Virginia State Pride December 22, 2022
by Anna Strock Here Are The 15 Best Places To Live In Virginia… And Why
Lately, there have been a lot of “best of” lists going around. These lists highlight the best overall places to live in Virginia as well as the best small towns, the best larger cities, and other superlatives that detail the various options in the state. And with so many lists out there – and so many of them using different criteria – we decided to do a little research for ourselves. What we found was that the following 15 towns and cities have gained national and statewide recognition from leading organizations like Forbes and USA Today. The resulting list is what we like to call “the best of the best.” And so, without further ado, we give you The 15
best places to live in Virginia.
1. Best Overall City – Arlington
Arlington sits just at the border of Virginia and Washington, D.C. so it’s no wonder this vibrant city scores so high in terms of things to do, economy and livability. In fact, Livability, a website that scores cities nationwide, ranks Arlington #3 out of their Top 100 places to live in the U.S. This "urban village" provides a unique blend of homes, apartments, and neighborhoods alongside retail shopping and businesses. Great schools, diversity, a strong job market (thanks to so many government jobs), high home values (median $600k), and safety are all part of what makes Arlington so special. It's easy to see why so many people consider
the best place to live in Virginia.
2. Best Overall Town – Charlottesville
While technically a city, this haven in Central Virginia is often categorized with other towns thanks to its close community feeling and small city status. Highlighted by the University of Virginia, which is also ranked one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation, Charlottesville came in #1 in Niche’s "Best Towns in Virginia" list. The list uses weather, safety, schools, activities, jobs, housing, and transportation to determine the scores – and Charlottesville makes the grade on all counts. Surrounded by gorgeous mountains and countryside, this town offers all of the amenities of a bigger city with excellent housing, shopping, dining, and business. Plus, when it comes to history and architecture, there are few places more beautiful. If you're in the mood for some stunning scenery, check out
at your next opportunity.
3. Best Small Town to Raise a Family – Big Stone Gap
Niche considers age demographics, school ratings, crime rates, and access to affordable housing, childcare, libraries, and grocery stores when determining the best place to raise a family. And Big Stone Gap made their highest grade for small towns in Virginia. This beautiful little town in Wise County gained national attention when local author Adriana Trigiani wrote a series of novels about the town. The town of
Big Stone Gap
is just as memorable as its name.
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219, USA
4. Best City to Raise a Family – Glen Allen
Glen Allen in Henrico County received Nerd Wallet’s vote for the best place to raise a family. This Richmond City suburb was chosen for its affordability, great schools, and overall prosperity. Glen Allen offers urban conveniences with a slower pace of life, and undeveloped spaces, like Crump Park shown here, make it perfect for families. With 3 Fortune 500 companies located here, the future looks bright indeed for Glen Allen. If you are searching for a sweet and supportive place for your budding family, you can't go wrong in considering
5. Best Overall Schools by Test Scores – West Point
SchoolDigger tells us that the small town of West Point gets big scores for its public schools. Listed as the #1 out of 129 school districts reviewed, West Point Elementary School, West Point Middle School, and West Point High School came out on top for test scores based on Department of Education data from the 2013-14 school year. For one of the towns with the best education your kids can get, check out
West Point, Virginia.
West Point, VA 23181, USA
6. Best Public Schools by District – Arlington
Arlington County Public Schools won the #1 spot for Niche’s survey of public schools in Virginia. Using parent and student surveys, as well as government data, Niche determined that Arlington schools provided the best overall experience for students, parents, and teachers.
7. Best Cities for Millennials – Alexandria and Virginia Beach
the #1 city in the state (and #3 nationwide) for millennials, the generation born in the 1980s through 2000. With Alexandria’s vibrant urban setting and proximity to D.C., it’s easy to see why it wins top honors.
was also recognized by USA Today as a top spot for the millennial crowd – beautiful beaches and tons of activities make it an obvious choice. Virginia Beach was given the top spot for Virginia and a #8 ranking nationwide.
