Living in the City of Alexandria
The City of Alexandria is located along the Potomac River’s western bank, about 7 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C. Over the years, the city has been shaped by its proximity to the capital of the United States, becoming populated largely by professionals who work in the U.S. military, in the federal civil service, or for one of the many private companies contracted by the federal government.
Unemployment is low in Alexandria and the recent job growth reported for the city has been positive, thanks to the presence of important companies such as the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, and VSE. The city is also the home to many charities, trade associations, and non-profit organizations. Some of the top employers include the United States Department of Commerce, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the United States Department of Defense.
Old Town is the name of the historic center of the city and it is a place with a high concentration of restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, and theaters. Many of these are locally owned and run which makes them unique to Alexandria. There are also special events here like the popular Christmastime attraction the Scottish Christmas Walk, an event involving a parade through the center of Old Town Alexandria to celebrate the Scottish heritage of the city. Plus, the city has a great park system with about 950 acres spread across 30 recreation centers and 70 major parks.
The average commute time of the city is 30 minutes, only slightly higher than the national average of 25 minutes. It is a city bisected west and east by State Route 7 and Interstate 395 crosses south and north through the city’s western part. The Capital Beltway (Interstate 95/495), including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to a large extent parallels the southern boundary of the city with Fairfax County. Therefore, there are lots of options if you plan to drive to work in the morning.
Many people will probably want to avoid driving, though, because of the traffic, so in that case the Metro is a great option. There are four Metro stops in Alexandria and many others right outside the city so there is sure to be one close to you.
The public school system of Alexandria consists of 13 elementary schools for Kindergarten through Grade 5, and two middle schools, George Washington and Francis C. Hammond, serve 6th to 8th graders. For the entire city there is T.C. Williams High School, but all 9th graders go to the Minnie Howard Campus while 10th-12th graders go to the King Street Campus.
For higher education, there is the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College and The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech is located in Old Town on Prince Street, offering graduate programs in Public and International Affairs, Urban Affairs and Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. There is also the Virginia Theological Seminary, which is the largest seminary in the Episcopal Church, and it is located on Seminary Road.
Although not technically in D.C., living in Alexandria you will get to know our nation’s capital like the back of your hand!
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