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Is Living in Washington DC in Your Future? | Moving to Washington DC Guide

Is Living in Washington DC in Your Future? 🏦| Moving to Washington DC Guide

Last Updated on: 25th April 2024, 08:40 pm

Is moving to Washington DC, in your future? Here’s what you need to know about this diverse Federal capital city! You may ask yourself questions like, “What is Washington DC known for?” or “Which state is DC located in?” You’ll find all these random facts below!

Washington, D.C., is most famous for its iconic landmarks, rich history, and political significance. It stands as a symbol of American democracy and power! Washington DC is not in Maryland or Pennsylvania; DC is a district and is not a part of any other US state.

Incorporated on July 16, 1790, Washington, DC, was established to replace Philadelphia as the nation’s capital. Washington DC is short for Washington District of Columbia and is often referred to by its various nicknames, including “The District,” “The Capital,” and “The District of Columbia.” The area is called Washington DC, as D.C. stands for District of Columbia, which honors explorer Christopher Columbus.

Living in Washington, D.C., means you can immerse yourself in the capital’s rich history! It has witnessed pivotal moments in American history, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Civil Rights Movement. Today, Washington, D.C., continues to thrive as a global hub of politics, culture, and diversity.

If you’re wondering what it’s like living in Washington DC, researching is your first step! There are tons of pros and cons to living in such a significant, historic place, which we cover in our guide! In short, after moving to Washington DC you’ll likely discover it’s great regardless of your age, race, political party, or religion!

Where Is Washington DC? | How to Get Around Washington DC

Washington DC is located off the Potomac River across from Virginia; while near Virginia and Maryland, Washington DC is not located in either of those states. There are technically no county subdivisions in the District of Columbia, but for data purposes, the District of Columbia is considered a county subdivision equivalent, with one city, Washington.

It’s 38.7 miles from Baltimore, Maryland, to Washington, DC, and 108 miles from Richmond to Washington DC.

Washington DC Information

  • Washington DC county: N/A
  • Washington DC area: 68.35 square miles
  • Washington DC zip code(s): 20001–20098, 20201–20599, 56901–56999
  • Washington DC area code(s): 202, 771
  • Washington DC elevation: 409 feet
  • Washington DC time zone: Eastern Time Zone (UTC -4 or -5)
  • Closest airport to Washington DC: Dulle International Airport is 28 miles from Washington DC

Washington DC Population & Demographics

The population in Washington DC is 689,545 (per the 2020 census); its population has decreased by 2.7% since 2010. The Washington DC population density is 11,280.7 people per square mile. 

Additional Washington DC demographics:

  • Washington DC median household income: $101,722
  • Washington DC metro population: 6,304,975
  • Median age: 34.9 years old
  • Sex ratio: 52 females to 48 males
  • Education attainment: 93.7% have high school diplomas, and 65.4% have bachelor’s degrees or higher
  • Foreign-born population: 14.9%
  • Veterans status: 4%

Considering the area’s median age and marital status of only 31%, we’d assume many people living in Washington DC area are young professionals taking advantage of the capital’s diverse work environment.

Washington, D.C. is still a great place for families! 21% of people living in Washington DC are under the age of 19.

Famous people from Washington DC:

Transportation in Washington DC

After moving to Washington DC, you’ll find that getting around Washington DC is simple and convenient! 

Washington DC Public Transportation

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) has six lines, 98 subway stations, and 1,500 buses. Washington, DC, has the fifth-best public transportation system in the US!

Metro served over 100 million passengers in 2022 and boasts the third-largest ride-ship in the country. Metro has hundreds of stops across the D.C. metropolitan area (DMV), which includes parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Major Highways

Interstate 95 (I-95) is a major north-south highway serving people living in Washington, DC; Interstate 270 connects to I-76/I-70 to the north and Interstate 66 (I-66) from the west. The Beltway (or Capital Beltway) is a 64-mile auxiliary Interstate Highway in the Washington metropolitan area surrounding Washington, DC.

