15 Best Places To Live in Virginia

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Nikki Jain

Virginia is one of those states that have a little bit of everything. Whether you want to live in a major city, a beach town or small-town America, there are plenty of places to add to your list of the best places to live in Virginia.

If you are eager to live in Virginia, perhaps because you want to enjoy the great outdoors or wish to work in the nation’s capital, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a list of the best cities to live in Virginia. Bear in mind that this state is not cheap to live in, but it does have some of our favorite towns and cities in the country.

Best Places To Live in Virginia

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1: Richmond


If you want to live in a city with some real history behind it, it may be worth checking out Richmond. The capital city of Virginia has been around since the 1700s and has been at the center of major developments in the US since the Colonial Era.

Richmond is a rather populated area with a very dense urban feel. A little over 250,000 people live there. However, the number of people does mean that there are tons of amenities in the area, including countless parks, shops, restaurants, and more.

Live in Richmond, and you'll be looking at paying a median home price of $263,000. This is a little over the US national average, but it's pretty affordable, considering this is a capital city.

Richmond's job market is booming, and it is one of the fastest-growing economies in the US. Many professionals gravitate toward Richmond for a range of jobs in law, advertising, and finance, although there are tons of jobs covering all sorts of specialties.

Richmond is often regarded as one of the better places to raise children. While the schools aren't as good as some of the other places in Virginia, the social life is fantastic, and children rarely have any issues making friends. They'll certainly have plenty to do all over the city.

Richmond has the oldest municipal park system in the US, and it may be one of the best places to live in Virginia if you are a fan of parks. There are over 40 of them in the city, each offering something different. The highlight is probably either Monroe Park or Bird Park.

If you're not a fan of nature, Richmond also offers plenty of museums (many of which are dedicated to the American Civil War), establishments playing live music, theater, and more.

Things to do in Richmond:

  • Virginia Museum of the Arts
  • Virginia Museum of Art & Culture
  • Virginia Holocaust Museum
  • Virginia State Capitol
  • Over 40 parks
  • Theater districts
  • Plenty of shopping opportunities

Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Richmond

2: Charlottesville


With a low population (a little over 40,000) and access to fantastic schools, Charlottesville is often regarded as one of the best places to live for families.

Boasting a mix of suburbia and city living, the median home price in Charlottesville is a little over $344,000. This means the house prices here are significantly over the US national average, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. When you live in Charlottesville, you'll live in one of Virginia's most beautiful towns.

Charlottesville has many jobs available—in fact, more jobs than the population. It is believed that around 80% of the people who work in Charlottesville don't actually live there. Jobs available are mostly in science, finance, and medicine. However, there does seem to be a small rise in the number of breweries in the area, too, and Charlottesville is starting to become a hotbed for brewing activity in Virginia.

Considering the smallish size of Charlottesville, you’ll find a lot to do here. Outdoors lovers will enjoy being within easy reach of Shenandoah National Park, and those who love to drive will enjoy being just a short jump away from the Skyline Drive.

If you are more of a city-dwelling type, you can stay in Richmond and enjoy the Downtown Mall, one of the largest malls in the US. You'll also have access to the Paramount Theater, which hosts many touring Broadway shows. In addition, there are many museums, parks, and more.

Things to Do in Charlottesville:

  • Ix Art Park
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Carter Mountain Orchard and Country Store
  • The Paramount Theater

3: Alexandria


Sitting on the banks of the Potomac River, Alexandria has often been touted as one of the best cities to live in Virginia, and it isn't hard to see why. Despite the city's large population, it feels like you have a lot of space to yourself. However, we do suppose that the median home price of $579,100 will price most people out of the Alexandria home market. This has led to most people living in Richmond being renters, but even then, the average rental price is significantly above the US average.

If you can afford to live in Alexandria, you'll be pleased to know that you're living in one of the best cities in the US. You'll have access to high-class schools, you'll be in one of the safest places to live in Virginia, and you'll get to enjoy tons of employment opportunities. However, we can imagine that many of the people who do move to Alexandria will already have jobs lined up or at least be independently wealthy.

Alexandria offers plenty to do throughout the year. A particular highlight is the Scottish Christmas Walk, which has been running since 1969. The walk celebrates the town's Scottish heritage. Similar events are held throughout the year to celebrate other parts of Alexandria's history.

There's plenty more to see and do inside the town, too, including River Farm, Green Springs Garden Park, and more. If you live here, you really won't be short on things to do.

Things to Do in Alexandria:

  • The George Washington Masonic National Memorial
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center
  • Various parks
  • Old Town Alexandria Waterfront
  • Various cultural festivals throughout the year.

