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Is Great Falls, VA a Nice Place to Live?


Is Great Falls, VA a Nice Place to Live?

Is Great Falls, VA a Nice Place to Live?



Great Falls, Virginia, is a small, picturesque city in Northern Virginia with quick and easy access to Washington, DC. Great Falls is a great location within the DC metro area to raise a family, but it’s also a major attraction for nature lovers!

Great Falls, VA, is most well known for and named after Great Falls Park, which overlooks the Great Falls side of the Potomac River. But there’s more to love about this community, including its top-rated schools, sprawling parkland, history, and a variety of events and other things to do for children and adults alike.

Want to call Great Falls home? Here’s what you need to know about this charming DC suburb.



Where Is Great Falls, Virginia?



Located just 30 minutes from DC, Great Falls sits along the Potomac River on the Virginia-Maryland border adjacent to McLean, VA. Great Falls is a census-designated city in Fairfax County, Virginia, and a suburb of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Great Falls, VA, has a history going back to colonial times and was unofficially known as Forestville until it was renamed Great Falls in 1955.

Great Falls has a hometown atmosphere and has been recognized over the years as one of the state’s most affluent communities. In 2020, Great Falls was ranked one of the richest Virginia towns in a 24/7 Wall St. analysis, and most households earn at least three times the state’s median annual household income.

Here are some quick stats about Great Falls, VA, from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Population: 15,953 residents as of April 2020
  • Homeownership rate: 94.8%
  • Median household income: $250,000+
  • Median value of homes: $1,246,100

Watch: Moving to Great Falls? Watch this video!



Things to Do in Great Falls



One of the area’s biggest attractions is the 800-acre Great Falls Park, a disconnected but vital part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The park features breathtaking views of the Potomac River and Great Falls. There are three observation areas where you can view the falls and rolling rapids, along with 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult, 5 miles of biking and horseback riding trails, and areas to fish and picnic! You’ll also want to check out the sights at nearby Riverbend Park and Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

At the town center, there are plenty of restaurants, boutique shops, and local events. The community also holds annual holiday celebrations, including Halloween Spooktacular in October, Celebration of Lights on the first Sunday in December, and the 4th of July parade and fireworks. Catch one of the Sunday Concerts on the Green at the Village Centre Green or attend a charity golf or tennis tournament at the Trump National Golf Club.

Check out the Celebrate Great Falls Foundation’s website for more information on annual events and local traditions.



Schools in Great Falls, VA



Education is highly valued in Great Falls. As of 2020, 84.5% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Census Bureau. Data from HomeSnacks also found that 34% of adults in Great Falls hold a master’s degree.

Great Falls falls under the Fairfax County Public School system, regarded as one of the best districts in Virginia. There are also excellent private schools and childcare programs in the area.

Here are the public and private schools serving Great Falls and their rankings, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Public elementary schools:

  • Great Falls Elementary School: #101 in Virginia Elementary Schools
  • Forestville Elementary School: #125 in Virginia Elementary Schools
  • Colvin Run Elementary School: #12 in Virginia Elementary Schools

Public middle schools:

  • Cooper Middle School: # 9 in Virginia Middle Schools

Public high schools 

  • Langley High School: #5 in Virginia High Schools

Private schools:

  • Mina’s School of Great Falls (pre-K to 8th grade)
  • Siena Academy (Catholic Montessori school with toddler, primary, and elementary programs)
  • Village Green Day School (junior kindergarten, school-age childcare, Montessori programs, and additional education programs)


Crime and Safety in Great Falls, VA



Looking for a safe community to raise a family? A 2023 report revealed that Great Falls is one of the safest suburbs in the nation!

SmartAsset analyzed safety data for 370 suburbs of the 100 largest cities across the U.S. Great Falls ranked No. 1 for overall safety and has the second-lowest crime rate (6.81 per 100,000 residents). AreaVibes and CrimeGrade.org also gave Great Falls an overall crime grade of A+ and stated that the area had a much lower crime rate than the average U.S. city. 



Job Opportunities in Great Falls, VA



Great Falls has a higher-than-average cost of living, but the median income of over $250,000 more than makes up for it!

Between 2020 and 2021, employment in Great Falls grew at a rate of 2.5%. Professional services is the largest job sector, followed by public administration and healthcare. The biggest employers in Great Falls include Inova Health System, Amazon, and Booz Allen Hamilton. 



Housing Market in Great Falls, VA



Great Falls is filled with single-family homes of varying styles and sizes. However, the community is definitely known for its luxurious estates. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported that an equestrian estate in Great Falls recently sold for $14.75 million — the first big home sale in the DMV in 2024!

Using data from Zillow, InsideNova ranked Great Falls No. 8 in cities with the fastest-growing home prices in Virginia. Home prices in Great Falls have gone up by 41.3% over the past five years, and the typical home value is now over $1.4 million. Some of the most prestigious neighborhoods and subdivisions in the Great Falls area include Arden, Cornwell Farm, Holly Knoll, Riverbend, and more.

Read more: For more details, read my article about the best neighborhoods in DC.



Moving to Great Falls?



Similar to McLean, Great Falls is one of the most expensive areas in Virginia. It’s a highly educated and affluent city, and most residents are in the top 1%-5% of income earners in the U.S. While the location is perfect for DC commuters, Great Falls still has a rural feel and lots of beautiful greenery!


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

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