12 Things to Know Before Moving to McLean, Virginia


12 Things to Know Before Moving to McLean, Virginia

12 Things to Know Before Moving to McLean, Virginia



McLean, Virginia, is a small, affluent city nestled in Fairfax County. Its ideal location is one of the many reasons people choose to move here, as residents can enjoy everything the Washington, D.C., metro area has to offer. McLean’s upscale neighborhoods, top-rated schools, amenities, and overall high quality of life make it one of the most desirable suburbs in Northern Virginia.

Are you considering a move to McLean, VA? Here are 12 things you should know about relocating to this small D.C. suburb!



1. Prepare for a Higher Cost of Living



The cost of living in McLean is much higher than in most parts of the country. McLean’s two ZIP codes—22101 and 22102—are among the most expensive ZIP codes in Virginia and the U.S.

While it's true that the cost of living in McLean is 47% higher than the national average and 41% higher than the rest of Virginia, it also comes with a higher quality of life and access to top-notch amenities. 

Real estate is also much more expensive here. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median value of housing in McLean is $1,257,900. That’s nearly 220% higher than the national median sales price.



2. There’s a Strong Sense of Community



Despite its proximity to the bustling center of D.C., McLean has a small-town feel with its tree-lined streets, parks, and locally-owned businesses. It also boasts a strong tradition of community involvement, with residents actively participating in local organizations, schools, and events.

Speaking of events, McLean has a long list of annual celebrations and activities. Music festivals, Spring Fest, and McLean Day are just a few of the area’s most popular events. 



3. There’s Convenient Access to D.C.



Work commutes aren’t too long if you live in McLean, VA, and travel to and from Washington, D.C., for work. Driving from McLean to D.C. via the George Washington Memorial only takes about 20 minutes. If you don’t want to drive, you can take the Washington Metro Silver Line from McLean Station to Virginia, Maryland, and other locations across the D.C. metro area

Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are also close, each just 15 minutes away by car or accessible via the Silver Line.



4. History Is All Around You



McLean is home to several historic landmarks and properties. 

If you hike the Potomac Heritage Trail, you’ll find Fort Marcy, a military fortification built to protect Washington, D.C., during the Civil War along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. There’s also the Merrywood Estate, the childhood home of Jackie Kennedy, Elmwood, a historic residence inside the Capital Beltway, historic Salona homestead, an estate to which President James Madison is thought to have escaped when British troops set fire to the White House in 1814, and more.



5. There’s High-End Shopping and Dining



Between nearby Tysons Corner Center and Tyson Galleria, residents of McLean can find almost anything they need at high-end boutiques and department stores. 

There is also a wide range of restaurants and bars offering a variety of cuisines and dining options. Aracosia McLean, Jiwa Singapura, and Tachibana Japanese Restaurant were featured in Northern Virginia Magazine’s 2023 list of 50 best restaurants in Northern Virginia and Washintonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants in Washington, DC.



6. The Crime Rate Is Low



McLean has a much lower crime rate compared to national averages.

McLean’s crime rate is a whopping 64% lower than the national average. Violent crimes are 73% lower than the national average, while property crimes are 63% lower. AreaVibes also gave McLean an A+ rating, which means McLean is a safe community for you and your family.



7. McLean, VA Address Holds Prestige



Having an address in McLean holds prestige. Not only will you find many wealthy families in McLean’s upscale communities, but also members of Congress, diplomats, and other affluent people.

Before moving here, explore the city’s sought-after neighborhoods, as each has its own distinct charm. The most sought-after communities include:



8. Expect More Rain But Less Snow



Compared to the U.S. average, McLean gets more rain but less snow.

On average, McLean, Virginia, gets about 44 inches of rain annually. This is notably higher than the U.S. average, which is 38 inches of rain per year. Meanwhile, McLean receives much less snow. The city averages 20 inches of snow per year, while the U.S. averages 28 inches of snow per year.



9. Fairfax County School District Is Highly Rated



The Fairfax County public school system serves McLean and is regarded as one of the best districts in Virginia. It’s also one of the largest in the state, with over 199 schools and centers and more than 182,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

Some of the nation’s best private schools are also nearby. For instance, BASIS Independent McLean and The Madeira School were ranked #1 and #2 in Niche’s Best Boarding High Schools in Virginia, respectively.



10. There Are Plenty of Outdoor Activities



Do you love the great outdoors? There are plenty of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy in McLean.

Great Falls Park, the 800-acre National Park along the Potomac River, is a must-see in McLean. The park is home to one of the nation’s first canals, and visitors can enjoy miles of hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and much more. There’s also Scott's Run Nature Preserve, a popular spot for hikers, joggers, and dog walkers.

Do you have young children? They’ll love Clemyjontri Park! The two-acre park has play areas with ramps, structures, swings, and sensory-rich equipment. 



11. You Have Access to World-Class Healthcare


McLean’s residents have access to top-rated hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The Virginia Hospital Center in nearby Arlington won the Pulmonary Care Excellence Award in 2023 and 2024, as well as the Outstanding Patient Experience Award and Outpatient Orthopedic Surgery Excellence Award.

Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church also earned America’s 250 Best Hospitals Award and the Outstanding Patient Experience Award, among others.



12. The Real Estate Market Is Competitive



When a home goes on the market in McLean, you need to act fast!

The housing market in McLean and most of Northern Virginia is challenging. Fewer homes sold in March 2024 than the year prior, and the median home price across the region jumped $42,750 to $730,000 between March 2023 and March 2024, a 9.8% increase, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.



Are You Moving to McLean, Virginia?



McLean, VA, is a picturesque community nestled within Fairfax County, Virginia, and within close proximity to Washington, D.C. Most residents say McLean is a great place to live and worth the higher cost of living. But before moving here, weigh the pros and cons of living in McLean to help you decide if this city is right for you.

Are you buying or selling a home in McLean or in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia areas? I have years of experience in the D.C. housing market, so don’t hesitate to send me a message!



Stay up to date on the latest real estate trends

Recent Blog Posts

Work With Nadia

Whether you’re buying or selling a home (or both), your success hinges upon the expert advice and services provided by your real estate agent. I’m committed to providing my clients with professional services based on my experience, knowledge and skills.

Follow Me on Instagram