Manassas, VA

Overview

The site of several important historical sites from the 19th century, including the first major land battle of the American Civil War, the independent city of Manassas lies within Prince William County in Virginia. Often mistaken for the nearby Manassas Park, Manassas offers a warm climate with mild winters and a growing population of nearly 40,000. The 10 square miles of this tight-knit community lie to the southwest of Washington, D.C. Known for its family-owned stores and dedicated museum system, Manassas also features a historic district and plenty of history and culture for residents to enjoy.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Head to the center of the neighborhood, on and around Center Street, to find the dining and entertainment hub of Manassas. Expect a wide variety of cuisine options, ranging from traditional and modern American to international eateries. For Cajun and Creole food, head to Okras Louisiana Bistro on Center Street. Locals recommend the shrimp and grits or the seafood gumbo and praise the friendly staff and dedication to good food in a welcoming atmosphere. Try the cast iron catfish or the tabasco mixed grill, accompanied by a Bourbon Street martini and finish up with a cranberry bread pudding for dessert. Try Malones of Manassas for upscale steak and modern American dishes created by a native of the city with a lifelong goal of operating a restaurant in his home town. Try a pulled pork turnover or a cheese board to start your meal, then indulge in either a hand-trimmed ribeye, bison sirloin steak or rabbit boucherie. Locals insist that every meal at this restaurant should finish with the burnt caramel brulée. Enjoy authentic Greek fare made with fresh produce and ingredients imported directly from Greece at Katerina's Greek Cuisine, a casual eatery that relies on recipes handed down over generations. Request the saganaki and watch kaseri cheese flambéed right at your table, or enjoy cold dishes ranging from tzatziki and hummus to octopus. For your entree, locals recommend the Taste of Greece, a combination of moussaka, pastitsio and spanakopita. Stick to the center of town as evening falls to enjoy a range of bars. Try the Old Towne Sports Pub for games projected on the overhead televisions. Head to the Harris Pavilion for ice skating and public events such as dances and music concerts.

History & Culture

Manassas originated in 1852 at the junction of two railroads that linked Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. to Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley. Thanks to its strategic location, the First Battle of Manassas took place nearby, the first major land battle in the American Civil War. After the war, the small crossroads developed into a town that became the county seat and, in 1975, an independent city. The local museum system covers a number of historic sites related to the Civil War and the development of the region, largely within the Old Town historic district, including the Liberia Plantation, Mayfield Fort, Cannon Branch Fort, the Manassas Industrial School, a historic train depot and the Speiden-Carper House. The system also takes responsibility for the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory. Other artistic destinations of note include the Creative Brush Studio, where paintings are sold directly by their artists.

Transportation

Most Manassas residents rely on their personal vehicles to get around because the store and business locations within the neighborhood are spread out and difficult to reach on foot. Locals can take advantage of a number of public transportation options, however, including buses and commuter trains. Bus options divide between commuter and local area buses. The only rail options are commuter trains, which provide commuter access to the Washington, D.C. area from four stations. The local buses service Manassas City, Manassas Park and locations around Prince William County. Though hailing a cab is not possible, two cab services located in Manassas can be called for a pickup. Uber does not operate within the area. The neighborhood features several parking options, including free on-street parking for limited durations, metered parking and a parking garage in Manassas Old Town. A major highway bisects Manassas, and the city sits relatively close to a major interstate route. Specific areas of the city are friendly to pedestrians, particularly within the historic district, but most errands require a personal vehicle. Little to no infrastructure exists for biking, but you can still enjoy many mountain biking trails in the surrounding area.

Cost

Expect the cost of living in Manassas to run around 15 percent higher than the Virginia state average. The median cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment is just over $1000, just over 20 percent higher than the state average. A pint of beer will set you back just over $8.50 at a local pub, while a one-way trip to the city center costs $1.30, with a day pass at $3. The price per gallon of gasoline in Manassas hovers around 9 percent higher than the national average.

