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Where to live in Alexandria
February 14, 2007 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Where should we live in Alexandria, VA?

My boyfriend and I will be moving to Alexandria at the beginning of May, but we're unsure which area would be best for us. We're both in our early twenties and enjoy going out, eating well, and being able to walk to interesting things. As a point of reference, we lived in DC's Eastern Market last summer and we loved the easy walk to restaurants, bars and the Market itself.

We're looking to move into a 1 bedroom apartment (can't be a studio) and we'd like to pay less than $1400. We only have a passing familiarity with the city and we're looking for specific recommendations for certain areas (or ideally, certain apartment buildings). It would be nice to live near a metro as I may be working in DC, but it's not a requirement.

BONUS: My boyfriend would love to find a place to play baseball, roller hockey, or basketball on some sort of recreational team in the city. Any recommendations?
posted by Flamingo to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does it have to be Alexandria? You'd probably find everything you need + Metro access in the Clarendon, Ballston, or Rosslyn areas of Arlington. In Alexandria, everything you want is in Old Town but it's a bit of a haul to a Metro stop.

Clarendon is really the up and coming area.

Sorry I can't recommend actual buildings - I lived in Springfield for 25 years, but moved back home to Tidewater last year.

Good luck- it's a great area if you can live with the congestion.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:48 PM on February 14, 2007


I'd try the Del-Ray neighborhood. Lots of cool restaurants, some scattered basketball courts etc. and you might actually find a place in your price range there as opposed to say Old Town.
posted by Heminator at 8:10 PM on February 14, 2007


If you can afford it, Old town is the place to be, fo shizle. You can find a one bedroom in that price range, w/i walking distance to the King street metro. Here's an example I found in two minutes on craigslist. I picked that one b/c it popped up first, but it gets bonus points for being w/i a stones throw of Misha's Coffeehouse, which is the best coffee you'll ever have. :) Parking can be an issue, but can't be worse than Eastern market, I'm guessing. As for recreation, the YMCA of Alexandria is close to Old town.
posted by gregoryc at 9:06 PM on February 14, 2007


I second Heminator on the Del-Ray area.

I lived in a super-cheap apartment in a small building at Mt. Vernon and E. Mason about five years ago (behind the car dealership) and loved it. Back then there was a ton of good restaurants within a ten minute walk (Evening Star Cafe, Mancini's, Taqueria Poblano, Bombay Curry Co, Los Amigos, Thai Peppers, FireFlies, Monroe's, Gold Crust Bakery), a coffee house that blows the doors off any Starbucks, an organic market, a seasonal farmer's market, a good wine shop (Daily Planet), and a reliable and safe Giant grocery store. All easy to walk, bike, or drive and park. This quirky area includes a "Wafle Shop" and a store that sells both house plants and comic books. It's not far from Potomac Yard with its traditional big-box retail and movies, and the cheap watering-holes of Crystal City. For fitness and activities in that area, there is a YMCA and some baseball diamonds on Monroe near Rt 1 (google map). For cycling or running the area is close to the Four Mile Run, Mt Vernon, and W&OD trails.

When I go back to visit friends I find that the retail and restaurants have only gotten better since I've moved to my current place in DC (a couple blocks East from you now).

There are not many large apartment complexes, so you might have to spend some time searching around to see what you can find. Braddock Road and King Street Metro are withing walking distance to the southern part of Del Ray. Since it's north of Old Town Alexandria, commuting to DC by car is not so bad up Rt 1.

And to gregoryc, Misha's is indeed hipper than St Elmo's but Old Town is the place to be only if you're in your 50's or a tourist.
posted by peeedro at 10:00 PM on February 14, 2007


A agree w/ peeedro about Del-Ray (except that last jab!). As long as you don't care about metro access, Del-Ray looks like a good place to live. I for one would not want to commute by car on Rt. 1, though. I've never done it, so maybe it's not that bad.
posted by gregoryc at 4:07 AM on February 15, 2007


Clarendon is awesome, although it might not fit within your budget. I'm not sure on that.
posted by Alt F4 at 4:36 AM on February 15, 2007


This may be overkill at this point, but here's another vote for Del-Ray.
posted by amarynth at 5:02 AM on February 15, 2007


Yet another vote for Del Ray. Peeedro is dead on with his list, although he forgot to mention The Dairy Godmother, which sells incredible frozen custard. I live in a decent-sized 1Br near the school at Glendale and Mt. Vernon aves and pay a lot less than $1400. It's about a five minute walk to the Braddock Rd. metro stop, and at worst, a 10 -15 minute walk from the places peeedro mentioned.

I would say that the demographics of Alexandria seem to skew towards families and older professionals, as opposed to, say, Clarendon in Arlington, as Benny A mentioned, which seems to me to skew more towards people in their twenties. I like this about Del Ray - it's nice to come home to some place quiet after a night out in DC - but some people might feel like it's a little sleepy down here. YMMV
posted by lzlo at 5:23 AM on February 15, 2007


There's a very nice apartment complex next to the Braddock Road Metro stop. Close to the Metro (duh), but still walkable to both Old Town and Del Ray.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:25 AM on February 15, 2007


but Old Town is the place to be only if you're in your 50's or a tourist.

This is spot on.
posted by clearlynuts at 6:13 AM on February 15, 2007


Aaaand here's yet another person recommending Del Ray (twenty-something guy). I've been living there for the last four years in a large one bedroom apartment that costs me about $1000 a month, and it only takes me 15 minutes to walk to the Metro (and buses run along Mt. Vernon Ave.). My girlfriend lives just a few blocks away in a tiny one bedroom that also costs her $1000/month. But her's is significantly newer and nicer than mine. It's also only three blocks from public tennis courts and a fenced-in dog park (it's a very dog-friendly neighborhood, and I've never met so many people as I do now when I walk my girlfriend's puppy).

In addition to all the other places already mentioned, there's a fantastic pho place (called Pho King, heh) where the menus are full of wonderfully misspelled items.

And I can't believe that no one's mentioned Cheesetique yet! It's the best cheesemonger in all of the D.C. area, and it's right in Del Ray, too.

A MOM's (My Organic Market) is just down the street in the next-door Chirilagua area, an El Salvadorian neighborhood with a few very interesting restaurants such as Lilian's--great fajitas with a strip-club feel.

The Birchmere's also on the border of Del Ray and Chirilagua (live music and food).

And though it's already been mentioned, I'm in love with the farmer's market that runs from the spring through December. It can't hold a candle to Eastern Market, but it's very convenient.

Though I'm planning on moving to San Francisco as soon as I find a job out there, I've loved my time in Del Ray.
posted by J-Train at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2007


I think that's an excessive view of Old Town and if you're going to paint it with that brush then you'd have to apply the same thing to Georgetown and Adams Morgan, to name a few. Maybe it's not to your taste but plenty of people like living in all three.

The Crystal City area has a lot of houses with rental apartments and rooms, you might look in that area. Walking distance to a reasonable if not excessive selection of things - though nothing like Eastern Market - as well as a choice of two metro stops.
posted by phearlez at 7:54 AM on February 15, 2007


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