Not to be confused with Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax is an independent city. It serves as Fairfax County’s seat and as the as the commercial and governmental center for the jurisdiction. It is also home to George Mason University. Fairfax is bordered by I-66 to the north and University Drive to the south. Downtown Fairfax is about two miles southwest of the Vienna Metro. Its major arteries include Lee Highway, Routes 50 and 123, and I-66.

City of Fairfax History

Although Fairfax was formally named in 1874, its history dates back to the early 1700s when King Charles of England granted Lord Fairfax 5,000 acres of land. The Fairfax County Courthouse, built in 1790, was the site of the first Confederate officer casualty during the Civil War.

City of Fairfax Real Estate

Single-family homes in Fairfax currently sell in the high $400,000 and can go upwards of $1.5 million. Home styles are predominantly Colonials and ramblers, with some new construction homes in a more Craftsman style. Townhomes can range from the mid $300,000 to nearly $1 million for new construction units. Fairfax condos sell currently for $400,000 or less, though some can reach the $600,000 mark.

City of Fairfax Community

Downtown Fairfax includes a historic Old Town district, which also serves as a cultural hub for the community, offering a variety of festivals and events. The Fairfax Fine Arts Festival, held every April, showcases the work of hundreds of local artists. Its “Fall for the Book” event at the at the Fairfax Regional Library features lectures and discussions with nationally recognized authors.

Fairfax is home to a variety of newer retail and business developments with many amenities. Fairfax Corner, a new mixed-use development, offers a variety of shopping and dining options. The Fair Oaks Mall, anchored by Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and JC Pennys, serves as a major retail center for the region.

City of Fairfax Favorites

Start with a glass of wine on the wraparound porch of Hamrock’s Restaurant, located in the historic Moore-McCandlish House. Visit the Dolce Vita restaurant and wine bar, where fresh pasta is made in-house each day and more than 180 wines are available. Watch the big game at Red Zone Grill while enjoying wings and nachos.

Visit the area’s best Irish pub (Northern Virginia Magazine in 2015 and 2017), The Auld Shebeen, where you can hear live Irish music. Head over to nearby George Mason University to catch some NCAA basketball action. Take in a show, workshop, or camp at the City of Fairfax Theatre Company.


Want to know what it’s like to live in the City of Fairfax? Let’s go on a neighborhood orientation tour!