Did you just land an expected dream job or you made up your mind to enjoy your seniors in a new place which necessitates your move to Washington, DC? Or you conclude to relocate to the big city and start a new life entirely? Whatever reason behind your move to Washington DC, firstly, I want to congratulate you for making this great decision. Secondly, I want to say you are lucky to stumble on this page to read this Moving Guide to Washington DC.
This guide will take you through an easy approach to a successful move to Washington, DC and makes your relocation stress-free. Washington, DC is the capital of the US and seat of the United States of America government. Despite being the nation’s capital, the city never stopped to proliferate on a daily basis, attracting both young and old migrants from the country and globally.
While DC is the heart of America politics, there are so much more to the city than politics. Washington, DC is one of the best places to be when it comes to eclectic neighborhoods, buzzing restaurants and other monuments you can find in a federal capital. It is a land blessed with good foods and wines, excellent weather, loving people and lots more.
The Evergreen State as it is usually referred to, is popular for its evergreen forests and tech-savvy inhabitants. The Spokane area is another well-known place for the outdoorsman in the Washington, DC.
It has a mecca with more than 70 lakes, parks, and hiking trails. Seattle metropolitan area accommodates over 60% of the Washington population which implies it should be a good location where things are happening.
Moving to Washington, DC will expose you to many things that can make your stay worthwhile. However, it is essential to know about how things are done in the city. The knowledge of costs of things such as housing, food, transportation, and much more will help you get prepared for the city before you finally move there. This guide will discuss all you need to know as regards your moving and living in the Evergreen State. Firstly, let’s discuss some facts about Washington, DC. Relax and continue reading.
Fast Facts about Washington, D.C.
Washington, DC was established in 1790 by the United States Constitution to serve as the federal capital of the country. DC is the short form of District of Columbia or District and was named after George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
Apart from being the seat of the government of the United States, Washington, DC is also a cosmopolitan city equipped with a lot of opportunities and side attractions that attract both residents and visitors from around country and the world at large. Check out below facts about Washington, DC:
- Washington Geographical Area: Washington, DC has a landmass area of 68.25 square miles with an elevation of 23 feet. The district is bordered by Virginia and Maryland with major rivers including Anacostia and Potomac. It uses Eastern Standard Time and has an average daily temperature ranging from January 34.6° F to July 80.0° F. Parkland takes about 19.4% of the entire city with major ones including C & O Canal National Historical Park, Rock Creek Park, Anacostia Park, and National Mall. The Evergreen State is sectioned off into four quadrants namely; SE, NE, SW, and NW and has its Capital building at the center point. This can be of help when you are looking for addressed in Washington.
- Washington Demographics: According to 2010 population estimation, Washington, DC has a population of 5.3 million and 601,723 in the metro area and city respectively. The estimation further states the racial breakdown as 50.7% Black, 38.5% White, 9.1% Hispanic or Latino, 3.5% Asian, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, and 0.1% other Pacific Islander.
Other facts worthy of mentioning about the residents of DC include:
- The residents of Washington DC loves running, hiking, biking, rowing, and walking to keep themselves fit all year round. Don’t be surprised to see residents jogging or biking to work with some of the women even with baby strollers.
- The residents per capital drink more wine than other states of the US. Hence, if you love drinking wine, you will rightly fit in.
- Washington is the second busiest subway system in the country after New York.
Guide to Moving to Washington, DC
Washington is no doubt a place everyone would love to go whether for vacation, retirement destination, job placement, education, and much more. It is a land of opportunities for different categories of people not only from the United States but around the world.
If you are planning to move to DC, you will need a guide to walk you through the city even before you step your feet on the land. There are some costs you cannot escape when you finally seal your deal to settle down in the Evergreen State.
Our guide here will take you through the journey and help you in your decision to move and live in the federal capital of the United States.
Below is all you need to know before moving to Washington, DC:
Cost of Living
Housing cost takes the largest share of living cost of Washington, DC; being the 4th most expensive place in the rental market of the United States. Because Washington is the capital of the nation, the residents earn the highest incomes which shows how costly living in the state can be. To boost the annual incomes of the people of DC, the place is one of the states with no payment of individual income tax.
While the cost of living may seem higher in the state than the national average, there are many cities in Washington, DC you can choose from, in a bid to reduce your living cost when you move to the state. For example, the cost of housing, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and groceries in Seattle will cost more than eastern Washington.
The cost of renting a one-bedroom and two bedrooms in Washington is at an average of $1,900 and $2,700 per month respectively. Just like other major urban areas, the closer you are to the DC, the higher the cost of living with some exceptional cases.
Your utilities such as heating, electricity, garbage, and water may run up to $120 on average, which is the third cheapest in the US and 23% lower than the national average. The cost of food is not that cheap in Washington but better than the NYC. It is an average of $12 per day and around $380 monthly based on your consumption.
