One of the most confusing things about Fairfax County or Northern Virginia, in general, is that a lot of different places share the same name. To make it simpler, within Fairfax County is Fairfax and in the center of Fairfax, there’s actually a small city called the City of Fairfax, which is just six square miles.
Different Places to Live in Fairfax
The City of Fairfax or Fairfax is absolutely one of the more densely populated areas as far as commercial developments. There may not be that many high-rise condos in Fairfax as seen in McLean, Tysons, Herndon, or Reston area, but it has more garden-style condos just like in Alexandria. Now, let’s talk about a couple of different places you could live in if you’re thinking of moving to Fairfax.
The first neighborhood we’re going to check out is called Mosby Woods, which is located inside the City of Fairfax, just south of Route 66, and bordered by Route 50. This little area is comprised of only 600 properties, but it is the largest community inside the City of Fairfax. With only 600 homes, there’s really not much space to tear down any properties.
Being the largest neighborhood in the City of Fairfax, you can expect to pay anywhere from $700,000 to $800,000 for a single-family home in Mosby Woods. Considering that it is such a small area with already many established homes, there aren’t a lot of new constructions to be seen in this community. Nonetheless, this neighborhood has established trees and sidewalks on both sides, which provide many benefits.
Mosby Woods is a really nice wooded area made up primarily of different types of single-family homes including split-levels, split-foyers, and ramblers that are mainly built in the late 60s. Seeing that the area is a little bit on the older side, there aren’t many garages, so people mostly just park their cars on the street or in their driveway. This is something to keep in mind, especially for all the Tesla owners out there.
As for things to do in the area, Mosby Wood is just 7 minutes away from Old Town Square, which is located in the middle of Fairfax. Old Town Square offers a bunch of different entertainment options, and it hosts all kinds of things for the community. Throughout the year, the venue holds numerous events such as Rock the Block, Derby-Q, Fall Festival, Festival of Lights and Carols, and the Annual City of Fairfax Holiday Market.
Additionally, there is also the Old Town Main Street, which is an area with a lot of brick properties that is a little bit more old-fashioned and has a more laid-back chillax feel to it. The Old Town Main Street is kind of like a sleepy town, but it’s a cute, quaint area that’s not far from the rest of the Fairfax area. Also, you can get to this Main Street from Tysons Corner and the Herndon area.
Kings Park West
The next community on our list is going to be Kings Park West, which is actually located in the southern part of Fairfax and is pretty close to George Mason University. In order to go to Kings Park West, you have to leave Fairfax City or the City of Fairfax. Similar to Mosby Woods, Kings Park West is a little bit on the older side, but it’s slightly larger. This neighborhood has various types of homes including condos, townhouses, and single-family homes that were built in the late 60s to mid-80s.
The single-family homes in Kings Park West usually consist of three to four bedrooms with a price range of $600,000 to $850,000. As an established community with very similar-style homes, the area has sidewalks on both sides and a few single-car garages here and there. Because of the time period that these properties were constructed, these garages are pretty small, which is why a lot of people are parking their cars on the street or in the driveway and are just extending their parking passes. This is just one of the few things you can expect when you’re moving into this area.
As far as entertainment goes, residents of Kings Park West could enjoy having beautiful nature-filled parks, trails, and delectable restaurants like Angie’s Restaurant that serves delicious Greek dishes.
Address: 9569 Braddock Rd. Fairfax, Virginia 22032
The next community we’re going to check out is called Mantua, which is located in Fairfax County and south of Route 50. Out of everything on the list, this is my personal favorite. You see, my wife and I had considered relocating to this area before. It was one of the subdivisions that made it on our shortlist. But more on that later.
Needless to say, Mantua is a cool community because it has a Mantua Swim and Tennis Club. This is really great for people who love playing tennis like I do since they have about eight tennis courts with tiered seating. So, if you want to have a friendly tennis match and show off your skills, Mantua has a place for that.
The different types of single-family homes in Mantua include split-level, split-foyers, and ramblers that were mostly developed between the 50s and late 70s. There have also been some newer communities with colonial and craftsman houses that were built in the last 20 to 30 years.
One of the reasons that my family and I were drawn to Mantua was because it has a really nice wooded area where you can catch a little bit of nature or even animals walking by. It’s a really nice community, but we’re just not big fans of teardowns. New builds being placed alongside older homes are not just as appealing as neighborhoods with similar-style homes. Nevertheless, Mantua has really nice homes that come with good sizes on a really nice size lot.
Just to give you a little more background, one of the problems you’re going to face if you live in Fairfax County is there isn’t really a place to buy new construction because most of the county is already developed. If you did manage to buy new construction in Fairfax County, it’s going to be located in some weird nook, behind a grocery store, near a power plant, or something like that. It’ll just be like a little sliver of land with 10 townhouses and 5 single-family homes classified as a subdivision. So, it’s always advisable to consider what you could purchase with the money you have, instead of just settling with these types of subdivisions.
In Mantua, if you buy a teardown to place your craftsman or new construction property on, you’re looking at living in an established community. In this neighborhood, a lot of these older homes come with a $700,000 price range, while new builds made within the last decade or two can go up to a $1.2M price range. With these price points, you can expect to have established trees, some sidewalks, and more than four neighbors.
When it comes to things to do in the area, it only takes a quick drive to go from Mantua to Mosaic District, which is an urban shopping center that features national retailers, gourmet dining, and a movie theater. Mosaic District is one of our favorite places in Fairfax County. If you get a chance to go there, you definitely have to try out Ted’s Bulletin, which is known for its super delicious scratch-made Pop-Tarts, humongous carrot cake, tater tot cubes, and more. If you fancy some Japanese food, this place also has JINYA Ramen Bar that offers delicious chicken karaage, ramen, rice bowls, and more. And if you’re craving Mexican cuisine, there’s also an Urbano Mexican Fare, which serves delicious Tex-Mex inspired food.
Address: 2911 District Ave Unit 160, Fairfax, VA 22031, United States
Phone: +1 571-830-6680
JINYA Ramen Bar
Address: 2911 District Ave Suite 140, Fairfax, VA 22031, United States
Phone: +1 703-992-7656
Urbano Mexican Fare
Address: 2985 District Ave, Fairfax, VA 22031, United States
Phone: +1 571-282-3358
In addition to all these neighborhood restaurants, Mosaic District also has a lot of other nice shops, cafés, and hangout places during after hours or happy hour. To name a few of their cool shops, there’s Madewell as well as Bluemercury for skincare, Kendra Scott for jewelry, Bloomies, which is like a boutique-style Bloomingdale’s, and big-box stores like Target.
Basically, Mosaic District is like a little downtown in the middle of the suburbs. There are plenty of cafes like Angelika Film Center & Café that shows new releases as well as smaller independent films and Mom & Pop, which is an all-day café. For those who just want to chillax with family and friends, there’s also a Barnes & Nobles just down the street and an AstroTurf area where people can hang out and kids can play, and there’s even a life-size chess set up there.
All in all, Mantua is a really endearing community. As I’ve mentioned, we were even thinking about moving from Kingstowne to Mantua because we were interested in one of the schools that service the area, but we just decided not to uproot our kids from their current friends.
Now, the final community that we’re going to talk about is Fair Lakes, which is located in the most western part of the Fairfax area and borders the Centerville area. Fair Lakes is a mixed-use development of apartments, condos, and townhouses that were built in the 80s and 90s. A lot of these townhouses are still going to be condo ownership versus just traditional fee simple ownership, which works for their targeted demographic since a lot of young professionals live in the area.
Being so far west, the homes in Fair Lakes come with a $500,000 price range, which is pretty reasonable compared to other places. This is because oftentimes, the further west you go in the Northern Virginia area, the more affordable houses get. Since there’s so much retail space, there’s really no room in Fair Lakes to have single-family homes on larger lots like in the previous communities we’ve discussed.
As for things to do in the area, Fair Lakes has all sorts of creature comforts you could want. They have every commercial restaurant or big-box store you could think of such as Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, Applebee’s Grill + Bar, Costco, Sam’s Club, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, and so much more.
Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
Address: 12980 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA 22033, United States
Phone: +1 703-631-4840
Applebee’s Grill + Bar
Address: 12970 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA 22033, United States
Phone: +1 703-802-9855
Additionally, Fair Lakes is just 10 minutes away from Fairfax Corner, which is a high-end mixed-use shopping center with some really cool restaurants, a movie theater, and big chain stores like LOFT. Fairfax Corner actually has my favorite restaurant group, which is the Great American Restaurants that includes Ozzie’s Good Eats as one of their chains located there.
Great American Restaurants
Address: 12970 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA 22033, United States
Phone: +1 703-802-9855
Ozzie’s Good Eats
Address: 11880 Grand Commons Ave, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States
Phone: +1 571-321-8000
Things to Know Before Moving to Fairfax
Now that we have finished covering all the different communities in Fairfax, it’s time to talk about the new construction in the area. Well, Fairfax is a great place to find new construction. I’ve mentioned that there’s not a whole lot of new construction in communities like Mantua, but you can find some places that have it.
One example of an area with new construction is Pender Oaks, which is located in the heart of Fairfax and near the Penderbrook Golf Club. We actually have a client that’s purchasing a property in this subdivision. Pender Oaks is a small area with just a few streets and has condos that start at $500,000 and townhouses that start at $800,000, which are the going rates for new construction right now.
So, Pender Oaks is just one of the few new constructions in Fairfax, but there are actually single-family homes being built close to Penderbrook with a price range of about a million dollars. On top of that, there are also nearly a dozen other new construction sites in Fairfax, either in the middle of construction or coming soon. Just keep in mind that the new constructions are not going to be as big as the established communities that I have discussed. These smaller areas wouldn’t have a lot of green space, but some may have amenities like a pool, which is the case for Pender Oaks.
Let’s be real here. No matter where you live in Fairfax, the commute is going to be a bit of an issue. In Northern Virginia, there’s lots of traffic, and it continues to become worse as the area grows.
Distance-wise, Fairfax is about 90 miles from The White House or the D.C. metro area and Dulles Technology Corridor, 12 miles from Tysons Corner, and just under 15 miles from The Pentagon. As much as I love to be able to say that it’s only going to take you 30 minutes or an hour to get to these places, you just never know with the traffic in the area. It’s still going to depend on where you are within Fairfax because it is the biggest area in Fairfax County.
If you’re out far west or in Fair Lakes, the commute time is going to be different from those who are in Merryfield or Mantua, so it’s a good thing to keep that in mind. Nonetheless, one great thing about Fairfax is it comes with various public transportation modes like the orange line metro and about a dozen bus lines. These options will surely be helpful for people who don’t want to drive in every day.
Finally, we’re going to talk about the public schools in Fairfax, which are a lot. So, just to give you an idea, there are about thirty public high schools that service the area, and some of which are top-rated according to the U.S. News rankings. Take note that with each high school, there’s a middle school and about five to six elementary schools in that pyramid.
With all these different public high schools, it tends to be really confusing since a number of them are named after different areas. To name a few, there’s Oakton High, Chantilly High, Falls Church High, and Fairfax High, which are all towns in Fairfax County. In other words, Oakton High is for Oakton residents, Chantilly High is for Chantilly residents, and so on. But then, there are also parts of Fairfax that feed to these schools wherein you can move a couple of blocks over and be in a different school pyramid.
All schools are different, and some are just not as highly rated as others. This is why it’s important for parents to do their research before seeing any property by using the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Boundary Locator System in which you can put whatever address you’re interested in, and it will tell you the school your kids will go to for every grade level. If schools are a priority, this is an extremely helpful tool that you should definitely check out to see if the schools in your chosen area match up to the criteria that you have for your family. Just be mindful that boundary maps are redrawn every now and then, so it’s best to always double-check if the information is updated.
Hopefully, when you’re searching for properties online, you’re using our website as well.
The next step is to not make a decision on where you’re going to move inside of the Fairfax County area before checking out this playlist that covers its different locations and everything you need to look out for.
If you’re interested in working with us, fill out our Perfect Home Questionnaire, and we’ll schedule a time to meet online and answer any questions that you have about moving to the Fairfax area.
Overall, you have learned everything you need to know before moving to Fairfax, inside of Fairfax County.
Which area were you most interested in?
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