These Are The 10 Best Washington DC Suburbs

We analyzed over 26 places around Washington to identify the most kickass place to live.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Washington are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado, here are the 10 best suburbs around Washington DC:

  1. Falls Church (Photos)
  2. Vienna (Photos)
  3. Alexandria (Photos)
  4. Fairfax (Photos)
  5. Rockville
  6. Herndon (Photos)
  7. Manassas Park (Photos)
  8. Leesburg (Photos)
  9. Takoma Park
  10. Gaithersburg

If you happen to be a resident of Falls Church, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Washington ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Washington

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Washington was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people

Then we used the 2010-2014 American Community Survey to research each suburb. FYI: We defined a suburb based on the Census’s designation of being part of an “Urban Cluster,” but not the main city of said urbanized area. For example, the Census considers all of these places to be part of the Washington, Dc–Va–Md Urbanized Area.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to non-CDPs that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Washington.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Washington.” We’re lookin’ at you, Falls Church.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

1. Falls Church

Falls Church, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,074
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Median Home Price: $665,400
Median Income: $120,500

2. Vienna

Vienna, Virginia

Source: Flickr

Population: 16,173
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Median Home Price: $614,500
Median Income: $133,776

3. Alexandria

Alexandria, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 146,422
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Median Home Price: $494,400
Median Income: $87,319

4. Fairfax

Fairfax, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 23,507
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Median Home Price: $462,800
Median Income: $100,584

5. Rockville

Population 2014: 63,402
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Median Home Price: $479,100
Median Income: $98,530

6. Herndon

Herndon, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,141
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Median Home Price: $382,600
Median Income: $100,399

7. Manassas Park

Manassas Park, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,992
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Median Home Price: $222,300
Median Income: $73,460

8. Leesburg

Leesburg, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 46,211
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Median Home Price: $377,100
Median Income: $101,719

9. Takoma Park

Population 2014: 17,307
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $475,800
Median Income: $78,106

10. Gaithersburg

Population 2014: 63,491
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $363,800
Median Income: $78,441

Welcome to the ‘Burbs

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Washington, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
For more Virginia reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Burbs To Live Around Washington DC

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Falls Church 1 13,074 5.0% $665,400 $120,500
Vienna 2 16,173 3.6% $614,500 $133,776
Alexandria 3 146,422 4.7% $494,400 $87,319
Fairfax 4 23,507 5.5% $462,800 $100,584
Rockville 5 63,402 5.3% $479,100 $98,530
Herndon 6 24,141 4.7% $382,600 $100,399
Manassas Park 7 14,992 3.7% $222,300 $73,460
Leesburg 8 46,211 4.7% $377,100 $101,719
Takoma Park 9 17,307 8.1% $475,800 $78,106
Gaithersburg 10 63,491 6.6% $363,800 $78,441
Cheverly 11 6,307 10.6% $291,400 $89,306
Mount Airy 12 9,333 5.1% $334,600 $105,729
Bowie 13 56,335 7.7% $297,700 $106,396
Washington 14 633,736 10.6% $454,500 $69,235
Manassas 15 40,436 8.0% $257,500 $71,215
Warrenton 16 9,774 5.5% $307,700 $73,062
Hyattsville 17 18,049 6.8% $254,700 $61,806
College Park 18 31,387 10.7% $256,100 $56,736
Glenarden 19 6,145 11.6% $239,500 $53,981
Mount Rainier 20 8,277 9.5% $261,100 $44,902
Greenbelt 21 23,612 6.9% $191,100 $62,685
New Carrollton 22 12,412 12.9% $227,100 $59,438
Bladensburg 23 9,371 8.0% $205,000 $42,265
District Heights 24 5,977 15.2% $217,800 $67,000
Dumfries 25 5,122 14.1% $145,300 $57,111
Riverdale Park 26 7,119 10.1% $237,600 $58,342

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About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.