30 things I learned after moving to DC

20 March 2014

I moved from Boston to Washington DC in the summer of 2012. It was somewhat (mostly) random move, but one that was completely necessary for me. I recently came across a blog post by another transplant to DC – 24 Things I’ve Learned After Moving to Washington DC – and was inspired to create a list of my own.

  1. DC is more than just DC, especially when you are talking to someone who doesn’t live here.  I have literally heard conversations such as, “I’m from DC!”.. “Oh, what part of DC?” .. “Falls Church”.
  2. Any amount of snow is cause for panic.  Even saying the word snow will cause the area to shut down – government and businesses alike.
  3. The roads after 2 inches of snow in DC are 10 times worse than the roads after 2 feet of snow in New England.
  4. The humidity of a DC summer is unlike anything I have ever experienced… ever.
  5. DC is under an hour away from some amazing Virginia wineries.  Seriously, the wine is so good, I have actually started to like red wine.
  6. There is so much variety in terms of restaurants.  What started as a completely overwhelming number of choices has quickly turned awesome.
  7. Speaking of restaurants, there are so many amazing and delicious local restaurants and pubs here, that there is really no reason to go to a chain.
  8. Brunch is totally a thing in DC and it is absolutely delicious.
  9. Happy hours are also a huge thing here and they make going out after work actually affordable.
  10. You can buy alcohol in grocery stores and CVS in Virginia, but not in Maryland.
  11. Driving is often the most efficient and often the only feasible way to get from point A to point B, especially if one of these points is in Georgetown or outside the District.
  12. The first thing someone will ask you is “What do you do for a living?”  If someone is a government contractor, they will rarely elaborate.
  13. Non-profits are a huge industry here.
  14. Finding someone who does not work for the government or a non-profit is rare and sometimes met with surprise.  If two private industry people randomly meet, it is considered a minor miracle and they instantly bond over this fact.
  15. Whether DC is part of the North or part of the South is completely up for debate.  Coming from the North, calling the DC area the South can produce some pretty comical results.
  16. There is a weird rivalry between people from Virginia and people from Maryland, but as far as I can tell, no one seems to know why.
  17. There are many, many running and bike trails in the area.  As a runner, I love this.  There is even one that goes right by Reagan National.  If you are new to that particular trail that goes by Reagan, you will absolutely duck when a plane comes in to land.  It is that close.
  18. Speaking of running, there are races of all distances and themes all the time.  All the time.
  19. Walking up the Metro escalators is a legit workout.  Especially at Dupont Circle.  Bonus points for running up the Metro escalators.  Especially at Dupont Circle.
  20. The music scene in DC is fantastic!  There are a ton of great venues and listening rooms in the area and lots of them have shows every night.
  21. If you are into folk or singer/songwriters, house concerts are a huge thing here.  They are all about an hour away in Maryland, but totally worth the drive.
  22. Traffic happens frequently and randomly.  Even at midnight.
  23. Navigating the Beltway is an art.
  24. Construction, be it road or building, is a norm.
  25. Always, always look up the Metro status before leaving the house.  Especially on weekends.
  26. Speaking of public transportation, every town has its own bus system and, so far, I have yet to find anyone who knows how they work.
  27. Football is huge here.  Fandom in DC could rival that of Boston.  And despite the huge (obviously) Redskins following here, there are a couple of Boston-friendly bars in the area that will show Sox and Pats games.
  28. Finding someone who is actually from DC is rare.  So rare, that lots and lots of meetups and social networking groups exist.
  29. Enough people freelance and/or work remotely here, that co-working groups and spaces (both formal and informal ones) are everywhere.
  30. DC is far enough south that year-round farmers markets are relatively abundant.  And delicious.  I recommend the one on Saturdays in Falls Church.