Living in Del Ray (Alexandria, VA)
The charming neighborhood of Del Ray in Alexandria, Virginia is one of the most sought-after places to live in Northern Virginia. Its tree-lined streets, adorable craftsman-style homes, and proximity to a thriving “main street” lifestyle make it a super popular location to be, year after year. Let’s dig into what makes it so special!
Lifestyle in Del Ray
Despite being only 15 minutes from downtown Washington DC, Del Ray maintains a quaint environment that harkens back to a bygone era. Driving down its streets, you’ll find tons of mature trees, rows of well-maintained homes, and a central “main street” in the form of Mount Vernon Avenue, which is filled with mom-and-pop shops and local restaurants. On a Saturday morning, you can stroll down to the local farmer’s market on Oxford Avenue to pick up fresh produce, dairy, or a delicious pastry, or hit up the Del Ray Vintage & Flea market to check out the variety of vintage and artisan treasures. On warm summer evenings, you can dine al fresco at Stracci Pizza and then grab some old-fashioned custard at the Dairy Godmother. There are also tons of places to play! Del Ray features multiple parks and sidewalks on almost every street. Throughout the year, you’ll find local events like Art on the Avenue (an expansive art show held on Mount Vernon Avenue that features tons of vendors and live entertainment), the Del Ray Halloween Parade, Taste of Del Ray (an annual food festival featuring neighborhood restaurants), and more. It’s an idyllic lifestyle that’s hard to find so close to a big city.
Homes in Del Ray
The majority of homes in Del Ray were built between 1920 and 1940, and are a mix of stately craftsman-style, single family homes and brick-faced rowhomes. Single family homes typically range in price from $1M and up, and rowhomes typically start at $700K. Lot sizes for most single family homes are often between .15 – .20 acres, and many have fenced yards. There are only a handful of apartments and condominiums. Though there are very few Homeowners’ Associations in Del Ray, most homeowners here maintain their properties and are focused on improving the value of their homes. In the past decade, Del Ray has seen a fair amount of new construction from builders who tear down smaller, older homes and replace them with larger, modern places – however, these new places tend to also have a craftsman style and thus fit in very well with the surrounding neighborhood.
Most homes in Del Ray have basements, so water management around the property is important for homeowners here to monitor. In addition, whenever you have an older home, it’s crucial to pay attention to maintenance issues and have them addressed quickly. If you decide to purchase a home in Del Ray, be sure to get a thorough home inspection and be aware of any issues before making the commitment. Dining, Shopping & Fun
Most of the dining and shopping options in Del Ray can be found on the main thoroughfare of Mount Vernon Avenue, or “The Avenue” as it’s affectionately known by residents. There are tons of delicious options for lunch and dinner like Holy Cow, Cheesetique, and Evening Star. For the best breakfast, hit up Junction Bakery for a mouth-watering pastry and breakfast sandwich, or Stomping Grounds for a homestyle biscuit. You can also score phenomenal desserts like the homemade custard at Dairy Godmother, or fresh cupcakes at SmallCakes. Most restaurants have options for dining al fresco and also have easy street parking.
There are also several shops along The Avenue. Get your sugar fix at Dolce & Bean and enjoy a great cup of espresso with it. If you need a gift for your favorite tot, The Purple Goose offers a variety of clothes and toys for kids of all ages.
For recreation, check out Crossfit MVA, an incredible gym with a great community in the center of Del Ray. If you prefer to have a personal trainer, check out Foundation Fitness. And for yoga lovers, there’s Mind the Mat, which also offers pilates and barre classes. For cycle lovers, though there’s no cycle studio in Del Ray, you can buy a bike or get yours tuned up at Velocity Bicycle Cooperative – and then hit up the fantastic trails nearby. Both runners and bikers alike will enjoy the trail options in Del Ray. One of the easiest to access, the Potomac Yard Trail, will take you past the lovely townhomes in Potomac Yard, through Potomac Yard Park, and then up to George Washington Parkway where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Potomac River.
Pros of Living in Del Ray
There are a ton of benefits to moving to Del Ray! Here are the top reasons people say they love it here:
- Friendly Atmosphere. Residents of Del Ray often say that it’s a very warm and inviting place to live. Neighbors still say hi to each other and the pace of life feels a little more relaxing, despite being so close to the bustling city.
- Proximity and walkability. Beyond the delightful shops and restaurants on The Avenue, Del Ray is also just steps away from all the food and boutiques in nearby Old Town. If you need more, in just a 15 minute drive (or a quick metro ride), you can enjoy the sights in Arlington or Washington DC. Its central location makes Del Ray convenient to anything you could need!
- Desirability. Properties in Del Ray tend to hold their value well over time. Del Ray has consistently been in the top three most desirable zip codes in Alexandria, which means homes here appreciate consistently year over year and are typically easy to sell when the time comes.
Cons of Living in Del Ray
- High property values. Because Del Ray is so desirable, home values here are higher than elsewhere in Alexandria and competition for homes is often fierce. Be prepared to pay top dollar for a place here or consider purchasing a home that might need some updating and thus might be in less demand than a home that is more turnkey.
- Small lots and Less Square Footage. Lot sizes in Del Ray are generally less than a quarter of an acre, so though you may get a yard, it likely won’t be large enough for a pool or huge deck. The homes are also smaller relative to the price compared to other parts of Alexandria, and most don’t have garages.
Should You Move to Del Ray?
Overall, Del Ray is a wonderful place to live if you enjoy being in walking distance to shops and restaurants, want to be close to community events, and enjoy that “small town feel” that Del Ray offers. Be prepared to compromise on the amount of space you’ll get in a home, or to spend more money to get things like additional square footage or a garage.
Every day, we get calls from people like you who are thinking of moving to Del Ray or elsewhere in Alexandria, Virginia. We would love to help! Call us directly at 703.957.8762 or email us at hello(at)fidelispg(dotted)com and we’ll set up a no-obligation call to talk about the best neighborhoods for your unique needs.