With a cost of living that’s 52% higher than the national average and housing costs that are 135% higher, Washington, DC is one of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in. Even the District of Columbia as a whole tops the list of most expensive states, coming second only to Hawaii. For those moving to Washington, DC, this means finding affordable housing in good neighborhoods can be difficult. But if you’re willing to look just outside of the Nation’s Capital in the neighboring suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, there are great places to live that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Here are the five most affordable places to live near DC!
- Frederick, MD
- Hyattsville, MD
- Manassas, VA
- Silver Spring, MD
- Woodbridge, VA
- Population: 68,229
- Home Price: $245,500 median purchase price; $1,253 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 15% of cities in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
- Distance to Washington, DC: About 46 miles
Maryland’s second largest city might not be the first place that comes to mind when searching for affordable places to live near DC, but don’t write it off! Frederick offers an excellent mix of Colonial-style estates, modern apartments and townhomes, and spacious ranch-style homes within an hour of both Baltimore and Washington, DC. Plus, residents have plenty of things to do in Downtown Frederick, which is full of art galleries, budding restaurants, local shops, and community events.
Things to Do in Frederick
Go running, biking, or horseback riding on 16 miles of trails at Gambrill State Park. Attend the 72 Film Fest, see a touring musical act, or check out the works of local and regional artists at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Find stores like Charming Charlie, JoS A Bank, and Loft at Westview Promenade. Sample raw oysters, Ahi Tuna Tartar, and Cured Foie Gras at Firestone Raw Bar. Stop by Hootch & Banter to try the Chesapeake Risotto and the Rose Water & Raspberry Cheesecake. Or pick up a croissant and a latte to go, or stick around for an Open Mic Afternoon at Dublin Roasters Coffee.
- Population: 18,262
- Home Price: $265,600 median purchase price; $1,202 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 12% of cities in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
- Distance to Washington, DC: About 7 miles
Hyattsville is one of the best places to live near DC, thanks to its affordability and proximity. Located just across the District of Columbia-Maryland line, Hyattsville is about as close to Washington, DC as you can get before you run into sky-high housing prices. College students, singles, and young professionals love living in Hyattsville for the easy commute into Downtown DC and to the University of Maryland, both of which are accessible via the WMATA. Residents also love this suburb’s growing hot spot, the Gateway Arts District, where some of Hyattsville’s best restaurants, nightlife, and events can be found!
Things to Do in Hyattsville
Learn about the local history, check out early-1800s architecture, or do yoga on the green at Riversdale House Museum. Shop at stores like Macy’s, The Children’s Place, and Old Navy at The Mall at Prince George’s. Attend a poetry reading or join a book club at Busboys and Poets. Order bruschetta, paninis, and wood-fired pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso. Try Sopa de Tortilla or an Avocado Burrito Bowl at La Fondita. Sample a Cherry Kettle Sour or Fancy Nancy New England IPA at Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. Or treat yourself to Banana Pudding or a Nutella Cookie Dough Brownie at Sugar Vault Desserts & Bakery.
- Population: 41,149
- Home Price: $293,500 median purchase price; $1,376 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 49% of cities in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
- Distance to Washington, DC: About 32 miles
If you’re looking for affordable places to live near DC, add Manassas to your list! First-time homebuyers can find Mid-Century Modern ranches and Colonial-style houses here for much lower prices than in the Capital City, and getting into DC for work and weekend fun is easy withVirginia Railway Express. Manassas is also one of the best suburbs of Washington, DC for families because of its access to great public schools like Marshall Elementary School and Pennington Traditional School and highly-rated private schools like Seton School and All Saints Catholic School.
Things to Do in Manassas
Travel to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park to explore trails, try out the ziplining course, or go fishing. See a family-friendly musical, take a ballroom dance class, and check out art exhibits at the Center for the Arts. Go shopping at Forever 21, H&M, and New York & Company at Manassas Mall. Make a reservation for dinner at Carmello’s to experience a contemporary twist on Portuguese and Italian recipes. Order a Gyro Panini or Lamb Chops at Katerinas Greek Cuisine. Or grab dessert at Jitterbug’s Ice Cream Cafe, where you can try unique flavors like S’mores, Sea Salt, Maine Blueberry, and more!
Silver Spring, MD
- Population: 78,038
- Home Price: $469,800 median purchase price; $1,491 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 34% of cities in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
- Distance to Washington, DC: About 6 miles
Also located just across the District of Columbia-Maryland line, Silver Spring is one of the best DC suburbs for singles and young professionals. Here, you can find more affordable apartments, condos, and bungalow-style homes without sacrificing location. In fact, this Maryland city is just up Georgia Ave and offers easy commutes to and from Washington, DC via the WMATA. But Silver Spring residents don’t need to leave to get their fill of big city arts and entertainment. There’s a thriving arts district, excellent shopping, and a diverse dining scene all within Silver Spring!
Things to Do in Silver Spring
Practice your swing at Sligo Creek Golf Course. Go to the historic AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center to see a new movie, watch a classic arthouse film, or attend the Latin American Film Festival. Peruse stores like Men’s Warehouse, DSW, and TJ Maxx in Downtown Silver Spring. Try authentic Cuban cuisine at Cubano’s. Head to Bump ‘n Grind to hear your favorite records, sip on small-batch coffee, or snack on a Buffalo Soldier flatbread. Enjoy happy hour and go dancing at Balagger Lounge. Or catch a concert featuring your favorite indie band, hip-hop artist, or rock group at The Fillmore.
- Population: 4,436
- Home Price: $325,800 median purchase price; $1,754 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 80% of cities in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
- Distance to Washington, DC: About 23 miles
While suburbs like Alexandria and Arlington are closer to the District of Columbia, their higher costs of living drive many people moving to the DC area farther south toward more affordable suburbs like Woodbridge. Families in particular love living in Woodbridge for its charming small-town feel. With its safe streets, top-rated schools like Porter Traditional School and Occoquan Elementary School, and outdoor recreation spots around Belmont Bay and Occoquan Bay, this quaint Virginia city is one of the best places to live near DC!
Things to Do in Woodbridge
Visit Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge to go birdwatching or practice your photography skills. Spend some time hiking, enjoy a picnic, or join the Owl Book Club at Leesylvania State Park. Head to Potomac Mills to go shopping at stores like Aerie, Tommy Bahama, and Nordstrom Rack. Order Cheese Steak Egg Rolls, Herb-Crusted Baked Cod, or Veggie Quinoa Stir Fry at Not Your Average Joe’s. Try the Ginormous Meatball, Lobster Diavolo Pizza, or BBQ Baby Back Ribs at matchbox. Or indulge in a Red Velvet Cupcake, Black & White Mousse, or Apple Turnover from Bellash Bakery.
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City statistics from AreaVibes