Top Neighborhoods in Washington
With over hundreds of neighborhoods to live in Washington, it may be tough to easily settle for a particular one. There are a number of factors that can determine your choice of neighborhoods to live in. Below are some of the top neighborhoods you can live in:
- Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill is one of the greatest neighborhoods for young professionals to raise kids. The place offers the most cost-effective lofts with proximity to beautiful parks, bars, and restaurants. Capitol Hill is popularly known for its calm atmosphere, spectacular period row building, and historical vibes.
- Dupont Circle: Dupont Circle has been surveyed as one of the favorites areas people love to live in after Capitol Hill. The place balances almost everything a resident may be looking for. It comes with an exceptional walkability score. Dupont Circle is equipped with culture and electrical energy as evidenced by the various architectures within the circle. With its low crime rate, the neighborhood is one of the safest places to live in Washington.
- West End: West End is another location equipped with many tourism attractions to make your stay enjoyable. It previously referred to as the old end of Washington, DC. The neighborhood accommodates one of the prestigious colleges in the state – George Washington University. If you are considering where to live in the DC, West End is an option to consider. You may need a cab to walk around the town.
- Shaw: Shaw is a trendy and diverse place to live. You will find different categories of people including gay couples, young professionals, young families, and elderly folks in the neighborhood. It is a stone thrown from the Metro or downtown. There are many things to enjoy in the community such as earth vibes, bustling music scene, and eclectic food. These are just a tip of the iceberg of what you will enjoy in Shaw.
Washington, DC has many categories of schools for both children and youth. Looking for the best school for your kids shouldn’t be an issue as there are varieties of them in the city. DC has over 167 public schools, 60 charter schools, 83 private schools, and 9 colleges & universities. You can use information on School Report Card to guide you on which city to live for educational purposes.
There are different categories of industries in Washington; hence, there are numerous employment opportunities in the city. This makes Washington one of the best places for job opportunities in the country. The significant industries include tourism (which generates over $5.5 billion from the influx of visitors for the purpose).
Apart from tourism, other major industries include higher education, trade association, international finance, law, government-related research, medicine/medical research, and publishing. It is worthy of mentioning to list major corporations in the city such as Exxon Mobil, Marriott International, the International Monetary Fund, AMTRAK, Sprint Nextel, Gannett News, and AOL Time Warner. No wonder the unemployment in the city is 5% compared to other states of the United States.
Getting around Washington
When many people are moving to a new city, they are confused of which one to go for – if they should go with their cars for easy movement within the community or use public transport for their movement across the city. There is no doubt, you would love to flex town with your vehicle but think twice about driving your car in Washington.
The truth about getting around Washington with car is that both traffic and parking are terrible. If you want to save some cash, don’t come with your car.
Luckily, Washington has an amazing public transit system that is extremely bike-able and walk-able. You will spend $14.50, $59.25, and $237 daily, weekly, and monthly respectively on Fast Pass. In Washington DC, the cost of subways is not a flat rate like other cities such as New York if you choose a pass.
You pay as you go – the farther you move, the more you pay. Apart from this, if you weigh the costs associated with the use of cars including costs of maintenance, gas, insurance, and other related costs on monthly car payments, choosing to walk/biking and using public transportation will save you some cash and time.
Having chosen the best way to commute around Washington, this is the right time to introduce some of the places or things to know in the city. There are free entertainments in DC that are waiting for you to be explored. Check them out below:
- City Segway Tours: If you want to know everything about Washington, DC, this tour is your very best option. It is fully loaded with a lot of excitements and side attractions. You will have one-on-one interaction to ask whatever thing you want to know about the city. You can only have a maximum of 7 people in a tour group; hence, you would receive maximum attention to know more.
- Lincoln Memorial: This is another way of getting to know significant foundation about not only the city but the country as a whole. It is free to visit this impressive and empowering place that is full of American history.
- White House & Washington Monument: I know you have heard about the White House. It is a magnificent historical building that has been accommodating every US President since 1800s till date. A visit to the White House is a historic tour; so, don’t miss it. If you want to enjoy 3600 views of DC, visit Washington Monument. The place is equipped with glass elevators that will convey you to the top deck to observe everything about the Washington layout.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo is home to one of the oldest zoos and over 1,500 animals in the U.S. It is one of the most visited zoos in the state, receiving visitors from all over the country all the days of the year, and it is free. People come in group, family, and association to see beautiful and amazing animals.
- National Gallery of Art: This is the best place to eye both modern and old art for free. If you have a flex for artworks, don’t miss this National Gallery of Art.
- National World War II Museum: It is dedicated to about 400,000 heroes that fell during the war a long time ago. It is a nice place to visit to have a sense of history. This museum will amaze you beyond your imagination.