Air Transportation

Dulle International Airport serves as The District’s primary airport. Dulles serves around 60,000 passengers daily, or 70 million a year. The airport covers 13,000 acres and has 113 airport gates.

How to Get Around Washington DC in an Eco-Friendly Manner

If walking, biking, or skating is more your style, Washington DC is rated one of the most walkable cities in the US; The District was also ranked the fifth-most bikeable US areat! 12.1% of people living in Washington DC walk to work and 3.1% bike.

Cost of Living in Washington DC

Understanding the Washington DC cost of living is essential when choosing to live here!

COLI

Is Washington DC, expensive? Washington’s Cost of Living Index (COLI) is 139, making it 39% more expensive than the average US city. The Economic Policy Institute says a family of four living in Washington, D.C., must earn $131,575 to live comfortably.

Typical Living Expenses

Here’s what you can expect to spend on daily expenditures when living in Washington DC:

  • Inexpensive restaurant meal: $25.00
  • Gallon of milk: $4.20
  • Loaf of white bread: $3.61
  • Pound of white rice: $2.24
  • Dozen eggs: $4.21
  • Pound of local cheese: $6.32
  • Average Washington DC utilities per month: $198 (per Doxo)

Source: Numbeo

Living Wage Calculator

This Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, living wage calculator helps determine what you must earn hourly to afford to live in Washington, DC. A single adult living in Washington must earn $27.00 to live above poverty. Two adults with no children (one working) must earn $34.76, and two adults with two children (both working) would have to earn $32.50 to live above poverty.

Washington DC Tax

After moving to Washington, DC, you’ll be expected to pay taxes.

  • Washington DC income tax: Washington, D.C.’s income tax system comprises five brackets, with rates varying from 4% for the initial $10,000 of income to 8.95% for earnings exceeding $350,000. Among U.S. jurisdictions, Washington, D.C. ranks sixth in terms of income tax rates.

 

  • Washington DC sales tax: The sales tax rate in Washington, D.C., is 6.00%, which is the 17th lowest among U.S. jurisdictions.

 

  • Washington DC property tax: Property taxes in Washington, D.C., have undergone three reductions since the tax reform in 1999. The property tax rate currently stands at 0.85% of the assessed value. Notably, the District boasts the region’s lowest residential property tax rate, along with various tax relief initiatives for low-income residents. Moreover, the District enforces a cap limiting property tax payments to 10% for owner-occupied properties.

Washington DC Real Estate

Before moving to Washington DC, you’ll need to understand the real estate market and decide whether renting or buying is your best option.

The median home price in Washington, DC, is $589,900, and the average price per square foot is $458. Properties tend to move quickly, with an average of 29 days on the market before sale, and they typically sell slightly above their list price, with a sale-to-list price ratio of 100.6%. Although the demand is high, the inventory remains replenished and healthy, making the real estate market in Washington, DC, somewhat competitive. There are thousands of homes for sale in Washington, DC!

Rent in Washington DC

The average rent in Washington DC is $2,442 for a 746-square-foot rental. This is well above the average US rent of $1,718 for an 897-square-foot space. Considering more people living in Washington DC rent than own (69% renter-occupied to 41% owner-occupied), learning about the rental market here is a great idea.

Federal Triangle is one of the most expensive Washington DC neighborhoods to rent in at $3,242 per month, and River Terrace is one of the most affordable at $1,347 per month. According to this ATTOM Rental Affordability Report, renting in Washington, DC, is more affordable than buying a home. 

Overall, Washington DC, has a higher cost of living than many US cities, but the quality of life you’ll experience while living here is certainly worth it. Forbes ranked Washington DC, among some of the best cities to live in the US!

Washington DC Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Washington DC

Washington, D.C. neighborhoods offer diverse cultures, historic charm, and vibrant communities, each with unique architecture, parks, and amenities to explore. Here are the best areas to live in Washington DC!

