Alexandria has a high population of renters, so finding your place won’t be too difficult. The most common types of rental housing you’re likely to find are large high-rise apartments and town houses, many of which are newly built or in vintage buildings that have been heavily renovated. These places are pristine and condo-like, with nice kitchens, new appliances, and luxury unit or building amenities thrown in. Units are likely to have central heat and air, and most have a washer and dryer in the unit or have laundry facilities on site. Most places here are equipped for living and entertaining.
Because so many of Alexandria’s dwellings are more luxurious and updated, it’s a bit more unusual to find all or any utilities included in your rent, especially in new places and townhouses. Be forewarned that deposits here are usually the standard same-as-first-months’-rent. What we mean is you might want to plan ahead when looking.
On the whole, Alexandria is considered a place for D.C.-dwelling folk who need a little more space, and a relaxed atmosphere. Alexandria’s neighborhoods are all pretty different, and worth looking into when searching for your perfect pad. Let’s take a look at a couple of the well-known neighborhoods.
Old Town: This is the historic downtown area, which sits along the Potomac River. The main attractions for tourism are here, as well as a lot of local shopping, art galleries, antique stores, bars and restaurants, and many small parks. Two big pros for living here, apart from being at the center of everything, are its walkability and beautiful historic look.
Rosemont: One of Alexandria’s oldest residential neighborhoods, large parts of Rosemont are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here you’ll find more old, historic architecture and mostly single-family homes. This area is close in proximity to Old Town and the King Street Metro station, meaning it’s easily accessible, and is also close by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
Del Ray: Del Ray is sort of a blanket term used for many small communities on the north side of Alexandria, including the actual Del Ray neighborhood. This part of the city contains the Potomac Yard Shopping Center, a large, popular mall. There are many smaller rental homes and cheaper townhouses. New construction and condos are popping up more and more.
Arlandria: A little neighborhood on the far northeast side of the city, so named because it’s close to the border of neighboring town Arlington, but is still part of Alexandria. Arlandria has a lot of cheaper rentals and smaller low-rise apartment buildings.
Seminary Hill/West End: The west-side neighborhoods, such as Seminary Hill, are more suburban and residential that the northern and downtown portions of the city. Seminary Hill is more spread out, with long, winding streets and single-family homes. As far as rentals go, large apartment complexes and town homes are abundant in some areas on the west side, and units are a little more spacious. This part of the city has more malls and shopping centers.
Transportation is always something to consider, especially if you’re one of the lucky people who gets to commute to work every day. Luckily, Alexandria is a pretty connected burg with transportation to satisfy your every need.
By Car: Not essential for all parts of the city, but definitely useful. A car is more helpful for some of the suburban or outlying areas, and still the most popular way to commute to work in Alexandria. Parking may be more expensive in some parts of the city, but in others, finding a place with ample parking isn’t much of a task.
By Metro: The blue and yellow lines of the Washington Metro pass right through Old Town at King Street, and also Braddock Road, north of downtown. Both go straight into the heart of D.C.
By Bus: The Washington MetroBus operates many routes within Alexandria’s city limits and downtown area. In addition, the city of Alexandria has its own DashBush that operates ten routes around the city to popular destinations.
By Train: The Virginia Railway Express (VRE), a commuter rail line, passes right through Alexandria and continues on into D.C.’s Union Station.
By Et Cetera: Alexandria has other small, miscellaneous forms of transportation, such as free trolleys that ferry tourists along historic King Street in Old Town, and quaint water taxis that trolley citizens to and from the National Harbor in nearby Maryland. For bikers and joggers, the Mount Vernon Trail is a popular path that follows the Potomac River for almost 18 miles.
So no matter what part of Alexandria you settle on, you’ll be able to travel wherever you need to go, and you’re bound to be close to everything you need. With the range of living styles, housing types, and neighborhoods in the city, you’re likely to find a match and settle in to become part of the greater D.C. area. Happy hunting!