Compact and walkable, wonderful Alexandria, just a handful of miles south of downtown Washington, D. C., is situated along the Potomac River and has a population of 145,000 people. This historic city has seen its share of turmoil and conflict, as it was a center of activity during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It also happens to be George Washington’s home town (Mount Vernon is not far away). The Old Town district, which was the original city and dates from 1749, is today a delightful collection of historic town homes, shops, boutiques, eateries, bookstores and cafés. Alexandria’s cost of living is 40% above the national average, and the median home price is $500,000. Of the residents here, 30% are age 45 or better.
This interesting city is comprised of several distinct neighborhoods that exude character and charm. In addition to Old Town, the Rosemont section of town was originally planned as a streetcar suburb in the early 1900s. Today much of it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Del Ray is a diverse neighborhood that has been undergoing gentrification in recent years and is well known for its Art on the Avenue street fair each year. The West End, which is actually comprised of four areas, is primarily residential and was created through annexation in the 1950s.
Structures throughout Alexandria come in a variety of styles, from pre-Revolutionary and Federalist to Georgian. Private homes range from historic properties to more modern ranch-style dwellings. Architecture buffs will be at home here.
With the nation’s capital just a stone’s throw away, retirees in Alexandria never want for something to do. World-class museums and restaurants are always close at hand, as are professional sports. And within the city of Alexandria itself, there are bicycling trails, 70 parks and 30 recreation centers.
DASH is the local public transit system but other bus systems serve the city, too. Amtrak also makes a stop in Alexandria.
The city has two hospitals, actually one hospital with two branches. Inova Mount Vernon Hospital and Inova Alexandria Hospital are both award-winning and accredited by the Joint Commission. Another eight hospitals are within 10 miles. If one is going to get sick, this is a good place to do it.
This diverse city has a crime rate below the national average, despite being next to a large urban center.
Residents are overwhelmingly Democratic and very educated, with 30% of the population having a bachelors degree and 30% having a graduate degree.
Alexandria summers are hot and humid, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and the area receives 3 to 4 inches of precipitation per month, a few inches of which may be snow each year. The sun shines 200 days of the year, and on the comfort index, a combination of humidity and temperature, Alexandria comes in very close to the national average.
Based on its interesting architecture, low crime rate, very good medical facility and close at hand cultural amenities, Alexandria is a great place to retire.