4 Moving Advice to Move to Washington, DC
Ready to move to DC? Don’t just rush to the big city without planning your movement, getting a reliable mover to handle your move, and prepare the place to receive you. Below are a few pieces of advice to make your move less stressful:
1. Plan your Move-in Time
If you have made up your mind to move to Washington, don’t wait forever for the price to drop. Are you moving from within the country or out of the country? There are reliable moving services you can consider for your move. If you want to reduce your cost of the move, you can as well rent a moving truck as an alternative to the full-service moving company. If you are renting a truck, the truth is that – the rates are almost the same throughout the year. Read on our post on “The Best Moving Services.”
2. Change your Address Online
It is recommended to add it as part of your moving checklist to Washington. Do this on time to avoid issues associated with not doing it. When you change your address in time, you will receive all first-class mail and periodicals/magazines for 12 months and 2 months respectively, forwarded to your new address by USPS.
You also stand to receive over $500 coupons to be used in your new neighborhood companies. Changing of address is now easy with our post on the subject matter. You can read through the article for more ideas. How to Change your Address when Moving
3. Prepare for Seattle Traffic
If Seattle is your choice of neighborhood, ensure you prepare for its traffic. If possible, visit Washington and follow the Seattle Traffic route before you finally move to the place. This will give you an idea of how the traffic in Seattle look like and plan a way out to avoid such traffic.
Seattle traffic has been attributed to the city closeness to Mariners stadiums and Seattle Seahawks; hence, the area is usually busy on Weekends and during sporting events.
4. Prepare for the Rain and Snow
It is recommended that you plan and study your move to avoid November – January rain in Washington. However, if you have scheduled to move within the period, prepare for the rain and other related weather of the season.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I move to Washington DC, do I need to retake a driving test?
If you come to Washington DC from another state in the United States, you have 30 days to get your new license before you breach any laws. As a side note, DC is a bit unique from other states when it comes to vehicle licensing and driving licenses.
To convert your driving license to a DC REAL ID driver license, you must be able to establish residency in DC. You can usually pre-apply online and will need to have ready Proof of Identity, Social Security Number, DC residency proof.
If I move to Washington DC, how long until I must enroll in new health care coverage?
Typically speaking, you will have 60 days from when you made your move until the day you enroll in your new coverage (or make a change in your plan). If you were moved to the District of Columbia by an employer, then your healthcare change should be near immediate.
The Medicaid program is handled through a program called DC Healthcare Alliance which provides treatments and services like hospital care, cancer screenings, blood pressure treatments, preventative care, and more if your income is below a certain limit.
Why is Washington DC not one of the 50 states?
Washington D.C. has remained a district (as in the District of Columbia) rather than a fully incorporated state for a number of reasons. The main reason for DC’s lack of statehood is the same reason every state gets 2 senators regardless of population – our system is designed around maintaining the equality of power amongst states.
The founding fathers of the United States felt that by locating a national capital within a state that would give the state an unfair level of importance and prominence amongst the other states. While we no longer view the states in quite the same way as our founders once did, many of these rules still play a key role in our functioning.
How is the economy in Washington DC
While parts of D.C. have a bad reputation, that only tells a very small part of the story. Like any major city, DC has had issues, but it is also the second most active US office market for foreign capital and the Washington, DC metro area is among the top 5 strongest economic hot spots in the United States.
While California is known for Silicon Valley, DC has actually seen incredible job growth in the business and trade sectors. As far back as 2015 the District of Columbia was considered a top global financial center, and ranked ahead of Boston, Chicago and Frankfurt.
Is there anything to do in the District of Columbia?
There is so much to do in DC! Whether you are interested in history, science, art or any other facet of culture there will be a world renowned museum or performance center geared for it. Being an international hub and the capital of the United States means that large amounts of federal money has been invested in the arts and culture of the area.
Within a mile of the capitol building are countless memorials, museums and stories. There are also plenty of parks, malls, and other entertainment venues easily accessible by the DC metro. You will find it hard to become bored in the nation’s capital as there is always something special happening.
What is the weather like in Washington DC?
Like nearby Virginia and Maryland, Washington DC definitely has seasons. You will experience snow and you will have hot summers and everything in between. Luckily the geographical location of Washington DC means that these seasons aren’t as cold as they get up north, or as hot as they got down south.
For many on the east coast, Washington DC provides a relatively more mild, centrally located option than moving to the deep south or far north.
Washington, DC is a place everyone wants to be. It is a historically rich city equipped with numerous side attractions. It is a land of opportunities for both young and old people, populated by 3 special categories of people – valedictorians, high school class presidents, and the girls hustling to cure their muscular dystrophy. I won’t say more than this on the girls. But if you are considering calling Washington your home soon, the truth is that you will enjoy your stay here.
It only takes time to get used to the environment, but once you do, you wouldn’t want to go home again. With lots of entertainment in the city, you can spend your entire day and still want to continue. However, when you are moving to a new city, it is advisable to tread with caution in everything you do. I promise to keep you updated on every happening in Washington, DC. Stay tuned for more informative posts from this page!