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What It's Like to Live in Bristow, Virginia

I have a bachelor's in finance. I am a stay-at-home mom, but my husband likes to call me the CFO (chief financial officer) of our household.

Where Is Bristow, Virginia?

Bristow, in northern Virginia, is a suburb of Washington DC. Bristow is located in Prince William County between Nokesville, Manassas, and Gainesville.

Many people move to Bristow because it is a great place to raise a family, it's a reasonable commute to and from Washington, D.C., and homes are more affordable than in neighborhoods closer to D.C.

It takes about half an hour by car to get to the nearest Metro station, which is the Orange Line Metro in Vienna/Fairfax. They are also building a new Metro Station close to Dulles Airport, so we will have two choices of Metro Stations within half an hour of Bristow by the end of the year!

We are about four hours from Virginia Beach, 45 minutes to an hour from Washington D.C., and 45 minutes from the mountains! The views are beautiful. I have lived all over the United States (military), but I have never seen an area more beautiful than Northern Virginia!

What Is Bristow Like?

Bristow has many family-friendly neighborhoods, two supermarkets, several elementary schools, and a great feel.

The City Is Great for Families

Bristow is a great place to raise a family. Homes are affordable and still within a reasonable commute to D.C. Crime is lower. You will have access to shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and outdoor attractions.

We have highly rated schools which you could look up on It will show you the rankings of each school and parent reviews.

There Are Tons of Outdoor Activities

You will see people jogging, riding their bikes, and going for walks all over Bristow. There are walking paths and parks to keep you healthy.

Jiffy Lube Live is an outdoor concert venue on Wellington Road in Bristow. I have never had a problem with noise from the concerts, and I only live a mile from there!

There are outdoor activities for kids, like soccer, T-ball, and softball. I can bring my kids to four playgrounds, tons of fields, and three swimming pools, or I can take them on bike paths through the woods, on trails, or sledding in the snow without having to hop in the car! Bristow is a very active area!


Summers are hot but not very humid. The weather is perfect for the many outdoor swimming pools around Bristow.

Winters are mild. It has only snowed a few times since I have lived here, and the snow always was gone within a few days. Be warned; if snow falls, schools will be closed.

Spring and fall are beautiful around Bristow. The abundance of trees and plants going through their fall and spring cycles makes it that much more beautiful.

During warm weather seasons, it normally rains every week or two, which helps to keep the grass green and the trees and flowers healthy.

Real Estate

Bristow has everything from townhomes to McMansions. I would say that there is an equal number of townhomes and single-family homes, perhaps more of the latter.

Home Costs

Most homes in Bristow are newer (15 years old or less).

  • You could buy a townhouse for anywhere from the upper $200,000s to the upper $300,000s.
  • Single-family homes cost anywhere from $350,000 to $700,000, with the average costing around $500,000.

The farther you get from either the Metro Stations or Washington D.C., the less your house will cost. Bristow is just far enough to have an affordable home with a decent commute. A lot of people that live in Bristow work in or near Washington D.C.

Healthy Living

There are tons of trails, bike paths, and parks in Bristow. It's a great place for an active family! Most neighborhoods have outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, tot lots, trails, open areas, and hills for sledding in the winter.

When I first moved here from the Midwest, I was surprised by the number of healthy people here. Everywhere I looked, I saw people walking, jogging, biking, or just having fun outside!


There are two shopping plazas in Bristow, Virginia—one close to Nokesville and the other closer to Gainesville.

One of the shopping plazas has a Harris Teeter (a great grocery store for couponers!) with tons of small restaurants, doctors' offices, banks, a Tae Kwon Do school, a veterinarian, small fast food restaurants, pet stores, and a daycare.

The other shopping plaza has a Safeway grocery store, an Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt shop, a veterinarian, small fast food restaurants, a Tae Kwon Do School, an alterations shop, a dentist, salons, banks, an Arby's, and a Kindercare daycare.

Both plazas are very family- and neighborhood-oriented.

The rest of Bristow is made of neighborhoods.

