DC Life | Living in DC

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been incorporating more of my DC life into my blog. While that wasn’t my original intention when I started, I began to have so many DC adventures, and I didn’t want to keep them to myself. And so the “DC Life” tag was born.

I came down to DC in the fall of 2010 for grad school. I applied and was accepted to a few different schools, including one in Quebec, and I decided to move to DC because my dad lived in the area, and my mom was only a couple hours away in Pennsylvania (though I know I would’ve loved Canada). Maybe city life is more for me, but I easily adjusted and have been here ever since. While I am definitely open to moving somewhere else, like back to New York or Canada (still not ruling that out), I think DC is a great place to live, and here are a few reasons why.

Boas (Chinese Steamed Buns) at NaiNai's Noodle and Dumpling Bar
Baos (Chinese Steamed Buns) at NaiNai's Noodle and Dumpling Bar

Restaurants Galore: Within a one-mile radius of my apartment, there are two pho restaurants, three Thai restaurants, two Italian restaurants, four Hispanic restaurants, four sushi places, three sports bar, two non-Starbucks or Panera coffee shops, a SweetGreen, a FroYo, and about 25 other restaurants that I have yet to try. And all of them are amazing! This is normal in DC. Top-notch, non-chain restaurants galore.

Flowers at the United States Botanical Garden

Lots of Free Things to Do: Head down to the mall and you have the Smithsonian museums, and all of them are free. My two favorites are the Air & Space Museum and the American Indian Museum. If I'm not in the mood to go to a museum, I check out Free in DC or Eventbrite to find other free things to do like food tastings, fitness classes, festivals, and more.

National Press Club sponsored a workout by Tony Horton
National Press Club sponsored a workout by Tony Horton in 2013 (also this year, but I didn't go to that one)

Fitties Everywhere: DC is at the top of the chart for fittest city, and after coming from one of the most unhealthiest cities...well, this place is six-pack heaven. From boutique gyms, large chains, yoga studios, and more, there's something for everyone here. Not to mention the fittie happy hours, cooking classes, and networking events, if you're in fitness, you won't be disappointed. Oh, and if you are looking for something free and healthy to do, check out Active Life DC, they're great for finding free fitness classes.

Bahamadia at DC Loves J Dilla Tribute Concert 2014 at Howard Theatre
Bahamadia at DC Loves J Dilla Tribute Concert 2014 at Howard Theatre

Tunes & Beats: Like music? Most of us do and in DC there's a genre for everyone. So far, I've been to a classical string quartet at the Kennedy Center, I saw Johnnyswim at The Hamilton, I get my hip hop fix at Howard Theatre (saw PRhyme and three Pharoahe Monch concerts, plus the yearly DC Loves J Dilla Tribute Concert is held there), and even went down to Barracks Row to see a Marine band performance. There's also a lot of great independent artists here like Simone Arabia, Gods'illaRa the MC, and Navon Smith, but if you're into more mainstream music, well-known artists come through the Convention Center.

Natural Hair Capitol of the World: This probably means nothing to you if you aren't natural, but in DC, I see natural hair everyday, everywhere. From TWAs to locs to big fros, natural hair is a force here. There's a bunch of salons that cater to natural hair, and you can even take a how-to class. Plus, there's a natural hair show once every other month, in fact The Naturalista Hair Show is in a couple of weeks.

The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery

Geek Chic City: I don't really talk about it on my blog, but I'm a geek at heart, and DC has a lot of stuff to do if you're into it. Katsucon is held every year at the National Harbor, and there's a bunch anime associations in and around DC to join that have meetings, at least, once a month. I've been to a couple of Meetup groups centered around geeky things to do, and every bar has a trivia night (I'm not even joking, I feel like every DC bar has a trivia night). And if you're into more nerdy things, check out Nerd Guide.
Chad Mendes at UFC Fairfax
Chad Mendes at UFC Fairfax (this was the first UFC event in DC in almost 3 years)

Sports Fan Central: I will preface this by saying that MMA is the one thing missing here (although Ron Stallings and James Vick fight out of Maryland), but outside of that, DC is one of the few cities with a major league basketball, baseball, football, hockey, and soccer team. There's also a lacrosse team...and a Crossfit team called the DC Brawlers (I'm telling you fitness just runs through this city's veins)! And if you're a transplant like me, there's at least one sports bar in the area that caters to your team. Seriously, if you're a sports fan, this place is great!

Super Educated: The average DMV- resident has, at least, a bachelor's degree, and about 30% of DMV residents have a Master's or higher (the national average hovers around 8%). While I know some people may find it pretentious, I actually really enjoy this aspect of DC.

Dateable: I've read a lot about how it's hard to date in DC. Everything from everyone is unattractive to people are more concerned about status, but to be honest, I've never experienced this. For one, I stay away from the Hill. But I also go out and actually do things that I enjoy, and everything I've mentioned above (except the natural hair thing), I've gotten a date from/ was the date. So just get out there, find something you like to do, and everything else will fall into place.

This is just the tip of the iceberg to why I love DC, but of course, I can't mislead my readers, so I won't leave this post without touching on some negatives. The biggest is the cost, it is expensive to live here, I won’t lie. The average one-bedroom apartment in a nice area will run you about $1500-$2000 a month, with or without utilities, depending on where you live. And while homes and apartments are cheaper the farther out you live, it means you will probably have to deal with DC’s traffic, which is horrible. The average DC commute is around an hour, and I myself have been averaging an hour plus for the past two years (it will finally be under an hour come October, it’s a small blessing, but I’ll take it). And if you follow me on Twitter, then you know I gripe about the metro a lot. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a car, so by proxy, I have to love public transportation. But the metro can get pretty bad when there are delays.

Anywho, all of this aside, DC is a great place! If you're interested in moving here, I would definitely recommend researching and trying to spend a few nights here to get a feel for the city.

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