The most populous jurisdiction in Virginia, with approximately 1.2 million residents and 406 square miles of land, Fairfax County is a destination that helps connect you with America and offers unexpected experiences at every turn. Located just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC in the heart of Northern Virginia, you’ll discover a whole new world of wonderful places to explore.
Here are some fast facts and trivia to help you get to know Fairfax County, Virginia.
HISTORY & LOCATION
- In 1649, King Charles II granted the land that has become Fairfax County to Thomas Fairfax, the 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. In 1742, the county was officially designated.
- Fairfax County is home to approximately 1.2 million residents, stretching over 406 square miles of land.
- If Fairfax County were a city, it would rank as the 10th largest in the United States – making it larger than major U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Miami.
- Fairfax County is located just west of Washington, DC on the East Coast of the United States. Bordering localities in Northern Virginia include Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Loudoun County, and Prince William County; the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church are independent jurisdictions located within Fairfax County’s geographical border.
- Fairfax County is located within a day’s drive of 50 percent of the U.S. population.
- Northern Virginia is one of the country’s most racially, ethnically, and internationally diverse regions. 27% of its population are international residents, representing more than 120 countries.
- Fairfax County continually ranks in the Top 5 of Forbes' list of wealthiest counties in America.
- A staggering 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia.
- The region’s proximity to Washington, DC provides access to seven different professional sports teams. In fact, several of the highest-profile teams, including the newly dubbed Washington Commanders, have practice facilities in the region.
- The region has been named one of the top places to live in the country. It’s been recognized by Money Magazine, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, and CNNMoney.com. It was also ranked among Forbes' Best Places To Live in 2017 and 2018.
- The Northern Virginia and DC region is accessible by three major airports, including one of the largest transatlantic portals in the U.S., serving 75 million passengers.
- Four Metrorail lines with 10 stations (plus 4 more in 2022) extend throughout Fairfax County.
- Bus service is available through Metrobus and Fairfax Connector on dozens of routes.
- Amtrak rail service is available between Union Station in Washington, DC and major eastern cities. Regional line service is available in Burke to parts of Southern Virginia. The Auto Train is available from Lorton to Sanford, FL.
- Virginia Railway Express offers rail service with two lines.
- Four major interstates run through Fairfax County – I-66, I-95, I-395, and I-495.
- Ride-sharing services are readily available.
- Bikers can enjoy Capital Bikeshare rentals from more than 30 locations. 500+ miles of bike trails in Fairfax County alone can help you explore the beauty of the area.
- Total tourism spending in Fairfax County reached over $3.84 billion in 2019.
- Fairfax County is the #2 contributor of expenditures to Virginia’s entire tourism industry.
- Local tourism jobs have combined earnings of $759 million, as of 2019.
- Fairfax County offers more attractions than any other area in Northern Virginia and has more than 19,000 hotel rooms.
- With 116 million square feet of space (and growing), Fairfax County has the second-largest suburban office market in the United States and the largest in the Washington, DC area.
- Fairfax County is home to 11 Fortune 500 company headquarters, including Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One Financial, General Dynamics, Hilton Worldwide, Northrop Grumman, SAIC, and others.
- Fairfax County has the largest concentration of technology jobs of any major US market.
- Fairfax County has the most minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses in the D.C. region.
EDUCATION & HEALTHCARE
- Fairfax County continually is ranked with some of the best public and private schools in the nation and has the 10th largest school division in the U.S.
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is ranked as the #1 high school in America by U.S. News & World Report, as of 2022.
- Fairfax County is also home to some of the top emergency responders on international crisis teams in the country, most notably Virginia Task Force 1, VATF-1.
- Fairfax County is home to hospitals that rank as the best in the region by U.S. News & World Report.
THE ONLY PLACE TO SEE
- The first modern post-war planned community in America - Reston. This accomplishment sparked a revival of the planned community concept, and is still to this day, internationally recognized.
- The only public Korean Bell Garden in the Western Hemisphere at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA.
- The home of the first bald eagle refuge in the United States at Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
- The only National Park dedicated solely to the performing arts - Wolf Trap.
- Tysons Corner, VA: The Rodeo Drive of the East Coast, with the largest concentration of shopping on the East Coast outside of Manhattan.
- The most visited historic estate in the United States is Mount Vernon, which was home to America's first president, George Washington.
- The Washington & Old Dominion Trail is the "skinniest park in Virginia" - a 45-mile paved path throughout Fairfax County. (Parts are gravel, perfect for horses!)
- George Washington, the first President of the United States
- George Mason, the Father of the Virginia Bill of Rights
- Richard Bland Lee I, Northern Virginia’s first Congressman
- Mia Hamm, United States Women's Soccer Player
- Grant Hill, former NBA Basketball Player
- Jason Sudeikis, actor/writer (Ted Lasso, Saturday Night Live)
- Dave Grohl, musician (Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
- Lauren Graham, actress (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood)