Friday Question of the Day – What’s Your Favorite Part About Living in DC?


Well, the last several months we’ve seen a lot of crime reports and it’s starting to depress me. I’ll continue to post about it because I think ignoring that it is happening is not helpful either. But anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about today. Seriously. There will, sadly, be plenty of chances in the future but not for this post please. What I want to talk about and remember is why we love living in DC. I’ve been walking a lot in Rock Creek Park and it’s been making me incredibly happy. I also love visiting the rivers – both in Navy Yard and in Georgetown. I can’t wait to see how the 11th Street Bridge Park turns out. And the other night I had dinner at Izakaya Seki and it continues to be freaking amazing. And on the food front I’m also super eager to see how Slim’s Diner turns out. But anyway, I’m wondering what you guys are loving most about DC these days?

91 Comment

  • This is the first place I’ve lived where it’s not cool to be dumb. I’m surrounded by energetic, enthusiastic, smart people, and no one rolls eyes and says “haha, Ok, Einstein!”
    My DC people make me want to do better. I feel like I found my tribe without even really looking for it, and I find new people to add to it all the time.
    That, and RCP and Smithsonian and Rasika.

  • Love how much there is to do here, and so much of it is free! Museums, galleries, movies (at the museums and embassies), dancing, street festivals, and more! And I love how multi-cultural and vibrant it is. Plus it’s a great hub for traveling to other parts of the world. It’s very walkable and has lots of green. I feel very fortunate to be able to live here.

  • No city I’ve ever been to has serious woods like rcp. I’d say don’t spoil the secret but it’s so huge it would be hard to. And it’s best in winter months or in the rain when it’s empty anyway.

  • People – smart and engaged. Parks and open space – plentiful. Density and size – Not to big, not too small. Built environment and architecture – beautiful. Walkability and access – top notch. Weather – we complain, but really, winters are fine, shoulder seasons are perfect, and summers, well, you get used to them.

    • saf

      This is good, but I would change it a bit. Winters are tolerable at best, and I love the summer.

      Oh, and I would add – so many things to see and stuff to do!

  • I still love the older rowhouse architecture and tree-lined streets. When it’s quiet, it really is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve lived in.

  • binpetworth

    Not having to drive. I never want to have to own a car. Good sidewalks + a variety of transportation options + walkable amenities in my neighborhood (grocery store, restaurants, parks, etc.) mean I never have to. It’s a major reason I plan to always live in the city and not in the suburbs.

    Also, I’m someone who often takes advantage of the free museums and cultural offerings in the city, so that’s what keeps in DC as opposed to other walk-friendly cities.

  • justinbc

    I love the weather here in the fall, it’s definitely my favorite season.
    I love the skyline that doesn’t hide the monuments yet still looks impressive.
    I love that as soon as spring hits there seem to be an over-abundance of events every weekend for 5 months straight.
    I love how much free stuff there is to do in this city, and so much of it is actually really cool.
    I love that our brewery scene is growing so quickly (now the quality just needs to catch up).
    I love the diversity of the people you run into every day.
    I love Toki Underground.
    I love that most people seem to think progressive, even if they act conservative. And most people I encounter seem very educated, even if not all that smart.
    I love that seemingly every month a new burger place opens up (even if that means another one has shut possibly down).
    I love that the different neighborhoods within the city really do have different feel to them, even if half the citizens claim we’ve stripped them of culture and distinct characteristics.
    I love how much people love to debate here, and that sometimes people even change their mind as a result.

  • Being able to walk everywhere is huge for me. I absolutely love my neighborhood (Mt. P) and how close I am to RCP. I love how I can say “hey are you watching the debate tonight?” and people know what I’m talking about without any explanation. I think people are generally pretty friendly here so that’s a plus. DC UNITED. Overall I’m thankful to live here. Happy Friday!

  • Ally

    I love that I could explore a new restaurant every day if I wanted to, and it would take long time (if ever) before I ran out of options. I love that everyone in DC is doing something interesting; always. I love that, if I was short on cash, I’d have a multitude of free options to occupy my weekends. I like the pride that residents feel in their communities despite often difficult circumstances (like the stabbings and robberies and rape my neighborhood has suffered this week). I love that we have seasons here; the leaves outside are beautiful. Oh, and Ethiopian food. It gets its own special shout out.

  • Free museums. I grew up in the area and I’m always confused for a second when I go to a city that requires payment.

