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

Responses: 29


What's it like to live near the nation's capital? Tell others why the Washington, DC metro area is a great place to live and/or share some of the challenges that you cope with every day.

Love Cheap Culture in Washington DC

The article is spot on with the pros and cons of living in Washington DC. My favorite thing is the variety of free/cheap cultural opportunities. We take my kids to all the Smithsonian museums, many of which have free kids performances. The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. The Sculpture Garden jazz series. There's always something free and interesting to do.

It's a Fascinating City

There's always so much going on in DC. It's a great place to be if you like to be busy and immersed in cultural activities. I've lived here for 5 years and am always amazed by things that I haven't yet discovered. It's an expensive place to live but you can always find free things to do. It's pretty easy to get around by Metro but parking a car is pain. You have to plan extra time to get just about everywhere because you never know when you will be delayed by traffic.
—Guest Sonya

Wish I could go back to DC to live

I was born and raised in DC during the 50's and what a wonderful childhood I had. The Loews movies, Tivoli movie, Woodworth and Lothrop. Christmas in DC was amazing with the store windows, Glen Echo, Merridian Park and more. I grew up on 16th and U street and from our roof we would watch the fireworks from the Washington Monument. Have lived in Maryland since I was 15 and wish I could afford to go back to DC in a nice condo - not Virginia folks but DC.
—Guest Helen Davis


I really wanted to live in DC when we moved here seven years ago for my significant other's work. There are plenty of positives to living in DC: museums, decent climate, and lower unemployment rate (approx. 5%) to name a few. Some negatives: housing is out of reach for many (we're fortunate that we can afford a 900 sq ft condo--that was 2x the price at less than half the space without a 2 car garage and large yard of our single family home in the Midwest), traffic, traffic, traffic, and employment is not the best for older workers. For example, I came here in my mid 40s with many years of design management experience and found myself competing for jobs with eager young professionals who have great educations and little experience who are willing to do the same job for less than half my salary...I say let them have it. Looking forward, I await the next chapter and hope it's someplace else but until then this is home and I'll enjoy all that DC has to offer.
—Guest Artist

DC Is great

DC is a great city and I have come to love it having been here twelve years. It's got great culture, restaurants, bars, green space, job opportunities. Even the Government is finally coming around. It continues to become every day more of a thriving, living city you can live and work in-- not just a place to commute to. Thank you, Tony Williams, Adrian Fenty, Michelle Rhee, and Natwar Ghandi for getting us this far. Now lets get it across the line!
—Guest Logan

Horrible, awful place to be relocated to

We were relocated here last year. Being a military family you learn to adapt and enjoy each place you're stationed as a new adventure, usually falling in love with the place in a couple months, D.C. however has been a nightmare that I cannot wait to get away. Within the first two months I knew that this was a place we would never return to, ever. The locals are either supremely arrogant, rude, slang talking, dangerous drivers who think they are entitled or nerdy, boring professionals who lack personality. It's unbelievably crowded. The streets, housing, stores, the sidewalks etc. No privacy! The expenses of living here (even being higher up in rank in the military) we barely make it each check between food, gas and high cost of living, no children, just husband and I. Its outrageous!!! I can't tell you how many times this city has brought me to tears just in the last week. I loath this place. Do not move here if you wish to keep your sanity. No paycheck amount is worth the horrible conditions.
—Guest Guest

DC was GOOD to me

I was born and raised in DC, enjoyed summers in Rock Creek and Potomac Park. I worked in the gov't and life was good. I relocated to North Carolina in 2008. Why? I simply wanted a change. Yes, DC is expensive and my retirement takes me further in the Carolinas. You have to get to know DC and all it has to offer before you slander it. If you're from out west, find a home in Crofton, Odenton, or inner city if you can afford it. Everywhere has crime and you can't escape the ever changing times, so be realistic. Be true to yourself and your desires and it'll all come together. What's good for some, may not be good for you. It is, what it is.
—Guest formerdcgirl

I loooooove DC!

