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Best Places to Live in Virginia

They say Virginia is for lovers, and we love this state!

It’s near the heart of our country’s military, politics and national history. It’s also the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents. And with sandy beaches and mountain forests, Virginia’s got something for everyone.

Whether you want a simple life in a small town or unlimited opportunities in a big city, you just might find what you’re looking for in these 10 best places to live in Virginia.

10 Best Places to Live in Virginia

Before we get going, let us be clear about something: What makes a city the best place to live depends on what you need and want in a new city. Once you’re clear on that, then you can start narrowing down which cities might actually work for you and your family.

Of course, it can be tough to choose. That’s what we’re here for! We’ll help you compare the top places to live in Virginia so you can better decide what’s right for you.

virginia's best cities

1. Arlington

Since it’s located minutes from Washington, D.C., Arlington is expensive. The median home price is nearly $327,000 above the national median of $404,950, and rents are almost double the national median of $1,306.1,2 The cost of living there—which includes things like groceries, transportation and utilities—is also high compared to most parts of the country. Fortunately, many employers pay fairly high salaries to make up for the expense of living here.

See how much house you can afford with our free mortgage calculator!

Thanks to its strong military and defense industry presence, Arlington is home to memorials like Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can visit both of these places and even take a guided Pentagon Tour.

You can also dine at the historic Liberty Tavern, shop in the Crystal City neighborhood, or catch a performance at Signature Theatre. Or enjoy the D.C. skyline while walking the Mount Vernon Trail. (Theodore Roosevelt Island is another cool park—and yes, it’s really on an island.)

Moving the whole family? Check out Falls Church and Tyson’s Corner. Locals rate these neighborhoods as some of the best places to live in Virginia for families.

Population

236,4343

Median Annual Income

$122,6044

Median Home Price

$731,700*5

Median Rent**

$2,4206

Cost of Living

44% higher than national average7

Local University

Marymount University

Average Annual Rainfall

42.8”8

Features

High housing prices, large defense industry presence, Arlington National Cemetery, and lots of military-related jobs and historic sites

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other home prices in our list.
Home prices in Arlington have likely gone up since 2020.

**Median Monthly Rents refer to two-bedroom apartments.

2. Virginia Beach

The biggest city on our list, Virginia Beach sits right on the Atlantic Ocean. (Hence the name!) It’s a popular vacation spot . . . and it’s one of the best places to live in Virginia near the beach.  

Annual incomes are about $13,000 above the national median.9 Home prices are below average—surprising for a beach town—while rents run toward the middle of the pack compared to other Virginia cities.

In Virginia Beach, most state parks and beaches are free. Beach activities include kayaking and dolphin-sighting tours. And if you’re up for a drive, cruise around town and try to spot local artist Igor’s custom, hand-painted signs.

Want to stay indoors? Visit the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Military Aviation Museum, or Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum. Or tour historic homesteads and the Cape Henry Lighthouse (America’s first). For a fun date, enjoy dinner and a movie at the Beach Cinema Alehouse.  

Population

450,88210

Median Annual Income

$78,13611

Median Home Price

$337,00012

Median Rent

$1,63213

Cost of Living

2% lower than national average14

Local University

Regent University

Average Annual Rainfall

46.5”15

Features

Free beaches and state parks, decent home prices with the perks of living in a big city, and lots of fun things to do for families and singles

3. Alexandria

Back to the D.C. area for this one! Alexandria and Arlington are neighbors along the Potomac River. But they’re very different.  

Alexandria’s culture focuses on art, architecture and history instead of politics and the military. And while Alexandria has the second-most expensive homes on our list, they’re typically a whopping $160,000 cheaper than homes in Arlington.

In Alexandria’s Old Town district, you can walk the King Street Mile, admire the local architecture, or take a water taxi to D.C. (You’ll catch some great street performances on the way too!) For a really cool outing, head to the Torpedo Factory Art Center or the tiny Spite House, the skinniest home in America.

Outdoor lovers will likely enjoy the city’s biking and walking trails, which offer glimpses of its history, art, architecture and green spaces. You can even drink wine at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate at sunset. How’s that for romantic?

Population

158,30916

Median Annual Income

$102,22717

Median Home Price

$572,700*18

Median Rent

$2,18419

Cost of Living

37% higher than national average20

Local College

Northern Virginia Community College

Average Annual Rainfall

41.9”21

Features

Historic Old Town district, lively waterfront area, expensive homes, and an emphasis on art, architecture and history

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other home prices in our list. Home prices in Alexandria have likely gone up since 2020.

4. Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a small town where homes wear a big price tag! Median home prices are the third highest on our list, while incomes are the third lowest. Rents in Charlottesville are about $170 per month over the national median—so, about the middle of the pack compared to other Virginia cities.22

If your budget can handle the housing prices, Charlottesville could be one of the best places to live in Virginia. And that goes double for foodies! Charlottesville has lots of restaurants—plus wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries. So you’ll have plenty of local watering holes to try. 

History buffs can appreciate Charlottesville too. You can visit the homes of former presidents James Madison, James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson. President Jefferson also designed the core campus of the University of Virginia, located here.

Population

47,21723

Median Annual Income

$59,59824

Median Home Price

$514,45025

Median Rent

$1,47626

Cost of Living

4% higher than national average27

Local University

University of Virginia

Average Annual Rainfall

41.2”28

Features

High home prices, rich presidential history, and a great foodie scene with lots of local drinks

5. Bon Air

Bon Air is minutes away from the state capital of Richmond. And when it comes to income and home prices, this suburban city’s got it going on. Yearly salaries are about $22,000 above the national median—and home prices are $45,000 below the national median. Score!29,30

Bon Air is one of the best places to live in Virginia for families because it’s so quiet. But you can still find plenty to do: Since Bon Air sits just outside Richmond, it’s easy to hop over to the city for a day or night out.

Some cool places to visit include Huguenot Park, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Maymont, which boasts everything from a Victorian mansion to goat feeding adventures. You can also take several walking tours to see Richmond’s downtown district, the capitol building and maybe even some ghosts.

Population

17,59931

Median Annual Income

$87,38932

Median Home Price

$359,90033

Median Rent

$1,422*34

Cost of Living

3% lower than national average35

Average Annual Rainfall

44.2”36

Features

Relatively high salaries and low home prices, quiet neighborhoods, and close proximity to jobs and activities in Richmond

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other rent prices in our list. Rent prices in Bon Air have likely gone up since 2020.

6. Centreville

Centreville sits west of Arlington and Washington, D.C. along Interstate 66. It offers the third-highest income on our countdown (woot woot!) and home prices that are at least in the ballpark of the national median.

History lovers will want to check out Centreville’s beautiful old churches and homes. You can also visit Manassas National Battlefield and Bull Run Regional Park to learn about the area’s Civil War history. Plus, Bull Run offers nearly 20 miles of hiking trails, a waterpark for the kids, and the Bull Run Festival of Lights.

Want a day of luxury? You’ll find multiple wineries, golf courses and spas in Centreville and nearby Chantilly.

Population

74,23037

Median Annual Income

$121,32238

Median Home Price

$447,000*39

Median Rent

$2,12440

Cost of Living

44% higher than national average41

Local University

Washington Baptist University

Average Annual Rainfall

41.8”42

Features

Civil War history, modern luxuries, relatively high incomes, and easy driving distance to Arlington

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other home prices in our list. Home prices in Centreville have likely gone up since 2020.

7. Stone Ridge

The second-smallest town on our countdown, Stone Ridge has the highest rent (womp womp). But good news: Stone Ridge also boasts the highest yearly income—around two and a half times the national median.43 Cha-ching!

Stone Ridge offers tons of fun family activities, like the Aldie Mill Historic Park, Leesburg Animal Park and the Udvar-Hazy Center (a Smithsonian annex full of air and space exhibits).

Your family can even be farmers for a day at the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, where the kids can enjoy interactive exhibits like milking a life-like cow, cooking in a farm kitchen, and stepping into an early 1900s classroom.

One last thing about Stone Ridge: It’s roughly an hour from D.C., so you could face a pretty long commute if you drive into the city for work.

Population

15,03444

Median Annual Income

$163,46545

Median Home Price

$510,300*46

Median Rent

$2,459*47

Cost of Living

44% higher than national average48

Average Annual Rainfall

42.5”49

Features

High yearly incomes, high housing prices, lots of family-friendly activities,  and an hour away from D.C.

*These numbers come from 2016–2020 census data, so they’re not as up-to-date as other housing prices in our list. Housing prices and rent in Stone Ridge have likely gone up since 2020.

8. Chesapeake

In Chesapeake, you can expect to have lots of neighbors—it’s the second-biggest city on our countdown. (Hey, people love living near the beach!) Oh, if you move here, bring an umbrella because coastal cities tend to get more rain.

