Moving to D.C.? Check out this guide to learn all the secrets locals know about living in Washington DC
Are you planning to make the move to Washington D.C.? You aren’t alone. It’s predicted that the DC area will grow by about 13,000 residents each year. If you’re planning to be one of the people moving to the Washington D.C. area, you’ll want to be prepared. From exploring housing options like coliving in D.C to discovering the best places to eat in D.C. on a budget , it’s important to gather as much information as you can about living in Washington DC. Moving to this vibrant city DC is a great choice for people who want public transit, national museum choices, delicious restaurant options, and plenty of bike lanes. The nation’s capital is home to numerous industries and schools.
Thankfully, you don’t have to look far and wide to learn more about moving to D.C. Streamline your move to the area and start living like a local Washingtonian as soon as you arrive with this handy guide on moving to DC:
- Research the salary needed for your move
- Determine the right neighborhood for you
- Learn how to get around DC
- Start exploring the city!
What salary do you need to live in Washington D.C.?
Many people who are moving to D.C. ask the same question, “Is it expensive to live in D.C.?” The answer varies depending on your definition of the word “expensive,” as well as your job and where you are moving from.
For example, if you’re moving from a notoriously expensive city in the United States like New York City or San Francisco, the D.C. cost of living likely won’t seem expensive.
As for the actual numbers, PayScale reports that Washington D.C.’s cost of living is 39% higher than the national average. Specifically, housing costs are 148% higher than the national average, while utility prices are 3% lower. As for transportation, expenses like public transit and gas prices are 5% higher than the national average.
While these numbers might seem intimidating, it’s still very possible to live comfortably in the Nation’s Capital. You just need to research the D.C. neighborhoods real estate and the surrounding areas to find the best fit for you. As you become a D.C. resident, you’ll find the best ways to live affordably in your new apartment.
Where should you live (and not live) in Washington D.C.?
People often ask, “Is Washington D.C. a nice place to live?” Most residents will tell you that the answer is yes. After all, the area is full of history and serves as the political center of our nation. Not only that, there are countless museums and restaurants for both locals and tourists to enjoy. Have you ever been to the Smithsonian Museum? The museum is a world-renowned museum and offers free exhibits. The museum is the perfect place to spend the day in Washington DC.
However, when it comes to moving to D.C. and selecting a place to live, you’ll need to pay close attention to the neighborhoods, as some are better (and easier to afford) than others. Here’s a quick look at some of the top D.C. neighborhoods and areas to consider.
Mt. Pleasant is one of the last budget-friendly areas in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. It’s a safe, low-key neighborhood that offers a great combination of daytime activities and nightlife for young professionals , including many popular eateries. Renters in this area find that they get more space for their dollar than is possible in many other D.C. neighborhoods.
Capitol Hill might seem like a surprising option to include on this list, but the area does feature some reasonably priced options if you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartments. At the same time, the neighborhood is also home to expensive luxury condos, so you’ll need to do your research before signing a lease. This area is the perfect place to live if you’ll be working for the government.
Takoma is a very attainable Washington D.C. neighborhood, unlike its more expensive neighbor, Takoma Park. The vibe of this area is young and liberal (not to mention, vegan-friendly). This area does have one downside, as it doesn’t have much of a nightlife scene. Luckily, you can use public transportation to get to nightlife in other parts of the city.
Brookland was once only known for being home to The Catholic University of America, but it’s famous for much more than that now. You can find independent cafes and dining options as well as a growing art scene, which gives the neighborhood a more liberal and artsy vibe. On top of that, this area is known to be attainable for renters.
Shaw is a hipster hub in all the best of ways, known for its craft cocktail bars, beer gardens, trendy restaurants, and unique clothing boutiques. Home to the 1910 Howard Theatre, Shaw welcomes music and culture in all forms. You can find attainable living communities such as coliving apartments that instill a strong community vibe.
