Moving to Washington DC - Guide for 2021

This is a complete guide for Moving to Washington DC. Get all the information you need to know about moving to Washington DC

Washington District of Columbia is one of the most attractive cities in the United States and is rated as one of the best places to live in the country.

Surrounded by beautiful green scenery and numerous parks, D.C. is rich in U.S. history with tons of breathtaking museums, monuments, and architecture.

Well-known for its excellent quality of life, amazing hiking and biking trails, and extremely high walkability rate (98/100), the capital of the U.S. is one of the safest cities in the country and the world.

Washington DC boasts of one of the highest-paying job markets in the country alongside a strong local economy powered by the government and private sectors, making it one of the most coveted cities in the country.

If you're considering moving to Washington DC, this guide contains all the most important information you need about the U.S. capital to make the right decision.

Let's get started! Here's a breakdown of what we're going to cover in this Washington DC guide:

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moving to Washington DC

Top 10 Reasons to Move to Washington DC

The District of Columbia is rated as one of the most livable cities in the country for numerous reasons. We've compiled some of these reasons to make it easier to make up your mind about moving to Washington DC:

  • Booming job market

    Washington DC ranks third in the country to find a job. You’ve got plenty of opportunities in all sectors — public, private, and non-profit. Regardless of who is in the White House, the job market in Washington DC remains strong.

  • High income

    As job opportunities are abundant, you take home a fat check than most of the neighboring areas. Be it the service sector, government jobs, or IT, the paycheck is higher in Washington DC.

  • Numerous beautiful parks

    Washington DC is not just about politics and historic monuments but the city also has amazing and spectacular parks. About 20% of the city is dedicated to green spaces and here’s a list of the best parks in Washington DC.

    • National Mall
    • Tidal Basin Loop Trail
    • Rock Creek Park
    • Bartholdi Park
    • Georgetown Waterfront Park
    • Dumbarton Oaks and Montrose Parks
    • US National Arboretum
    • Smithsonian National Zoological Park

  • Amazing outdoor scenes and activities

    Washington DC has got no shortage of outdoor recreation, especially in summer. From hiking, biking, and running to celebrations and festivals, Washington DC has got something for everyone. We’ve compiled a list of the activities to catch up on the outside.

    • Paddleboarding At The Key Bridge Boathouse
    • Picnic by the Jefferson Memorial At Night
    • Stroll At The Yards Park
    • Stroll Around The National Gallery Of Art
    • Segway Tours across The City
    • Trek to Lincoln’s Summer Cottage
    • Explore Rock Creek Park
    • Walk or run along the C&O Canal Towpath in Georgetown
    • Make your way down the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
    • Visit Roosevelt Island
    • Revel in the beauty of the U.S. National Arboretum

  • Wide-variety of amazing cuisines

    Washington DC is an incredible city with a very versatile taste palette. From avocado toast to Chesapeake blue crabs via Thai pumpkin curry and hangover-blasting old-school burgers, the city draws from a myriad of cuisines to fill your belly with waist-expanding goodness.

    Here’s a list of the mouth watering cuisines to relish at Washington DC

    • Avocado Toast
    • Saganaki
    • Half smoke
    • Khachapuri
    • Margherita Pizza
    • Kitfo
    • Falafel sandwich
    • Pork and Lychee Salad
    • Kimchi Ramen
    • Boudin Blanc

  • DC has multiple public transport options

    Unlike many other big cities in the US, Washington DC has a robust public transport system and you don’t need to drive within the city. Washington DC has the second-highest percentage of public transit commuters. While commuting within the city or suburbs, you can pick from the metro rail, streetcar, commuter rail, public buses, and cabs.

  • DC is a great city for tourism

    Being the capital city and home to unlimited historic monuments and political offices, Washington DC has got a great scope in tourism and it is one of the most visited cities in the country. As tourism flourishes in DC, it is bringing in huge revenues to the city coffers and also add up more job opportunities.

  • Experience all four seasons in a year

    Washington DC gets all four seasons. The weather is mild in comparison to many parts of the US. In winter, occasional snowstorms occur and temperatures often fluctuate above freezing. Spring is beautiful when the flowers blossom. The summers are hot and humid.

