The 2011 film J. Edgar was shot in part in Great Falls, Virginia, which brought several famous faces to town. Leonardo DiCaprio played the lead role, and Clint Eastwood directed.
When you move to Great Falls, your neighbors will be some of the most remarkable people in the country. Current and past residents include AOL's founder, Steve Case; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder; and the mysterious Louis Freeh, director of the CIA. The city is named for its location overlooking the Potomac River's Great Falls, which is frequently used as a backdrop in movies. In just 10 years, the population of this popular Virginia city has exploded. The number of residents, as of the 2010 census, is about 15,500, nearly double the 2000 census count. People love Great Falls because it is just moments from D.C. and because it offers a gorgeous view. Want to make Great Falls your home? It might take some time, but don't worry. We'll help you every step of the way.
What to Expect
Considering the people you will share your community with, you can expect in-depth applications before you move into any of the rental houses in Great Falls. Your references, job history, and credit will certainly be checked, and a criminal background check is quite likely as well. Be prepared to provide this detailed information right away; competition for these properties is fierce.
Neighborhoods in Great Falls
The center of Great Falls is a long strip that runs right along the south bank of the Potomac River. The most sought-after homes in the city are located here because this area includes the stunning 800-acre Great Falls Park, along with the Scott's Run Nature Preserve. While the vast majority of home rentals are single-family houses with four or more bedrooms, there is the possibility of securing a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment for rent in one of the few apartment complexes in the neighborhood.
West: This area primarily has large single-family houses and a few managed apartment complexes. Because there are more applications than available units, you might want to start networking long before you need to be all moved in. The best way to get nudged to the top of the list and secure application approval is to have a reference from a current resident or other well-respected individual. Here you'll find Turner Farm Park and Lexington Estates Park.
South: Bordered by Leesburg Pike (state route 7), this is a convenient location for commuters. A handful of parks are scattered throughout the neighborhood, including Great Falls Nike Park and Turner Farm Park. Rental prices are marginally lower in this section of the city, and while there isn't much in the way of apartment living, there are some duplexes for rent.
Great Falls Living
Great Falls' biggest asset, aside from its fabulous location, is all the parks you get to enjoy. It's impossible to say enough about Great Falls Park which, in addition to the Potomac River Falls that inspired the city's name, is home to intricate Native American petroglyphs. George Washington himself spent quite a bit of time exploring this area, and he worked on the creation of a canal that circumvented the Falls. Remnants of that project are still visible today.
Do you have an appetite for hiking? There are plenty of trails. There are also sheer cliffs -- if rock climbing is your thing. Just keep in mind that on the most beautiful days, the 600-space Great Falls Park parking lot gets full by the late morning.
A less famous but equally as interesting park choice is the River Bend County Park. It doesn't attract as many people from outside the city, so you'll likely run into neighbors here. This park features regular events, including holiday celebrations and summer concerts.
As for food, Old Brogue Irish Pub, Peking Delight, Great Falls Tavern, Izumi, and Deli Italiano are just some of the options available. If you're feeling extra fancy, try out L'Auberge Chez Francois. It's definitely a local favorite and people love it for the great authentic food and atmosphere, all of which is complemented by the amazing service.
The only downside to living in Northern Virginia is, perhaps, the weather -- but that all depends on your perspective. Winters get cold and snowy, and there are years when they seem to last longer than their allotted three months. Summer temperatures are typically in the mid-80s, and this area is somewhat known for humidity. Most residents handle these small obstacles easily; reliable town plowing keeps life running in the winter, and good air conditioning makes summer humidity irrelevant.