Are you thinking about moving to Washington DC? What a great idea! We’re sure this city will bring a lot of excitement and opportunities in your life.
However, before you get moving services and start packing your whole household, it is essential to get acquainted with the area you are about to start calling your new home. To help you do that, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. Without further ado, here’s all you need to know about living in the capital of the US before you move.
Moving to Washington DC for a Job
Do you have a job that requires relocation? Then you’re in luck because you won’t have to worry about browsing ads and preparing for interviews right after you move. All you have to do is prepare a list of relocation questions to ask your employer. However, if this is not the case and you have to get a job before you move, you will probably be interested to know how easy (or difficult) it is to find work here. This highly depends on the industry you’re in. Being the home of 175 embassies, it is no wonder that most jobs here are of a political or administrative nature. Other industries that thrive in the area are scientific services, healthcare, and tourism.
An International Hub
One of the best things about this place is that it is truly an international hub. People from all over the world come here to work, study, or simply visit. But what does this mean for you, as a future resident in the area? It means that you will get to fully immerse yourself in countless different cultures, be it through food, music, art, or any other way.
Costs of Living
Now we come to the not-so-fun part. Depending on the place you originally grew up in, you will probably find living in the capital costly. What’s more, the costs of living in Washington DC grew over the past few years and continue to be on the rise. Let us take a more detailed look into it.
The Average Washingtonian’s Monthly Expenses
According to Numbeo, the average monthly costs for a single person amount up to $1,115 without rent. If, in addition to that, you choose to live in a one-bedroom apartment outside of the downtown area, you are looking at monthly costs of around $3,000.
Depending on the size of your place, your monthly utilities will likely amount to around $130, and your gym membership will be around $70. If you have kids, the monthly fee for their preschool will be around $1,500 per child. Are you thinking about buying a place instead of renting? Then start saving right away, because you’ll need between $300 and $600 per square foot.
How Much Should You Expect to Make
Now that you know how much you’ll be spending, you are probably wondering how much you can expect to make each month. Luckily, the average income is higher than the US average. According to US News, Washingtonians make around $70,000, as opposed to the average American who makes just over $50,000. The unemployment rate has been steadily falling for the past decade.
Plenty of Activities
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So what are the things to do in Washington DC? Pretty much anything! With a population of over half a million people, the community has something to offer to everyone.
Do You Like to Walk? Because You May Have To
This is one of the most walkable communities in the nation. This means that you can get pretty much anywhere on foot or biking. On top of that, pretty much every household here is located within a 10-minute walk from a park. This place is a dream come true for all those who enjoy outdoor activities.
If, however, you find yourself having to use the public transportation system, you likely won’t be too impressed. The traffic here is pretty congested and bus lines take forever to take you to your destination. Depending on which area you pick as the best neighborhood in Washington DC for yourself, you will likely spend a lot of time in commutes. At the price of over $100 for the monthly pass, we believe it is simply not worth it. In other words, we suggest you take up biking even before you move here.
Washington DC is the Perfect Place to Get a New Hobby
With so many events, museums, galleries, libraries, and parks, the community truly provides the people here with a wide array of pastime activities. If you’ve been thinking about taking up a new hobby, now is the time to do it. Whether you like to read, want to try stand-up comedy, or enjoy trying new foods, we’re sure you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to do here.
Quick Nature Getaways
If you ever get tired of the hustle and bustle of a big, tourist-ridden city, you’ll be happy to learn there are many secluded areas surrounding the District where you can get in touch with nature and recharge your batteries. Harpers Ferry National Park is our top pick. Other localities you should take the time to check out include:
- Rehoboth Beach. White sand, waves of the sea, and tasty food, what more could you expect for a weekend getaway.
- Shenandoah National Park. Not even 80 miles away from your future home, this national park offers hundreds of miles of trails and some of the most breathtaking views you’ve ever seen.