Georgetown | One of the Safest Neighborhoods in Washington DC

Locals and tourists alike consider Georgetown one of the safest neighborhoods in the whole district! While this area does host the 22nd-best national university, Georgetown University, the demographics are diverse; Georgetown residents aren’t all college students!

Georgetown offers a wide range of residential housing, including townhomes and single-family homes. Most townhomes in Georgetown cost around 5 million, but they boast beautiful architecture and allure. Georgetown is unique and hosts people from all walks of life; embassies of nine countries are located in Georgetown!

Glover Park | One of the Best Neighborhoods in Washington DC for Families

You will find Glover Park in northwest DC. The wonderful Glover Park is considered a family-friendly Washington DC neighborhood for its walkability and low crime rate; it is only 1,018.6 per 100k people! One of this area’s best attributes is its school district, Glover Park School District.

Foggy Bottoms | One of the Best Places to Live in Washington DC

The neighborhoods of Washington, DC, are all unique, but Foggy Bottoms is certainly one of the best! Foggy Bottoms has a notable arts district and is best known for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Rocky Creek Park’s pristine walking and biking trails are also nearby.

You will also find George Washington University (GWU) in Foggy Bottom. Many students reside here and love calling Foggy Bottoms home!

Washington DC Weather & Climate

The weather in Washington DC, is enjoyable most of the year, but it gets quite cold and snowy in the winter.

Washington, D.C. features a humid subtropical climate according to the Köppen classification. The best time to visit Washington DC is from early spring to late fall when temperatures are mild and the rain is sparse. Summers are long and humid with occasional thunderstorms, while winters are cold and snowy.

The average temperature in Washington DC, greatly depends on the season, but they can range from around 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 88 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Winter lows can drop to around 30 degrees, while summer highs often exceed 90 degrees.

Does it snow in Washington DC? The annual snowfall averages around 15 inches between December and March. DC’s annual snowfall has seen a steep decline in recent years. Rainfall is spread relatively evenly throughout the year, with an average annual rainfall of about 40 inches.

Unique weather patterns include occasional heatwaves in summer and nor’easters bringing heavy snowfall in winter. Overall,

Washington DC Restaurants

While The District is most famous for its mumbo sauce, half-smoke sausages, and Peruvian chicken, you will find countless top-tier dining options in varying cultures!

Founding Farmers DC

Founding Farmers offers a unique farm-to-table dining experience. This cooperative-grower-owned Washington, DC restaurant is known for its fresh ingredients and diverse lunch and dinner menu, which features American comfort food.

1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 822-8783

Zaytinya by José Andrés

Zaytinya by José Andrés presents a unique dining experience with its Mediterranean-inspired small plates, innovative cocktails, and vibrant atmosphere. If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Washington DC, Zaytinya is the place to be!

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 638-0800

Fiola

If dining at Michelin Star restaurants in Washington DC is on your list, you should consider Fiola’s. Each dish served here is perfectly curated, resulting in a unique dining experience. You will find modern Italian dishes, including fresh seafood, handmade pastas, and decadent desserts!

Indiana Ave, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Things to Do in Washington DC

After moving to Washington DC, you’ll find a plethora of activities and attractions. From exploring iconic landmarks like the White House, Capitol Building, and National Mall to visiting world-class museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, there are tons of fun things to do in Washington DC!

