Do shows like Scandal and House of Cards have you itching to see what D.C.’s all about? Maybe it’s a prospective job offer or the thrill of being so close to political intrigue that has you eyeing the Nation’s Capital.
At any rate, you’ve come to right the place.
Before taking such a big step, you need to ask yourself several questions to figure out if D.C.’s right for you. It more than likely is, but it doesn’t hurt to be certain. The District is charming and lively, but these questions can definitely help cement your decision.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before you move to D.C.:
Can I afford it?
Ask any D.C. resident about moving here and cost is likely to be the first thing that comes to mind.
That’s for good reason: D.C. is one of the most expensive cities to live in. But what do the numbers say?
Average rent is almost $2,000 per month. Add on at least another $120 for utilities.
A drink will run you about $10 and you’ll pay $12-$14 for a meal at an inexpensive sit-down restaurant. Expect to spend about $400 per month on food in general.
The metro can cost anywhere from $1.75-$5.90 per trip. An Uber ride in the city ranges from about $5-$25 per trip.
And that’s not to mention parking: garages range from $10-$30 and meters average at $2 per hour.
Do I really like driving?
Your car will cost you, whether it’s in $100 speeding tickets (watch out for those cameras!) or parking tickets and costs.
When you’re out in D.C., you’ll wind up going on a scavenger hunt looking for street parking. It can be frustrating and oftentimes a garage is your best bet.
That’s if the traffic doesn’t deter you from driving in the first place. Metro and biking are supreme.
Don’t chuck your car just yet. D.C. There are so many things to do just outside the city and D.C.’s perfectly situated for weekend getaways to Maryland, Virginia and other nearby states.
Go hiking at Shenandoah National Park, visit the beach in Ocean City, or check out the National Harbor and MGM Casino to name a few.
All things said, nothing beats the freedom of having a car.
How do I feel about politics?
No matter if you’re a political person or not, being just a few miles from Capitol Hill colors the climate in D.C. Think the auto industry and Detroit or Los Angeles and Hollywood. Politics and Washington, D.C.
You’ll undoubtedly mix and mingle with lots of political people, many of them actually working for the government in some way. If you’re politically-minded, you’ll more than likely thrive here, being surrounded by so many change-makers.
If you’re not crazy about politics, you may find yourself being drawn in in some aspect. Again, the White House is down the street!
Can I stand the weather?
An inch or a few of snow in winter and then summer months can get to temperatures hitting the 90’s.
Spring is very pleasant. The District seems to light up in spring and there’s plenty to do, but D.C. springs and cherry blossom trees go hand in hand–a person with allergies’ nightmare.
The weather can also be a bit “bipolar.” It’s not uncommon to experience rainy, sunny and cloudy weather in the span of a week some seasons.
How much do I like museums?
D.C.’s home to a bunch of world-class museums and many are free! There are a range of Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery of Art, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Newseum to name a few.
That’s not to mention the National Zoo, Ford’s Theater and the range of public building tours you can go on. There’s so much to see in our capital.
Don’t forget that the monuments on the National Mall are a sight themselves. There’s usually always something going on that big, green lawn, too.
How will I fit in?
Wherever you go, it’s the people that make (or break) your experience in a particular place.
The people of Washington, D.C. are diverse, but let’s take a better look at what this means.
D.C. was once known as “Chocolate City” for its majority African-American population, but that’s rapidly changing in large part due to gentrification. As of 2016, D.C. is 44.6% white, 47.7% black, 10.9% Hispanic/Latino, 4.1% Asian, 2.7% mixed race, 0.6% Native American, and 0.2% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander according to the Census.
D.C. is educated: over half of the population has a Bachelor’s degree or higher and D.C. boasts the largest population of gay people in the nation.
D.C. is young: the median age is 33 and it’s the most popular city for millennials.
The nation’s capital is also the 22nd most populous city.
Am I ready to embrace the DMV?
Hey, if you thought “DMV” stood for “Department of Motor Vehicles,” you need to do more research! The “DMV” refers to the metropolitan region of D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and before moving here, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it and your purpose for being here.
Maybe it’s as simple as work, an internship or school. Maybe it’s a bit more complicated and you’re in need of a change of scenery.
Whatever the case may be, get ready to embrace D.C. culture. Below is a list of “norms” to familiarize yourself with so you’re an acclimated D.C. native in no time!
10 Tips for Those New to D.C.
- When on the metro, stand to the right and walk on the left.
- Sports to know: Hockey, Nationals (got Natitude?), Redskins and Ravens.
- Visit the wharf for great, fresh seafood.
- Explore Eastern Market on Sundays.
- Embrace D.C.’s brunch culture.
- Don’t get lost! Pay attention to the quadrant (SW/SE/NW/NE) of a D.C. address.
- Dress to impress. Attire is very formal and professional.
- Take advantage of this historical city.
- Be prepared to shell out an extra 5 cents for a plastic bag.
- Find out why so many license plates say “Taxation without representation.”
We hope to see you here soon!
Keener Management manages premier luxury apartments in and around the D.C. area. Please contact 202-249-0894 for more information.
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