  • DC is surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery

    Hidden amongst the office buildings and row homes, some gorgeous places feel, well, quite magical. We’ve got 10 places in Washington DC to imagine you are in a fairy tale.

    • Meridian Hill Park
    • Dumbarton Oaks
    • Tudor Place
    • Hillwood Museum
    • Great Falls Park
    • Rock Creek Park
    • Georgetown
    • U.S. Capitol
    • Washington National Cathedral
    • Theodore Roosevelt Island

  • Vibrant entertainment and nightlife

    Washington DC has a thriving nightlife scene to cater to all of the tourists, university students, and government employees who need to let off some steam. The night scene is not just limited to booze and dining but there’s much more. Washington DC has got night museums, night performances, theaters, music shows, and bowling venues alive throughout the night till the sun rises.

pros and cons of whashington dc

Pros and Cons of Living in Washington DC

Here we're giving you the opportunity to weigh your options carefully about moving to Washington DC considering the pros and cons of living in the city:

The pros of living in Washington DC The cons of living in Washington DC
DC is a big city where big ideas thriveCrowded streets
The city is culturally diverseIt's not a car-friendly state
DC has a great public transport systemTraffic is terrible
DC is a walkers', bikers,' and riders' paradiseHigh cost of living
DC is the world's first LEED platinum cityExpensive housing
DC is a great place for sports fanPoor public-school system
Easy access to breathtaking museums and monumentsHigh crime rates in some areas
Great universities and collegesHigh stress level triggered by long work hours
Available diverse worship centersSummers can be harsh sometimes

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palces to live in whashington dc

What are the Best Places to Live in Washington DC?

Some of the best places to live in the entire United States are in Washington District of Columbia. We've compiled a list of the ten best places to live in the city so you'll have one less thing to worry about if you're moving to Washington DC.

Place Population Median Home Value Median Income
Au-Tenleytown18,855$973,793$178,534
Cleveland Park11,732$759,100$138,234
The Palisades3,598$1,188,500$166,149
Chevy Chase18,506$919,342$142,356
Barnaby Woods9,436$1,017,370$176,403
Woodley Park7,667$948,260$140,259
Kalorama2,608$1,335,200$134,859
Glover Park12,937$573,173$115,917
Berkley2,252$1,083,560$156,869
Georgetown14,118$1,056,531$150,426
cost of living in whashington dc

What's the Cost of Living in Washington DC?

The cost of living in Washington District of Columbia is based on a U.S. average of 100%. A percentage that is above 100 means the city's cost of living is higher than the national average. A percentage that is lower than 100 means such cost is less than the U.S. average.

The overall cost of living in Washington District of Columbia is 154.3%. This is higher than the national average of 100%.

  • Washington DC average cost of grocery is rated 114.1%
  • Washington DC average cost of healthcare is 88%
  • Average cost of housing in Washington DC is rated 244.8%
  • Washington DC average cost of utilities is rated 106%
  • Average cost of transportation in Washington DC is 135.3%
  • The average cost of miscellaneous in Washington DC is 110.7%

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How Is the Washington DC Rental Market Like?

Renting a home in Washington DC is fairly easy but the median rent price is higher than most other parts of the country. About 51.9% of District of Columbia residents are renters while about 3.3% of homes and apartments are open to rent.

Here's a simple breakdown of the state's real estate market:

  • The average rental cost in DC is $2,611 The U.S. average is $1,470
  • DC Studio Apartment is $1,424. The U.S. average is $821
  • DC 1 Bedroom is $1,469. The U.S. average is $930
  • DC 2 Bedroom is $1,682. The U.S. average is $1,148
  • DC 3 Bedroom is $2,200. The U.S. average is $1,537
  • DC 4 Bedroom is $2,709. The U.S. average is $1791

Are Homes Affordable in Washington DC?

You may decide to buy a home if you're moving to Washington DC. The median value of homes in the District of Columbia are higher than the national average.

To give you a better idea of how much you're most likely to pay for a home in Washington District of Columbia, we've compiled the most important data about the city's housing market to help you make the right decision. Here they are:

  • The median home value in Washington DC is $640,783
  • Washington DC home values have gone up 3.2% over the past year
  • The median list price per square foot in Washington DC is $552
  • The median price of homes currently listed in Washington DC is $599,900
  • The median price of homes that sold in Washington DC is $586,100
  • The median rent price in Washington DC is $2,700
  • In Washington DC 0.6 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000). The U.S. value of 1.2
  • Delinquent mortgages in Washington DC is 1.8%. The U.S. value is 1.1%
  • Washington DC homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 10.6%
job market in whashington dc

How Is the Job Market Like in Washington DC?