Washington DC Top Attractions

  • Lincoln Memorial | The Lincoln Memorial is an iconic monument in Washington, D.C. that honors President Abraham Lincoln with its grand architecture and famous seated statue. It is one of the many cool things to do in Washington DC!
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial | The Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s reflective black granite walls pay tribute to those who served in the Vietnam War. Thanks to its educational value, it is one of the best things to do in Washington DC!
  • National Mall | If you’re looking for free things to do in Washington DC, spend your afternoon exploring the National Mall, a historic park featuring iconic monuments stretching from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial!
  • Washington National Cathedral | Touring the Washington National Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Washington DC, for many reasons! This renowned landmark offers worship services, cultural events, tours, and educational programs in a stunning setting.
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial | The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors one of our Founding Fathers with a neoclassical design and iconic bronze statue. While many frequent this statue during the day, marveling at these monuments at dusk! Checking out the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is one of the top things to do in Washington DC at night!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial | The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., attracts approximately 3 to 4 million visitors annually; U.S. News ranked it among the top 10 things to do in Washington DC!
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial | The Korean War Veterans Memorial in D.C. honors those who served with statues and a reflective pool, offering a solemn tribute. This attraction is highly educational, making it one of the top things to do in Washington DC with kids (if they’re old enough to grasp the concept.)

Arts & Entertainment in Washington DC

  • The Magic Duel | There are many fun things to do in Washington DC, for adults, but The Magic Duel is hands down the best! You can attend a live magic show where two illusionists compete in a thrilling and interactive performance.
  • John F. Kennedy Center Opera House | The Opera House at the Kennedy Center is an iconic venue for grand performances, concerts, and cultural events in Washington, DC.
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company | There are tons of unique things to do in Washington DC; Woolly Mammoth Theatre is known for producing innovative and provocative contemporary plays, often pushing boundaries and sparking dialogue.

Washington DC Museums

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History | If you’re narrowing down your list of museums in Washington DC, keep the Smithsonian there! You will discover a vast collection of exhibits on natural history, science, and culture.

  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum | The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is dedicated to educating people about the tragic systematic persecution involving various groups, including Jewish and Romanian people.
  • International Spy Museum | The International Spy Museum offers an immersive experience of the world of espionage, featuring interactive exhibits and real spy artifacts. This is a unique option and one of the best things to do with kids in Washington DC.
  • National Museum of the American Indian | National Museum of the American Indian is one of the many free museums in Washington DC you should check out! This museum celebrates the history and traditions of Native American peoples through engaging exhibits and educational programs.

Washington DC Parks & Outdoors

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park | This waterfront oasis is one of the most popular parks in Washington DC! You will find prime views of the Potomac River, and plenty of grass fields, playgrounds, and paths to explore. If you’re looking for things to do in Washington DC, for free, consider Georgetown Waterfront Park.
  • Constitution Gardens | Constitution Gardens offers a peaceful escape in the heart of DC, with serene ponds, walking paths, and views of the Washington Monument.

  • Lower Senate Park | Lower Senate Park provides a serene ambiance and greenery galore! It’s located near the Capitol and is perfect for picnics, relaxation, and enjoying views of the Senate office buildings.
  • Garfield Park | Another one of the best things to do in Washington DC for kids is Garfield Park and playground. This recreational area offers plenty of open spaces for your kiddo(s) to explore. Its expansive playground is a major bonus!

Shopping in Washington DC

  • Gallery Place | You will find a vibrant mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment at the Gallery Place. With its central location and diverse offerings, it’s a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
  • CityCenterDC | If you’re looking for luxury brands, CityCenterDC is the area to be! There are sophisticated options here, like Akris and Allen Edmonds.
  • DC USA | DC USA is a prominent Washington DC shopping mall with hundreds of stores. People love its convenience and dining options!

Map of Washington DC Things to Do

Washington DC Sports

There are many Washington DC professional sports teams, and it was ranked the 8th-best sports city in the US!

Team Name League Venue
Washington Commanders NFL Commanders Field
Washington Wizards NBA Capital One Arena
Washington Nationals MLB Nationals Park
Washington Capitals NHL Capital One Arena
D.C. United MLS Audi Field
Washington Spirit NWSL Audi Field

Washington DC Crime Rate

According to the Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C., the crime rate in Washington DC is 4,064.4 per 100k people. Although DC crime rates increased by 39% in 2023, the area has put forth major efforts to decrease crime. Crime is predicted to drop by 13% in 2024. The US crime rate is 2,346 per 100k people. There were 58 total homicides in Washington, D.C., in 2023.

