Moving to the Nation’s Capital
Whether you're a history buff, a follower of politics, or are just looking for a great, year-round place to call home, you can't do better than Washington, DC. With a steadily growing economy, boosted by the many government offices and national headquarters located here, fabulous schools, and world class arts and cultural venues, there's a lot to love about our nation's capital.
Moving to Washington, DC
When moving to Washington, DC, you're really considering one of three markets — Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, or the District of Columbia itself. Here you'll find a variety of neighborhoods and types of homes, from high rise condos to historic row houses to sprawling estate homes.
A big part of your decision-making will probably be determined by your commute. Traffic in DC is notoriously heavy, so it is important to take that into consideration when choosing the area of town you live in. If possible, look for opportunities to travel during off-peak hours or against the flow of traffic in order to simplify and minimize commute times. Alternatively, consider the area’s light rail and public transportation options.
Cost of Living in DC
Washington, DC is known as a fairly expensive place to live overall. Housing prices go up the closer you get to the District and can also be affected by the school system you choose. For this reason, many people look for homes somewhat further out, trading a longer commute for more affordability.
One of the great benefits of living in DC, however, is your proximity to world-class recreation, arts, and cultural opportunities at little or no cost. The Smithsonian complex of museums, abundant green spaces and hiking trails, and the large number of local colleges and universities with affordable live performances and art exhibitions all provide the opportunity for everyone to experience extraordinary amenities at virtually no cost.
Washington, DC Weather
Washington, DC weather can be highly variable and the proximity of close-by waterways like the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay mean that you'll experience your fair share of year-round precipitation. Summers are hot and humid, and winters can be quite cold and snowy, though here too there is a great deal of variability, with some very dry winters and some multiple-blizzard winters.
Washington, DC Attractions
There is so much to do in Washington, DC that your biggest problem will be deciding where to start each weekend. Whether your taste runs to historical sites and homes or outdoor adventure, you'll find exceptional opportunities on offer.
Washington, DC Monuments
Of course, Washington is known for its many monuments along the National Mall, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the war memorials dedicated to veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. However, there are a number of local favorites that are less touristy and just as interesting.
- Mount Vernon: Located just up George Washington Parkway, this is the home of Washington himself. Featuring a museum, home tour, working farm and outbuildings, as well as an inn and restaurant, you'll learn about the daily life of the Father of Our Country both before and after his role as the nation’s first President.
- Netherlands Carillon: Nestled atop a hill overlooking the National Mall is the Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the Dutch people to the United States in gratitude for their assistance during World War II. Here you'll find families strolling, playing, and picnicking during the Carillon concerts. This is also a favorite spot for those in the know to watch the Fourth of July fireworks over the city and surrounding areas.
- Theodore Roosevelt Island: A pedestrian walkway takes you across the Potomac to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a secluded spot amid the hustle and bustle of the city. The island features well-tended hiking trails as well as a spectacular statue of TR himself.
Washington, DC Museums
Of course, the Smithsonian Museums are among the most famous and frequently visited arts and cultural institutions in the world. However, think beyond the Air and Space or Fine Art museums.
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Located near the National Cathedral, the National Zoo is an expansive and exciting venue, with everything from a livestock petting area to Giant Pandas on loan from China. Pro Tip: Visit early in the morning to see the animals at their most active and hear them at their most vocal.
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Located approximately halfway between the Washington Monument and the U. S. Capitol, the Hirshhorn features modern and contemporary art dating from the post-World War II era. This is a great museum to visit with children who will love walking the winding paths of the outdoor sculpture garden.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: Opened in 2016, this is one of the newer museums in the area. It offers a fascinating glimpse at the history and achievements of African American figures dating from the Colonial Era to the modern day. One notable exhibit is Barack Obama's campaign office from Falls Church, Virginia; Obama himself officiated at the opening of the museum.
- National Portrait Gallery: if you don't think of yourself as a museum person, perhaps it's because you haven't found your museum yet. The National Portrait Gallery allows you to connect the artwork you see to the lives of the people pictured. Featuring portraits of everyone from famous American politicians and statesmen to pop culture, art, and literary figures, it is an education in art styles as well as biographies.
Washington, DC Dining and Shopping
Washington, DC features some of the most sophisticated dining and shopping of any East Coast city. You'll find exceptional upscale shopping at the Tysons Mall complex located in McLean, Virginia. For antiques, visit Old Town Alexandria, while for artwork the artists’ corridor extending from the district northward into Maryland is known for its extensive selection of galleries and workshops.
Foodies will enjoy a variety of choices from contemporary, experimental cuisine to restaurants dating from the Colonial Era. In addition, for those who are hoping to rub elbows with powerful politicians, inside the Beltway favorites like Mark's Duck House or McLean Family Restaurant are reliable mainstays.
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