Laura Gilley Washington Metropolitan Area

The Washington metropolitan area is one of the most educated and most affluent metropolitan areas in the United States. It has also ranked as the highest-educated metropolitan area in the nation for four decades. It was ranked as the second best High-Tech Center in a statistical analysis of the top 100 Metropolitan areas in the United States by American City Business Journals in May 2009, behind the Silicon Valley and ahead of the Boston metropolitan area. The Washington metro area has the perks of a large urban area. It's serviced by an extensive public transit system, is home to plenty of restaurants and entertainment venues and a variety of museums and other cultural sites. Meanwhile, each neighborhood in the District and its surrounding towns has its own atmosphere.

Living in the D.C. area is expensive. The average cost of buying a home in D.C. is significantly higher than the national average, and prices are expected to continue climbing. Renters can expect to write monthly checks that are roughly $400 higher than the national average. Your cost of living also depends on where in the metro area you choose to live.

The District is home to numerous cultural attractions, including several Smithsonian museums, theaters and year-round markets. The area also encompasses a blossoming restaurant scene that will please any foodie, and plenty of nightlife venues, from the trendy bars along the U Street Corridor to concerts at the Verizon Center.

Outside the immediate metro area, residents can take advantage of hiking, camping and boating opportunities in Shenandoah National Park, Great Falls State Park and other outdoor spaces. Both southern Maryland and northern Virginia also feature numerous wineries and orchards.

Bethesda, MD

Bethesda Maryland

Much of Bethesda is home to winding streets lined with grand manors and single-family homes in developments noted for their good schools (such as Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School and Walt Whitman High School). Whether you live in east or west Bethesda, however, home prices are skyrocketing, which may impact some residents’ future plans.

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Chevy Chase, MD

Chevy Chase Maryland

Chevy Chase, Maryland has long been considered one of the Washington region’s quintessential high-end suburbs: an area with green lawns, high-priced homes and virtually no commercial districts, it offers an escape from the noisy city, but is still within close driving distance of downtown DC and its amenities. It is characterized by quiet residential streets lined with colonials, bungalows, and Tudors, homes that would fit into just about any upscale suburb in the country.

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Darnestown, MD

Darnestown Maryland

Originally, the town was referred to as Mount Pleasant, but the name shifted later to be popularly known as Darnes and eventually Darnestown, as it is called today. Darnestown has a small commercial center and has a number of local parks, including Darnestown Square Park, Muddy Branch Stream Park, Lighthouse Point Park, the Seneca Ridge Trail and Seneca Creek State Park. Darnestown is also home to three locks on the C&O Canal. The town also borders the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, which is made up of lots of farmland and parks that many residents of Darnestown can appreciate.

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Gaithersburg, MD

Gaitherburg Maryland

Located in the geographic center of Montgomery County, Maryland, Gaithersburg residents enjoy an exceptional quality of life. We are home to award-winning neighborhoods and our county school system is ranked among the best in the country. Gaithersburg residents enjoy the best of both worlds - the familiarity and comfort of a small town community within the exciting metropolitan area of the nation’s capital.

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Germantown, MD

Germantown Maryland

The city of Germantown was laid out as a "Corridor City" by the Montgomery County Government as part of what is called the "Wedges and Corridors Plan" envisioned by the County when Interstate 270 was built in the 1960s. In 1972 when development began, Germantown was a rural farming village of about 1,000 people. Today, the area has experienced extensive growth and expansion over the past two decades and is an affordable place to live with a wide variety of housing, shopping, dining and recreational opportunities.

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Kensington, MD

Kensington Maryland

Kensington is a town with a rich, historic past and a vibrant present. The sound of a train whistle still permeates throughout the town, reminiscent of Kensington's sleepier origins in 1873. Today, residents and visitors alike visit the charming train station for a weekly farmer’s market and concerts. The streets are alive with art galleries, music venues, enticing restaurants, eclectic gift shops and antique stores. On the edges of the vibrant business district are beautiful 19th century Victorian homes and parks and a unique children’s library.

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North Bethesda, MD

North Bethesda Maryland

Rockville Pike and I-495 run along the borders of North Bethesda, making for a quick commute to Washington, D.C. Notable schools such as the Georgetown Preparatory School and the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and the music performance venue at Strathmore are here, as well as White Flint Shopping Center, the Kennedy-Shriver Aquatic Center, The Jewish Community Center, and the North Bethesda Market.

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North Potomac, MD

North Potomac Maryland

North Potomac was created in 1988 from the peripheral fringes of Gaithersburg and Rockville and lies parallel to the Potomac River. North Potomac shares ZIP codes with Gaithersburg and Rockville. The United States Postal Service defines North Potomac to encompass only zip code 20878. Major shopping areas include Travilah Square and Travilah Gateway.

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Olney, MD

Olney Maryland

Olney is the last suburban outpost in upper northeast Montgomery County, Maryland, with many residents working as far away as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and even Northern Virginia. Traffic fills the roads that were originally carved for farmers to haul produce to market. Yet Olney is successful in maintaining much of its old-time character while growing into a modern community.

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Potomac, MD

Potomac Maryland

Potomac is about as different a place as there can be from central DC. While close-in DC neighborhoods are favored by residents because of their dynamism and walkability, Potomac is a secluded community where a car is an absolute requirement in order to get around. Instead of row houses tightly packed into small blocks, the Montgomery County suburb is dotted with massive houses that sit on vast plots of land. And the homes are not the only thing that are large: Potomac residents are some of the wealthiest in the region.

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Rockville, MD

Rockville Maryland

Rockville is located in central Montgomery County. Rockville is home to "Town Center", one of the best dining, shopping, and entertainment complexes in the country. Rockville is at the core of the Interstate 270 Technology Corridor which is home to numerous software and biotechnology companies as well as several federal government institutions. The city also has several upscale regional shopping centers and is one of the major retail hubs in Montgomery County.

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Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring Maryland

Silver Spring is a major population and business center just north of the northernmost corner of the District of Columbia. It derives its name from water which came from the ground which Francis Preston Blair, an early organizer of the modern U.S. Republican Party, observed in 1840. Development in recent years has greatly added to Silver Spring's attractiveness as a place to live, work, and play. Silver Spring is home to Discovery Communications, a cable TV and satellite programming company, the American Film Institute's Silver Theater, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and it hosts national headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as well as numerous other business and non-profit organizations.

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Washington, D.C.

Washington DC

Georgetown and Chevy Chase are located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Historic homes, condos, and townhouses decorate the brick-lined streets of Georgetown. Rich in history and conveniently located for going to Fairfax County, VA, Capital Hill, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown University, Chevy Chase remains one of the most sought after locations in our area.

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