Fairfax County is one of the most populated, most educated, and highest income metropolitan areas in all of the United States. The public school system is consistently rated among the best in the country. The picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains lie to the west, with idyllic Atlantic beaches to the east. Civil War battlefields and historically significant sites sprinkle the southern edges of the county, and wineries and craft breweries are scattered throughout the region. Parks are abundant and meticulously maintained. The neighborhoods are well established and each community is anchored by the shared desire to escape the grind and pace of life in the District. Just to be clear, there is a City of Fairfax as well as the town Fairfax Station, but we’re referring to the greater Fairfax County.


You are likely to find people from all walks of life in Fairfax County. There really isn’t an easy, clear-cut way to categorize the 1 million-plus residents. Vibrant communities with diverse and culturally rich inhabitants are the norm. Over 30 percent of the residents speak a language other than English at home. There are multiple military installations located in the county, so you are very likely to reside near your military brethren, as well as all shapes and sizes of contractors, government employees, politicians, and professionals.

Neighborhood Feel

Most of the cities and towns in Fairfax County date back to the 1950s through the 1980s when suburban subdivisions and planned communities were becoming more popular. Community Associations are common and along with that comes amenities like pools, fitness centers, neighborhood parks, and well-maintained landscaping.

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Neighborhood Location

Neighborhood Info

Fairfax - JB Myer-Henderson Hall & Fort McNair - Washington D.C. - gomillie.com


Annandale is located just beyond Falls Church and is where you’ll start to see a more typical suburban lifestyle. The homes are less pricey than in Falls Church, and much more affordable than in Arlington. It is primarily a residential area with a quiet, slower-paced vibe.


Home Size in Annandale

We’ll call the home sizes medium for Annandale. It is possible to find a home that is twice the size of a home in Falls Church for the same price in Annandale. Homes in the area are mostly single family homes.

Home Prices in Annandale

The median home value for all homes in Annandale is $580,000, according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Annandale is $2,600.

Commuting from Annandale

You’re starting to get a little “far out” in Annandale, but the added commute is a worthwhile trade for those seeking a quiet refuge from the city. Annandale also has a ton of local bus routes. On the one hand, you won’t have to travel far to catch a bus but, on the other hand, you’ll have busses stopping at every other corner in your subdivision. Access to 495 is convenient for drivers as well.   


Burke is a family-friendly community with beautiful outdoor spaces. The area is more walkable than some of the busier suburbs because of the abundance of walking paths and concentrations of shops and restaurants. The communities are very tight-knit and resemble more of what military families are accustomed to. The parks are fantastic and the shopping is convenient. The homes here are large and are nestled among rolling hills. You may also hear West Springfield lumped in with Burke as they are very similar communities.


Home Size in Burke

You can get a lot more home for your money in Burke and West Springfield, but we’re not speaking to the age and state of the homes. According to the spouses we’ve spoken to, the sacrifice you’re making when choosing to live in Burke is going to be the quality of the home. While you can find some new builds sprinkled around, most of the homes are older and not often updated. You’re also not likely to find a flat back yard.

Home Prices in Burke

The median home value for single family homes in Burke is $590,550 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for all homes in Burke is $2,700. Burke stands out as an area that you can find many homes for rent at, or potentially even below, average BAH.

Commuting from Burke

It’s easy to get to I-95 or I-66 which makes commuting relatively easy, assuming you aren’t trying to get to or from DC during rush hour. The challenge will be in how far you choose to live from the main highways. Commuting through the denser neighborhoods will add time to your drive, but once you’re on the highways the pace quickens up.


Continue west on I-66 to the outer edges of Fairfax County and you’ll come upon Centreville. The homes are large and much more affordable, but your commute is going to be taxing. The area is a little more spread out and there are a few farms, but it’s definitely suburban.


Home Size in Centreville

While most homes are medium sized, you can also find larger homes and even mansions in Centreville.

