About the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Area
The area known as NOVA by residents of Virginia, also called the Mother of States, is usually considered to be counties in the northeastern part of the state including Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Stafford, and Prince William. There are also some independent cities within the NOVA area, including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Manassas, and it also contains part of the greater Washington DC metro area.
The NoVA area has a robust transportation system, including Ronal Reagan Washington National Airport as well as Washington Dulles International Airport, the Virginia Railway Express, both bus and subway lines in the Washington Metro system, and US Interstate Highways 95, 70, and 66. There are many federal government systems, including the Central Intelligency Agency and the Pentagon, as well as the headquarters of many private companies who serve the federal government. Because of the history in the area, historic places like Colonial and Civil War era battlefields and estates are scattered throughout Northern Virginia.
The nation’s capitol is considered to be within the Northern Virginia or NoVa area, or rather, a part of the greater Washington DC metropolitan statistical area is inside NoVA. Cities included in the Virginia portion of the greater DC area are Annandale, Arlington, Falls Church, and McLean. There are lots of national monuments, government agencies, historic sites, as well as the Smithsonian Institute within the city. The Potomac River forms the boundary from Washington DC city center and the Virginian suburbs, the largest of which is Arlington VA.
While the area is technically Arlington County and not officially an independent city named Arlington, the area just across the Potomac from the District of Columbia is a large population center for the area, with a population of over 225,000 as of 2010. There are many different US federal government agencies in the area including the Pentagon, but there’s also the Ronal Reagan National Airport. The area is famous for Arlington National Cemetery, but there’s also lots of higher education campuses, including University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Marymount University, George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Just south of Arlington also along the Potomac River, Alexandria VA is an independent city with a mix of modern conveniences and a long, rich history. The city is predominantly home to professionals who work for US federal government agencies as well as companies who support the federal government, and there are several agency offices located in Alexandria, including the US Department of Defence and the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the National Science Foundation. The city also has its share of historical attractions, including the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, but there’s also scenic parks like Cameron Run Regional Park where visitors can enjoy everything from picnicking to minigolf to a wave pool!
An independent city in the county of the same name, Fairfax VA had a population of over 20,000 as of the 2010 US Census, making it one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the Northern Virginia area. Fairfax is located west of Washington DC along US Interstate Highway 66, and it’s serviced by one of the DC Metro rail lines. The town is considered a suburb of the greater DC area as well as a beautiful natural area with lots of greenspaces. The city has several municipal parks to enjoy including Providence Park and Daniels Run Park. The city is home to the largest public educational institution in Virginia, George Mason University. There are also a ton of beautiful historic homes and sites within the city as well.