Over 700,000 people live in DC at the moment, occupying just 61 square miles of available land. That makes this area the most densely populated place in the country.
It’s also home to the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest education, museum, and research complex. It’s one of the most livable cities in the nation, and one thing you’ll notice about living in DC vs NYC is the abundance of blue sky.
Are you fascinated with the idea of making this amazing city your home? Here’s what to know before moving to DC.
1. Cost of Living in Washington, DC
Despite the charms of Washington, DC, it’s an expensive city to live in, with a cost of living index that’s 39% higher than the average.
Everything costs a bit more when you live in this vibrant city, but you will pay 3% less for utilities than most Americans do.
Getting around can cost 5% more than the average, but you can save a lot of money by buying a monthly pass from the Washington Metro Transit Authority.
The city’s also infinitely accessible by bike or on foot so that’s another way to save on both transport and a gym membership.
2. Real Estate in DC
Housing costs are particularly exorbitant in DC, around 148% more than the mean price across the nation. So, when it comes to buying condos in DC, it’s best to team up with an expert realtor to help you find the best deal.
The closer you live to the downtown area, the more you can expect to pay. You can save by choosing a less trendy neighborhood and opting for fewer amenities in your chosen complex.
Despite the high cost of housing, it’s often cheaper to buy a home than rent one, and you’re bound to get a great return on your investment when you decide to upgrade.
If you’re living alone in DC, you could opt to share with a friend if you can’t afford to buy your own house, yet.
3. Prepare to Sit in Traffic
If you have to use your car to get to work, you must leave early. Despite the small size of the metro area, it can take upwards of an hour to get across town.
There are loads of cars and pedestrians in Washington DC, and the roads are always busy. Once again, the city’s comprehensive metro transport system is the best way to get around this.
4. There’s So Much to Do in DC
Whether you’re living in DC in your 20s or 50s, you’ll never run short of ways to entertain yourself. Many of the museums, monuments, and galleries in the city offer free entry, while restaurants and pubs abound.
Some of the top spots to gather after hours include:
- Dacha Beer Garden
- Columbia Room
- The Dubliner
If you prefer something a little more sedate, why not opt for a show at the Warner Theater or Lincoln Theater. You’ll find numerous fine-dining opportunities at Oyster Oyster, Annabelle’s, or Reveler’s Hour.
5. Getting Out of the City
Weekend getaways are a treat when you live in this hub of the nation. The surrounding areas are picturesque and simply beg exploration. Some of the best weekend getaways include:
- Hiking in Shenandoah National Park
- Rafting in Harper’s Ferry
- Exploring Old Town Alexandria
- Relaxing in Pennsylvania Dutch Country
If you crave the beach and seaside action, you can head to Ocean City in New Jersey, which is a three-hour drive away.
6. Don’t Expect to Make Friends Overnight
At first, you might find Washington residents unfriendly and distant. They’re not really, they’re just extremely busy.
Most people in this city are intently focused on their professional lives. So, if you’re looking for bonding opportunities, it’s best to approach them after hours.
One of the best ways to meet new people is at one of the city’s regular recreational events, or by getting involved with a cause you’re passionate about.
You can also look for social and sports clubs to join. In the right environment, you’ll find it easier to make friends in DC.
7. Shopping in DC
Whether you’re in search of your daily bread or embarking on a shop-till-you-drop mission, DC won’t disappoint.
Georgetown is your go-to trendy shopping district for a little of everything. You’ll find quaint Indie-inspired items alongside plush boutiques in this unique shopping area.
Other top areas for trendy shops and great boutiques include Chinatown, U-Street and 14th Street, and DuPont Circle.
For everything else, there’s CityCenter DC, where you’ll find ten acres of shops stocking everything you could ever need.
8. How to Dress When Living in DC
There’s no dress code for living in the city, but you’ll notice that most people wear professional attire a lot of the time. That’s especially evident in and around Capitol Hill.
Washington is home to some of the most important people in the nation, so it’s not surprising that things are a little more formal around here.
While this enigma shouldn’t affect your daily life much, it’s important to dress accordingly if you’re going for a job interview. Some restaurants and bars might enforce a dress code too.
Before heading out, it’s always best to ask if there’s a dress code or consult a friend about appropriate attire.
Make the Most of Your Daily Life
Living in DC immerses you in one of the USA’s most exciting environments, make the most of it with the help of these tips.
The best way to get to grips with the intricacies of this interesting city is to get out and experience it.
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