young girl enjoying the i Fly experience in Ashburn Virginia
Courtesy of i Fly

No. 5

Ashburn, Virginia

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County: Loudoun
Nearest big city: Washington, D.C.

This Washington, D.C., suburb is known as “the bullseye of America’s internet” or “Data Center Alley,” and for good reason: With 25 million square feet of data centers serving 3,500 companies, Loudoun County is a bonafide tech hub. Ashburn, a Census-designated place, is located in Loudoun — and sees an estimated 70% percent of the world's daily email traffic.

Speaking of traffic, Ashburn residents are looking forward to the 2022 launch of three new D.C. Metro stations close by. (Some 72% of Loudoun County workers commuted outside the county in 2018.) After spending a long day in the nation’s capital, all you’ll have to do is hop on the Silver Line. You’ll be sipping a pale ale and snacking on spicy pretzel nachos at the Lost Rhino Brewing Company in no time.

Ashburn ranks high on our list for economic opportunity and projected job growth, but it’s not all business there. Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, a paved trail that passes through Ashburn, is beloved by equestrians and rollerbladers alike. If Jurassic Park is more your style, drive to the nearby Luck Stone Quarry — it’s got the largest concentration of dinosaur footprints in the U.S. — Julia Glum

Ashburn, Virginia

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Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Loudoun County.

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