    • Me, too! All those elementary school field trips when I would whine, “not the Air & Space Museum again!” – now I realize how lucky I am. I still haven’t been to the Newseum because it’s so hard to have to pay for it (though I hear it’s totally worth it and I will go – one of these days…)

      • Do you have a BofA card? They have a deal such that on the first weekend of each month, you can go to various museums around the country, including the Newseum, flash your BofA card and matching ID, and get FREE admission. Just went earlier this month. Saved $45 for two tickets! I guess that makes up for a few months of banking fees they charge.

  • skj84

    The people, the culture, the walkabilty, the free events, the diversity and the intelligence! I love my wonky city!

  • I love that I can eat the cuisines of different countries every night and it would take a while to run out of options. I especially l ove Kaz Sushi.
    I love spring in this city even if my allergies hate me.
    I love our neighborhood – we have one or two really bad egg houses, but everyone else has welcomed us with open arms. Literally. A older resident wrapped me in a big old hug the night we were moving in. I love the diversity of our neighborhood – I grew up in a place where everyone expected everyone else to be/think just like them.
    And like others have said – I love that this is a city where being smart is cool. I moved to Arizona for a while and I was so frustrated by the people not caring or wanting to know anything beyond their lives!

    • Ugh, I grew up in Arizona (Scottsdale to be specific). There are with out a doubt some good people I grew up with still there, but I think there is a reason most of the intelligent girls/women I went to highschool with moved away, and most of the ones who have stayed are botoxed sticks with boobs.

  • The circles and angled streets, the trees. Think how boring it would be if all was just a grid square.
    The diversity and beauty of the people, the international feel.
    The extended family-like tolerance and support of liberty for DC folk.
    The perfect traffic signal timing, ha!

  • I love when “off the beaten path” stuff becomes popular it still retains character, like Union Market. Love the walkability, like around Eastern Market and Barracks Row. Nats games and Shake Shack. Zoo and RCP. My neighborhood, house and most of my neighbors.

  • I love that people, both new comers and life long residents, are committed to making the city better. I grew up in a poor rural community where most people just accepted their lot in life or just left to find something better.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I love how it’s a city but has the feel of a small town.

  • FtLincolnLove

    I love the passion and energy of DC and the people who live here.
    I love that there is always something new you can learn or do in DC.
    I love the open-mindedness of the people in DC.
    I love our skyline.
    I love brunch in DC.
    I love the passion about DC sports. Even when our teams (*cough* Redskins *cough*) continually disappoint us, we are still die hard fans.
    I love being able to call DC home. There is just so much this city has to offer, and I am thankful everyday that I am able to live here.

  • Being able to walk/bike/take transport everywhere, and the fact that not owning a car is seen as normal.

    The architecture. It’s inspirational to walk around historic buildings every day. Also the lack of skyscrapers–I like living in a city but I have to be able to see the sun.

    The embassies and international culture. And so many opportunities for language exchange, bilingual happy hours, etc.

    Of course the museums, libraries, and cultural institutions. Not just for personal enjoyment, but because it also gives me a lot of job opportunities!

  • Walkable and bikable! Rowhouses and individual neighborhood character. Plus, no matter what you’re into, you can find interesting events, groups and activities.

  • I love living in such a beautiful city. It’s walkable and easy to get around. I love that it’s not too crowded. I love all the hiking trails through Rock Creek Park and all of DC’s green open spaces. I love that we have interesting people here doing interesting things.

  • I like the blogs that give us a voice!

  • Can I just say I love (and second!) pretty much everything people have said here, and that I love this question and people’s obvious love for their home!

  • I love being able to walk, run or bike to just about any location in this city. Not having to own a second car has been a huge bonus since moving here from the West Coast. Also, access to nature in Rock Creek Park– go from urban to nature trails in minutes.

  • I love being able to run around all the monuments and seeing so many other active people out there in the early morning hours. Love being able to bike/walk almost anywhere. Love trying out all the new restaurants and going back and enjoying the ones I really like. Love all the community events that happen through out the city.

  • DC gets a inordinate amount of good shows/concerts largely in part to its close proximity to other major East Coast cities. I often discover new music from an act and then have the opportunity to see them live within 6-8 months. No matter what you’re into – from obscure acts at a small venue to huge arena shows at the Verizon Center – there is almost always a musical act to see.

    • palisades

      +1. It really is awesome how many shows we get. I think it’s because we’re right in the middle of all the east coast cities, so it makes sense logistically to come here. Whenever a band announces a tour I know they’re going to come here. It’s the little things!

    • Yes! And the 9:30 Club is such a fantastic venue.

      • Agreed!
        And I don’t think it’s an “inordinate” amount of shows — the D.C. metro area has a large population, so it makes sense for acts to schedule shows here. And the proximity to NYC/Philly means that touring acts don’t have to make a major detour to come here.