Home Prices in Centreville

The median home value for single family homes in Centreville is $565,000 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Centreville is $2,650.

Commuting from Centreville

Three large roads define the traffic flow for Centreville: Route 29, Braddock Road (SR 620), and Interstate 66. Most people we’ve spoken to have heavily cautioned against driving on I-66 with its nightmarish delays. There are bus routes that connect commuters to the Metro Rail.


Chantilly is another DC suburb with its own charm, but is extremely far away from most installations. If you are stationed at the National Reconnaissance Organization, then Chantilly would be a wonderful choice. Other than that, you’d better love spending time in your car!


Home Size in Chantilly

Homes in Chantilly are large and affordably priced. You can easily find a nice home with upwards of 4,000 square feet.

Home Prices in Chantilly

The median home value for single family homes in Chantilly is $600,900 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Chantilly is $2,798.

Commuting from Chantilly

Commuting by car is your main option here, as mass transit services do not extend all the way to Chantilly.

Fairfax Station

Fairfax Station is a beautiful community with large homes on forested land. Huge houses on large lots with hefty price tags can be found throughout Fairfax Station, and the commute to Fort Belvoir is reasonable. Located just west of Burke, you’re getting a little far away from most of the area installations. This pricey suburb has an abundance of community centers, pools, parks, and trails. While there are restaurants here, they’re mostly chains and if you’re a foodie you may find yourself driving into Alexandria or Arlington for a bite.

Home Size in Fairfax Station

Variety of sizes and price tags to be found, but the homes tend to be on the large end of the spectrum. The houses are newer and the older homes are typically updated.

Home Prices in Fairfax Station

The median home value for single family homes in Fairfax Station is $743,100 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Fairfax Station is $3,275.

Commuting from Fairfax Station

Commuting by car is most common in Fairfax station, and slugging is popular. You’ll need to take the Metro Bus to connect you to the nearest Metro Station.

Falls Church

This area is named after The Falls Church, an 18th century Anglican parish. Other areas that people typically associate with ‘Falls Church’ are East Falls Church (technically in Arlington County), as well as Seven Corners and West Falls Church (zoned to Fairfax County). The City of Falls church has it’s own county level government, much like Arlington, and operates its own independent public school district. Falls Church is right next door to Arlington and is still considered urban yet more affordable, with the same vibe and many of the same amenities. Walkability and prevalence of fantastic restaurants top our list of perks for Falls Church.


Home Size in Falls Church

Homes and rentals in Falls Church tend to be a bit larger than those in South Arlington, but are still fairly small compared to the more distant suburbs.

Home Prices in Falls Church

The median home value for single family homes in Falls Church is $568,000 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for homes in Falls Church is $2,647.

Commuting from Falls Church

Because of it’s location inside the Beltway, getting around is fairly easy. Access to the major highways makes commuting convenient, but you’ll still be contending with traffic. The Orange Metro Line stops in East Falls Church and the Silver Line stops in West Falls Church, but you’ll still need to get yourself to the station. The Metro bus system has local routes in the area to supplement the Metro Rail. The Four Mile Run Trail also hooks up to the Mount Vernon Trail, making bike commutes to the District possible.


Herndon is a popular stop on the Dulles Technology Corridor (DTC) and is nestled between Reston and Dulles International Airport. This suburb frequently gets lumped together with its neighbor, Reston, and they share many of the same characteristics. We’ve heard Herndon described as a bit younger, but still extremely family friendly.


Home Size in Herndon

You’ll find mostly single family homes in Herndon, with a few condos and apartments available as well, in a variety of sizes!

Home Prices in Herndon

The median home value for single family homes in Herndon is $577,400 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for all homes in Herndon is $2,407.

Commuting from Herndon

Driving is going to be stressful and I-66 is a parking lot during rush hour. There are bus-to-metro options available, but with multiple transfers that will significantly extend your commute. The closest Orange Line station is West Falls Church, and the Silver Line’s Wiehle-Reston East Station is not too far away.


