12 things to know before moving to dc
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12 Things to Know Before Moving to DC

DC Guide

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12 Things to Know Before Moving to DC

Washington DC is best known as the home for US politics, but there's so much more to the nation's capital than what happens in the White House or on the Hill.

Families, students, singles looking for true love, military personnel, young urbanites, and longtime residents who've seen the city go through years of change call DC home. So, what do DC movers need to know before making their move? Well, more than they might think for it is one complicated town.

#1: Vehicle Registration Is Easy

When you live in the DC metro area, the DMV has nothing to do with getting your vehicle registered. You'll hear DJs and RJs mention events in the DMV, which refers to the District, Virginia and Maryland.

So, consider learning this, and your Motor Vehicle Authority searching will be much less confusing. If you, however, need to register your card, you might want to check out the DC-DMV.

#2: Moving Companies

Professional DC movers provide an easy time as you relocate. They have the expertise and skills to make sure you have a smooth transfer, so hiring a moving company is worth considering. These professional movers are trained to make sure your belongings are handled with care to avoid damage.

Hiring a moving company also ensures you arrive at your new place in time so that you get enough time to settle down. Simply tell them what you need, and they'll tailor your services and match you with a highly-qualified team for your move.

#3: There Are Many Big Name Industries In DC

Although DC is best known for American politics, there are other industries in the metro area and the city.

Hilton Worldwide has its headquarters right outside of the District in Virginia. Many healthcare and tech companies are set up both inside and outside of DC too. If you want to move here and aren't into politics and stuff, just dig a little. There are tons of non-political jobs in DC.

#4: Know Your Street Grids

Washing DC is a city of quadrants. It's within the Beltway, but the city is sectioned off into 4 pieces.

The Capitol building is at the center point. Note that the stress addresses may get a bit confusing. Therefore, make sure that you pay attention to the SE, SW, NE, and NW in the street address.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the quadrants aren't the same sizes, so your address might switch quicker than what you expected.

#5: DC Is a City of Transients

Washington, DC is full of politicians, embassies, lobbyists, consultants, and military personnel that are constantly moving around the country and across the world. The rental market and housing may shift when the president of one party moves out, and the one from the opposing party moves in.

Consultants come and go, and military members are reassigned. DC is a transient city, and for that, it's actually easy to meet people and make friends since everyone's new.

#6: DC is Below the Mason-Dixon Line

DC is "technically" in the South. However, you'd never figure that out based on the politics of the town.

The Virginia side is very much "southern" compared to the Maryland side of DC. In the District, two of these sides merge as different political parties come to power every once in a while. Also, the availability of sweet tea is spotty; just know where to look.

#7: History is All Around You

If you love history, then you will love living in DC. The history in DC is not just about presidents and senators.

The city played a key role in civil rights history, the women's suffrage movement, and the labor movement. There is a reason many middle school Social Studies classes take special field trips to Washington DC.

#8: There are Many Good Schools in DC

Like many other cities, DC gets a bad name for its schools. Well, the misnomer is if you want your child to get a good education, but at the same time you're not willing to pay for private schools, you need to consider moving to the suburbs.

Suburban schools are great, but there are some neighborhoods with excellent elementary and middle schools worth investigating like Wesley Heights, Cathedral Heights, Kent, Grover Park, and Chevy Chase DC.

#9: Traffic is the Worst

Really. Traffic is quite miserable. While the metro is well-utilized, it can go down from time to time. If you're someone who drives during rush hour, consider finding alternative means of transportation, such as biking, walking, metro, taking the MARC train, or anything else but driving.

Sadly, even during the off-hours, traffic can build up for no apparent reason. Congestion is here to stay, so you need to learn to deal with it.

#10: You Can Easily Find Affordable Housing, Even Downtown

DC is quite an expensive city to live in, and there's no denying that fact. However, there are places, even downtown, which is much affordable. If you're craving city life, you no longer need to move to the suburbs. All you need is to find the proper real estate agent to get you the place you prefer in town. Now there are many websites from which you can get a shared accommodation.

Currently, Petworth, 16th Street Heights, and Anacostia are hot spots to look.

#11: DC Has a Great "New" Food Scene

DC has always had some amazing food, so don't get us wrong. However, it has usually been centered around potatoes and meat, or stuffy Frech food. In the past 10 years, DC has seen revitalization, bringing talented young chefs who're taking local ingredients and making amazing things with them.

Union Market is the perfect example here. It's a great place to sample different bites. Also, DC finally got into its coffee business, and now you can get an excellent brew outside of the walls of Starbucks.

#12: You Are Surrounded by Free Museums

DC is the land of many great museums, and most of them are free.

All of the Smithsonian museums are absolutely free. While they might have special paid exhibits, if you want to see the T-Rex each day for the rest of the year at the National Museum of Natural History, please go for it.

The National Geographic Museum, Spy Museum, and Newseum, on the other hand, are a sampling of the pay-to-play museums in town.

Wrapping Up

We hope you liked our list of things to know before moving to DC. Oh, and before you leave, here's a small tip for you: Walk left, stand right. That is the rule when you are on the escalators or stairs in the Metro stations.

Many of the escalators are quite long, and during rush hour, you wouldn't want to stand in the way of busy commuters.

That said, did you find this article helpful?

Share your thoughts and recommendations with us in the comments below!

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