- Gettysburg. This is the place to go when you want to get away from people and crowds. It is especially popular around Independence Day.
- Maple Tree. Do you like to camp? Then Maple Tree Campground is a destination you should definitely set aside some time for. You can even rent a tree-house!
The City of Sports
The District is home to a number of professional sports teams. Whether you’re a fan of baseball, basketball, football, or soccer, you are bound to find a team to cheer for here. In fact, the city even has a professional tennis franchise, too.
Gastronomy is slowly becoming a major part of life in the District. The fact that the community is so multicultural means that you will get to taste cuisines from all over the world, try meals designed by celebrity chefs, or even give something completely new and crafty a chance. With dining spots tailored to every taste and budget, you will surely find the best restaurants in Washington DC in no time. Some of our top picks include:
- Del Mar. This moderately-priced spot, originally a traditional Mediterannean diner, puts its own spin on Italian cuisine that perfectly matches the interior of the venue. It is great for relaxed romantic dinners or get-togethers with friends.
- Kith/Kin. Although slightly on the expensive side, the food served here is worth every cent. The Afro-Carribean meals you get to try here will surely open up horizons of flavor.
- Hanumanh. Ever tried Laotian food? Well, you’ll get to do it here, and we’re convinced you’ll love it. Almost everyone does!
- District Taco. If you prefer simple, familiar, and inexpensive flavors that you’re sure you will like, District Taco is the place for you.
Opportunities for Higher Education
One of the main reasons why both Americans and foreigners flock to the area is the fact that there are exquisite schools in Washington DC. There are twenty different colleges and universities, both private and public. The oldest one, Georgetown University, was founded in 1789. It’s located in the Georgetown neighborhood, one of the best places to live in Washington DC if you are a student. Other areas you should look into if you’re relocating here for school include:
- Foggy Bottom. This is one of the oldest areas of the city. This is where the main campus of George Washington University is located, which also means the area is brimming with all the amenities an average student might need.
- West End. If you can afford to live in this upscale neighborhood, you definitely should. With a good location and countless amenities, it is all a student could ask for, but it comes at a high price.
- Dupont Circle. This is probably one of the most popular areas for students and young professionals. From casual diners to cute little independent book stores, it simply offers a vibe no other neighborhood has. As a bonus, it’s a short walk away from several universities.
- Navy Yard. This hip southeast community is quickly growing. It offers vast opportunities for locals to enjoy sports, nightlife, and good food.
If you’re moving with kids, you’ll be happy to learn that there are some great grade schools and high schools here, including Yu Ying, Edgewood Elementary Preparatory Academy, E. L. Haynes, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, District of Columbia International, and many more.
Crime in DC
Unfortunately, as with all large cities, crime thrives here. Both property crime and violent crime rates are higher than the national average. However, the District is still a generally safe place to live in if you take the time to get familiar with what areas of the city to avoid and use common sense when interacting with strangers. The crime map provided by the Metropolitan Police Department is a great place to start, and there are also online tools to help you check how safe your future neighborhood is.
The Relocation Itself
Now that you have a clearer picture of what living in the District of Columbia will be like, it is time to start thinking about the relocation itself. It’s important to begin preparing as early as possible. This way, you will have enough time to figure everything out, prepare for a long-distance move, deal with the anxiety about moving, and settle down in your new home stress-free.
Check for Permits
In order to make sure your relocation is as smooth as can be, it’s not enough to just find a professional Washington DC cross-country movers and let them do their job. Since you are relocating to a city that is quite overwhelmed with traffic, you will likely need certain permits to park the moving truck in your street. In fact, you will need to obtain a parking pass that will allow you to keep the truck parked in a public area for up to two days. Anything longer than that will result in fines that you would surely like to avoid.
On the other hand, if you’re using moving containers, these can stay in front of your place for up to five days, and you can’t have more than two of them. To learn more about the types of permits available and how to obtain them, visit the District of Columbia Transportation Online Permitting System website.