Washington, D.C. has a wealth of history, culture, museums, entertainment, and its own distinct vibe. It’s a top pick for many couples who are looking to have children, but not all areas of D.C. are suitable for young families. When raising children, it’s important to be near great schools and educational resources, extracurricular activities or outdoor amenities, and entertainment options for family outings. Safety is also a key concern, and one thing that’s evident in D.C. is that money is no guarantee of peace — some of the wealthiest areas of the nation’s capital have high crime rates. With the aforementioned factors in mind, here are 5 Washington, D.C. area neighborhoods that are perfect for raising children.
1. Chevy Chase, Maryland
The Washington DC suburb of Chevy Chase is one of the best for families looking to plant their roots. The schools are excellent, from elementary through high school, and the Chevy Chase library holds educational children’s events throughout the year. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants and shops, but the outdoor scene here is huge. Families living here often go hiking, play sports together, or have a fun day outside at North Chevy Chase and Ray’s Meadow Parks.
The houses here include colonial and Cape Cod homes with plenty of charm, as well as newer modern townhouses and condos. Crime rates are low, which is likely due to unemployment being at only 2.6 percent — that is well below the national average. The median household income of families living in Chevy Chase is $250,001 per year. Those looking to raise their children in an area where education and traditional values are important should definitely consider this D.C. neighborhood.
2. Reston, Virginia
Reston, Virginia is a Washington DC suburb with a population of about 59,000. Besides the fact that it’s family friendly and safe, the big draw to Reston is its relatively short commute to major employers in DC — just 29 minutes. The crime rate is a fairly low 1,122 total crimes committed per 100,000 residents. There are many highly rated schools in the area, including Sunrise Valley Elementary.
Lake Fairfax and Baron Cameron Parks both have athletic fields, outdoor activities, community gardens, and playgrounds for families to enjoy. Families who like to go boating and camping will especially appreciate the amenities at Lake Fairfax Park. It’s common to see attractive, modern condos and townhouses in Reston, Virginia, and the average home price is about $450,000. This neighborhood is a great option for families raising children who need to be close to DC for work, but don’t want to spend $1 million or more just to get a home in a nice area.
3. Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda, Maryland is host to excellent educational resources and a public library that’s outstanding. Not only does Bethesda Library hold activities and events for kids, from toddlers to teens, it also has a writers club for teenagers and hosts a family story time that young children in the area love. Bethesda is a great pick for raising a family in the Washington DC area because of its low crime rates and well kept public facilities. Woodacres Park has tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, a large playground, and plenty of places for families to have a nice picnic. This is the type of suburb you move to when you want to be close to shopping and dining, but also desire a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of DC. The community here is close knit and a large percentage of parents hold a college degree.
The housing scene in Bethesda ranges from quaint craftsman homes to colonial estates and contemporary townhouses. No matter what the size of your family, you’ll be able to find a home that suits your needs and provides room to grow. The annual median household income of this neighborhood is $143,245, which is significantly higher than the national average.
4. Ashburn, Virginia
Ashburn, Virginia is a D.C. suburb that has attracted a large number of families with young children in recent years. The schools here are high quality and well performing, and there are a number of educational activities for kids of all ages. Curiosity Zone is a science, STEM, and enrichment center for kids, and the Ashburn Library provides a rich selection of programming for children and older teens. Residents in this area often meet up at Ashburn Park for fun at the playground, neighborhood picnics, and serene walks along the creek and trails. The number of young families in Ashburn, Virginia is part of why so many of the area’s residents are highly active.
The residential streets of Ashburn have won awards for their design and peaceful settings. Many of the homes here are townhouses and condos, and there are also options for larger families who would like to spread out a bit. The crime rate in this area is low, with just 1,149 crimes committed per 100,000 residents. Unemployment is also below the national average, and the median household income in Ashburn in $120,761 per year.
5. Potomac, Maryland
If your primary concerns when choosing where to raise your family are education and affluence, then Potomac is the place to be. The schools here are some of the best in the nation and consistently score highly in all areas. Many of the country’s recognized private schools don’t compare to the public schools in Potomac. The area is full of families with old and new money, but they all have one thing in common: a commitment to maintaining a neighborhood that’s peaceful and safe. Residents here take pride in where they live, and there’s an abundance of activities available for families with children of all ages. For the parents, world class dining and shopping are very close by.
Cabin John Stream Valley Trail is a popular place for residents who like to hike and bike, and Carderock Recreation Area is another great spot to enjoy the outdoors and relax. Most home prices in this suburb range from $500,000 to just over $1 million and largely consist of tudor and colonial style houses on spacious lots. The yearly median household income in Potomac, MD is $178,722.
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