Just across the Occoquan River from Woodbridge in the “Lower Potomac” region lies the town of Lorton. This community is very popular for those reporting to Fort Belvoir (as it’s just south of the gate), as well as MCB Quantico with the reverse commute. Townhouses and smaller homes are more common in Lorton, making affordable housing fairly easy to find. You’re also close to some fantastic shopping at Potomac Mills in Woodbridge.


Home Size in Lorton

Though there are many smaller homes and apartments available, most people love it for how much home they can buy for the money. You can find a large, 3,000-plus square foot home here with no problem!

Home Prices in Lorton

The median home value for single family homes in Lorton is $594,100 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Lorton is $2,959.

Commuting from Lorton

Both I-95 and Highway 1 pass directly through Lorton, making trips north to Fort Belvoir and south to Quantico very convenient. The traffic is considerable on both of these arteries, but traveling south in the morning is considered reverse commuting.


Manassas is a picturesque, independent city that lies just beyond the Fairfax County line but is not quite included in neighboring Prince William County. Much like Arlington and the City of Alexandria, Manassas operates its own school district. The pace of life is slower and Manassas is considered rural by DC standards. A quaint downtown and historic district are gems of this town. Affordable homes in a community with a strong “small town” vibe are the perks for Manassas. The sacrifice is going to be a very long commute.


Home Size in Manassas

Homes can be found here in any number of styles and sizes, to fit most budgets. A typical size for a single family home is between 1,800 to 3,000 square feet.

Home Prices in Manassas

The median home value for single family homes in Manassas is $338,200 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Manassas is $2,197.

Commuting from Manassas

Amtrak and the VRE both serve Manassas. Commuting by car, though commonplace, involves a long drive and is fraught with traffic headaches.   


Reston is another Northern Virginia suburb that a lot of people love, but is a significant distance from most military installations. Its neighbor to the west is Dulles International Airport, so you’ll find workers from there living nearby. It has a little more middle class feel to it and the home values are more attainable here than in Vienna. Reston was designed by Robert E. Simon (hence RESton) and was the first planned community in post-war America. Established in 1964, it sparked a revival in planned community nationwide. As a result, the area is great for families and has a nice, quiet pace.


Home Size in Reston

Homes in Reston are predominantly single family detached homes and have a good amount of square footage. There are some really cute lakeside “villages” worth checking out!


Home Prices in Reston

The median home value for single family homes in Reston is $683,750 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Reston is $2,900.

Commuting from Reston

This is a really hard commute to area military installations. There are a few government organizations that have offices scattered about the Dulles Corridor, so commuting to one of those may make more sense. Remember — the farther you need to travel on the highways, the more your commute time will expand. The Metro’s Silver Line services Reston via the Wiehle-Reston East Station.


Springfield is centrally located in Fairfax County and straddles I-95. It’s northwest of Fort Belvoir and lies mostly outside the Beltway. Residents love the easy access to major highways. Commuting to any of the Virginia bases and to DC is reasonable, and most of the schools come highly recommended. The “West” side of Springfield is very similar to Burke, but is a little less hilly and less walkable. Another relevant neighborhood comparison would be to say that West Springfield and Springfield are similar to North and South Arlington, respectively. Housing costs are higher in West Springfield because the schools appear to be more favorable. Living in Springfield provides easy commutes and affordable homes, but the sacrifice is home size.


Home Size in Springfield

Most of the homes in Springfield are anywhere from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet and were built in the late 60s through the early 80s.

Home Prices in Springfield

The median home value for single family homes in Springfield is $503,700 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Springfield is $2,525.

Commuting from Springfield

Several main highways flow through the Springfield area and the closer you can get to one of them, the better your commute will be. The Metro Blue Line services Springfield with the Franconia-Springfield station, and there are multiple bus routes as well.  


