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Most Affordable Places to Live Near Washington, DC in 2024

With a cost of living that’s 51% 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. 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 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 Washington, DC!

Alexandria, VA

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  • Population: 151,473
  • Home Price: $520,700 median purchase price; $1,611 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 50% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Distance to Washington, DC: About 8 miles

Sitting on the Potomac River and known as one of the best cities in the U.S. for outdoor recreation lays Alexandria, just minutes from the Nation’s Capital. As George Washington’s hometown, this Virginia city is full of rich Colonial American history, museums, historic sites, and more. In fact, this affordable DC suburb offers real estate that’s not only budget-friendly, but also historical—including historic Colonial and Cape Cod bungalows. Both families and young professionals will love living in Alexandria thanks to its great schools, extremely walkable and bikeable streets, and easy commutes to Downtown DC via a water taxi or the WMATA. Residents also love exploring Old Town Alexandria and its famous King Street Mile, where some of Alexandria’s best restaurants, boutiques, nightlife, and events can be found! Real estate in this affordable DC suburb ranges from

Things to Do in Alexandria

Take a guided tour through George Washington’s mansion, stroll through the lush estate gardens, or attend a whiskey tasting in the distillery at Mount Vernon. Head to Market Square and shop for fresh pasta and pastries, pickled veggies, art, and more from over 70 different vendors at the Old Town Farmers’ Marketone of the oldest farmers markets in the country. Watch artists create marvelous pieces of artwork in the open studios, explore the Target Gallery or Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and take professional art classes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Enjoy scenic Old Town Alexandria waterfront views, have a picnic with friends, or spike on your opponents during a game of volleyball at Founders Park. Have a taste of fresh seafood with Fish & Chips, Eastern Shore Crab Dip, or a 1/2 Dozen Salty Wolfe Oysters at Hank’s Oyster Bar. Try 900-degree wood-fired pizzas like the Margherita, Diavola, and Prosciutto & Arugula at Lena’s Wood Fired Pizza & Tap. Order the Crispy Spring Rolls, Spicy Eggplant, and Drunken Noodles at Sisters Thai. Or enjoy a variety of award-winning craft beers like the Optimal Wit, Beach Drive, and Porter at Port City Brewery.

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Fairfax, VA

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  • Population: 23,620
  • Home Price: $487,700 median purchase price; $1,750 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 81% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
  • Distance to Washington, DC: About 20 miles

If you’re looking for one of the best places to live in the DC area, Fairfax has something for everybody! Residents living in this affordable DC suburb enjoy a small-town feel without giving up on great amenities—including 250 acres of parks, hubs like Old Town Square, and fun annual events for the whole city like Rock the Block and the Fairfax Fall Festival. Those looking to purchase a home in Fairfax can browse an array of housing styles—from Mid-Century Modern ranches and Colonial-style houses with large front yards, to quaint cottages and historic Craftsmans. Plus, those working in the Nation’s Capital have convenient public transportation access thanks to the Vienna-Fairfax GMU subway station. And with George Mason University located directly to the south, the area is also perfect for college students looking to enjoy amazing nightlife, great restaurants, and plentiful shopping.

Things to Do in Fairfax

Watch the George Mason Patriots (NCAA D-I) men’s and women’s basketball teams dribble down the court during a home game, attend a WWE Supershow wrestling match, or catch your favorite music artists on tour at EagleBank Arena. Immerse yourself in challenging and innovative escape room puzzles at Bonds Escape Room. Take a dip in the pool, practice your golf swing on one of 54 championship golf holes, or enjoy family events like Barbecues and Poolside Movie Nights when you become a member at Army Navy Country Club. Get competitive and spend the day playing tennis or racquetball at Fairfax Racquet Club & Fitness Center—and don’t forget to enroll the kiddos in their junior camps and programs! Order the Southern Fried Chicken, Grilled Meatloaf, and Chesapeake Shrimp & Crab Cakes at Hamrock’s Restaurant. Enjoy American fare like the Big Daddy Burger, London Broil, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs at P.J. Skidoos. Experience pork broth that’s been prepared for 14 hours when you try the Army, Spicy Miso, and Shoyu ramen bowls at Marumen. Or head to Downtown Fairfax for a scoop or two of flavors like Banana Cream Pie, Mocha Fudge Brownie, and White Chocolate Raspberry at Woody’s Ice Cream.

Frederick, MD

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  • Population: 68,229
  • Home Price: $245,500 median purchase price; $1,253 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 29% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
  • Distance to Washington, DC: About 45 miles

Although Frederick is about an hour away from the District of Columbia, this Maryland suburb is one of the most affordable cities near Washington, D.C., and offers convenient access to I-270 for commutes. Residents always have plenty of things to do in Downtown Frederick, which is full of art galleries, budding restaurants, local shops, and community events year-round—like The Great Frederick Fair and Maple Syrup Festival. This area offers an excellent mix of Colonial-style estates, modern apartments and townhomes, and spacious ranches interspersed among bountiful green spaces and great schools like Frederick High School, Lincoln Elementary School, and West Frederick Middle School. Plus, this affordable DC suburb is also home to Hood College, a private liberal arts university that boasts one of the North’s best undergraduate teaching programs.