Shopping

Head to historic downtown Manassas to find a century-old shopping hub with a range of unique boutiques and specialty stores with an artisan feel. Try Dublin of Old Town for Irish collectibles, including gift items, clothing and jewelry. ArtBeat Gallery features local artists who paint, sculpt and weave their latest creations for you to peruse. Prospero's Books may represent a local bookstore, but it displays an inventory of over 75,000 volumes. Rising Phoenix Holistic Center provides metaphysical gifts for healing and personal growth. For gifts with a Manassas theme, try Echoes, the museum store. This establishment sells books about the Civil War, Virginia crafts and collectibles, as well as keepsakes and educational toys. For groceries, visit Harris Teeter on Market Circle, Giant Food on Dumfries Road or the Aldi Super Market on Liberia Avenue. The Foodie Euro Deli, also on Liberia Avenue, offers specialty foods from European countries, including Russia. Find the Old Town Manassas Farmer's Market on West Street, which sells fresh produce grown within 150 miles of the neighborhood alongside meats, baked goods, beverages, crafts and more.

Parks

Enjoy several major parks, as well as a few smaller ones, located throughout Manassas. Stonewall Park features basketball courts, one large and small playground, a fitness trail, lighted tennis courts, a football/soccer field and a swimming pool all nestled amongst the trees in this picturesque green space, perfect for exercise fans as well as families. This park also provides a covered picnic pavilion and grills, which are available for reservation. Byrd Park provides more exercise options for outdoor enthusiasts and children, including basketball courts, a roller hockey court, a playground, two softball fields available by reservation only, bankshot basketball and public restrooms. The largest park in the city, Jennie Dean Park provides basketball courts, tennis courts, recreational walking trails, a playground and two lighted softball fields by reservation only. The park also includes a pond for quiet contemplation or to take in nature. Though smaller in size, Manassas's other parks each possess their own charms. Nelson Park, as an example, includes a picturesque gazebo and fountain that make it a favored location for weddings or photographs. Pets must be leashed in parks unless otherwise noted. With several of the parks offering playground spaces, most, if not all, of these parks can be considered kid-friendly. The parks themselves are all free to the public, but some reservations for picnic spaces or field use may require deposits. Several regular events are held in Manassas parks, such as the Manassas Fall Jubilee, which features live entertainment for kids and adults, crafts and other community booths, live music and food vendors.

6 Neighborhoods in Manassas, VA

  • Bull Run

    Bull Run, famously known as the site of two major battles in the American Civil War, has become a racially-diverse residential area with a large shopping section that runs along the eastern edge of town.

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  • Downtown Manassas

    Located just 30 miles from Washington DC, historic downtown Manassas combines a quiet suburban neighborhood with the feel of a vibrant city. Commuters who work in Washington DC can leave their cars behind and catch the Virginia Railway Express at Manassas Station, which travels to the city in about one hour. The primary rental options in this neighborhood include apartments in upscale complexes or multi-use historic buildings.

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  • Linton Hall

    Linton Hall is a suburban neighborhood in the northern end of Bristow, Virginia. Residing 35 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and 7 miles west from Manassas allows neighborhood residents a peaceful retreat at the end of the day while still having city amenities close by.

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  • Sudley

    Around 30 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., in central Prince William County lies the town of Sudley, VA. Just south of I-66, the town stretches east away from Sudley Road and toward the Bull Run river.

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  • West Gate

    A wedge-shaped piece of land in the Manassas area, West Gate has developed into a dense, high-end residential area with a long shopping center on its west side. Sitting only three miles away from Old Town Manassas, the neighborhood feeds off its history and charm. Public transportation ensures that getting around isn’t too difficult and, more importantly, getting to downtown Washington, DC remains easy from this city that sits well outside the beltway.

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  • Yorkshire

    About 10 miles away from Manassas National Battlefield Park, Yorkshire lies along Route 28 with the majority of its apartments and homes located south of Bull Run Park. Commuters can drive 30 miles east to downtown Washington, or they can drive three miles south to board the Virginia Railway Express at the Manassas Park station for transportation into the city.

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