Alexandria, VA Neighborhood Guide

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We are grateful for the sponsors of this guide: The Royster Hearth Group, The Patterson Group, and Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate. These Realtors are experts in this area. Please be sure to check out thorough details about their practices below. We are thankful for their sponsorship, which allows us to continue to bring DC Area Moms resources like this. 

What is your favorite thing about raising kids in Alexandria?

I love that I have everything I need for the kids within a 20 minute drive or less. There are several sports leagues, swimming, dance and music lesson options. There are kids consignment stores and boutique stores. And if you need access to a mall, Springfield Towncenter and Pentagon City are also about 20 minutes away. Also, don’t forget about Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, as well as our favorite local grocery store chains!

Gunston Soccer at Grist Mill Park

What makes Alexandria family-friendly and unique?

Alexandria offers both urban settings, suburban settings, historical settings and everything in between. If you want to go carless and walk everywhere, this is possible in Old Town, Del Ray, and parts of Belle Haven (very stroller friendly). If you want the large house and sidewalks, this is also possible in several of the neighborhoods such as in Fort Hunt and Mount Vernon.

Streets of Old Town Alexandria

What community events or local attractions are there?

Our biggest attraction is probably George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It’s fun to think that my kids get to play soccer on what used to be our 1st President’s farm land. Old Town also has several attractions such as the Torpedo Factory and the tall Masonic Temple that you can see from miles away. And don’t forget about the Old Town Ghost Tours! Old Town also has parades for almost all big Holidays. Our favorite is the Scottish Walk Christmas one.

View of Old Town from the Masonic Temple

Why would you recommend Alexandria to families?

Alexandria’s schools are great and the cost of living is a tad less than other parts of DC.  It also is one of the top 10 safest cities in America. There is a strong sense of community and friendliness in Alexandria that I love. Also, it is a historic and beautiful place to raise kids too with lots to walk to. Southern Living named Alexandria one of the South’s prettiest cities earlier this year.  It also was named the #1 travel destination for 2018 by Money magazine.

Also, there are two counties in Alexandria, VA: City of Alexandria and Fairfax County. All areas below the beltway is Fairfax county. Areas north of the beltway is City of Alexandria and includes “Old Town”. Warning: If you google map Alexandria, VA it will only show City of Alexandria. Don’t let it fool you though! The best way to decipher is by zip code. City of Alexandria zip codes are: 22305, 22304, 22302, 22301, 22314, 22311, 22312 and Fairfax County zip codes are: 22303, 22310, 22307, 22306, 22308, 22312, 22309. It takes about 30 minutes (without traffic) to drive from one end of Alexandria to the other.

Streets of Old Town Alexandria

What nearby schools or childcare places do kids go to?

As mentioned, it depends on which part of Alexandria you live in. Kids can go to Alexandria City Public Schools or Fairfax County Public Schools. There are several childcare centers scattered all over especially in Old Town. Private Schools in the area include: Browne Academy, Burgundy Day Farm, St. Stephens & St. Agnes School, Bishop Ireton High School, St. Mary’s, and St. Louis.

What are your favorite places to shop in Alexandria?

We love to purchase gifts for any occasion at Reunions. They sell the “Alexandria” pillows. Robcyns is also a great place to purchase Melissa & Doug costumes or dance shoes. I love checking out inventory at Bellies & Babies in Del Ray and 529 Consign in Old Town. I can always find great deals at the Crate & Barrel outlet in Old Town or Evolution Home off Route 1. And last but not least, I love Mint Condition, Bishop Boutique, and the Shoe Hive for my own closet!

What are some of your favorite places to eat?

This is my favorite question! Vola’s is great for Oysters, Southern seafood and outdoor waterfront views. Bugsys’s is great for wings and deep dish pizza. Killer ESP is great for coffee. Buzz Bakery is great for cupcakes. Pork Barrel BBQ and Evening Star Café are great in Del Ray. Southside 815 is where everybody knows your name! The kids love Los Tios, Eat Augies, and DRP Belle Haven.  And this is to name a few!

What places make Alexandria feel kid-friendly?

Parks like Jones Point and splash pads like Our Special Harbor Spray Park. And indoor places like Scramble and Pump It Up off Eisenhower Avenue. Alexandria also is home to one of the few Chuck E Cheese’s in the area.

View of the Wharf at the Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria

What advice would you give to families who are new to Alexandria?

Use Google Maps to get everywhere and explore, explore, explore. Alexandria has a southern and small town feel, so most folks are friendly and approachable! There’s a great mix of working moms and stay at home moms.

Brian Liu Photography

If someone was visiting for a day, what would you recommend they do?

Start the day grabbing coffee and breakfast at Killer ESP, Misha’s, Southblock, Mia’s or Swings. Then visit one of the many parks in the area, make your way down to Mount Vernon, catch the views from the Masonic Temple, or rent a kayak from Dyke’s Marsh. Create a picnic lunch from Trader Joe’s or purchase one from Society Fair and enjoy a picnic at one of the many waterfront parks. Walk along King Street in the afternoon checking out the many shops. In addition to the ones mentioned above, don’t forgot Spice and Tea Exchange Shop or the yarn shop Fibre Space. Grab happy hour at Columbia Firehouse, Brabo or Murphy’s Irish Pub. The best bang for your buck! Or, grab a delicious dinner at Virtue Feed and Grain, Myron Mixon BBQ (trust me, get the family meat special), or The Majestic. Top the day off with ice cream from Kilwins or cupcakes from Lavendar Moon Cupcakery.

Brian Liu Photography

Expert, experienced Realtors for Alexandria, VA:

The Royster Hearth Group – Your Local Real Estate Team in Northern Virginia

HEARTH /härTH/ noun 1: HOME, especially when seen as a place of comfort and love.
Home is more than a place with a roof over our heads. It is a place of comfort, love, warmth, rest and security – “HEARTH”.  The Royster Hearth Group is a dedicated team in Northern Virginia to help you reach that place. Their mission statement is simple: Serve Our Neighbors, Not Ourselves. Whether you’re buying or selling, or just weighing your options, The Royster Hearth Group will love to talk to you! Tim Royster, Team Lead of the Royster Hearth Group, is a U.S. Army Veteran. Contact Tim at [email protected] or 571-275-0871. Look at their website at www.roysterhearthgroup.com and be sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram too.

 

The Patterson Group – One of the most experienced and trusted real estate teams in the area

The Patterson Group is one of the most trusted residential real estate teams in Northern Virginia, providing 30 years’ experience and lifetimes of local knowledge. Nationally recognized as one of the top-producing real estate teams in the country. The Patterson Group presents a luxury real estate experience at every price point, offering integrity, loyalty, discretion, professionalism, and a quick response time, as well as local contacts and a team of seasoned professionals ready to assist you with all of your real estate needs. Contact Phyllis Patterson at [email protected] or 703-310-6201. Look at their website at www.pattersonrealestate.com and be sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram too.

 

Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate 

Kelly Kelley works closely with her clients throughout the DC/MD/VA area and has a well-earned stellar reputation for her extensive knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills, and smooth transaction processes. Kelly‘s clients enjoy exceptional service and a client-focused, educational approach to buying their next home or investment property. Kelly has lived and worked in Washington, DC and Virginia for over 16 years.  She and her young family live in the Logan/U St. neighborhood.  She’s an expert in navigating the complexity of the school systems in and around DC and the surrounding suburbs, including but not limited to the DCPS lottery and area private school systems. Contact Kelly at [email protected] or at 540-529-4804. Look at her website at https://www.jaybarrygroup.com and be sure to follow her group on Facebook and Instagram