Things to See and Do

  • Bristow - Virginia Is For Lovers
    Discover things to do, places to stay, and where to dine in Bristow. Use the links to find area events, an interactive map of what’s nearby and great deals and packages.

Attractions in and Around the City

There are so many things to do in this area. Outdoor activities, shopping, and sightseeing are just a few of the things you could do.

Manassas Battlefield: If you are into history and the outdoors, Manassas Battlefield is about 10 minutes from Bristow. There are tons of beautiful trails with educational plaques and statues along the way. The Manassas Battlefield has a nice museum and guided tours if you would like to learn more about the battle.

Museums in D.C.: You could also go into Washington DC by car or Metro and see the Smithsonian museums on the Mall. My kids and I love the Natural History Museum! The museum of National Archives (also on the Mall in D.C.) was really neat too! We saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other historical documents there.

Manassas: If you want to stay closer to Bristow, Manassas has affordable shopping, restaurants, a movie theater, and everything else you can imagine. Old Town Manassas is a great place to take a stroll, with small shops and quaint restaurants.

Gainesville: If you are looking for more upscale shopping close to Bristow, go to Gainesville. They have a huge assortment of shops and restaurants, and they are still building. The new movie theater will be open in Gainesville later this year! Gainesville also has a Wegman's grocery store. If you have never been to a Wegman's, you have to see it. It is unlike any other grocery store you have ever been in.

Outlet Malls: If you like outlet malls, we have two huge ones within an hour's drive of Bristow, with stores and restaurants. One, an indoor mall, is Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge. The other, an outdoor mall, is the Leesburg Outlet Mall in Leesburg.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Melanie Casey


Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on July 31, 2015:

I would recommend Gainesville, Bristow and Nokesville. Centreville and Chantilly are nice too. Bristow and Nokesville are mostly neighborhoods. Gainesville has a lot of shops and neighborhoods. You can find more room in Nokesville for your money, but it is further from shops. Bristow has a Safeway grocery store and a plaza. They also have a Super Target and a few restaurants. Gainesville has the most to offer and is closest to the freeway. The only problem with Gainesville is that it is being built up quickly and there is tons of traffic. You could find a home in all of these areas in your price range. Townhouse can be found in these areas in the $300K range. Gainesville, Nokesville and Bristow are more affordable than Chantilly or Centreville, but they are also further from D.C. I am not sure what the style of home is called, but there are homes that are smaller with smaller yards and the garages behind the house. You can get these homes for almost the same price as townhomes, but they are datached. Let me know if you have any more questions!

koshea on July 31, 2015:

relocating to Northern VA in the fall. My husband and I are early fifties kids are all in there 20s 2 out of 4 are coming with us. Not ready to move into retirement community. Husbands Job will be in Chantilly. Looking out towards Gainesville. Would like a nice community. Price range 400-550 thousand... any recommendations?

Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on September 12, 2014:

We just moved from there 5 months ago. Now we live in Indiana. They say a rolling stone does not collect moss and we have never stayed anywhere long enough to collect moss. Hopefully we will here though. I loved it out there in the DC area, except for the cost of living and the traffic. It would get really hot there during the summer, but a lot of neighborhoods made up for it by installing pools.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 12, 2014:

Is this where you live? I was in D.C. in 1997...only time...loved the area but the August heat was a killer. I don't know how people live with that...anyway, nice sales job looks like a nice community.

Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on May 11, 2013:

Thanks ytsenoh! Bristow is a wonderful place to raise a family near D.C.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on May 11, 2013:

Casey, this is a good hub, especially for the information you provide for anyone who is potentially looking to relocate to Bristow, or needing to. It's good information to know for someone who's looking for a place not in D.C., but for a convenient place nearby. Covering the subjects of shopping and other attractions was a good idea to include. Thumbs up.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on May 11, 2013:

Casey, this is a good hub, especially for the information you provide for anyone who is potentially looking to relocate to Bristow, or needing to. It's good information to know for someone who's looking for a place not in D.C., but for a convenient place nearby. Covering the subjects of shopping and other attractions was a good idea to include. Thumbs up.