- Download our Moving to Washington DC Guide (PDF)
Those moving to Washington, DC, will surely have queries and concerns about their soon-to-be new home. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about life in the US capital.
How do I find cheap accommodation in Washington, DC?
Although the cost of renting property is very high in DC, it can also be easier to find affordable short-term rentals at certain times of the year. There's a large student population in DC that usually vacates for the summer. Sub-letting apartments over university holidays is a cheap means of first renting apartments in the city. Universities also often rent out unused student housing during the summer months.
Alternatively, choosing to live outside of the city centre will decrease accommodation prices. Towns on the border of Virginia and Maryland are also an option for those working in DC but looking for cheaper rentals and don't mind a lengthy commute.
What is the job market like in DC?
The largest employer in Washington, DC, is the US government, but there are also opportunities in sectors like defence contracting, lobbying, non-profit organisations and publishing. The service industry is also thriving, and new arrivals may be able to find a job in education, hospitality, healthcare, or finance.
Is it safe in Washington, DC?
Unfortunately, more crime occurs in Washington, DC, than might be expected of the capital of the US. This is largely due to the unequal distribution of wealth in the city. Safety precautions, as taken in any cosmopolitan centre, should be used to minimise risks. Newcomers should be vigilant when taking the metro late at night.
What is the weather like in DC?
The summer months of July and August get extremely humid, with temperatures hovering around 86°F (30°C). Winters are coldest during December and January, when temperatures can drop to freezing. There's also occasional snowfall during this time. Spring and autumn, on the other hand, bring lovely, warm weather to Washington, DC, and are the favourite times of the year for visitors to the city.
What's a big adjustment you had to make in Washington, DC?
"I had to adjust my perception of time; I used to think I would have time for everything. Now, not so much; I find myself having to really follow a schedule if I want to succeed at completing my daily tasks. That was also a cultural shock because everyone here is doing the same; so, in order to make it into their schedule, I have to announce it in advance." Read more about Gustavo's experience as a Peruvian living in DC.
►Learn more about living in the US capital in Lifestyle in Washington, DC.
Are you an expat living in Washington DC?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Washington DC. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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