4: Fairfax


As part of the Washington metropolitan area, Fairfax has often been the place to live for people who work in the capital. This has pushed the median house price in Fairfax to around $598,000, making it difficult to find homes here. However, with a population of under 25,000 and plenty of spacious homes, it is undoubtedly one of the more pleasurable places to live in Virginia.

Fairfax has been named one of the top 25 places in the US to live. This is partly due to the massive amount of investment that Fairfax has received over the last few years. Live in Fairfax, and you'll be living in a booming economy. As you can imagine, many of the people who live here will be commuting to the capital to work. However, Fairfax still has a wealth of employment opportunities, mostly in consulting, finance, and political lobbying.

Throughout the year, you'll find countless festivals happening throughout Fairfax. This includes days dedicated to chocolate, trails, Ireland, books, and more. Honestly, there are times when it feels like the community is running multiple events every single month. If you live here, try to attend as many of them as you can because there are few places in Virginia where you'll feel more like a part of a community than in Fairfax.

Things to Do In Fairfax:

  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon
  • Great Falls Park
  • NRA National Firearms Museum
  • Tysons Corner Center

5: Arlington


Arlington, like many cities in Virginia, is somewhat on the expensive side. The median home price in Arlington is a rather hefty $755,800, almost three times the national average. It is no wonder so many people rent their homes here (which is still nearly double the national average). But still, if you do live in Arlington, you will live in a stunning city with great schools and an incredibly low crime rate.

Arlington has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia. The bulk of the jobs are in government. However, young professionals can find plenty of jobs in tech, medicine, and more. The hospitality industry is also huge here.

There are a few highlights when it comes to landmarks here. Arlington Cemetery is probably the best-known worldwide, but the Pentagon and tons of museums can also be found in Arlington. You'll also find decent nightlife for those who want to let their hair down after a long, hard week at work.

Things to Do in Arlington:

  • National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
  • The Pentagon
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Signature Theater

6: Williamsburg


Technically, Williamsburg is a neighborhood of Arlington, but its 5,500-strong population is isolated enough to become its own community. As you can probably imagine, if Arlington is such a great place to live in Virginia, Williamsburg will also be one of the great places to live in Virginia.

The median home price of well over $1.1 million does make Williamsburg one of the more expensive places to live in Virginia, or the US as a whole, for that matter.

While there are jobs in Williamsburg, mostly at Colonial Williamsburg, plus at a large brewery, those positions will unlikely support a lifestyle in Williamsburg. Instead, most people here are either independently wealthy or have managed to secure jobs within the city of Arlington.

Tourism is big in Williamsburg, so many of the activities there center on that. These include Colonial Williamsburg (a living history museum), the Williamsburg Botanical Garden, and more. Most of these locations are outside of the main residential areas of Williamsburg, though, so the residents won't feel too disturbed by the tourist activity.

Things to Do In Williamsburg:

  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Williamsburg Botanical Garden
  • Virginia Musical Museum
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Water County USA

Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Williamsburg

7: Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

With a population of over 450,000, Virginia Beach is the most populated city in Virginia. The booming economy has made Virginia Beach one of the best places to live for young adults, professionals, families, and others.

With a median home price of $295,900, Virginia Beach is one of the more affordable places to live in Virginia. You get a lot for your money here with Virginia Beach sitting on beautiful sandy beaches, and you also have the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge to explore.

Virginia Beach is packed with jobs. There are plenty of jobs in international trade, tourism, the defense industry, government work, TV, and more. Many farmers on the outskirts of the city provide major cash for the Virginia Beach economy. Most people shouldn't struggle to find a job here.

There's also lots to see and do in the city. Despite being an urban sprawl, Virginia Beach has untouched beaches, nature reserves, and much farmland. You can also enjoy the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and more.

Things to Do in Virginia Beach:

  • Relax on the beach
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
  • Regular surfing championships
  • First Landing State Park
  • Mount Trashmore Park

Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Virginia Beach

8: McLean

Flickr/Ron Cogswell

If you want to live in one of the largest properties in the US and have at least $1.1 million available to buy a home, then the town of McLean in Virginia may be perfect for you. Live in McLean, and you'll be living in the midst of celebs, government officials, and more.

McLean has one of the lowest poverty rates in the US, although this is because you do have to be exceedingly rich to live here in the first place. Many people living in McLean work in government or for the CIA, although there are some top-ranking military officials here too. Mars and Geebo are located in the area, but many available jobs are insufficient to support living in McLean, so they come from neighboring towns.

Because McLean aims to be a relatively calm and tranquil community, there isn't much to do here. However, you will be close to Fairfax. You can also easily reach Great Falls Park, Turkey Run Park, and Scott's Run Nature Preserve. Several golf courses are also in the local area.

Things to Do in McLean:

  • Visit Fairfax
  • Great Falls Park
  • Linway Terrace Park
  • Fort Marcy
  • Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

9: Leesburg


A suburb of Washington D.C., Leesburg has broadly the same population as McLean, but with an average home price of $490,000, living here is a little bit more affordable. However, you do have to put up with a slighter, denser urban lifestyle.

