15 Best Places to Live in Virginia

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Regarding the best places to live in the United States, expect to find Virginia among the top contenders. The Mother of Presidents is known for its scenic natural landscape, as most states around the mid-Atlantic area, temperate climate, vast cultural diversity, and more.

This is one of those all-inclusive states that remain appealing to everyone – the young and old, parents and their kids, millennials and retirees; most of the roads in Virginia lead to satisfaction.

Virginia has the 11th highest per-capita income in America, and it homes four of the ten wealthiest U.S. counties: Loudoun County, Falls Church City, and Fairfax County (scooped first three positions based on a survey by Code Black Group), as well as Arlington County (No. 7).

It is full of fun things to do for everyone; Virginia and its public schools floor those in 42 states, not counting D.C. Healthcare is a big deal in this state, and there is significant opportunity for economic growth, with plenty of jobs for anyone interested in working for the federal government.

There is a reason they say this is a place for lovers. Lovers of life. But even in the highly livable Old Dominion, some towns and cities outshine the rest.

In this list of the 15 best places to live in Virginia, we reveal where it’s mostly sunshine and rainbows, basing our arguments on the abovementioned factors.

1. Arlington

ArlingtonSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Not surprised, are you? Starting us off, our list of the best places to live in Virginia is Arlington, a vibrant city on the border between Virginia and Washington. Located in Arlington County, it is one of the most livable areas in America.

Livability.com ranks Arlington #3 on the Top 100 Places to Live in the U.S., while Niche.com has named it the Best Place to Live in Virginia and #3 in Best Cities to Live in America.

Why? Because everything is going as it should in life in Arlington, from top schools, Low crime, remarkable diversity, buzzing nightlife, low commute time, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Residents who take their health and fitness seriously. And everything else you can think of.

Curious as to what the cost of living is? Rent prices average around $2,000, and the median home value is more than half a million.

For the benefits Arlington promises, the over two hundred thousand residents here are happy to put up with the high cost. After all, the six-figure household income they enjoy, on average, is enough to sustain them comfortably.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Arlington are:

  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
  • Fashion Center at Pentagon City
  • Signature Theatre
  • Potomac Overlook Regional Park
  • Mount Vernon Trail

2. Falls Church

Falls ChurchSource: hombre de Steele / Flickr
Falls Church

Falls Church is a prime area perfect for anyone near the D.C. metro area. This is a historic town whose roots go back to the 1600s when it was first established as a colonial settlement.

The over thirteen thousand residents enjoy one of the highest incomes in the state, with an average salary topping six figures. These residents enjoy a low crime rate, and its historical roots mean history buffs will relish the wealth of attractions in this area.

This is where George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate lies, as does the Arlington National Cemetery. By default, life here is pretty steep, cost-wise, as the median home value stands at a quarter of a million.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Falls Church are:

  • Eden Center Shopping Mall
  • State Theatre
  • Falls Church Farmers Market
  • Northside Social Falls Church
  • Cherry Hill Park
  • Dogwood Tavern
  • Tysons Corner Center
  • Bowl America Falls Church

3. Virginia Beach

Virginia BeachSource: Joanna Will / shutterstock
Virginia Beach

With over four hundred thousand residents, Virginia Beach is one of the most occupied areas in the Mother of States.

And it’s understandable when you consider the cost of living here is as low as you will ever get in one of the best places to live in Virginia. The average home price is below the national average, and rent revolves just over $1,000.

Despite it being a large city, Virginia Beach is also very safe. It should, given it sits in an area considered one of the top tourist destinations in Virginia, the Tidewater region.

There are more restaurants here that you can dine in a different one every day of the year, and more attractions than you can keep up with Mount Trashmore, the Maritime Museum, the Virginia Aquarium, the Boardwalk (which is always open), gorgeous beaches, to mention a few of the prominent ones.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Virginia Beach are:

  • First Landing State Park
  • Cape Henry Lighthouse
  • Military Aviation Museum
  • False Cape State Park
  • Grommet Island Park
  • Hunt Club Farm
  • Ocean Breeze WaterPark
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden

4. Chantilly

Chantilly, VirginiaSource: Famartin / Wikimedia

Chantilly is a town in Fairfax County home to just under twenty-four thousand residents. History diehards will know the Battle of Chantilly went down here, a battle that plays into the historical heritage of this beautiful town.

Chantilly is about 25 miles from Washington, D.C. Its strategic accessibility to and from other locations is enhanced more by the presence of the famous Dulles International Airport.

Many star attractions are here, including the Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, the cherished Sully Plantation, and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center – a National Air and Space Museum extension.

Chantilly is affordable compared to some great places, with home values swinging at just under half a million. Locals can expect low incidences of crime, and Chantilly also offers a public library with a running local newspaper named The Centerview.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Chantilly are:

  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • Sully Historic Site
  • Monster Mini Golf Chantilly
  • Ox Hill Battlefield Park
  • Walmart Visitor Center
  • Kid Junction Chantilly
  • Shadowland Laser Adventures
  • Children’s Science Center Lab

5. Williamsburg

WilliamsburgSource: Raymond B. Summers / shutterstock

Next up on our list of best places to live in Virginia is Williamsburg, a town of almost 15,000 residents that was founded as far back as 1632. It served as the capital of the Virginia colony between 1699 and 1780.

To the unaccustomed eye, life in Williamsburg can be like stepping into a time capsule. The town has a massive historic district, Colonial Williamsburg, which measures 301 acres and hosts four million visitors annually.

It provides education and entertainment to residents and visitors through tours, reenactments, and other special events. Young families are well sorted out with an amusement park in their vicinity (Busch Gardens), with the Williamsburg Premium Outlets serving as a major shopping attraction.

Moreover, the town is near the Tidewater and Hampton Roads areas. Homes in Williamsburg go around the national average, although $195,000 is enough to get you a decent three-bed, three-bath property.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Williamsburg are:

  • Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Water Country USA
  • Yorktown Battlefield
  • The Virginia Beer Company
  • Williamsburg Premium Outlets

6. Vienna

Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, VirginiaSource: Nicolas Raymond / shutterstock
Meadowlark Gardens In Vienna, Virginia

Vienna is located in Fairfax County and has more than sixteen thousand residents. Its touching distance of D.C. essentially makes it a suburb of Washington D.C.

This is a community best suited for those looking for serene surroundings. Although most of Virginia is characterized by these neighborhoods, Vienna prides itself in offering a small-town appeal with convenient access to multiple metro areas.

There is a slew of restaurants in a town whose residents enjoy one of the highest incomes in the country. Household income averages six figures, and the cost of living is correspondingly high, with a median home value of over half a million.

That is what you have to put up with in an area often ranked among the top 10 best small towns in America.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Vienna are:

  • Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
  • Caboose Brewing Company & Tavern
  • Jammin Java
  • Freeman Store & Museum
  • National Mall
  • NOVA Wild Zoo
  • Vienna Farmers Market
  • Fox stone Park

7. Lorton

LortonSource: Colin Browne / Flickr

If Vienna sounds out of reach, but you still want a nice place in Fairfax County, Lorton is one of Virginia’s best places to live. Home prices here average almost half those in Vienna, just over the national average.

But that is not to mean this is a low-budget neighborhood. Lorton is the most affordable town in one of the wealthiest counties in America, and all that wealth is sure to rub off.

Crime in Lorton is so low it’s easy to forget the world can be evil, and the town of 0ver nineteen thousand residents is an outdoor attraction galore.

The Mason Neck State Park, the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Pohick Bay Regional Park all guarantee plenty to do, be it wildlife watching, hiking, canoeing, or kayaking.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lorton are:

  • Workhouse Arts Center
  • Laurel Hill Golf Club
  • Tamarack Stables
  • Mason Neck State Park
  • Fair Winds Brewing Company
  • Pirate’s Cove Waterpark
  • Burke Lake Park

8. Leesburg

Leesburg, VirginiaSource: Steve Heap / shutterstock

Still sticking to the affordable theme, one of the best places to live in Virginia on a budget (not to be mistaken for the cheapest) is Leesburg, a town of over forty-seven thousand residents in Loudon County.