    • +20
      We get almost all the same shows that NYC gets, but in smaller venues and with cheaper ticket prices.
      I <3 NYC, but I don't miss living there.

  • Standing at the top of the 13th st hill and watching the planes fly over the Washington Monument
    Running/biking past the Jefferson Memorial and stopping to watch the sun set over the Tidal Basin.

    The fact that people flock here from all over the world, and yet just a few blocks way you can escape the madness and think you live in just a normal city

  • I love that we seem to get much more than our fair share of strikingly beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

  • Now to make me feel sad for splitting time between NYC and DC…
    I love that most places are accessible relatively by bike and walking. It’s a beautiful city and has so many wonderful cultural aspects – history, museums, art and music, and incredible people.

  • I love that I see national monuments while I’m just running around town. I love that so many people here have progressive values and are passionate about social justice. I love that it’s so easy to get to just about anywhere from DC. I love the culture: obviously, the museums, but also the variety and quality of the theater offerings, the live music, the neighborhood galleries, the film festivals. I love that there are always new restaurants opening, and that most of them are going to be really good. We may have a lot of certain types of restaurants, but I think that overall we have a good variety. I’m not sure I could be happy in a city that had less to offer

  • This is nice, Dan! Agree with so many other people’s comments, and:
    – I love that people are generally really friendly. After doing a fair amount of traveling in the past few years, I think that people here are friendlier than in your average city, and you can strike up a nice conversation with a stranger.
    – I love seeing people read and talking to people about books. I love that people are generally knowledgeable and value knowledge and engagement. (We watched the first Republican debate in the basement of Meridian Pint. It was packed, the sound was on, and people were totally into it. Only in DC….)
    – I love that it is a diverse and international city with people of all races, religions, orientations, speaking different languages, etc.
    – I love the nerdy thrill of seeing motorcades, or the president’s helicopter landing at the White House. And I love seeing the Mall from the air flying into/out of DCA.
    – I love the interesting, creative, and growing restaurant and bar scene.
    – I even love Metro – gawd it’s been terrible lately, but overall we are much better off having it.

  • Adult Snow Days.
    Yes people love to complain about poor plowing or shoveling, our region’s inability to handle snow, or that we freak out at 1 inch of the white stuff – but I love it. No other city in the US shuts down completely when it snows. Its great to have a snow day and relax. Slow down, have fun, and be a kid again. DC – never lose the inability to deal with snow – its one reason I love you!

    • “No other city in the US shuts down completely when it snows.” I think you’re forgetting about Atlanta and various other cities south of Virginia.
      That said, I too love adult snow days, and am a little disappointed that the increasing emphasis on telework means (depending on where you work) fewer or no snow days.

    • My mother used to say that was how the Soviets could win the Cold War – invent a snow machine, aim it at Washington, and watch it all grind to a halt.

    • I wouldn’t say the city shuts down when it snows. The Feds do, and the metro might run less frequently, and some people get to telecommute, but I think most of us still have to go in unless it’s actually a lot of snow.

  • I love the trees; I love keeping my windows open at night and listening to the sounds of birds, wind, and seeing the blossoming trees. You really get a sense of fall here.

    I love how intelligent and driven people are in this city; everyone is trying to get ahead and new friends always want you to be the best you.

  • All of the above plus the Potomac River and Washington National Cathedral.

  • Egad

    I really love wandering down DC’s row house filled streets in the fall. Neighborhoods like Foggy Bottom, Shaw and Capitol Hill that have the really tiny row houses all lined up, with their yards full of pumpkins and gourds. It totally transports me. Makes me feel like I’m in a small town somewhere rather than the big city.

  • It’s so, so pretty here. I love that there are incredibly old, historic buildings cheek by jowl with new ones. I love being able to walk everywhere. I love the Smithsonian, and the fact that it’s free. It’s a major metropolitan city, but it doesn’t feel like one.
    I love it here.

  • In addition to the weather, walkability, and the open/not cramped feeling of the city, I love being around nerds. I realize that’s what some people hate about DC, but I really love that most people have some issue or expertise that they are passionate about and generally people here – even those who don’t work in politics, etc. – are more informed than your average person.

  • +1 to:

    1. Walkability. It isn’t just the fact that the city it is compact, it’s that there are so many others walking around too. When I am back home in Oakland, I’m usually in a very walkable area, but there aren’t many pedestrians. It just feels dead.
    2. The people. Last night I went to a birthday dinner knowing one person, but ended up having a good conversation with half a dozen others. That has not been an infrequent thing for me in my 6+ years in DC.
    3. Fall and Spring. Hell, even summer. I’m one of those weird ones who actually likes the heat and humidity (except when having to wear a suit, then I hate, hate, hate it).

