Ashburn, Virginia

You may have never been to Ashburn, but your email has. A huge presence by Amazon Web Services and other tech companies means that about 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through Ashburn every day. Those humming data centers — 18 million square feet of them — translate into 23,000 tech jobs in the surrounding Loudoun County.

The median income in this outer Washington, D.C. suburb is $126,000 — among the very highest of any city on our list. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate in the city was just 2.2%. (In April, unemployment in the city peaked at 9.9% and dropped to 7.7% by June.)

But Ashburn, which placed second on Money’s Best Places list in 2018, offers more than screen time and high wages. Once known as Farmville, the area featured open farmland until the 1980s. A 45-mile hiking and biking trail still runs through the southern part of town and locals love to visit the nearly 50 nearby wineries that make up Virginia Wine Country. — Samantha Sharf

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