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Cities Near Washington DC 🏛️ | Towns & Cities in DC Metro Area

Last Updated on: 11th January 2024, 08:24 pm

Whether you’re moving to the DMV or simply here for a visit, cities in DC are brimming with history, life, and charming locales for you to explore in and around the Metro.

Once you’ve seen the major sights in DC, like the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (did you know it’s free?!), there are over 60 towns and cities near Washington DC within 30 miles of the capital center for you to enjoy. From quiet neighborhoods to vibrant downtowns, each offers a wide variety of experiences catering to a spectrum of interests.

Categorized by their population size and proximity, this guide details the best Maryland and Virginia cities near DC while unveiling the characteristics that make them so charming.

Largest Virginia Cities Near DC

Although there are plenty of small towns in Virginia near DC that feature suburban tranquility, the largest VA cities near DC boast a population of over 50,000 and complement the capital’s urban allure with ample entertainment and opportunity.

Arlington, VA – 5.2 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 238,643
  • Municipality: County and census-designated place (but a city in character!)

An earshot across the Potomac River from our capital and accessible by 5 different bridges, Arlington, VA, is a dynamic census-designated place and county that brilliantly combines historical resonance with modern appeal. Arlington is one of the most populated and closest cities to Washington DC, and sure enough, some of the best views of Washington DC can be seen from Arlington!

Because it’s the nearest city to Washington DC, Arlington is noticeably connected to the cultural and historical significance of DC and the DMV metro. It’s home to the revered Arlington National Cemetery, where visitors pay respects to the nation’s heroes, as well as the Pentagon. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the flourishing dining scene in neighborhoods like Clarendon and Ballston and performances at the Signature Theatre. The closest city to Washington also offers easy access to a network of incredible trails, like the Mount Vernon Trail, providing outdoor enthusiasts plenty to keep busy.

Interested in living in Arlington, VA? Learn more about what makes the closest city to Washington DC a top choice. 

Alexandria, VA – 7.8 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 159,467
  • County: None
  • Municipality: Independent city


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Alexandria is a captivating Virginia city close to Washington DC, a mere 7.8 miles via the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and is one of the largest and closest city to DC.

The old home of George Washington, Alexandria, VA, blends historic charm with a contemporary spirit. People living in and visiting Alexandria, Virginia, enjoy strolling the well-preserved cobblestone streets of Old Town while exploring its 200 independent boutiques and restaurants. There’s vibrant nightlife and plenty of sightseeing along the Potomac River, as well as historical museums, art galleries, and gorgeous architecture to keep you busy exploring this alluring city close to Washington DC.

This independent city is the second-largest Virginia city near DC and one of the largest cities close to Arlington VA. If you plan to visit Alexandria, you can fly into the Ronald Regan, Washington Dulles, or Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Discover all there is to living in Alexandria in our comprehensive guide!

Centreville, VA – 25 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 73,518
  • County: Fairfax
  • Municipality: CDP

Centreville, VA, is a slightly smaller town near Washington DC, and census-designated place nestled 25 miles west of our capital. With a population half that of Alexandria, it’s one of the most delightful cities in Virginia near DC, with prominent historical ties to the Civil War. In fact, residents and visitors can relive this paramount period of our past at the Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum and learn of the battles (like the First Battle of Manassas) that occurred nearby.

Catch some fresh air after the museum by meandering the Ellanor C. Lawrence Park or exploring various dining and shopping options, like the adored Bull Run Winery, that contribute to the lively nature of Centerville.

Reston, VA – 22.4 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 63,226
  • County: Fairfax
  • Municipality: CDP

Reston, VA, is a census-designated place in Fairfax County and among the five largest Virginia towns near DC, just 22.4 miles away via VA-267 E.

Reston flourishes with natural beauty and is a standout for recreational opportunities that make it the best place to live near Washington DC for outdoor enthusiasts, including the stunning Lake Anne and the esteemed Reston National Country Club, a 166-acre championship golf course. Reston Town Center stands as a beacon of contemporary living, bustling with an array of fun shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

McLean VA – 11.1 miles to Washington DC

  • Population: 50,773
  • County: Fairfax
  • Municipality: CDP

McLean, VA, is one of the most splendid Washington DC suburbs in Virginia located just over 11 miles from the capital. Because this community is so close to DC, many politicians, prominent military figures, and other diplomats call(ed) Mclean their home. A few notable include:

  • Chuck Robb, former U.S. Senator and Governor of Virginia
  • Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States
  • Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
  • And many more

A census-designated place in Fairfax County known for its luxurious estates, affluent neighborhoods, and a strong sense of community, Mclean offers an elegant living experience near the capital but with a higher cost of living than other cities surrounding Washington DC.

