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Readers Respond: What Do You Love or Hate About Living in the Washington, DC Metro Area?

Responses: 28

By

Hate DC

I've lived in Chicago, Cleveland and Rochester before here, and this has been the worst experience as far as quality of life and living. Illegal immigration and crime is a problem. We've had car engine parts stolen, property vandalized, laundry stolen out of the communal laundry for our condo, etc. But we can't afford a 'normal' neighborhood. If you would like to give up any dreams of affording a single family home (live in a condo instead) , of affording day care, and having a decent commute where you don't sit in heavy traffic for hours every day, then don't live here.
—Guest Meghan

I hate it

The jobs are great.. the traffic is a nightmare.. and dating is horrible. Entertainment is excellent...but it takes a million years to get anywhere if you're single like me .. and live far out... just to get cheaper living..with more space. I don't like it here. and hope to get out of here. I liked it better when I was younger...but as I am older.. I feel like.. I'm wasting time.
—Guest Guest

DC

I have lived in 5 U.S. cities and 2 other countries. DC is the best for me, based on lifestyle and standard of living (v high). I can use my car to get to work, errands, day trips. Cosmopolitan people everywhere - diplomats, military, emerging markets ppl, non-profit, finance, politicians, lawyers, etc. A 30 minute drive can get me to VA vineyards, MD sailing, downhill skiing (MD, PA), and farther I can get to NC outer banks, Philly, Manhattan, or further into the mountains. Fantastic public schools and private schools in the DC/VA/MD area (and some bad). Great ethnic food. Fun national sports teams (hockey, basketball, baseball, football, college level as well), easy to get tickets and attend venues. Concerts are reasonably priced - at Verizon Center, 930 club, etc. Three airports so range of options and prices (DCA, IAD, BWI). Superb climate, summer seems like 5+ months, can get humid. Easy to get to and enjoy museums, performing arts, smithsonian zoo, etc.
—Guest Sronell

Ok for the short term

DC is fun in the short term and the single life, but I find the quality-of-life lacking as I mature. To afford any reasonable amount of space to live in, you have to move farther from the city. This means more hours in traffic and less opportunities to enjoy events in town, mainly because of the long commute and hassle with metro/parking. Lots of people move here temporarily to make a lot of money, get some experience, and get out. For that I think it's great. But once you have a family it gets tough - daycare is very expensive and there are long waiting lists, especially for the ones with good ratings. Many of the daycare providers are foreigners, meaning that English does not come easy and your children may pick up some bad habits.
—Guest Jennifer

Hope to Escape

We came to DC in September 2001 because I had been offered a doctoral scholarship. The program was not up to speed so I left and took a job with the federal government. We bought a small condo and began to live a little. But the job was silly and to get anywhere I had to go back to school and get a law degree (thanks Georgetown for 3 ugly years). Soon I was a GS-15 with a law degree and my wife was a CPA. We sold our condo and bought a home in AU Park. On paper it all sounds grand - good high earning jobs, well educated, nice neighborhood, etc. But I hate it. I don't have enough time to enjoy life. Work dominates my life to the point that I'm thinking about how much I hate it even when I'm at home. Housing is a joke relative to what we'd have elsewhere for the same price. Radiators. Come on. The people are silly and small with common hopes and dreams ($). I'm looking for work outside this area and hope I can escape before it is too late.
—Guest LookingOutward

loving the life

We really enjoy our life here. The climate is a sure bonus. Our favorite thing is we find something wonderful with each season and we must be having fun because time is flying by fast! Our absolute least favorite issue is interacting with service personnel with English as a second language. Especially when they have only mastered the very minimum and can not even convey politeness. Service personnel with no mastery of English at all, well it is just NOT good service. Embarassing and frustrating for all. We concur with the amazing ethnic mix, but ethnic isolation seems preferred as opposed to integration. Too bad, we could all gain so much. Public transportation is stellar and safe. Go for the adventure, enjoy the ride, you can always change course if the lifestyle doesn't fit.
—beamer5103

Lots 2 Do in DC!

The one thing I love about DC is they have so many things to offer, whether you want to tap dance, politics, art, whatever, DC is your place. It can be expensive but you can get around that like any other city, rent a room, etc. DC has great 1st time homebuyers programs if you are looking for a home. The Con, DC is building too MANY condos and that's annoying to me. I don't like overcrowded places and I see that happening here in the next ten years. The parking is horrible. I agree with that one. Traffic is horrible. All the roads need better concrete! When it snows, potholes everywhere...in the Nation's Capitol, shame! The school system is challenging, my best friend had to put both her children thru catholic school because the system sucks! Outside of that, enjoy!
—Guest Reem

Pro and Con

In the Greater DC area, the cultural, educational, athletic and social opportunities are unlimited. We are blessed with many wonderful things to do for free or very little money. Multi ethnic groups add flavor to the area. Many people are very materialistic to the point of being obnoxious as if money is their god.
—wolfytoo

Is everyone talking about the same city?

Maybe living within the city is good, which also means you are wealthy and can afford to do more. The museums are free, nothing else is outside a few random events. I live outside the city in Northern VA. TRAFFIC is a NIGHTMARE. This is where you will most likely have to live (or MD) to afford anything (I pay $1160 a month for 600 sq ft.). The people are mostly unfriendly and won't even respond to "Hi" or "how's it going". No common courtesy, you'll see that when you drive as well. The multi-cultural events are interesting at first, but after you've been to a few you get the idea. You also get this sense that its wrong to proclaim pride in your own local/american culture, liberal guilt?? The area is very touchy and politically correct. All ethnic groups tend to stick with each other. Many different ethnicity's which is good for diversity, but it's almost impossible to understand greeters,barbers,fast food employees, or any basic position that requires communication. I'm ready to move.
—Guest Keith

No Respect

D.C. has a lot of jobs, federal and private, but it is very expensive, crowded, and stressful. It is similar to New York, but the atmosphere is politics instead of Finance. Personally i'm tired of it after 5 years, but other people may love this type of environment.
—Guest Rodney D.

DC is a *Great* Place to Live!!

I agree with the pros -- so much to do here in terms of outdoors, cultural activities, restaurants, nightlife, roadtrips, fascinating people from all over the world. Re. the cons -- traffic is awful, BUT... you likely will NOT need a car to commute to work, so you likely will not need to drive during prime traffic hours. Real estate is expensive, but as others have mentioned, there are so many fun, FREE activities that really add to the quality of life once you can afford the rent or mortgage. However, one big downside is that there are not so many less expensive options to eat out... and many services such as getting a haircut are ridiculously high. And... the public school system is AWFUL, so once I'm ready to have kids, I'll head out to No. Va or MD because don't want to pay private tuition. Even so, I absolutely love it here more than any other place, and I've lived in beautiful Colorado, California, the South, outside Boston, Philly, NYC, and abroad.
—Guest Mel

Weather and Driving

I love the weather (roses at Thanksgiving!) most of the year (don't talk about August). I dislike driving when it's snowy or icy -- so many other residents don't have experience in that weather and it can be more dangerous than in some other areas of the country where more people are experienced with winter driving. Balancing that: lots of places close when it's snowy or icy, so I don't miss much if I stay off the road. All in all, though, I love it here.
—Guest JJ

Love the Area

This area has been home for over 20 years. I love that there is so much to do and we're so close to all the political action. I enjoy the 4 seasons, too. Though I wish we had more of a cultural identity.
—Guest Stephanie

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What Do You Love or Hate About Living in the Washington, DC Metro Area?

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