Fairfax, colloquially Central Fairfax, Downtown Fairfax, Fairfax City, Historic Fairfax, or City of Fairfax, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census the population was 22,565, which had risen to an estimated 24,013 as of 2015.
The city of Fairfax is an enclave within Fairfax County. However, Fairfax County is a separate political entity. The city of Fairfax, and the area immediately surrounding the historical border of the city of Fairfax, also officially designated by Fairfax County as “Fairfax”, comprise the county seat of Fairfax County.
Situated in Northern Virginia, Fairfax is part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is 17 miles (27 km) west of Washington, D.C. The Washington Metro’s Orange Line serves Fairfax through its Vienna station. CUE Bus and Metrobus operate in Fairfax.
George Mason University (GMU), Virginia’s largest public institution, is located just outside the southern city limits in Fairfax County. In 2013, 33,917 students attended GMU. Virginia International University, an international school, is located in unincorporated Fairfax County just west of the Fairfax city limits.