You’ll still have plenty of sunny days to enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, biking, birdwatching and camping. You may also enjoy the fact that home prices in Chesapeake are almost $68,000 under the national median.50

Some other unique things to do in Chesapeake include visiting the historic Harrison Opera House and following the Chesapeake African American Heritage Trail. You can also take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Chincoteague Island, which has beautiful beaches and wild ponies.

Population

242,64751

Median Annual Income

$81,26152

Median Home Price

$337,00053

Median Rent

$1,54154

Cost of Living

2% lower than national average55

Local College

Tidewater Community College

Average Annual Rainfall

46.9”56

Features

Many outdoor activities and historical sites, relatively low home prices, and easy driving distance to Virginia’s beautiful beaches

9. Abingdon

Let’s head to the other side of the state. Abingdon is a tiny town in southwest Virginia. Since it’s somewhat remote, Abingdon’s yearly median salary is low—and that’s okay if you want a simple lifestyle or have a great remote job. Plus, housing is cheaper here than anywhere else on our countdown.

Abingdon’s just minutes from the Appalachian Mountains, stunning state parks and famous hikes like the Virginia Creeper Trail. You can also hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Parkway or head up to Big Walker Lookout, where you can see five states at the same time.

Indoors more your thing? Watch a live play at the Barter Theatre, catch a movie at the local drive-in, or shop and dine along the town’s historic main street. You can also head down to Bristol for live music performances. Bonus: When in Bristol, you can literally cross the street and be in Tennessee!

Population

7,93657

Median Annual Income

$46,65358

Median Home Price

$277,00059

Median Rent

$703*60

Cost of Living

9% lower than national average61

Local College

Virginia Highlands Community College

Average Annual Rainfall

44.6”62

Features

Outdoor lovers’ dream with low home prices, a lively performing arts scene, and close proximity to the mountains and nearby states

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other rent prices in our list. Rent prices in Abingdon have likely gone up since 2020.

10. Blacksburg

Blacksburg is a small mountain town with higher housing prices and lower yearly salaries than Abingdon. But as long as you’ve got a plan for your money, you can still live comfortably in Blacksburg. 

This college town is home to Virginia’s second-largest public university, Virginia Tech. The school has a display in the Moss Arts Center, where you can visit multiple galleries and watch live performances. You can also attend a movie or show at the historic Lyric Theatre.

For a blast from the past, drive a few minutes to the Revolutionary War era Smithfield Plantation. Or visit Shenandoah National Park to see some of our country’s most beautiful natural treasures.

Population

44,39563

Median Annual Income

$41,71164

Median Home Price

$312,45065

Median Rent

$1,141*66

Cost of Living

6% lower than national average67

Local University

Virginia Tech

Average Annual Rainfall

37.6”68

Features

Lowest yearly salary, vibrant performing arts scene, and lots of natural and historic sites

*This number comes from 2016–2020 census data, so it’s not as up-to-date as other rent prices in our list. Rent prices in Blacksburg have likely gone up since 2020.

Ready to Move to Virginia?

Awesome! Virginia is a great place to live. But before you start packing your bags, you’ll want to do a few more things. First, learn all you can about Virginia’s overall cost of living and safest cities. That’ll help you make absolutely sure you’ve picked the right place for you and your family!

Next, figure out how much the move will cost. It's not a bad idea to use a service like PODS—they'll deliver one of their moving and storage containers to your current address so you can fill it up on your own schedule. They they pick it up and send it to your new home. How easy is that? You can get a quote from PODS here.

Once you’ve got your mind made up about exactly where to go, you’ll need an expert real estate agent to help you make the move.

We recommend working with an Endorsed Local Provider (ELP). These top-performing real estate agents can help you find the best place to live in Virginia for you. From finding a family-friendly neighborhood to picking the perfect house, they’ll walk you through the whole process. And these guys and gals are RamseyTrusted—so they’ll put serving you ahead of selling.

Ready to get started? Connect with a RamseyTrusted ELP today!

Fast Facts for the Top Places to Live in Virginia
 

Population

Median Annual Income

Median Home Price

Median Rent

Arlington

236,434

$122,604

$731,700

$2,420

Virginia Beach

450,882

$78,136

$337,000

$1,632

Alexandria

158,309

$102,227

$572,700

$2,184

Charlottesville

47,217

$59,598

$514,450

$1,476

Bon Air

17,599

$87,389

$359,900

$1,422

Centreville

74,230

$121,322

$447,000

$2,124

Stone Ridge

15,034

$163,465

$510,300

$2,459

Chesapeake

242,647

$81,261

$337,000

$1,541

Abingdon

7,936

$46,653

$277,000

$703

Blacksburg

44,395

$41,711

$312,450

$1,141

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

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Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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