Great Falls Park and the Claude Moore Colonial Farm stand as a testament to Mclean’s dedication to preserving natural beauty and historical heritage. With McLean’s top-notch school systems and admirable public safety, it is a superlative city for those who can afford it.

Does McLean pique your interest? Visit our guide to learn more about living in and moving to McLean!

Largest Cities in Maryland Near DC

Bordering the nation’s capital to the north and east, Maryland is a prosperous state that promises astounding beauty, historical landmarks, and rich culture to those who call it home or visit. There are 30+ cities near Washington DC, towns, and other census-designated places within a 30-mile radius of the capital that offer an array of amenities, attractions, and accessibility to the DMV metro.

The following are the largest Maryland cities close to DC, each with a population exceeding 50,000 and a truly charming character.

Germantown, MD – 25.8 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 90,249
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

History, shopping, and art are abundant in Germantown, MD, and this urbanized census-designated place is the third most populated community in Maryland (behind Baltimore and Columbia).

The BlackRock Center for the Arts is a community pillar in German Town where people gather to enjoy an array of performances, exhibitions, and community events. The Germantown Town Center and other nearby shopping centers decorate the suburban area with shops for every personality, and open spaces like the Seneca Creek State Park offer residents ample fresh air.

With the Montgomery College Germantown Campus nearby and amazing public school systems, you’ll find a range of demographics living in Germantown, and it’s one of the more enticing cities around Washington DC to live or visit.

Silver Spring, MD – 6.2 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 81,015
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

Silver Spring, MD, is a census-designated place in Montgomery County with the perfect mix of urban vibes and suburban serenity, ideal for those seeking a balanced metropolitan experience, and is the closest Maryland city to DC. Home to the notable AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and the Downtown Silver Spring, where shopping, dining, and cultural events abound, Silver Spring is an art and entertainment hub with plenty to keep residents and tourists busy.

The well-kept urban parks, like the Dale Drive Neighborhood Park (featuring two playgrounds and two lit tennis courts!) or Acorn Park, and safe, community-centric neighborhoods make Silver Spring one of the most attractive cities in Maryland near DC.

Curious about living in Silver Spring? Our guide to the closest of Maryland cities near Washington DC covers it all.

Bethesda, MD – 7 miles to Washington DC

  • Population: 68,056
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

Technically a CDP and not a city, Bethesda, MD, is one of the most affluent cities in Maryland close to DC. This sprawling community is characterized by its upscale amenities and energetic downtown, where a plethora of sophisticated dining options, luxury boutiques, and a thriving arts district are sure to entertain.

Renowned institutions like the National Institutes of Health and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center bolster Bethesda’s reputation as a center of medical innovation and care. Its proximity to DC, economic opportunity, and one of the best school systems in Maryland further sweetens Bethesda’s appeal.

Discover if living in Bethesda, MD is right for you!

Rockville, MD – 16.3 miles from Washington DC

  • Population: 67,117
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

Rockville, MD, is a dynamic census-designated place in Montgomery County intertwined with rich historical roots and modern advancements that create an opportunistic economy and high quality of living, albeit expensive (45% higher cost of living than the national average).

Rockville prospers with diverse neighborhoods and flourishing parks like Rock Creek Regional Park. The lively Rockville Town Square features an array of fine dining and shopping destinations, and you can’t forget about the local favorite ice skating rink in winter!

Significant institutions, such as the National Cancer Institute, establish Rockville as a leader in innovation that’s helmed by its highly educated residents. It is an appealing destination for those looking to thrive in a city buzzing with cultural and professional richness in one of the most successful Maryland cities close to DC.

Learn more about what makes living in Rockville so enticing!

Bowie, MD – 17.9 miles to Washington DC

  • Population: 58,329
  • County: Prince George’s
  • Municipality: City

Bowie, MD, is flourishing with historic charm and modern amenities and is one of the more affordable cities close to Washington DC. Speaking of historic charm, there are an impressive 22 historic sites to explore in Bowie; the 2-acre Belair Stables is a favorite due to its significance in the city’s history!

What was once a small-time railroad stop is now one of the most sought-after suburban oases in Prince George’s County. Featuring convenient access to Washington DC, Bowie prides itself on family-friendly environments, beautiful parks, and an impressive collection of museums that delve into the area’s rich history, including the Allen Pond Park, the Bowie Railroad Museum (the kids will love this one), and the Belair Mansion.

Wheaton, MD – Pop: 52,150

  • Population: 52,150
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

Wheaton, MD, is a culture-rich CDP in Maryland close to DC and a thriving arts & entertainment district. The Wheaton Arts Parade and Festival is a resident favorite, with 400+ people joining the parade walk to celebrate this prominent cultural diversity each year. It’s colorful, artistic, and unique, a metaphor for Wheaton itself!