Leesburg is a firm favorite among those looking to raise a family. This is because Leesburg is known for having some of the best schools in Virginia. The wealth of parks also ensures that children have a ton of space to grow up and enjoy themselves in one of the safest communities in Virginia.

Leesburg is close to the center of Washington D.C., with a little over 25 miles separating the two places. This means that many of the residents of Leesburg do live in Washington D.C. However, Leesburg doesn't precisely lack employment opportunities, with multiple legal and tech offices located here. You also have a historic district that is a hit among tourists.

Leesburg is home to several parks, which the locals love. The highlights include Ida Lee Park and the Red Rocks Wilderness Overlook Regional Park. Throughout the year, residents can enjoy fantastic celebrations, including the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival, the Leesburg AirShow, a classic car show, and one of the longest-running Halloween parades in the country.

Things to Do in Leesburg:

  • Enjoy the oldest Halloween parade in the US
  • Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail
  • Leesburg Premium Outlets
  • Stone Tower Winery
  • Loudoun Museum

10: Chesapeake


Sitting right on Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake is the second most populated city in Virginia, with 247,000 residents. It is one of the good places to live in Virginia if you are looking for a relatively affordable home and plenty of job opportunities.

The median home price in Chesapeake is only slightly above the national average, at $291,000. This is affordable for Virginia, and you'll have access to a city with fantastic infrastructure, great schools, and more.

Major employers in the area will be government, retail, medicine, and more. The area has professional jobs available, including jobs for those who only have a primary education. The unemployment rate in Chesapeake is incredibly low.

Chesapeake Bay is probably one of the main attractions in the area, but you can also enjoy the Chesapeake Arboretum and various canals. As a major city, several cultural events are held throughout the year, so there should always be something to do for the residents of this great city.

Things to Do in Chesapeake:

  • Oak Grove Lake Park
  • Great Bridge Lock Park
  • Greenbrier Mall
  • Hickory Ridge Farm
  • Mount Pleasant Farms

Also Read: Most Charming Small Towns in Virginia

11: Norfolk


With a population of 240,000, Norfolk is Virginia's third most populated city. Surprisingly, it is also one of the cheapest places to live in the state. The median home price is just $223,300, which is below the US national average, as is the median rent of $1,114.

Norfolk is one of the top places in the US for those who want to work in the defense industry. It is also a central hub for the United States Navy, with many working in Norfolk as part of the military or in businesses working with the military. On top of this, the place is a major hub for trade. There is a bit of manufacturing in the area, although much of this has died off in recent years (e.g., the Ford automobile factory shut down in 2007). Norfolk is a huge city, so employment options are rife.

Norfolk is a massive favorite among those who like good nightlife. In fact, many people class Norfolk as having some of the best nightlife in Virginia, with countless nightclubs, coffee shops, and restaurants in the center.

Art and the performing arts are at the center of Norfolk's cultural side, with plenty of small theaters and art galleries dotted around the area. The area is also home to the Virginia Arts Festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the US.

Those who live in Norfolk can also enjoy a vast number of open spaces, with one of our highlights being the Norfolk Botanical Garden. It is close to the airport but still feels like a little slice of nature. During the summer, you'll often find residents lounging around one of the three beaches here. If you lived in Norfolk, Virginia, that could be you!

Things to do in Norfolk:

  • Virginia Zoo
  • Nauticus
  • Hampton Roads Naval Museum
  • Wells Theater
  • Chrysler Museum of Art

12: Roanoke


Next on our list of the best towns to live in Virginia is Roanoke. If you like the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains to your day-to-day life, then Roanoke may be one of the best places for you.

Roanoke is one of the cheapest places to live in Virginia. The median home price is just $140,600, and the median rental is $845. Both are significantly below the US national average. While the schools and the overall housing situation here aren't as brilliant as some of the other places in Virginia, Roanoke is said to be a charming place to live. The rather small population of 90,000 means that you shouldn't have too many issues experiencing the community that Roanoke has to offer.

Part of the reason the median house price in Roanoke is so low is that employment options are not as numerous as in some of the other places in Virginia. Major employers here are UPS, the USPS, and the various hospitals and schools. You have some law firms and finance institutions, but nowhere near as many as in the other large cities in Virginia. Despite this, the employment rate in Roanoke is low, which means that many people shouldn't struggle to find work when they live here.

Roanoke is described as the 'arts and cultural hub of Southwest Virginia', which should give you an idea of what most of the culture in Roanoke offers. Expect many art museums, countless farmers' markets, science centers, and more. Throughout the year, there are numerous festivals, with St. Patrick's Day and Pride in the Park being the highlights of the cultural calendar.