Additional Washington DC crime rates:

  • Property crime rate in Washington DC per 100k people: 3,491.3
  • Property crime rate in US per 100k people: 1,954.4
  • Violent crime rate in Washington DC per 100k people: 573.1
  • Violent crime rate in US per 100k people: 369.8

Washington DC crime rate compared to other major cities:

  • Washington DC experiences 28.0238% less crime than Detroit, MI.
  • Washington DC experiences 48.0032% more crime than Boston, MA.
  • Washington DC experiences 25.6819% less crime than Portland, OR.

People living in Washington DC are served by the Metropolitan Police of Washington DC.

Economy & Jobs in Washington DC

Washington DC boasts one of the largest economies in the US; its leading industries are information, education, construction, aerospace, and technology. This place provides a robust GDP, fueled by federal spending and hosts numerous Fortune 500 companies! DCs 2023 GDP was  $179.2 billion in goods and services.

Capital One, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, Fannie Mae, and Danaher are major employers in Washington, D.C. Notable Fortune 500 companies you will find when living in Washington DC are Capital One, Hilton, Leidos, and General Dynamics.

There are nearly 100,000 jobs in Washington DC hiring right now, and we think you’ll be pleased with their pay and benefits. The average hourly rate in Washington DC is $25.45, and the average salary is $85,000. You will also find countless DC government jobs on its government website.

Washington DC Hospitals

Washington, DC, is home to a vibrant healthcare ecosystem featuring top-ranked hospitals across various specialties. MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are two major Washington DC hospitals. Both are renowned in various areas, but Medstar Georgetown rated high performing in 5 adult specialties and 11 procedures and conditions. MedStar Washington Hospital Center is nationally ranked in one adult specialty and in high performing in two adult specialties and 15 procedures/conditions!

Washington DC Schools

The District is part of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). DCPS serves over 50,000 students spanning 115 schools, including traditional neighborhood schools, selective application schools, and charter schools. This district aims to provide each student with a world-class education and adequately prepare them for college and their careers.

Notable programs that set District of Columbia Public Schools apart are Advanced Placement (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, career and technical education (CTE) pathways, and dual enrollment opportunities. The district’s demographics are diverse; high-quality instruction, resources, and support are provided to all students regardless of their background or zip code. All Washington DC schools recently introduced an anti-racist social studies curriculum.

There are many excellent schools in Washington DC, but here are some of the best:

There are also countless top private schools in Washington DC that your child can attend! BASIS Independent McLean, Academy of the Holy Cross, and Ad Fontes Academy are just a few.

Whether you’re moving to Washington DC, with kids or to further your own education, you won’t be disappointed! Some of the country’s top universities live in The Capital! Notable colleges include Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Howard University.

There are 26 public libraries in Washington D.C., all boasting ample resources to its residents and visitors. DCs most popular library is the Library of Congress.

Washington DC Utilities & DMV Change of Address

After moving to Washington DC, you must change your address and set up your utilities.

Washington DC utility providers:

Service Company Set up/Transfer Info
Gas Washington Gas How to start & stop your service
Electric Clean Choice Energy Setting up your electric
Water DC Water Start your water service with DC water

You can conveniently change your address in DC online. If you opt to change your address via mail, you will send two proof of residency documents and a completed DC DMV driver application form; you should receive your updated license within 15 days. Your local DMV can also assist you. Bring the following documents with you to the DMV: proof of Identity, proof of social security number, and proof of current district residency (2 required.)

If you’re moving to Washington, DC, you’ll need reliable Washington DC movers to help lessen your stress. Contact Suburban Solutions at (301) 928-8669 for a free moving estimate.

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