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8 Things to Know Before Moving to McLean, VA

8 Things to Know Before Moving to McLean, VA Written by Zach Spanton

McLean is a small unincorporated town in Fairfax County, Virginia, not far from the nation’s capital. McLean has the wealth and sophistication one would expect from a city with such a high concentration of influential people, such as ambassadors, senators, and CIA agents, given its proximity to the nation’s capital.

John Roll McLean, owner of the Washington Post in the early 1900s, received a land grant and used it to establish the town of McLean, which bears his name. Many of the original buildings from that period are still standing, lending a classical air to the neighborhood. McLean is a wealthy and attractive suburb of Washington, D.C., home to many influential figures in American politics.

Here are eight things to know before moving to McLean, VA!

1. A cost of living index of 201

Having a cost of living that is 101% more than the national average in a city where senators and CIA agents make their homes is to be expected. 

To reflect the higher cost of living, the average home price in this area is $1,251,851, over twice as much as in Virginia. Almost everything you buy in this city, from groceries to gas to public transit, will cost you significantly more than the national average. The average rent here is $2,244, which is high but not as much as you might think it would be.

There’s no denying that McLean is one of the most expensive U.S. cities to call home, but the hefty price tag is justified by the many perks offered to residents. You won’t find a more prestigious group of people to rub shoulders with in any other setting.

2. The crime rate is lower than the national average

Are you considering a move to McLean, but you’re concerned about the safety of your family? The crime rate in McLean is, fortunately, 69% lower than the national average. 

McLean gets an A+ safety rating on AreaVibes thanks to its 77% lower violent crime rate and 67% lower property crime rate than the national average. This means you and your family can feel secure in your new home in McLean.

3. Fairfax County School District has excellent ratings

If you decide to call McLean home, know that the public schools in your area fall under the jurisdiction of the Fairfax County School District. Given the caliber of the local population, it comes as no surprise that the area’s educational institutions are all highly regarded, with no institution receiving a Greatschools rating lower than 8 out of 10. Your kid will have an excellent education at Cooper Middle School or Langley High School, both of which are well-regarded and well-known.

Do you want to attend a university in McLean? Only ten miles from McLean lies the University of the District of Columbia, a highly regarded public four-year institution in the nation’s capital. Northern Virginia Community College, a public, two-year institution, is a great option for those who want to further their education but are limited by financial constraints.

4. Get a job in the public service or finance industry

Although the cost of living in McLean is high, earnings have been rising modestly over the past few years, which is good news for anyone considering making the area their permanent home. Software Engineer, Intelligence Analyst, and Project Manager are the three most sought-after professions in this area, with the top three companies being Capital One Financial Corp., Booz | Allen | Hamilton, and Freddie Mac. McLean has a median annual salary of $85,000 and a median hourly earnings of $22.63.

Government jobs, especially those in the intelligence community and the financial sector, are the best bets if you want to make a living in McLean. 

5. The city gets a lot of rainfall

Because of its proximity to the shore, McLean receives a lot of rainfall but not much snow. Temperatures average 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 25 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. 

McLean receives an average of 44 inches of rain annually, well above the national average of 38.1 inches. Meanwhile, McLean receives only 20 inches of snow per year, significantly less than the average of 28 inches. 

6. Visit Great Falls National Park or Scott’s Run Nature Preserve 

Outdoor enthusiasts will love living in McLean because of the stunning scenery all around town. Located on the banks of the Potomac River, Great Falls National Park spans 800 acres and offers visitors breathtaking vistas of waterfalls, 15 kilometers of hiking trails, picnic sites, rock climbing, and much more. However, due to the dangerous river currents, swimming and wading are not allowed anywhere in Great Falls Park.

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is a beautiful place to hike, with its winding paths through a hardwood forest and spring wildflowers that cover the ground. One of the few natural parks in Fairfax County offers plenty for hikers of all skill levels, with both easy winding paths and hard mountainous terrain.

7. Eat at LoKL Gourmet or Eddie V’s and J.Gilbert’s

There are different restaurants in McLean, from casual to fine dining and everything in between. Amoo’s Restaurant, which serves both classic Persian fare and innovative fusion options, is a fan favorite. Their food is tasty and well-presented, and the service is just as high-quality. Delicious artisan sandwiches, fresh juices, homemade soups, and delectable sweets are all made in front of your eyes at the unassuming LoKL Gourmet.

Eddie V’s and J. Gilbert’s are the places to go for ultra-fresh seafood, excellent steak, and expertly mixed drinks. Live jazz music and warm, helpful staff will round out your evening. The lobster rolls at Coastal Flats are as good as any you’ll find in Maine, and the restaurant’s nautical decor only adds to the experience.

8. There’s a strong sense of community

Those who have lived in McLean for a while would tell you that the community spirit is one of the city’s best qualities. It’s clear that this is a community that takes pleasure in its heritage, from the architecture to the residents’ obvious attachment to their homes.

McLean is always bustling with activity; whether it’s a community fair or a farmer’s market, locals are happy to lend a hand. McLean is a great place to live because its residents genuinely look out for one another.

The Middle Eastern Food Festival, the Labor Day BBQ, the McLean Pet Fest, and the Fall Festival are just a few of the annual events that take place in McLean. In addition to workshops and programs for all ages, the McLean Community Center hosts concerts, art shows, and other events. 

To Sum it All Up

If you choose to move to McLean, you get to enjoy the city’s sense of togetherness, safety, amazing food scene, and excellent schools. You should, however, consider whether or not the cost of living is a price worth paying for all of the numerous benefits that come with living in this city. 

Learn More About Living in McLean, VA

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