Did you know that over 700 thousand people live in Washington, DC? That number climbs to over 6 million if you include Virginia, Maryland, and the surrounding areas!
Those numbers may seem high but actually are not at all surprising if you’ve ever visited the city before. DC is a truly incredible place to work or live, as it’s filled with an abundant amount of history and vibes that you won’t find anywhere else in the entire world.
But the city is much more than the government buildings that call it home. And if you’re planning on moving to the DC area soon, you may have some questions about what to expect.
Well, we’ve got the answers to those questions!
In this article, we’ll discuss 10 things you should know before living in DC or the surrounding areas, as well as what you can expect if you’re new in town. Now then, let’s get started!
1. It’s a Tourist Town
As you’ve probably guessed, DC is a huge tourist attraction, for a multitude of reasons. In fact, over 22 million people visit the city each year! So if you’re planning to move to the area soon, expect to be surrounded by tourists year-round.
2. The City is Filled with History
There aren’t many places in the United States that are as jam-packed with history as DC is. So if you, or someone in your family, are a big history nerd, you’re going to love exploring the city and it’s various monuments and landmarks.
Pro tip: Try to visit things during the off-season. That way you won’t have to deal with quite as many tourists.
3. There are Tons of Free Museums to Explore
Did you know that some of the world’s best and highest rated museums are located in DC? And a lot of those museums are completely free to explore, which is pretty awesome, to say the least.
Our personal favorite would have to be the National Air and Space Museum. Again, just be picky about when you visit, so you can try and avoid the big crowds.
4. You Need to Plan for Traffic
The traffic in DC is a little crazy, which means you need to plan your day accordingly.
Regardless of the time of year, you need to be prepared to deal with traffic, especially if you’re traveling near any government buildings. Of course, traffic is worse at certain times of the day, so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with this schedule and plan around it.
5. Master Public Transportation Early
Like most major cities in the United States, DC has a thriving public transportation system. In fact, this is the best way to travel within the city itself, so consider getting a metro pass if you’re working downtown.
A pro tip? Master the DC metro system early. Know which routes go where, and what time trains leave, so you can be on time for whatever it is you have planned.
6. There’s More to the City than Government
Looking in from the outside, it may appear as though the city is just government buildings and nothing more. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
DC is loaded with incredible restaurants and entertainment venues throughout. And these are just a car ride away if you’re living outside of the city. So whether you’re trying to catch a sporting event, or see your favorite band in concert, you can find everything you’re looking for in the DC area!
7. It’s Cheaper to Stay Outside of the City
If you’re looking for ways to save some money, consider living a right outside of the city instead of downtown. This will cut your costs of living down tremendously, which can be helpful, especially if you’re just starting out.
8. The Winters Can Be Frigid
If there’s one thing new residents underestimate, it’s how cold the DC winters can be. So if you’re visiting during the wintertime, or plan on moving soon, pack your warm clothes, because it’s going to get cold.
You can expect plenty of ice, snow, and freezing temperatures during the winter season, so be sure to bundle up!
9. There’s a Dress Code Downtown
If you plan to work in the city, you may be curious to know what the average person wears to work in the area. Well, you probably could have guessed it, but business attire is the norm inside the city itself.
Even if this dress code isn’t required at your work, it’s a good idea to dress your best anyway, to avoid sticking out too much.
10. There’s A Lot to Do on the Weekends
Some people may not know this, but a free weekend in the DC area is loaded with possibilities. As we touched on earlier, there are tons of great places to eat, as well as music venues and sporting events to check out, nearby.
But if you’re looking to get outdoorsy, check out Rock Creek Park. You’ll find over 30 hiking trails, beautiful scenery, and even some history located within the park itself. It’s without a doubt the perfect way to spend any sunny afternoon!
Things to Know Before Living in DC
Well, there you have it! Those are just a few things you should know before living in DC or surrounding the area.
Remember, transportation can get a bit tricky. Plan for traffic, and get comfortable with the metro system, so you can be on time. Also, it’s going to get very cold during the winter, so pack your warmest clothes and be prepared.
Last but not least, get out and explore the city! Regardless of what it is you’re interested in, you can find it in the DC area!
Looking to move to the DC area soon? Interested in buying a home? Check out our listings!