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Things to Know Before Moving to Washington DC

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.

An International Hub

One of the best things about moving to a big city like this one is that it is truly an international hub. People from all over the world and other cities in the States 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 in great restaurants, music, art, or any other way.

Costs of Living in the Capital City

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 move into a smaller home such as a one-bedroom apartment in one of the neighborhoods outside the downtown area, you are looking at monthly costs of around $3,000. We recommend you to try to find a job before moving to another state.

Depending on the size of your residence, 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 house instead of renting? Then start saving right away before you go house-hunting because you’ll need between $300 and $600 per square foot.

Washington one of the largest multicultural cities in the world.

Moving to Washington DC for a Job

Do you have a job that requires relocation? Then you’re in luck because the best time of the year to move is right now and 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.

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.

Don’t miss out on the Cherry Blossom Festival

You Could Have Plenty of Activities in Many Great Neighborhoods Across Town

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 town has something to offer to everyone. It is one of those cities where the possibilities are endless and no matter if you are relocating during the holidays or any other time of the year, there will always be something fun to do.

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 if you live here. On top of that, pretty much every household here is located within a 10-minute walk from a park. This town is a dream come true for all those who enjoy outdoor activities and think about relocating to the suburbs.

If, however, you find yourself having to use the public transportation system, like metro, you likely won’t be too impressed on the way. The traffic here is pretty congested and bus lines take forever to take you to your destination, the metro is a bit better though. Depending on which area you pick as the best neighborhood in Washington DC for yourself to live in, 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.

Public transportation, like buses and metro isn’t ideal

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, when you are done unpacking is the time to do it. Whether you like to read, want to try stand-up comedy, or enjoy trying different foods in restaurants, we’re sure you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to do here.

Nature Getaways in and Around The City

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. There are quite a few options to choose from:

  • 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. If you are moving with a dog, make sure you check out this area.
  • Gettysburg. This is the spot to go when you want to get away from people and crowds. It’s 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 With Serious Sports Culture and Heritage

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.

Great Food for All Tastes

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 who work here, or even give something completely inspiring and crafty a chance. With restaurants tailored to every taste and budget, you will surely find the best restaurants in Washington DC in no time. Some of our top picks where you should dine in:

  • Del Mar. This moderately-priced local 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 just worth it. The Afro-Carribean meals you get to try here will surely open up horizons of flavor. If you and your significant other are moving in together, this is where you should celebrate a new relationship milestone.
  • Hanumanh. Ever tried Laotian food? Well, you’ll get to do it here, and we’re convinced you will love it. Almost everyone does!
  • District Taco. If you prefer simple, familiar, local 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 town is the fact that there are exquisite schools in Washington DC. There are twenty different colleges and universities, both private and public, which is a good reason to move, especially to move alone to another state. 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 neighborhoods you should look into if you’re relocating here for school:

  • Foggy Bottom. This is one of the best and oldest neighborhoods in 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 wish for.
  • West End. If you can afford to live in this upscale neighborhood, you definitely should. With a good location and countless amenities, it’s all a student could ask for, but it comes at a high cost.
  • Dupont Circle. This is probably one of the most popular areas for students and local 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.

This is one of the best cities to raise a family in the US, so if you’re moving with kids, you’ll be happy to learn that there are some great grade schools and high schools in town, including Yu Ying, Edgewood Elementary Preparatory Academy, E. L. Haynes, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, District of Columbia International, and many more.

Crime Rates in DC Shouldn’t be a Problem if You Choose One of the Good Neighborhoods

Unfortunately, just as with all the large cities, crime thrives here. Both local 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 as a guide when interacting with people you don’t know. 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, long before you decide to change the address so you can avoid making some of the common moving mistakes.

Crime rates won't be a problem in this city.

The Relocation Itself

You decided where to move, and now 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 and how to cope with stress when moving. It’s important to begin preparing as early as possible and get familiar with some moving day tips, figure out how to reduce relocation expenses, and learn tricks for packing. This way, you will have enough time to figure everything out, pack clothes, furniture, and other belongings, deal with the anxiety about moving, avoid relocation depression, and settle down in your new home stress-free. The first thing you should do is craft a detailed moving agenda, inventory list, and a moving budget. This is the foolproof way of avoiding any unpleasant surprises. You can also learn how the process of relocation looks like, and how car shipping works, in case you need it.

When you are making a relocation agenda, you should think about your relocation as a project and divide it into tasks and subcategories with an approximate timeline. Of course, you can add something as you go, because no relocation is a straight-forward process, and no matter how well you plan it something may pop up. Try to follow the timeline and the project will be that easier for you. It is an easy guide to keep track of the process.

When you are making an inventory list, you should have in mind that the fewer things you ship, the less it will cost you, so that’s one way to reduce the costs of moving. Now, with that in mind, go room by room and make a list of your belongings with notes that will help you to sort everything out. You could also do a photo inventory so that you have a clear picture of the things you own. When you are finished, you should have a clear plan on what you should get rid of and what you are going to pack and ship to your new house. What you can do with the excess is to sell it, donate unwanted items to a charity or dispose of it in a proper way.

One thing you don’t want to start your relocation without is the projected budget for it. You wouldn’t want to over-exert your budget and come short for some very important materials you would need or services. How much the relocation may cost? It will depend on the circumstances. Relocating just a one-bedroom apartment to a neighborhood state won’t be at the same cost as relocating a three-bedroom apartment thousands of miles away. Count in the budget your packing materials and some basic cost of everyday life in your future residence for the first few weeks at least. Don’t leave these important steps to chance.

Check for Permits and Restrictions in Advance

In order to make sure your relocation is as smooth as can be, it’s not enough to just find highly recommended and top-rated professional Washington DC cross-country movers and let them do their work. 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 space for up to two days. Anything longer than that will result in fines and people raising their brows 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, if you don’t have more than two of them. To learn more about the types of local permits available and how to obtain them, visit the District of Columbia Transportation Online Permitting System website.