I live in DC proper and absolutely love it! The culture, the people all the amazing restaurants right in your back yard. I'm from Boston and also spent three years in Manhattan. I think DC has a great mix of the NY culture (museums (that are more affordable), restaurants, etc...) and Boston history (all the amazing monuments and sites all over the city). In addition, I feel that DC residents have a better work/live balance. The city has great work opportunities but at the same time it's not all work and no play. I'm thrilled with my decision to move to DC!
—Guest Vera

Only good for work experience

I've been here for a long time, having moved from a midwestern city. I have always hated it here (in the Maryland suburbs), but find it hard to match the job opportunities that are so abundant in this area. It is great for work experience, but don't expect to raise a family here. High crime, apathetic people, ridiculous housing and grocery costs.
—Guest alfoa

Not diggin` it

Hello. My wife and I have lived in D.C. for almost 3 years now `n we can`t wait to get out. I have found this city to be utterly devoid of any kind of SOUL. While downtown looks beautiful...avenues that stretch to the edge of the earth, all lined with perfectly manicured trees and regal looking buildings, you get nothing back! Everything`s perfectly in place but there`s no "vibration". Native Americans might say it is NOT sacred land. On top of that, straight up, Washingtonians SERIOUSLY need to check their sense of entitlement. Everything is theirs and they want it NOW. There is no sense of community or compassion here. I have a theory as to what might be at the root of this... because D.C. is such a ridiculously expensive city to live in, the majority of people work here but live somewhere in MD or VA. So, in essence, each day these people "rent" D.C. Don`t tell me they`re gonna treat the city the same way as those neighbourhoods in VA or MD that they are truly invested in
—Guest G

DC is Expensive and Boring!

I am looking to leave DC at my next opportunity. The cost of living is extreme. I live in Bethesda, MD and pay $1900+parking for a 750sf 1br apartment. Ridiculous! You'd think I had a view of the Capitol or something, but instead my apt looks out onto a gas station. The people here are full of themselves, and only care about rubbing elbows with important people. Traffic is horrible. Rush hour never ends. In most other cities our combined income would be outstanding, but in DC we are poor. There is a new murder on the news almost every night, and nobody seems to care. Anything you leave out will probably be stolen, especially a bicycle. DC has no culture like other big cities, despite being a "melting pot" of a lot of different cultures. There is no local food or other cultural icon that people think of when you mention DC. It's all money and politics.
—Guest mlj

I thought I would love it

D.C. has so much to offer and I thought that I could love it. I have a small house in Capitol Hill, got a decent-paying job, and live close in enough to walk many places. However, this city is so full of crime and filth and other soul-killing stuff. I can't believe that my quality of life is so much worse, especially now that I am paying twice as much to live here as in my last city. I love my job and don't want to move, but am certainly considering it. The Smithsonian and other museums, cultural spaces etc. are all beautiful but you can't live in them! I guess it's fine if you like being robbed, harassed, and living with terrible city services and an unresponsive city government. Sure, in that case, it's a terrific city. If you live in D.C. and never need anything from anyone, you'll be fine. But if you do experience crime and other problems in your neighborhood, you are on your own.

DC is overated!!

Moved to DC area because of my wife. I told her we have one year to stabilize before we head out. I agree with a lot of the previous posters. The most popular perfume sold here is called "Arrogance" because almost everyone I have met has the stench. Having formal eduaction is good but most folks here are prideful and materialistic. The few folks I have interacted with have asked me: "Do you have a degree?" When I state to them I have a master degree, they give an approving nod. I would hate to think what they would do if I told them I had no formal education. Rent/Real Estate is beyond reach for most folks. All of my co-workers rent. You need to secure a high paying govt job to make it. Working two jobs to survive can kill your quality of life. I miss my home state (Wisconsin) humble people, Packer football and great quality of life.
—Guest Bobby

Moving Back to DC

I am originally from DC but lived in most of the major metropolitan areas Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, to name a few....and there is nothing like DC. There is so many opportunities for professionals, as well as programs to help people find jobs, training with no college education etc... As already mentioned there is so much to do for free. Although, it is expensive to live, traffic sucks, and winter are freezing...the quality of living is still great. I found in California that to survive & live in a decent neighborhood; people have to rent a room to strangers. I love also that DC is a melting pot, and it help you stay motivated and up to date in whatever career you are in because you are usually working with smart, educated people that stay on top of things. I cannot wait to move back and enjoy/take advantage of what DC/MD/VA have to offer :). Believe it or not...not too many cities have plenty of job opportunities.
—Guest Sunshine

Great Place to Visit...But....

Ah, I don't even know where to begin to start. Here are the pros of DC: DC is an absolutely GORGEOUS city! Broad, tree-lined streets, interesting styles of architecture, and a beautiful park. Also, there are TONS of great ethnic eateries and TONS of free cultural events. Mix in you a low unemployment rate (compared to the national average) and you've got a decent place to live. Cons: The people. Yeah, I said it. DC has by far some of the most materialistic and superficial people here that I've ever met. It seems like people here are only interested in two things: power and money. Also, the cost of living is out of this world. If you want to live in a decent place and live in the Beltway, be prepared to drop at least 1800 a month on rent. Salaries are higher but that is negated but the expensive cost of living. I can already tell that I'm only going to be here for a year or two......

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