The job market is always booming in the Washington District of Columbia. The city offers opportunities for tons of high-paying jobs in various sectors. Up to 30% of the city's residents are hired by the government.

But how soon can you get a job if you're moving to Washington DC and how can you commute to work?

We've compiled key data about DC's job market to help you get started. Here they are:

  • Washington DC unemployment rate is 3.3%. The U.S. average is 3.6%
  • Washington DC recent job growth is 1.76%. The U.S. average is 1.59%
  • Washington DC future job growth is 33.74%. The U.S. average is 33.51%
  • 5.7% of Washington DC residents work from home
  • The one-way commute in Washington DC takes 30.0 minutes. U.S. is 26.4 minutes
  • 34.0% of Washington DC residents drive their own car alone
  • 35.4% of Washington DC residents take the mass transit
  • About 5.4% of Washington DC residents carpool with others

The Average Income and Salaries of People Living in Tennessee

So, how much are you going to be earning if you move to Tennessee?

Let's find out!

Best Places has some relevant data we can use:

  • The average income of people living in the state of Tennessee is $24,811 a year. The national average is $28,555 a year.
  • The median household income of people living in the state of Tennessee is $44,621 a year. The national average is $53,482 a year.
  • The state of Tennessee income per capita is $27,277. The national average is $31,177.

What Are the Top Industries in Washington DC?

If you're moving to Washington District of Columbia, chances are you're most likely to get a job in these industries:

  • Federal Government
  • Professional Services
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Higher Education
  • Real Estate and Construction
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Media and Communication
  • Creative Economy

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Who Are the Biggest Employers in Washington DC?

Once you move to the District of Columbia, what company should be on your list to work for? We've compiled a list of the biggest employers in Washington DC to give you a crystal-clear idea.

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Treasury Department
  • HHS.gov
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • United States Department of Defense

What Are the Best Companies to Work for In Washington DC?

There are so many great companies to work for in the Washington District of Columbia's booming job market. We've made a list of the best companies to work for in the city to make your job hunting easier. Here they are:

  • DLA Piper
  • The Carlyle Group
  • Danaher
  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Federal Deposit Insurance
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • General Services Administration
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Wiley Rein
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

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How Much Are You Most Likely to Earn If You Move to Washington DC?

The District of Columbia boasts of a lot of high-income earners. We've drawn a simple analysis of the amount you're most likely to earn if you move to Washington DC.

  • The median household income in Washington DC is $82,604. The U.S. is $60,293
  • The average household income in Washington DC is $121,698
  • The per capita income in Washington DC is $53,321
  • 16.8% of household in DC are high income households earning over $200,00 a year
taxes in whashington dc

Will You Pay More or Less Taxes in The District of Columbia?

Depending on where you are right now, moving to Washington District of Columbia could mean paying less or more in taxes. We've compiled the major tax information in Washington DC to help you compare apples to apples.

  • Washington DC income tax is 4% - 8.95%
  • Washington District of Columbia sales tax is 6%
  • Washington DC property tax is 0.55% average effective rate
  • Washington DC Gas tax is 23.5 cents per gallon of gasoline and diesel
whashington dc know for

What Is Washington DC Most Known For?

Washington DC is a world-famous city known for many great things. If you're moving to the District of Columbia, you should be aware of what the city is mostly known for. Here's a list of what Washington District of Columbia is well-known for:

  • United States Capitol and Capitol Hill

    The seat of the US federal government, United States Capitol on Capitol Hill is at the eastern end of the National Mall on a plateau 88 feet above the level of the Potomac River. The original building built in 1800 was destroyed in a fire in 1814 and was fully restored within 5 years. A perfect example of neoclassical style, it covers well over 1.5 million square feet, has over 600 rooms, and has miles of corridors.

  • The White House

    The official residence of the US President at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW is a neoclassical-style building. The construction took place between 1792 and 1800 using Aquia Creek sandstone painted white.

