Moving to Washington, DC: Complete Moving Guide 2024

By: Emily Kirschenbaum Last Updated: Jan 01, 2024

  • Share article:

It’s not just politicians and government employees who think about moving to Washington, DC. This city bustling with culture and history is a great place for anyone to call home.

Moving to Washington, DC: Complete Moving Guide 2024

Moving to a new city can be an exciting adventure or a stressful experience (or a bit of both), especially if you aren’t familiar with the area.

If you’re planning to move to Washington, DC, there are a few things you should know that will help make the transition as smooth as possible.

From finding the right neighborhood to understanding the pros and cons, the costs, and the job market, this complete guide will provide you with all you need to make your move to Washington, DC a success.

Why Move to Washington, DC?

Some of the most attractive features of Washington, DC include:

1. Job Opportunities

Washington DC is home to a large number of industries, including government, healthcare, finance, education, and technology. As the nation’s capital, it offers unique job opportunities that are hard to come by in other places.

2. Cultural Attractions

Washington DC is a hub of cultural activity, with world-renowned museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues. The city is also home to iconic landmarks like the White House, the National Mall, and the Lincoln Memorial – there is always something new to learn.

3. Educational Opportunities

Washington DC has a number of top-ranked universities such as Georgetown University and American University. There are also excellent public school and private school options for families with school-age children.

4. Diversity

People come from all over the world to settle in DC, creating a city with a diverse population reflected in the city’s multicultural feel, food scene, and festivals.

5. Transportation

Cars are not necessary for this city which has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and a metro system. The city is also bike-friendly with numerous bike-sharing programs.

6. Outdoor Activities

In addition to being an urban center, Washington, DC also offers plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking. There are lots of parks and trails for hiking like Rock Creek Park and the C&O Canal Towpath.

7. Networking Opportunities

With so many professionals working in DC, it’s a great place to build a network and make connections that can help you advance your career. There are constantly networking events and conferences taking place, making it easy to connect with like-minded people in your field.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Washington DC?

On average, it will cost between $450 and $17000 to move to Washington DC.

The average range is quite broad because each move is unique and pricing depends on specific factors including the distance that needs to be traveled and the size of the load.

See the chart below for sample prices of moves of various sizes:

Type of Service 1 Bedroom 2-3 Bedrooms 4-5 Bedrooms
DIY/Truck Rental $450 – $2250 $700 – $4250 $1600 – $4950
Moving Container $750 – $2750 $1200 – $5000 $2400 – $7900
Full Service $1300 – $3900 $1900 – $8800 $3500 – $17000

Our Most Recommended Long Distance Movers

The moving company you choose can either make or break your move. It’s not worth taking the risk on an unknown company and ending up dealing with unneeded stress.

Luckily for you, we’ve already vetted tons of long distance moving companies to bring you our top recommendations:



Moving APT

  • Professionalism
  • Great customer service
  • Affordable rates
Get a Quote 800-360-0037 Read review



Native Van Lines

  • Highly professional
  • No hidden fees
  • Budget-friendly pricing
Get a Quote 888-809-1249 Read review



Adams Van Lines

  • 500 local agents
  • Binding prices
  • Customized services
Get a Quote 855-254-0416 Read review

What are the Pros and Cons of Moving to Washington DC?

The Pros The Cons
  • Mild weather
  • Great location
  • Top-ranked schools
  • Career opportunities
  • Museums and culture
  • Bad traffic
  • High cost of living
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Wealth inequality
  • Lots of bugs!

What’s the Cost of Living in Washington DC?

The average cost of living in Washington DC is around $65,000 per year per person, making it one of the most expensive places to live in the United States.

The costs break down as follows:

  • Housing and utilities – $11,355
  • Health care – $10,295
  • Food – $5,696
  • Gas and energy – $803
  • Other personal expenses – $37,021

Housing prices in DC are very high with the median price close to $700,000. This is almost double the national average. Rental prices are also high with people paying around $1,600 for a one-bedroom.

Washington DC also has a high tax rate of 8.95% in addition to the federal tax rate, which also adds to the expenses of people living in DC.

Where are the Best Neighborhoods to Live in Washington DC?

There are so many great neighborhoods to choose from in Washington DC, including the following:

1. Georgetown

Known for historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and luxury boutiques and shops, Georgetown is one of the most beautiful and affluent neighborhoods in DC. It is located along the Potomac River and is home to Georgetown University so there are a lot of students in the area along with more established families.

2. Capitol Hill

This historic neighborhood is located just east of the US Capitol building and is where many government officials and lobbyists have their homes. The area is known for classic row houses and a lively restaurant and bar scene.

3. Dupont Circle

This vibrant neighborhood boasts a diverse community, beautiful parks, and lively nightlife. Many foreign embassies are located in Dupont Circle.

