traditionally, this Virginian city was a significant player in manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing. However, in the modern era, the city's economy flourishes off professional, scientific and technical services, public administration, health care, social assistance, educational services, and retail trade. Its proximity to Washington D.C has been a boon, attracting a variety of government-related and contracting businesses. Alexandria also has a burgeoning healthcare and social assistance sector, thanks to its vast range of medical facilities and non-profit organizations.
Are you mulling over a move to Alexandria? If you're a job seeker, rest assured, the city's vibrant job market has plenty to offer. Alexandria boasts an unemployment rate lower than the national average, with most of the job opportunities lying in the national defense, government, and health care sectors. The city is an ideal place for professionals, especially in scientific, technical, and educational services. It's also noteworthy that Alexandria offers a relatively high average salary compared to national figures. As far as finding work goes, your best bet would be to look in areas like Old Town, Potomac Yard, and Eisenhower Avenue. Remember, being close to the capital, many Alexandrians commute to D.C. for work -- an option that might work swimmingly for you as well!
Traffic and Transportation
Residents of Alexandria, VA have the luxury of tackling their commute in ways as diverse as the city! Undeniably, navigating around Alexandria can be quite the adventure, especially when the average commute time hovers around 30 minutes. But fear not, numerous public transportation options exist to make the journey smoother. From the efficient Metro Rail and Bus systems shimmering like champions of connectivity, to the wildly popular DASH bus service, just hopping around the corner or traveling to DC is made easy. But that's not all. The water taxis add a nautical twist to local travel, while the free King Street Trolley paints the town with a delightful blend of charm and convenience. For those soaring high, the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport lies in close proximity, making national and international jet-setting a breeze. Buckle up, Alexandria is ready to take you on a joyride!
Best Neighborhoods in Alexandria
1. Old Town
Oh, Old Town, with your historic charm and cobblestone streets, you're the heart of Alexandria! Packed with quaint boutiques, fabulous restaurants, and beautiful 18th and 19th-century buildings, Old Town is perfect for those who appreciate a little history with their nightlife. Expect to find energizing activities like paddleboarding on the Potomac or taking in the art scene at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Don't forget to enjoy a boat tour or just a leisurely stroll along the stunning waterfront!
2. Del Ray
Satisfy your inner hipster in the neighborhood known for its incredible mural art, independent shops, and outdoor farmers market. Deemed '"Where Main Street Still Exists", Del Ray showcases a vibrant mix of restaurants and boutiques along Mount Vernon Avenue. Its strong community feel is evident in popular events like Art on the Avenue and the Del Ray Music Festival. Perfect for folks craving that small-town feel within big city limits.
3. West End
Meet West End, the most diverse neighborhood in Alexandria! Though it's not as historic as Old Town or as artsy as Del Ray, the West End still has a vibe of its own, and has the most green spaces in the Alexandria area. This neighborhood is also the foodie paradise with a global cuisine scene, so if you value open spaces, diversity, and a fantastic culinary scene, this neighborhood is for you.
4. North Ridge
If family-friendly suburban living is your speed, look no further than North Ridge. With tree-lined streets, parks, and a wealth of single-family homes, North Ridge retains a quiet, residential feel while still being just a stone's throw away from the bustle of Old Town and Del Ray. Community-driven events like the Rosemont Farmers Market keep the neighborhood buzzing with activity. A thriving neighborhood association and a school district dotted with blue ribbon schools make this an ideal locale for families.
Last but definitely not least, Carlyle is Alexandria's place to be for those keen on sleek apartment living and proximity to amenities. Home to the US Patent and Trademark Office, The National Science Foundation and a bevy of tech firms, Carlyle is buzzing with innovation. Add local eateries, high end fitness centers, and steps-away access to the King St - Old Town metro station, and you've got a hip, urban mini-metropolis right within Alexandria.
In conclusion, whether you're a history buff, an ardent foodie, a suburban family, an urban dweller or an innovative professional, Alexandria has a vibrant neighborhood ready to welcome you in! Each of these neighborhoods offers its own unique flavor, making Alexandria an exceptional city with something for everyone.
Things to Do
So, you're moving to the charming city of Alexandria, VA, and wondering what the top things to do are? You're in for a surprise! Alexandria, famed for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant arts scene, is brimming with thrilling adventures and hidden gems. Nestled along the Potomac River, its cobblestone streets are teeming with unique activities to dive into. Here are some top picks to help you get started.
1. Explore Old Town Alexandria
The name 'Old Town' might suggest antiquity, but this place is far from boring. It's the pulsating heart of Alexandria, with beautiful cobblestone streets and red-brick houses. Spend your day exploring boutiques, antique shops, and a plethora of mouth-watering restaurants, or just take a stroll on King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the 'Great Streets' of America. But don't forget to save some energy for the vibrant nightlife!
2. Paddleboard on the Potomac
What better way to embrace your new city than by engaging in an exciting new hobby? Stand-up paddleboarding on the Potomac River is a fun way to catch some amazing views of Alexandria's shoreline. You can rent a paddleboard or take lessons at the local boathouse.
3. Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Within an old munitions plant, you'll find the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a vibrant community of artists. Housing six galleries and over 82 artist's studios, the center offers visitors a chance to experience art firsthand, speak with artists, and even purchase their creations. It's an art lover's dream!
4. Take the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Tour
This one's for the history buffs--stop by the towering George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The guided tour will not only educate you about Freemasonry and George Washington's affiliation but also reward you with panoramic views of the city from the observation deck.
5. Attend a Concert at the Birchmere
For a sense of Alexandria's music scene, head to The Birchmere. This iconic music hall has hosted legendary artists like Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. Catch a performance here and enjoy a mix of genres from folk and blues to country and jazz, in a cozy atmosphere.
6. Visit the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
One of the lesser-known attractions in Alexandria is the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Step back to the 18th century and explore this family-run pharmacy that served notable icons like Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee. Peek into glass cabinets filled with ingredients like dragon's blood and unicorn root -- trust us, it's a unique experience!
7. Kick Back at The Vola's Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge
A local secret, Vola's Dockside Grill is the perfect spot to unwind. Situated along the waterfront, it serves delicious seafood and innovative cocktails. Adjacent to it, the Hi-Tide Lounge, with its retro decor and live music, is ideal for late evening rendezvous. Both spots offer stunning views of the docking bay and a friendly atmosphere.
In conclusion, calling Alexandria home is about to get super exciting. Whether you're an art devotee, a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an adventure junkie, you'll find something to pique your interests. It's time to embrace your new city in the most fun way possible!
Find Movers for Your Alexandria Relocation
After perusing the depth of this comprehensive guide, you're probably excited about your upcoming move to the charming city of Alexandria, VA. As your next endeavor, take a moment to make your move as smooth as possible with the established and trustworthy services of Great Guys Moving. They will connect you with the best movers in the industry, carefully selected for their quality service, affordability, and ironclad credentials. Don't leave your move to chance; leverage their expertise to swiftly obtain a free moving quote. Here's to seamless transitions and a new beginning in Alexandria!
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