  • Lincoln Memorial

    At the western end of the National Mall, the grand Lincoln Memorial towers over the Reflecting Pool. The Greek Doric temple-styled monument was opened to the public in 1922 and has always been a major tourist attraction.

  • The Washington Monument

    An obelisk in Washington DC honoring George Washington, the first president, the Washington Monument is 554 meters in height and weighs an estimated 91,000 tons. Located almost due east of the Reflecting Pool, it is the tallest monument column in the world.

  • National Mall and Veterans Memorials

    National Mall refers to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial on the west and east to the United States Capitol grounds, with the Washington Monument dividing the area slightly west of its midpoint. The National Mall has art galleries, cultural institutions, and various memorials, sculptures, and statues. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is adjacent to the National Mall and is a 2-acre site dominated by a black granite wall with the names of soldiers who laid their lives in the Vietnam War engraved on it.

  • National Air and Space Museum

    The National Air and Space Museum is the second most visited museum in the US and exhibits aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts. The museum has an IMAX theater for out-of-this-world escapes.

  • National Gallery of Art

    It displays about 141,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, and new media tracing the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The museum is a neoclassical building and it is one of the largest and the most visited in the US.

  • National Museum of Natural History

    The world’s most popular natural history museum is situated at the National Mall and contains over 145 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts.

  • National Zoological Park

    The National Zoological Park or the National Zoo is one of the oldest in the US and has two campuses. The zoo is home to about 2,700 animals of 390 different species and one-fifth of them are endangered or threatened. The zoo campuses also have 180 species of trees, 850 species of woody shrubs and herbaceous plants, 40 species of grasses, and 36 different species of bamboo.

  • National Museum of American History

    Devoted to the scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political development of the United States, the National Museum of American History has more than three million historical objects — including the famed Star-Spangled Banner — and documents that explore the evolution of the American identity.

  • Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin

    The neoclassical Jefferson Memorial at the West Potomac Park is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the US and stands 4th on the ‘List of America’s Favorite Architecture'. Tidal Basin is a man-made reservoir adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial, covering an area of 107 acres.

  • Arlington National Cemetery

    The 639-acre military cemetery across the Potomac River, at Arlington County, was established during the Civil War and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery has graves of more than 260,000 service members who lost lives in different wars.

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture

    The museum at National Mall focusing on African-American history is an architectural marvel. The museum has a subtle profile in the landscape – more than half is below ground – with five stories above. The entire building is wrapped in an ornamental bronze lattice referring to African American craftsmanship.

Tip: When you’ve got a home to move in Washington DC, getting the best moving quote will be your goal. Request moving company quotes to save on moving cost.

schools in whashington dc

What are the Best Schools & Universities in Washington DC?

If you're moving to Washington DC and have school age kids or interested in schooling, we've compiled the best schools in the city for you. The following are the best schools in Washington District of Columbia including elementary, middle, high, colleges and universities:

Best Elementary Schools in Washington DC

  • Mann Elementary School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, PK-5 | 400 students

  • Lafayette Elementary School, District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, PK-5 | 816 students

  • KIPP DC - Promise Academy PCS, KIPP DC, Charter, K-4 | 520 students

  • Murch Elementary School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, PK-5 | 573 students

  • Ross Elementary School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, PK-5 | 174 students

Best Middle Schools in Washington DC

  • Deal Middle School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 6-8 | 1475 students

  • DC Prep - Edgewood Middle Campus
    D.C. Preparatory Academy Pcs, Charter, 4-8 | 332 students

  • Hardy Middle School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 6-8 | 392 students

  • BASIS DC
    Basis Dc Pcs, Charter, 5-12 | 598 students

  • Whittier Education Campus
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, PK-8 | 325 students

Best High schools in Washington DC

  • School Without Walls High School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 9-12 | 592 students

  • Benjamin Banneker High School
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 9-12 | 482 students

  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 9-12 | 566 students

  • Public, 9-12 | 566 students
    District Of Columbia Public Schools, Public, 9-12 | 1829 students

  • Washington Latin PCS - Upper School
    Washington Latin Pcs, Charter, 9-12 | 331 students

Universities and Colleges

  • Georgetown University

  • George Washington University

  • American University

  • Howard University

  • The catholic university of America

  • Gallaudet University

  • University of the District of Columbia

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