Alexandria, VA, USA
Virginia Beach, VA, USA
8. Best Place to Retire – Blacksburg
In 2014, Forbes named Blacksburg the #1 place in the nation to retire. This quaint mountain town is home to Virginia Tech University and offers a cost of living that is 7% below the national average, plenty of activities and groups, affordable housing, and low crime rates.
is a fabulous place to retire or to live in any phase of life.
9. Safest Place to Live – Broadway
The website Safewise uses FBI crime report data to determine safety in a community. The town of Broadway in the Shenandoah Valley came in as the #1 Safest Place in Virginia. If you live in this town, you will have a less than 1 in 1,000 chance of being a victim of violent crime or property crime. It's hard to beat statistics like that! You will certainly feel nice and safe if you live in
10. Most Affordable Small Town – Ferrum
Business Insider provides rankings for the most affordable towns in every state – and Ferrum won top honors for Virginia. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ferrum is home to Ferrum College and offers a 94.2% affordability score for homes. If you want to visit Ferrum, you can take a gorgeous scenic road trip along
The Crooked Road in Virginia.
11. Best Downtown – Alexandria
When it comes to urban activities, few places can compete with Alexandria. Loaded with history, but balanced with modern fun, Alexandria was named one of Livability’s top 10 choices for best downtowns around the country. Located on the Potomac, just 6 miles from Washington, D.C., Alexandria offers a beautiful historic district, museums, theaters, and shopping. It was also named one of Livability’s Best Cities for Foodies in 2013. There are endless fun activities to do in downtown
12. Coolest Small Town – Chincoteague
Few people who live or visit Chincoteague will argue with this one. In a recent CNN report, BudgetTravel named Chincoteague as the #2 Coolest Small Town in America. Famous for its wild ponies, Chincoteague also offers pristine beaches, amazing seafood, boat tours, home tours, and an all-around chilled-out beach town experience. Visiting or living in
is definitely a cool and unique experience!
13. Best Small Town/Village – Middleburg
There are towns and then there are small towns. While Charlottesville got top billing for a town,
in Loudoun County was listed at the top of Frommer’s Best Small Towns in Virginia. Although it only takes up six blocks, this town is packed with history and surrounded by some of the most beautiful horse country anywhere in the nation. A town that's only six blocks? You have to see it to believe it!
Middleburg, VA 20117, USA
14. Most Beautiful Town – Staunton
Staunton is no stranger to praise. Already called one of the best small towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine, The Culture Trip recently named it the most beautiful small town in Virginia as well. Founded in 1732, this lovely little town in the Shenandoah Valley offers historic architecture, eclectic culture, and a friendly down-home atmosphere that makes its place in the rankings well-deserved. You will certainly get some incredible views when you are in
15. Best Overall Quality of Life – Chesapeake
Nerd Wallet uses stress factors like income, affordability, health benefits, local economy, and work-life balance in their measurements to determine the cities with the highest quality of life. Chesapeake earned Virginia’s top spot and made the Top 20 Best Cities for Quality of Life nationwide. With its perfect blend of urban amenities and acres of protected coastline, forest, and wetlands, Chesapeake provides an ideal balance for work and play.
absolutely lives up to its pretty reputation.
Of course, we’re all a little biased. Just because these 15 places have been determined to be the best places to live in Virginia doesn’t mean that your hometown isn’t! Take a minute to tell us why where you live is one of the best places to live in VA. We look forward to reading all of your comments!
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.
The OIYS Visitor Center
Best Places to Live in Virginia
December 27, 2022
What are the best small towns in Virginia?
best small towns in Virginia are so charming and quaint that you will love them all!
What are the oldest towns in Virginia?
oldest towns in Virginia are the perfect place to visit for history buffs. Check them out:
What are the best day trips in Virginia?
best day trips in Virginia are perfect for when you want to get away but can't spend too long away from home.