We did allude to the point that Loudon County was named the wealthiest county in America by Code Black Group. But who said living here has to be expensive?

The median home value in Leesburg stands over the national average, and the rent you can expect to pay is equally reasonable: it averages over $1,000 a month. Leesburg is a town that perfectly marries the old and the new. The community is planned around a historic downtown area with many unique shops and restaurants.

But it is also a town of contrasts, pocket-wise. While the cost of living is low, going by the county’s standards, the median household income is exceptionally high at six figures.

And that can only mean good news.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Leesburg are:

  • Morven Park Grounds
  • Leesburg Premium Outlets
  • Stone Tower Winery
  • Leesburg Animal Park
  • Loudoun Museum
  • Village at Leesburg
  • Casanel Vineyards Winery

9. Richmond

Richmond, VirginiaSource: f11photo / shutterstock

For apparent reasons, Richmond might not appeal to specific demographics, such as families or retirees. One, the schools in the city of over two hundred thousand residents cannot be said to be the best in a state known for high-performing institutions.

Neither can the hustle and bustle of the city be considered ideal for the elderly, never mind the usual crime rates you would associate with a mid-sized city.

But the capital city of Virginia will appeal to millennials who fancy a fast-paced life in a reasonably affordable town. The median home value is below the national average, and rental prices in the capital average are less than $1,000.

Richmond is home to eight Fortune 500 companies, with government, finance, and higher education being the key economic sectors. What’s more, Richmond has an evolved transportation network served by three interstates, and its residents enjoy a parks system that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Richmond are:

  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • The Poe Museum
  • Virginia State Capitol
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
  • Libby Hill Park
  • Belle Isle Island
  • Kings Dominion

10. Bon Air

Bon AirSource: User: Morgan Riley / Wikimedia
Bon Air

Bon Air is a testament that it is possible to find a place worth the best places to live in Virginia without having to break the bank. If you are after value for money, few places can match Bon Air.

The town of slightly more than seventeen thousand residents is located in Chesterfield County, where homes average just over $200,000, a figure that can quickly get you a lovely three-bedroom single-family home.

But don’t let that fool you that this is some cheap community. Bon Air was initially developed as a resort community in the 19th century, and the town has retained much of the striking Victorian architecture reminiscent of the time.

Schools in this town are highly rated, earning an impressive score of 9 on GreatSchools, which ties in with the highest mark in the state. Crime is almost non-existent in Bon Air, and these factors combined make up for a perfect neighborhood for families with children.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bon Air are:

  • Breakout Games
  • Peak Experiences Rock Climbing Gym
  • Victory Theater & Event Center
  • South of the James Market

11. Poquoson

PoquosonSource: jalbertbowdenii / Flickr

If Poquoson sounds strange, it’s probably because this town is the oldest continuously named in the Old Dominion. It is an ancient name. But names count for little in Poquoson, a small town of just over 12,000 residents.

The residents enjoy high incomes, averaging over $80,000 per household. And while the crime rate is not as low as most of the neighborhoods we have listed here, it is reasonably quiet. Poquoson also doesn’t boast as many local restaurants as other towns on our list, but it has the advantage of being near the hundreds of dining options in the metro area.

Hampton Roads is within this area, and this guarantees two significant benefits: convenient access to an exciting array of dining, shopping, and entertainment, and second, there is a plethora of attractions just a stone’s throw away.

It is best suited for families, especially when considering Puquoson’s high-performing school district.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Poquoson are:

  • Virginia Living Museum
  • The Mariners’ Museum and Park
  • Poquoson Seafood Festival
  • Fort Monroe National Monument
  • Whitehouse Cove Marina
  • Virginia Zoo
  • Sparetimes Bowling Alley

12. Tyson’s Corner

Tyson’s Corner, VirginiaSource: Frontpage / shutterstock
Tyson’s Corner

Tyson’s Corner is an affluent area in Fairfax County where single-family homes fetch almost half a million on average.

