From the rise of the American suburbs in the mid-20th century until today there has been a distinct divide between the fast-paced possibilities of the city and the family-friendly safety of the suburbs. Both have a lot to offer and homes in both the city and the suburbs hold great value, but which is right to you? Which offers the better long-term investment?

While the nation’s capital is an exciting and eclectic place to live, it’s definitely not for everyone. Fortunately, suburbs in Maryland and Virginia within easy reach of Washington, DC are some of the finest in the nation. In fact, six of the counties in the immediate DC metro area were named in the top ten wealthiest counties in America in 2014. These neighborhoods are exploding in value and people are flocking to them. Let’s look at what they have to offer.

Why are people moving to the suburbs?

The city can be stressful, especially Washington, DC. Traffic is a nightmare and people become frustrated very easily. When an event is happening, the stress from traffic and overcrowding heightens even more. The suburbs allow easy access to everything the city has to offer without having to deal with the congestion and confusion.

Many suburbs are exploding in growth, from restaurants and retail to entertainment and events. As a result, more jobs are appearing and more homes are being built. These communities have their own downtown alternative, with pretty simple accessibility to the city if necessary. This is ideal for those seeking a place that offers a combination of peace and quiet and play.

Who’s moving to the suburbs?

Older millennials, in particular, are flocking to the suburbs to escape the city life. Many of these surrounding DC communities offer prices comparable to the homes in the city, but the major factor is SPACE. As people age and begin to settle down, they want to enjoy a larger space. In the suburbs, you often get more space for your money (in general, about 300 square-feet more on average). With increased space, homeowners are able to have many home features they are unable to in the city. There’s urban perks with a rural community vibe.

Which DC suburbs are best?

There is explosive growth in the DC metro area. Maryland and Virginia suburbs alike are ideal for homebuyers interested in living in a larger space that is close to the action in DC but lacks the stress of the city. Here are a few favorites.

1.Silver Spring, Maryland

Median home value: $390,800

Median household income: $72,289

Silver Spring has truly flourished in the past 10 years, and for good reason. It’s a quick commute to downtown DC via Metro, MARC train, or by car, is home to a new shopping and retail area, many parks and trails, the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, and The Fillmore.

Home prices in Silver Spring vary, but range from reasonable starter homes to sizable custom homes. Prices have definitely risen in recent years, proving it is a suburb to be reckoned with.

exteriors102. Bethesda, Maryland

Median home value: $824,500

Median household income: $145,288

Similar to Silver Spring, Bethesda, Maryland has evolved enormously to meet the demands of homebuyers. Residents enjoy their own Metro stop, new restaurants and retail, and plenty of local entertainment. Bethesda generally appeals to homebuyers in a higher income bracket, and is popular for those building custom homes.

alexandria3. Alexandria, Virginia

Median Home Value: $506,100

Median Household Income: $87,319

Alexandria, Virginia is a great choice for those who can’t completely cut ties with the city, but are ready for a more suburban lifestyle. It’s a suburb of Northern Virginia and is right across the Potomac River from DC. So, no matter how you travel, it’s a very quick commute into the city. Plus, it is home to a ton of vibrant and dynamic amenities that are fairly walkable.

4. Potomac, Maryland

Median Home Value: $852,300

Median Household Income: $181,385

Potomac is the place for those who finally received a big promotion. It is known for its massive homes and lots and it definitely falls on the higher end of the pricing scale. Professional athletes call it home, as well as the “Real Housewives of Potomac,” Bravo network’s latest reality TV show.

It has a great deal to offer, though. There’s quality schools, low crime rates, a short commute to the city, and a TON of space. When you’re ready to scale up significantly, it’s a beautiful suburb to choose.

5. Falls Church, Virginia

fallschurhcMedian Home Value: $530,000

Median Household Income: $120,500

Falls Church is another Northern Virginia suburb that appeals to many homebuyers. It has an outstanding school system, a walkable area, and a strong sense of community. There’s nearby shopping at Tyson’s Corner Center and a Metro stop to take you into the city. It’s very common for homebuyers to build custom homes in this area.