Moving to a new city can be difficult, especially since it can take a while to adjust. Depending on where you’re moving from, the adjustment curve can be pretty steep in a city like Washington. So, we’ve compiled a few tips for you to make living in D.C. easier and more fun.
1. Get used to the idea of living in a smaller home
If you’re moving from a small town or a rural area, you might be surprised at the size of the apartments in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, living in many large cities means smaller living spaces, which you’ll have to adjust to. One way to make life easier is to store some of your personal belongings elsewhere. You can get a self-storage unit that comes with various security and safety features, which is useful when you realize you can’t fit all your furniture in your new home. In fact, while you’re getting ready to move, make sure to sort through your stuff and give away (or throw away) anything you don’t really need or want.
Remember, a clutter-free life is a happy life. Plus, do you really need that five-year-old magazine? If you haven’t read that all-important article by now, you probably aren’t going to do it in DC. Another option is to rent a fully-furnished and completely equipped apartment from a company like Blueground. All of the apartments offered are beautifully decorated and located in some of the District’s most sought-after neighborhoods. Since they’re move-in ready, you don’t have to lug all your furniture with you, which will really help you save on moving costs.
We hope you’re not afraid of heights because this exquisite home in London’s Shoreditch gives you breathtaking views of the entire city.
In terms of housing, Washington is among the top 10 most expensive cities in the United States, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center being just under $2,200 per month.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much about the prices. The salaries tend to be a little higher to compensate, but not as high as they should be. According to PayScale, the average salary is a little over $71,000.
However, based on a GoBankingRates study, you’d need to make just under $91,000 per year to live comfortably.
One thing you can do is to move out to the suburbs instead of living in the city proper. The further out you go, the lower the prices are.
Of course, you’ll spend more time commuting, especially if you work in the center, but it might be worth it. Many people live in Virginia or Maryland and commute to D.C. daily.
The other option is to find ways to supplement your income, like doing some freelance work. This isn’t always a great option because it will mean spending more time working and less time relaxing.
However, if you’re really set on living in D.C., then it might be a viable option. Freelance work is becoming more popular these days, as it can give you lots of flexibility and freedom.
You never know – after a few good gigs you might be interested in becoming a digital nomad full-time!
3. Practice patience and learn the train schedule
You’ll need to channel your inner zen when living in D.C. because the traffic is often terrible. Even though the city is quite small, it can still take more than an hour to get from one end to the other.
So, you’ll either have to give up your car and resort to using the public transit system, or you’ll have to learn to be very, very patient.
If you insist on using your car to get around, consider listening to podcasts or audiobooks to pass the time. They’re a great distraction while you’re sitting in traffic and will help keep you calm.
If you opt for the Metro, though, make sure to learn the routes and the schedule. It isn’t a complicated system, but it can take a while to get used to using a new form of transportation.
So keep your GPS handy (or go old school with a map!) to get aware of the area. Knowing your stops will make life far easier and less frantic.
Some locals use public transit and still keep their car as it can be useful for emergencies.
It’s also good to have when you want to leave the city for a weekend getaway. Just like your belongings, you can put your car in storage, which is often a far cheaper option than paying for parking.
4. Get out of the house
Living in D.C. shouldn’t consist of just rushing to work in the morning and dragging yourself back home in the evening only to stare at a screen until you fall asleep on the couch.
If you really want to enjoy this city, then you need to get out and get around.
Don’t worry, there’s no shortage of things to do. There are constantly cool events and there’s a ton of free entertainment, including more museums than you can shake a stick at, about a gazillion monuments, restaurants, bars and much more. You can navigate around the city, find out about exciting exhibitions, and look for great restaurants by downloading specific apps on your phone.
Start by going to the White House. Seriously. You’re living in D.C. now! You don’t want to tell your mom you haven’t seen it yet.
Then, check out the Washington Monument.
Also, make sure to check out the Smithsonian, the National World War II Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.
In fact, if you really want to learn all you can about D.C., then taking a City Segway Tour is one of the most fun ways to do it. These tours take small groups of a maximum of 7 people around the city, ensuring you can ask as many questions as you like.
You can then show off all your knowledge, proving you aren’t a tourist. None of your friends have to know you learned everything from a tour guide.
5. Develop a thick skin
Making friends is not always simple. But don’t take it personally. It really has nothing to do with you. Most people living in D.C. work a lot and are really, really focused on their professional lives.
To achieve their goals, they often feel that they need to sacrifice their personal lives.
However, just be persistent and actively seek out opportunities to get to know people. One great way is by volunteering for a cause that you care about. Another option is to find group activities to sign up for.
6. Get out of the city
Living in D.C. means that you’re close to tons of awesome activities every weekend. For instance, you can go rafting in Harper’s Ferry or hikingin Shenandoah National Park. You can even drive down to the beach in Maryland or Delaware.
If you want to take a breather in another city, New York, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Wilmington, and Baltimore are all close enough.