4. Logan Circle

Situated slightly north of downtown DC, Logan Circle is an upscale and trendy neighborhood with large historic homes, great shopping, and numerous restaurants.

5. Adams Morgan

Another one of the city’s diverse neighborhoods, Adams Morgan has an eclectic mix of different types of restaurants and cafes as well as lots of shopping options. Many cultural events and festivals take place in Adams Morgan, making it an interesting place to live.

6. Shaw

The historic Howard Theatre is located in this up-and-coming neighborhood just north of downtown. More bars and restaurants continue to pop up as the area becomes more desirable.

7. Navy Yard

Navy Yard is a waterfront neighborhood located in southeast DC. It is home to Nationals Park and there are a number of newly built apartment buildings and restaurants. Sports fans and young professionals are making their homes in this area.

8. Cleveland Park

An affluent area located in northwest DC, Cleveland Park is known for its beautiful homes, tree-lined streets, and close proximity to Rock Creek Park and its hiking trails.

9. Petworth

Young families and professionals are drawn to Petworth for its prime location in the northwest area of the city, diverse population, historic homes, and fun restaurant scene.

10. U Street Corridor

The birthplace of jazz great Duke Ellington, this historic neighborhood is located in northwest DC. It has a lively nightlife and music scene as well as lots of trendy stores and restaurants.

How is the Job Market in Washington DC?

The job market in Washington DC is strong. Many residents work for the federal government, but there are also plenty of job opportunities in other industries like education, health care, insurance, information technology, business, and finance.

There are also a lot of hotels and tourist attractions in the DC area that are also in need of employees in different positions. Headquarters of hospitality leaders like Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International are located in DC and are also major employers.

The unemployment rate in Washington DC is around 7%, lower than the national average of 8.7%. The average salary in the district is $77,210, which is also significantly higher than the national average of $56,310.

While there are positions available, it is important to remember that things move fast in DC, and as fast as jobs open up, they are also filled quickly. Internships and entry-level jobs, in particular, get snapped up very fast, often within 24 hours.

There’s no shame in Washington about using connections, and, in fact, that is how most people get their jobs there. Networking is key as is building up your contact list so that you can find the right connections to get the job you want.

What is Washington DC Most Known for?

Washington DC is most famous for being the capital of the United States, the epicenter of the US government, and the home of the White House. As part of the center of government, the city is also known for such iconic buildings as the US Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Archives.

Washington DC is also known for its large array of landmarks and monuments that represent various historical milestones, particularly those that line the National Mall which runs from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial.

Some of those landmarks include the Washington Monument, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. All of these monuments are a testament to the history and culture of the US and are visited by millions of tourists every year.

The city is also home to a huge number of museums. The world’s largest museum and research complex, The Smithsonian Institution, is made up of 19 museums, galleries, and a zoo, all of which are located in DC.

The museums include the National Museum of American History, The National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History.

What are the Best Schools and Universities in Washington DC?

The top universities in Washington DC include:

  • Georgetown University is known for degree programs in international relations, law, and business.
  • George Washington University, offers strong programs in public policy, law, and medicine.
  • American University, attracting students interested in international relations, political science, and public affairs.
  • Howard University is a historically Black university with well-regarded programs in medicine, law, and business.
  • University of the District of Columbia is a public university with a focus on education, nursing, and business.

School-aged children in Washington DC are assigned to a public school based on their home address, but many parents opt to send their kids to private schools, charter schools, or other specialized programs.


How is the economy in Washington DC?

Like any major city, the DC economy has had its ups and downs, but it is the second most active US market for foreign capital. The DC metro area is also ranked in the top 5 strongest economic hot spots in the US. The District has seen incredible job growth in the business and trade sectors in recent years.

What is there to do in Washington DC?

There is so much to do in DC! Whether you are interested in history, science, art or virtually anything else, there is a world-renowned museum or performance center that will be right up your alley.

Within a mile of the Capitol building are countless memorials and museums. There are also plenty of parks, malls, and other entertainment venues easily accessible via the DC metro. It’s almost impossible to be bored in the nation’s capital.

How much does it cost to hire moving companies in Washington DC?

Hiring a moving company in Washington, DC will cost you around $400 – $5000 for a local move and $1200 – $16000 for a long-distance move. The exact cost will depend heavily on where you are moving from and how far the distance is as well as how large your shipment is.

Washington DC: A Gateway to Endless Possibilities

There is something for everyone in Washington DC, which is why so many people keep moving there. Whether you’re interested in politics, history, art, culture, or more – you will find something to pique your interest in DC.

The fun doesn’t have to begin only once you get there – you can even make the moving process a joy by choosing best movers that will take the pressure off of you and let you sit back and relax and even enjoy the process.