    I’ve come to really like DC. There is no other city on the East Coast I’d rather be. It’s just the right size and has a lot going for it. If it weren’t for family and my roots being in CA, I would have probably settled here permenantly.

  • I love living in DC for so many reasons. I don’t have to own a car (for over 11 years now), stopping into free world-class museums, sitting in the Sculpture Garden during the summer when the fountains are going, discovering new public art after living here for years (the other weekend we found a Calder we never spotted before outside of the American History Museum), how hard people work here and how passionate many of them are about their jobs, great breweries and beer bars…
    Also, being able to join the crowds on the street when amazing things happen, like when Obama was elected and re-elected, or the Supreme Court found gay marriage was constitutional. .

  • I love how green it is here – between Rock Creek Park, the Mall and great neighborhood parks. It’s city life without the grittiness of NYC. I can walk to places to hike, kayak, bike, paddleboard…

    I love our proximity to three airports – including an “easy” airport for domestic travel with DCA and two good international options. And being on a coast, it’s pretty short to get to Europe.

    I love our proximity to the mountains and beaches. That I can drive a little over an hour outside the city and be “in the country.” My friends and I escape to hike or rent a house out there often – so we get to be both urban and rural people.

    Easy train access to Baltimore, Philly, NYC and Boston.

    I love that you can meet lots of different crowds – the politicals, the internationals, the social justice types, the academics… but that pretty much everyone is driven by some inner passion what they do + doing good.

    And I too love the row houses and charming neighborhoods and walkability. I actually really live mostly in a 15 block radius and I’m perfectly fine with that. It feels very small town day to day.

  • –ALLEYWAYS that you can cut through!
    –Air-conditioned subway platforms (experience waiting on a NY underground subway platform in summer, in contrast!?!)
    –Rock Creek Park
    –Well-meaning people
    –Happy Hours Galore

  • nightborn

    I love that DC is super diverse, full of ambitious/intelligent/educated residents from all over the world. I love that there are lots of trees and greenery everywhere – no concrete jungle here! I love the beautiful homes/streets with character, no two houses are the same in most neighborhoods. I love all the great restaurants and nightlife. I love that DC is super walkable, with buses and taxis and Uber available so I can avoid Metro. 🙂 I love that DC is so clean (compared to most other cities). I also love that in my neighborhood, gay couples are able to walk down the street holding hands and no one looks twice.

  • Trees.

  • In light of all the postings about crime and bad stuff happening in the city, reading the responses has made me remember why I moved from the burbs into city 6 yrs ago. Thanks for a great Friday question!

  • This is a great question and one that I have thought about a lot over the years.
    First of all, it’s home. I grew up here and am rooted here. I have lived elsewhere in some great places (Seattle, NYC twice, small-town coastal Maine) but every time I have left, at some point I am pulled back to DC. The last time this happened, I had a little talk with myself and said “Just stay!” and so far so good – twelve years with no itchy feet!

    So what is it? (In no particular order…)

    I love the size of the city – big enough to have more than its share of great stuff, but small enough to feel a part of all of it.

    I love that we are so often the center of national/world attention, although simultaneously I am very proud of the hometown city that takes all that in stride. (OK, is totally blasé about it.) And I am aware of the city’s shortcomings, but those in no way outweigh the positives. I love the people here, the people from here, because there are a lot of people from here, maybe more than you realize, who remember how it was ‘then’ (again, the good and the less-good.)

    (OK I love the people who’ve come here, too, though since high school I’ve thought of them as ‘summer people’ either interns actually here for just a few months, or even the professionals, putting in their 2-4-8 years before returning to … where ever. Although I know not everyone leaves.)

    I love the stuff that people from elsewhere laugh at us for – snow panic, first among them. (Once of the comical aspects of a place that can be as self-important as often accused.) I love being a ‘company town’ – where national news is local news; and that you can tell when Congress is out of town, by the way the pace of the city changes; and on hearing helicopters over my apartment, I think “Oh right, the President is coming back from – [where ever he’s just been]”. And that motorcade going past my office at the right time of day and going the right direction, is the VP heading home. (Shhh – don’t tell.)

    I love the way everything stops on a Sunday when the Redskins are playing, especially during Dallas Week, or an important game, or just when the Skins are good. (And wish that the Nats & Caps drew the same attention.)