Wheaton is also celebrated for its eclectic mix of dining options, where you can find food of seemingly every culture, as well as the bustling Wheaton Mall for non-stop shopping. The nearby Wheaton Regional Park flaunts beautiful brooks and lush greenery, providing a natural retreat in conjunction with the metropolitan lifestyle.

A popular choice in 2023, learn more about what makes moving to and living in Wheaton MD so special. 

North Bethesda, MD – Pop: 50,094

  • Population: 50,094
  • County: Montgomery
  • Municipality: CDP

Although it’s technically a census-designated place and not a city, North Bethesda, MD, still offers it all. Boasting a notable arts scene, highlighted by the Music Center at Strathmore, living in North Bethesda is music to the ears. The Pike & Rose development epitomizes modern sophistication, offering a blend of stylish retail stores, exquisite dining venues, and entertainment options, ensuring residents and visitors have access to only the best amenities. For those who wish to be pampered, North Bethesda is known for its upscale spas, promising a much-needed day of relaxation.

If this sounds like you, explore more benefits of living in North Bethesda, MD!

Other Cities & Towns Near Washington DC

With populations ranging from 15,000 to 49,999, there are towns in Washington DC to suit the fancy of anyone looking to live in or visit the DMV metro. Here are twenty-five other cities and towns near Washington DC within a 30-mile radius, listed in order from their distance to the capital, and are some of the more affordable cities near Washington DC.

Towns & Cities Near Washington DC (15,000-49,999 population)
Municipality State Population (2020) Distance from Washington DC
Takoma Park Maryland 17,629 5.8 mi
Hyattsville Maryland 21,187 6.5 mi
Adelphi Maryland 16,823 8.7 mi
Bailey’s Crossroads Virginia 24,749 8.8 mi
College Park Maryland 34,740 8.9 mi
Landover Maryland 25,998 9.3 mi
West Falls Church Virginia 30,243 10.7 mi
Glenmon Maryland 16,710 11.7 mi
Idylwood Virginia 17,954 12.1 mi
Oxon Hill Maryland 18,791 12.6 mi
Potomac Maryland 47,018 13.2 mi
Springfield Virginia 31,339 13.9 mi
Tysons Virginia 26,374 14.9 mi
Beltsville Maryland 20,133 15.5 mi
Merrifield Virginia 20,488 15.5 mi
Franconia Virginia 18,943 15.8 mi
West Springfield Virginia 23,369 16.5 mi
Olney Maryland 35,820 17.9 mi
Oakton Virginia 36,732 18.6 mi
Fairfax Virginia 24,146 19.0 mi
Fort Washington Maryland 24,261 19.5 mi
Clinton Maryland 38,760 21.3 mi
Herndon Virginia 24,655 24.2 mi
Chantilly Virginia 24,301 24.7 mi

Map of Cities Close to Washington DC

This interactive map showcases the Virginia and Maryland cities near Washington DC with a population of over 20,000 residents.

Major Cities Near Washington DC

The following large cities outside Washington DC are within 800 miles of the capital and offer an exciting variety of experiences or opportunities. From alluring coastal cities close to Washington DC to inland treasures, each of these cities near Washington is within a day’s travel from the capital’s center!

Major Cities Near Washington DC
(100,000+ Population and Within 800 miles)
City & State Population (2020) Distance From Washington DC
Columbia, MD 104,681 31.5 mi
Baltimore, MD 585,708 38 mi
Wilmington, DE 70,898 108 mi
Richmond VA 226,610 109 mi
Philadelphia, PA 1,603,797 139 mi
Newport News, VA 186,247 171 mi
Allentown, PA 125,845 188 mi
Norfolk VA 238,005 195 mi
Chesapeake, VA 249,422 206 mi
Virginia Beach, VA 459,470 208 mi
Newark NJ 311,549 217 mi
New York City, NY 8,804,190 226 mi
Pittsburgh, PA 302,971 242 mi
Raleigh, NC 467,665 278 mi
Greensboro NC 299,035 310 mi
Cleveland, OH 372,624 369 mi
Rochester, NY 211,328 391 mi
Columbus, OH 905,748 397 mi
Charlotte NC 874,579 399 mi
Buffalo NY 278,349 411 mi
Boston, MA 675,647 440 mi
Cincinnati, OH 309,317 501 mi
Indianapolis, IN 887,642 571 mi
Atlanta, GA 498,715 638.2 mi
Chicago IL 2,746,388 696.4 mi
Jacksonville, FL 949,611 705.9 mi

Living in any of these incredible cities in the DMV area allows you to connect with the nation’s history in dynamic, urban settings or peaceful suburban towns. If you’re contemplating a move to one of the cities around DC, ensure an effortless transition and contact our DMV movers at 301-928-8669!


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