“When you live in Shaw, there’s never a shortage of things to do! My ideal Friday night in DC is a Nats baseball game followed by an evening of dancing in Clarendon.” –Mordecai, Common DC member
In addition to these areas, some people choose to live in Maryland or Northern Virginia. These two states offer the benefit of being close to D.C., with less hustle and bustle. This is ideal if you want to go into downtown Washington D.C. to enjoy the restaurants and nightlife and then return somewhere a little more residential. This may also make more sense for you if you work for a company with headquarters outside of the DC metro area.
How do you get around the D.C. area?
People who are moving to D.C. often want to know about transportation options. Once you spend some time in Washington D.C., you’ll quickly see that public transit is often the best way to get from place to place, especially during rush hour. Known as some of the world’s safest, cleanest and most-efficient transit systems, the Metrorail and Metrobus make it easy to travel around the city. Keep in mind that Metrobus provides connections to areas that the Metrorail doesn’t service, providing hundreds of routes throughout the city and greater D.C. area.
Because the Metro only runs until midnight on weekdays and weekends, you’ll also need to consider late-night transportation options. Thankfully, D.C. has one of the highest taxi-to-citizen ratios in the country, which means there are more than 6,000 taxis servicing the city. In addition to taxis, you can rely on the ever-popular Uber to get you where you need to go.
Another option for transportation is the D.C. Circulator. This free bus travels along six specific routes, with buses running every 10 minutes. This bus can help you explore neighborhoods like Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, National Mall, U Street and Woodley Park.
If you’re a fan of getting your 10,000 steps each day, you’ll be happy to know that much of the city is walking-friendly and features wide sidewalks. You can also travel around the city on two wheels, thanks to Bike and Roll D.C. and Capital Bikeshare, which also has stations in Virginia and Maryland.
What is there to do in Washington D.C.?
Now that you know where to live and how to get around the D.C. metropolis, you probably want to know how to spend your free time. Lucky for you, there’s plenty of options for D.C. residents. These range from renowned museums to a diverse range of local eateries and cheap eats.
When it comes to D.C. museums, you won’t want to miss visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Arguably one of the most famous museums in the city (if not the country and the world), this iconic institution features a wide range of exhibits. You can see everything from dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures to mummies and early human artifacts.
If you’re a fan of the arts, you should make time to visit the National Gallery of Art. The museum features an amazing collection of American and European artwork from different centuries. The collection is incredible because much of it consists of famous art pieces that you’ve seen on TV and in art history textbooks.
When it comes to food, D.C. doesn’t disappoint. Because people from many countries call this city home, you can enjoy culinary delights from around the world. You can have a leisurely French brunch (complete with mimosas) at the beloved Le Diplomate. Then, you can pick up Italian delights or a pizza from il Canale in the Georgetown area.
Looking for some Asian cuisine? Consider checking out Reren for ramen and Asian fusion or order some delicious Thai food from Bann Siam. Other beloved restaurants in Washington D.C. include Cane, which serves up Caribbean deliciousness, The Alibi, which features sandwiches and barbeque (including some vegetarian options) and Ambar, which is known for its take on modern European cuisine.
On the topic of food, you’ll also want to check out the Eastern Market when you’re moving to D.C. This vibrant space is a market and a community hub. Tuesday through Sunday, you can pick up local meats, poultry, seafood, cheese, produce, pasta, bread and baked goods. On the weekends, you can enjoy live music and entertainment while you shop. In addition to food, the Eastern Market vendors also sell flowers, antiques, jewelry and handmade arts and crafts. It’s the perfect place to visit for shopping, entertainment and people-watching.
Get ready to make your move to D.C.
People keep moving to Washington D.C. because it’s a thriving and ever-growing city that has something for everyone. There’s politics, history, art, music, culture and food. For someone who wants to experience it all, becoming a D.C. resident is a great idea. Check out our coliving DC options for your perfect next home.
Want to find your home in D.C.? A coliving space in our Nation’s Capital may be exactly what you’re looking for. At Common Cassell, you can enjoy city living for an attainable price. You’ll rent a private room in a beautiful shared suite within a friendly home. You can enjoy amenities like a community lounge, a rooftop terrace and a unique art partnership that’s curated by SugarLift. Explore our coliving spaces in Washington D.C. today.