    I love that world-famous museums and galleries are here for my pleasure. I love that people come from all over the country because they feel it’s important to see Washington, at least once. (And although I let the tourists have the Mall from Cherry Blossom time until after Labor Day, I am often in the museums in the winter.)

    I love spring here, even if it only lasts a few days (and although you know the awful summer is coming.) I appreciate that so much of what makes the city beautiful in spring is a result of the Park Service taking meticulous care of so much of the green spaces in the city, as paid for by the nation, and that that is matched by homeowners taking as much care of their little townhouse lawn, or their big wooded lot in the edges of the District.

    I love fall here because it is such a relief after a DC summer.

    I love the environment, both natural and built – the monumental and the neighborhoods. It’s not for nothing that I became a planner & urban designer; how could I NOT, growing up among all this? I long ago decided that there is something about the landscape here, the look of the city and the region that suits me; other places have awed me, but this is the view that ‘fits my eyes’ and that is part of what draws me back.

    And that’s enough for now.

  • It seems that I keep finding new reasons to stay based on where my life is.

    I originally came here for an internship and stayed for the music scene. Then I came to appreciate the low rents (ha!) while traveling back and forth to NYC.

    Now, the proximity to three major medical centers, because I am going through diagnosis for a rare disorder.

  • Blithe

    It’s my home. My parents were born here, my grandparents lived here, and many of the most meaningful remnants of my personal and family history are here. Being here is coming home.

  • Great Question. I like having Politics and Prose in town. I like sitting outdoors at Bread Furst enjoying home made chocolate chip cookies just like the ones I grew up on in Appalachia.. I like that there are many options re transportation (biking, walking, bus, trains etc). I like our police chief, Cathy Lanier. I like the variety of places to see movies especially small films. I like that you can get out to the country pretty quickly by bicycle.

  • DC has all the amenities and infrastructure of a major city (due to being the capital of the U.S.), but with much less population density. And it’s still a bargain compared to Boston, SF, or NYC.
    Decent weather for the east coast. Warmer and less precipitation than the Northeast. And not as disgustingly hot and tropical as the South. It’s a happy medium. Still, nowhere near as nice weather as in California 🙁
    The average person here is smarter and better read than the average person you’ll meet in any other city in the U.S.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I also love that when I travel and people ask where I live, upon hearing, “Washington, DC” their faces light up in a way that no other city I’ve lived in does. It’s like DC is a magical land that everyone has heard of, but never met anyone that lived there.

    • saf

      And then they ask you, “Maryland or Virginia?” and you have to pull out ID to prove you live in the district!

  • For me, it doesn’t get much better than DC. Walkable with beautiful architecture and parks everywhere. Just the right size and density. The full spectrum of seasons, without the neverending winters you get further north. Brilliant, compassionate, people that challenge me to do more and be better. Culture everywhere. Cute dogs everywhere. Watching the city constantly change and grow. And no one giving me or my fiancé a hard time about being a same-sex couple.
    Sometimes I think about what other cities I’d be happy in, that have all these features that are so important to me. I’m not sure there are any (in the US anyway).

  • Since I agree with everything that has already been said, I’ll just say “ditto.” Not only can I not think of any other city that I’d rather live in, I can’t think of any other neighborhood in DC I’d rather live in than Adams Morgan. I’ve been here for 21 years, and have flirted with moving several times, but couldn’t find a better neighborhood for me. I love walking down the street and hearing 3 or 4 languages being spoken. I love the architecture, the quirkiness, the old stand-by spots as well as the constant turn-over of businesses. And even though I no longer participate, I still love the madness of Friday and Saturday nights on 18th St since back in the day I was one of those 20-somethings stumbling home at last call. At times I think I’m just stuck in a rut and lack the will to make a change in my life, and then I walk out my door and remember why I love this place, and it will remain home.

  • I love living in a city that is 91% Democrats. Smart, educated crowd. And I love that it is common for restaurants and bars to show political debates, primary returns, and election night watch parties just as frequently as sports.

  • Jobs. If you have a college degree, there are jobs to be had.

  • So many things! The cultural amenities, especially the free museums and film screenings. The historic architecture, especially rowhouses from before 1920 or so. The “manageable” size of the city, in terms of building height, geographical size, and population. The trees and green spaces. The presence of so many educated and intelligent people. Walkability and public transit — WMATA is great in concept, even if often frustratingly executed. Spring and fall. The federal government’s presence insulating the job market somewhat from recessions.

  • There’s always a new place to explore here in D.C. I moved here about 8 months ago after being away for 10 years. So much has changed and all for the better. One of the most wonderful and surprising parts of the city is all of the street art in neighborhoods like Shaw and Petworth. Really falling in love with D.C.!

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