Vienna is located just to the west of the 495 Beltway and north of I-66. The homes here are huge and mega pricey. The area is populated with upper-level contractors, corporate executives, high ranking military, and/or dual income families. It is an affluent suburb with luxury amenities and shopping. Wolf Trap Amphitheater hosts some of the area’s most exciting musical concerts and festivals and the Fairfax Square is renowned for its high end shopping.


Home Size in Vienna

Homes in Vienna are grand and range from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. You’ll find well maintained homes with plenty of landscaped yard space. You’ll also be paying a pretty penny for it!

Home Prices in Vienna

The median home value for single family homes in Vienna is $775,600 according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). According to the Zillow Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Vienna is $3,200.

Commuting from Vienna

Commuting from Vienna is quite the hike. At this distance, your options for biking to work basically disappear. There is a Silver Metro Station at Tyson’s Corner and the Orange Line stop is Vienna/Fairfax-GMU.  

Points of Interest

Great Falls Park, River Bend Park, Lake Accotink Park

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Reston Town Center

Tyson’s Corner Center

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Clemyjontri Park – all-inclusive park for all ages

Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole

Frying Pan Park

Big Plus

Fairfax County Schools are some of the best in the country and this is a huge perk for a lot of parents.

Fairfax County has a thriving economy that is practically recession-proof. Government jobs ebb and flow with the economy and there is always private sector work to be found. The technology industry in Fairfax County boasts the largest concentration of tech jobs in the country at over 142,000.

You will find such amazing diversity here in Northern Virginia. Yes, most people’s lives and work revolve around politics in one way or another, but boundaries and alternative points of view are respected and revered.

Along with most of the publicly-funded infrastructure, the healthcare system in Fairfax County is top-notch. With a budget larger than four states, it’s easy to see how residents benefit from robust public services.

Easy access to Dulles International Airport and Washington Reagan National Airport.

Quick Metro ride or drive to all the museums, monuments, and history of Washington, DC.

Things to Consider

The traffic is insane. Never underestimate how long it will take you to go 10 miles, because we guarantee that it will take twice as long as you expect. Mitigate your stress levels by planning ahead and giving yourself a healthy arrival buffer. The professional atmosphere is high stress and that manifests in the behavior of commuters. Try to find inner peace before your commute home or you’ll just be a ball of nerves your entire time in the DMV area.

Cost of living is high. Housing is expensive, restaurants are pricey and even the Metro isn’t cheap. Taxes are reasonable in that you get what you pay for (fantastic parks, libraries, roads, recreation departments, health and safety services, etc.).

There is a hyper-competitive culture and that mindset is manifested in work, school, sports, and even on the PTA. Channel your inner Tiger Mom or learn to go with the flow, but either way, you’d better own it!

How’s the Market?

The median home value in Fairfax County is $504,300 according to the Zillow Home Value Index.

Home Values are forecasted to increase by 1.2% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for homes in Fairfax County is $2,486.

School Scoop

Public schools in Fairfax belong to Fairfax County Public Schools and are consistently rated among the top schools in the country. Fairfax County Public Schools’ overall district rating is 7.

Students may apply for a transfer to a school outside of his/her “base school”, as they call it. Transfers are only approved if space available and the student meets the school’s transfer criteria.

Some in Fairfax County may live in Falls Church. In that case, they have their own school district, Falls Church City Public Schools, which has an overall rating of 9.

Falls Church City Public Schools consists of five schools: a single school for pre-kindergarteners, a school for students grades kindergarten through first, a separate school for those in grades 2-5, a standard middle school with grades 6-8 and a high school.

Foreign language immersion programs are popular and there are currently a dozen schools in Fairfax County that offer five different world language programs starting in kindergarten or first grade. County-wide Lottery Schools are open to all Fairfax County residents through a lottery process. School-Based Lottery Schools are only open to residents who live within the boundaries of these schools.

Virginia does not follow Common Core standards, so you will want to be acquainted with the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning (SOLs) to be sure that your student is prepared, especially when transferring from a Common Core state.

Highlighted Areas

Falls Church







Fairfax Station