If you are a shopper by heart (or design), Tyson’s Corner is an area in Virginia that will appeal to you like no other. It claims two famous malls, Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center, where you will find just about anything you desire.

But Tyson’s Corner is not all about satisfying your guilty pleasures.

What else many of the over twenty thousand residents love about their hometown is the close-to-zero crime rate in the area. More than that, the nightlife is as bustling as it could get, and it seems a little odd (in a good way) that a place best known for shopping and nightlife could also have some of the best-performing schools in the mid-Atlantic state.

But this is Fairfax, and that lineup would not be complete without other guaranteed perks like restaurants. Tyson’s Corner is chock full of choices, ranging from Thai to Lebanese fare, Italian to stunning local diners; you name it.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Tysons Corner are:

  • Tysons Corner Center
  • Tysons Galleria
  • Capital One Hall
  • Capital One Center
  • Great Falls Park
  • AMC Tysons Corner 16

13. Herndon

Herndon, VirginiaSource: Cvandyke / shutterstock

Herndon was originally a farming area central to Virginia’s dairy farming industry. It took a turn from the 1960s and has never looked back.

Herndon is just 35 minutes away from Washington, D.C., and with a population of over twenty-four thousand residents, it is a quiet town.

But that’s just how the residents like it. They are a close-knit bunch of Herndonians, with the annual Herndon Festival bringing them closer together. The cost of living is steep, with homes averaging over the national average.

But with a salary that hovers just above the six-figure mark, that is as cheap as it could get for these residents.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Herndon are:

  • Escape Room Herndon
  • AMC Worldgate 9
  • Herndon Community Center
  • Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern
  • Herndon Farmers Market
  • Ultimate Archery
  • Arts Herndon

14. Charlottesville

Charlottesville, VirginiaSource: N8Allen / shutterstock

Virginia is famed for being the home of eight U.S. Presidents. Two hailed from Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson (third U.S. President) and James Monroe (President No.5).

But it is also at Charlottesville that the famed University of Virginia is based.

Charlottesville warrants a spot on our list of 15 best places to live in Virginia, not because of its wanting crime rate but due to its wonderful mix of high-performing schools, affordable cost of living, wonderful commute time, and numerous outdoor activities.

This town’s over forty-five thousand residents are also served by two high-ranking hospitals and a massive Downtown Mall. The Shenandoah National Park is one of the prominent local amenities. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home is also nestled in Charlottesville, a major attraction that draws half a million visitors each year.

The median home value is almost $300,000, and rent is just below the 1,000 mark.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Charlottesville are:

  • University of Virginia
  • The Paramount Theater
  • James Monroe’s Highland
  • Virginia Discovery Museum
  • Downtown Shopping Mall
  • Jefferson Vineyards
  • McGuffey Art Center

15. Centreville

Centreville MapSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

And finally, we have Centreville, a town of over seventy-three thousand residents whose majority of the population is made up of young families. The median home value in Centreville is around $400,000, which might sound expensive until you know it sits in the affluent county of Fairfax.

Centreville is highly diverse, with excellent public schools and a virtually non-existent crime rate. It is no surprise that it’s, to a large part, a family town. Ellanor C. Lawrence Park and Cub Run Stream Valley Park are the town’s two main parks that offer a good escape into the streams and forests ideal for either foot or bike exploration.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Centreville are:

  • Cinemark Centreville
  • Bell Run Regional Park
  • Cox Farms
  • The Winery at Bull Run
  • Bowlero Centreville
  • Lulu Café
  • Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run
  • Cub Run Stream Valley Park


15 Best Places to Live in Virginia:

  • Arlington
  • Falls Church
  • Virginia Beach
  • Chantilly
  • Williamsburg
  • Vienna
  • Lorton
  • Leesburg
  • Richmond
  • Bon Air
  • Poquoson
  • Tyson’s Corner
  • Herndon
  • Charlottesville
  • Centreville