Living in Washington DC

Welcome to Washington DC! You may not be taking on Capitol Hill like Mr. Smith, but the capital still has plenty in store for you. Now that you’ve moved to DC, these tips will help you make the most of living in our nation’s historically and culturally rich capital.

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Things to do

The beauty of living in Washington DC is that not only are there a seemingly endless amount of museums and monuments to visit, but almost all of them are free! The National Mall is your one stop shop for almost everything of historical and cultural importance in the capital. There you’ll find the presidential and war memorials, the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Museums. Not too far from the main part of the Mall you’ll also find the White House, Capitol Hill and Arlington National Cemetery.

However, if history isn’t your thing, or when you need a break from the endless artifacts, you can explore the quainter parts of the Washington DC area in Old Town Alexandria or Georgetown, and check out the restaurants and nightlife at Dupont Circle, U Street and 14th Street.

Fun tip: Check out the Smithsonian’s event calendar for special exhibits, concerts and other events. My personal favorite is the Jazz in the Garden series on Fridays during the summer months.

Getting around

Much like other big cities, getting in, out and around the capital by car is time consuming and not ideal. Fortunately, the city does have a comprehensive metro system, with six lines that allow you to go not only to the various neighborhoods in DC, but also into Maryland and Virginia.

As you’ll probably soon come to learn, it may not be the most reliable metro system, but when stations are open and trains are running, it’s by far the easiest and most efficient way to get around.

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Pro tip: Don’t waste your money on the paper metro tickets. Buy a reusable SmarTrip card, it’s less hassle when you’re in a rush and the fare is actually cheaper. Also if you register it online it’s easy to reload and replace your card, and keep track of your usage.

Washington DC Weather

The weather in Washington DC  is relatively mild compared to other parts of the country. It does have four distinct seasons, but none of them are terribly drastic. In the winter you can expect plenty of rain and only the occasional snowstorm. In contrast, during the summer months the temperature sits in the upper 80s, but be warned, it can feel even hotter than that with the constant humidity. If humidity is going to affect the condition of any of your belongings, consider renting a climate controlled unit.

Don’t let that scare you too much though, the humidity doesn’t feel quite as bad during the cooler months, making spring and fall close to perfect. They’re also the most gorgeous times of year in the capital, especially spring when the city is filled with the iconic cherry blossoms.

Are you local to Washington DC? What tips do you have for people who recently moved there? Share in the comments below.