Things to Do in Roanoke:

  • Taubman Museum of Art
  • Roanoke Pinball Museum
  • Pride in the Park every Pride Month
  • Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.

13: Fredericksburg


In the Colonial Era, Fredericksburg was a very important town. It sits right on the Rappahannock River, offering an important trade route to the Atlantic Ocean. Although, unlike some of the other major towns and cities in Virginia that were equally important at the time, Fredericksburg didn't. This means that the population sits below 30,000. Not that the residents of Fredericksburg will mind. The place is absolutely stunning, filled with nature and plenty of historical buildings.

The median house price in Fredericksburg is $382,400. Very few new builds are happening in this area, so if you opt to live in Fredericksburg, you'll live in some beautiful historic buildings. Honestly, we can't think of anywhere better to live.

Because Fredericksburg is a small place, there aren't that many employers in the area. Most of the jobs in the region are in tourism, which probably isn't enough to support a lifestyle in the town. However, you will be incredibly close to major towns & cities offering major employment. This is where most people who live in Fredericksburg find their jobs.

Most of what there is to see and do in the area focuses on the historical district, which has over 350 old buildings in the center of Fredericksburg. You can also wander along the Rappahannock River and explore four stunning parks. It really is a fantastic area to live.

Things to Do in Fredericksburg:

  • Fredericksburg Historical District
  • Kenmore Plantation
  • Old Mill Park
  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

14: Chincoteague


We believe Chincoteague is one of the more beautiful places to live in Virginia. With a little over 3,000 people, you'll enjoy a beautiful small town and an amazing community.

The median home value in Chincoteague is just $314,900. This makes it a surprisingly affordable place to live, considering the location. Sure, it is a little higher than the US national average, but you will struggle to find homes cheaper in places this beautiful.

Chances are that you won't find a job in Chincoteague to support a lifestyle here. However, many surrounding towns and cities provide major employment opportunities. Most of the employment in Chincoteague is focused on the tourism industry, although there are some small law offices and museums in the local area.

The main highlight of living in the Chincoteague area is access to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the various islands and waters in the area. You can also walk to the Wallops Island Flight Facility, one of the areas used to launch rockets that supply the International Space Station.

If you want nightlife, this may not be the best place to live. Chincoteague is more for those who favor a laidback lifestyle in the middle of nature.

Things to Do in Chincoteague:

  • Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Museum of Chincoteague Island
  • Assateague Lighthouse
  • Surfside Golf

15: Falls Church

Falls Church

Finally, we have Falls Church. With a population of 14,494 and some fantastic schools, Falls Church is often regarded as one of Virginia's best places to live. It is also a great base if you want to live in a small community but work in Washington, D.C.

The median home price in Falls Church is a little over $850,000. This is a little bit on the higher side, so it should come as no surprise that many of the people who do live in Falls Church tend to work some of the higher-paying jobs within Washington D.C., as there aren't that many major employers in Falls Church.

Despite being a rather small place to live, there is plenty to see and do for the residents. One of the highlights of the cultural calendar is the Memorial Day Parade, which is huge. Every Saturday, you can also enjoy the Falls Church Farmer’s Market. Downtown Falls Church also offers a few bars, clubs, and restaurants. However, the nightlife here isn’t especially booming.

Falls Church isn't really a place where people go to live a mile a minute. It is for a laidback lifestyle, perhaps for families with children or couples with children that have flown the nest. You'll have a few museums to explore, some old houses, and a couple of breweries. Although you're not that far from Washington, D.C., you can go there for your entertainment while living the relaxed lifestyle in Falls Church.

Things to Do in Falls Church:

  • The Falls Church
  • Cherry Hill Farmhouse
  • Falls Church Antique Center
  • Creative Cauldron
  • National Funeral Home and Memorial Park


What are the Pros and Cons of living in Virginia?

Virginia is a beautiful state with lovely towns and cities and a lot of history. Employment rates are fantastic, especially for those aspiring to work in government. The downside is that Virginia has one of the highest living costs in the US.

Where is the best area to live in Virginia?

Almost everywhere in Virginia is a great place to live, but most people recommend living in Richmond or Charlottesville due to the wealth of employment opportunities and the relatively low cost of living compared to other parts of the state.

Is Virginia considered a good state to live in?

Yes. It is a beautiful state with a strong economy. Housing prices are higher, but the higher median income makes up for this.

What is the safest place in Virginia to live?

Out of the major towns and cities, Alexandria is one of the safest places to live in Virginia.

Final Thoughts

Remember – there are plenty more places we could have included on our list of the best places to live in Virginia. The entire state is fantastic and genuinely offers a little something for everybody. However, if you're looking for a great place to live, the places on this list are a great place to start your search. Who knows, you could end up finding your next home!

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