10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

Virginia is one of the amazing places to live. Where else can you find mountains and beaches, high-end horse-racing communities, and small towns with neighbors who travel by wagon — all within a two-hour drive?

There are mid-sized rural towns here with just as much art and culture as urban communities adjacent to Washington D.C. Virginia is home to so many different lifestyles that there is most definitely a place for everyone.

All of the communities described in this article have certain characteristics in common.

  • Taxes. Virginia has a progressive state income tax that ranges from 2.0% to 5.75%. For comparison, the national average state income tax is 4.6%. The state and local sales tax combined rate ranges from 5.3% to 7.0%, compared to the national average of 6.2%. Virginia has relatively low effective property tax rates at 0.8%.
  • Climate. Most of Virginia is subtropical: humid, with hot summers and cold winters. It snows often, but not always, and there is an average amount of rainfall. We will mention any specific climatic anomalies for specific areas if they exist.

Here are the 10 best places to live in Virginia. For each community below, we assign a score, which provides an overall assessment of its safety and appeal as a place to call home.

The 10 Best Places to Live in Virginia

1. Alexandria

HOMEiA Score: 91/100

  • Population: 159,467 | Rank Last Year: #4
  • Cost of Living: 40.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $572,900/$100,939 = 5.68 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $100,939/$20,964 = 4.81 (renting homes is affordable)

Alexandria is located approximately 7 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. on the western bank of the Potomac River. With easy access to Interstate 495, Interstate 395, and Route 1, Alexandria is also adjacent to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

ALEXANDRIA MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $100,939

Alexandria Cost of Living

  • 40% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 13% Lower than Arlington, Virginia
  • 33% Higher than New York City, New York
  • 31% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Alexandria Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$572,900 $33,276 $20,964
10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

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2. Arlington

HOMEiA Score: 87/100

  • Population: 238,643 | Rank Last Year: #7
  • Cost of Living: 61.6% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $705,400/$120,071 = 5.87 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $120,071/$23,640 = 5.08 (renting homes is affordable)

Arlington is situated along the southwestern bank of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia and is directly across from Washington, D.C. Major roadways in Arlington include Interstates 66 and 395, Route 7 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Arlington is home to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, Reagan National Airport, and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, among many other notable places.

ARLINGTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $120,071

Arlington Cost of Living

  • 62% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 15% Higher than Alexandria, Virginia
  • 54% Higher than New York City, New York
  • 50% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Arlington Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters (Rent & Utilities)
$705,400 $36,132 $23,640
10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

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3. Virginia Beach

HOMEiA Score: 88/100

  • Population: 459,470 | Rank Last Year: #6
  • Cost of Living: 3.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $280,800/$76,610 = 3.67 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $76,610/$16,404 = 4.67 (renting homes is affordable)

Virginia Beach is a coastal city located in southeastern Virginia where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is accessible by Interstate 64 and several state routes, one of which crosses the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel. The closest major airport is in Norfolk.

VIRGINIA BEACH MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $76,610

Virginia Beach Cost of Living

  • 3% Above the U.S. National Average
  • Comparable to Chesapeake, Virginia
  • 4% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 4% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Virginia Beach Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$280,800 $21,912 $16,404

4. Chesapeake 

HOMEiA Score: 92/100

  • Population: 249,422 | Rank Last Year: #2
  • Cost of Living: 3.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $273,700/$78,640 = 3.48 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $78,640/$15,348 = 5.12 (renting homes is affordable)

Chesapeake is in southeastern Virginia’s Hampton Roads area, extending from the Virginia/North Carolina border almost to the Chesapeake Bay. It is the second largest city in Virginia. It is easily accessible via four major highways: Interstates 64, 264, 464 and 664 all converge here. The closet major airport is Norfolk International, though Chesapeake does have a regional airport as well.

CHESAPEAKE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $78,640

Chesapeake Cost of Living

  • 3% Above the U.S. National Average
  • Comparable to Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • 4% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 4% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Chesapeake Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$273,700 $22,404 $15,348

5. Leesburg

HOMEiA Score: 89/100

  • Population: 48,250 | Rank Last Year: #5
  • Cost of Living: 49.0% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $434,300/$114,444 = 3.79 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $114,444/$19,488 = 5.87 (renting homes is very affordable)

Leesburg sits at the base of Catoctin Mountain, close to the Potomac River and approximately 33 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. It has become a popular D.C. suburb for commuters. State Route 267, known as the Dulles Greenway, is a private toll road connecting Leesburg to Washington Dulles International Airport and areas beyond. Route 7 is also a major commuter route from Leesburg into Washington, D.C., and Route 15 provides easy access from Interstate 66.

LEESBURG MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $114,444

Leesburg Cost of Living

  • 50% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 3% Higher than Herndon, Virginia
  • 42% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 39% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Leesburg Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$434,300 $29,772 $19,488
10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

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6. Staunton

Staunton, Virginia

HOMEiA Score: 81/100

  • Population: 25,750 | Rank Last Year: #10
  • Cost of Living: 18.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $169,000/$52,611 = 3.21 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $52,611/$10,332 = 5.09 (renting homes is affordable)

Staunton is a small town located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. It is 40 miles west of Charlottesville off of Interstate 64. It borders Interstate 81, and is approximately 160 miles from Washington D.C. The Shenandoah Valley Airport is the closest medium-sized airport to Staunton; major airports farther away include Richmond International, Dulles, Reagan National and Baltimore Washington International.

STAUNTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $52,611

Staunton Cost of Living

  • 18% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 8% Lower than Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • 26% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 24% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Staunton Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$169,000 $14,460 $10,332
10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

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7. Vienna

Vienna, Virginia

HOMEiA Score: 92/100

  • Population: 16,473 | Rank Last Year: #3
  • Cost of Living: 78.2% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $743,500/$161,196 = 4.61 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $161,196/$24,972 = 6.46 (renting homes is very affordable)

Vienna is a town in Fairfax County located north of Interstate 66, west of the Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) and, south of Route 267 (Dulles Access Rd.). Route 123 passes through town. The Washington & Old Dominion trail winds through Vienna, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is nearby. Washington Dulles International is only 10 miles away, and Washington National Airport is just 12 miles. Baltimore Washington International Airport is also less than an hour from Vienna.

VIENNA MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $161,196

Vienna Cost of Living

  • 78% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 23% Higher than Herndon, Virginia
  • 71% Higher than New York City, New York
  • 66% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Vienna Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$743,500 $40,752 $24,972

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8. Herndon 

HOMEiA Score: 82/100

  • Population: 24,655 | Rank Last Year: #8
  • Cost of Living: 45.1% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $442,700/$111,371 = 3.98 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $111,371/$21,684 = 5.14 (renting homes is affordable)

Herndon is located in northern Virginia, adjacent to Dulles International Airport. It is located near Routes 7, 28, 286, and 267 (Dulles Access Rd.). Herndon Pkwy encircles the center of town, and Sterling, Reston and Chantilly are located nearby.

HERNDON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $111,371

Herndon Cost of Living

  • 45% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 19% Lower than Vienna, Virginia
  • 38% Higher than New York City, New York
  • 35% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Herndon Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters (Rent & Utilities)
$442,700 $28,224 $21,684
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9. Bridgewater

Bridgewater

HOMEiA Score: 94/100

  • Population: 6,596 | Rank Last Year: #1
  • Cost of Living: 7.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $234,300/$62,870 = 3.73 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $62,870/$10,752 = 5.85 (renting homes is affordable)

Bridgewater is located southwest of Harrisonburg on Routes 42, 11 and 257 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Appalachians to the west, Bridgewater and its surrounding communities have quite a unique environment in which to thrive. The nearest airports are the small Bridgewater Air Park and the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.

BRIDGEWATER MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $62,870

Bridgewater Cost of Living

  • 7% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 4% Higher than Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • 15% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 14% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Bridgewater Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$234,300 $15,384 $10,752
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10. Warrenton

Warrenton, Virginia

HOMEiA Score: 82/100

  • Population: 10,057 | Rank Last Year: #9
  • Cost of Living: 34.3% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $342,600/$73,402 = 4.67 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $73,402/$15,768 = 4.66 (renting homes is affordable)

Warrenton is in the Piedmont region of Virginia, in Fauquier County, near the Blue Ridge Mountains where U.S. Highways 15, 17 and 211 converge. The closest interstate, I-66, is only 20 minutes away, and the closest major airport is Dulles, which is about an hour’s drive away. Surrounded by wineries, historic buildings, museums, parks, and horses, Warrenton has a rich history and is a beautiful place to be.

WARRENTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2010-2020): $73,402

Warrenton Cost of Living

  • 34% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 22% Lower than Middleburg, Virginia
  • 27% Higher than New York City, New York
  • 25% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Warrenton Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$342,600 $23,844 $15,768
10 Best Places to Live in Virginia in 2024

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Conclusion.

Virginia has many fantastic places to live. The ten we’ve presented here have diverse characteristics that enrich the lives of the people who live in them. From fun-filled beach towns and busy cities near the nation’s capital to small rural communities and some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the nation, Virginia has it all.

HOMEiA is a city living guide site where visitors can find detailed information about communities of interest. HOMEiA’s City Living Guides, created in partnership with local writers, are curated lists of the best, safest, and most affordable places to live. The guides feature the HOMEiA Score, a proprietary index that rates communities on such factors as housing costs, education and employment.

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I’m an avid writer who often focuses on real estate, business consulting, economics and finance. Before leading business and investment advisory services for over 25 years, I got a Ph.D. in Economics and taught at the university level. I have lived in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois for a combined 35 years. I also traveled to 40+ states on business and pleasure, and love writing about the great cities and small towns across the US. Read more >>
I am a freelance writer who has lived in the beautiful state of Virginia since the age of 2. Growing up, I lived in a small town in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by mountains, music, outdoor activities, kind people, and generations of cherished family members. Now living in the Piedmont Region of Northern Virginia, I am a busy mom, grandma, and small business owner, spending my weekends on the side of whichever field, court, or stage that my grandchildren… Read more >>