Things to Do in Frederick

Go running, biking, or horseback-riding on 16 miles of trails at Gambrill State Park. Attend a ballet, watch a stand-up comedy performance, see a touring musical act, or check out the works of local and regional artists at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Spend time sifting through rows of vintage vinyl records, movies, and video games at The Record Exchange. Play a game of soccer, walk your furry friend, or jam out to weekly summer concerts at Baker Park. Start your morning off with a Hot Chocolate, Dirty Hippie Espresso, or an Iced Americano at Dublin Roasters Coffee. Order the Triple Mofo, Smoked Pork Shoulder, and a pint of BH Baked Beans at Black Hog BBQ. Enjoy Italian dishes like the 40 Layer Lasagna Bolognese, Trofi, and Fiorentina Pizza at Pistarro’s. Or have upscale pub grub like the Andouille Po’ Boy, Stout Chicken & Waffle, or Pastrami Reuben at Brewer’s Alley.

Rockville, MD

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  • Population: 65,171
  • Home Price: $499,400 median purchase price; $1,802 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 58% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
  • Distance to Washington, DC: About 17 miles

Rockville is one of the best places to live near Washington D.C. where you can live affordably and enjoy safe streets. Homebuyers looking for affordable housing near DC can choose from budget-friendly Craftsman homes and Mid-Century ranches. But great housing isn’t all this Maryland suburb has to offer—Rockville is home to top-rated schools like Lakewood Elementary School and Rockville High School, and plenty of outdoor recreation spots. Residents can also find shops and restaurants at the Rockville Town Square, as well as fun events in Rockville like the Hometown Holidays Music Fest at Redgate Park, Rockville Farmers Market, Rocktobierfest, and much more!

Things to Do in Rockville

Take your furry friend on a walk, let the kids run wild on the playground, or enjoy an outdoor picnic with friends at Rockville Civic Center Park. Have a family fun day with the kids and test your skills on the Ninja Warrior Course, play Trampoline Dodgeball, and hit the High Ropes at indoor adventure park, ZavaZone. Relax by the pool, play a singles or duos tennis match, and try going for par on 36 holes when you become a member at Woodmont Country Club. Hit the ice and practice your skating routine or slap the puck around during a game of hockey at Rockville Ice Arena. Try the Crab Omelette, Challah French Toast, and Baked Churro Donuts at Clyde’s at Tower Oaks Lodge. Get a taste of Chinese dim sum dishes like the Chicken XLB Soup Dumplings, Scallion Pancake, and Spicy Pork Wontons at Bob’s Shanghai 66. Order authentic Indian cuisine like the Masala Grilled Rockfish, Vegetable Biriyani, and Tandoori Lamb Chops at Bombay Bistro. Or enjoy happy hour and live music while sipping cocktails like the Kumbiaritas, Parcera, and Guava Mojitos at Kumbia Restaurant.

Silver Spring, MD

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  • Population: 78,038
  • Home Price: $469,800 median purchase price; $1,491 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 44% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
  • Distance to Washington, DC: About 7 miles

Located just across the District of Columbia-Maryland line, Silver Spring offers budget-friendly apartments, condos, and bungalow-style homes within the DC metro. 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 home to get their fill of big-city arts and entertainment. There’s a thriving arts district, excellent shopping in Downtown Silver Spring, and a diverse dining scene all within this popular DC suburb!

Things to Do in Silver Spring

Go horseback-riding, jump on the carousel or miniature train, and bring a picnic basket to enjoy lunch outside at Wheaton Regional Park. Practice your swing on nine challenging holes or take private golf lessons at Sligo Creek Golf Course. See a new movie, watch a classic arthouse film, or attend the Latin American Film Festival at the historic AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center. Catch a concert featuring your favorite indie band, hip-hop artist, or rock group at The Fillmore. Get a taste of plant-based Salvadoran dishes like the Tamal de Vegetables and Empanada de Platano—or try meat options like the delicious Pupusa Revuelta and Yuca con Chicharron at La Casita Pupuseria. Order the Bayou Pasta, Creole Herb Chicken, and Catfish and Grits at Miss Toya’s Creole House. Reserve a table surrounded by beautiful gardens to try the Swordfish Piccata, Seafood Chowder, and Potato Gnocchi at Zinnia Silver Spring. Or grab a pint of Metro Gnome, Cheshire Grin, or Mondo Mundo and socialize in the taproom at Silver Branch Brewing.


Moving to Washington, DC? Extra Space Storage has storage facilities conveniently located to serve residents of Alexandria, Fairfax, Frederick, Rockville, Silver Spring, and more. Find self storage in DC near you!

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.