Pros and Cons of D.C. Living

Pros and Cons of D.C. Living

Spending the summer in D.C. has been eye-opening in many ways. More than anything, it has taught me how to be secure in my own independence.


Living on your own for the first time, no matter where you are, can be challenging. It may seem a little more daunting to be out on your own in a major city, but the experience is incredibly valuable. That being said, every city has its pros and cons - here are a few of the ones for Washington, D.C.

Pro: Free Activities!

You can’t talk about D.C. without mentioning how many free things there are to do. It can almost be overwhelming trying to decide how to spend your time. It is possible to plan a vacation to D.C. without spending any money on activities. Entire days can be spent in the National Zoo, the Air and Space Museum, and the Museum of Natural History alone. In fact, most of what you will find off of the National Mall is free to see and explore.


The National Zoo

Con: Tourists

The nation’s capital has always attracted hordes of tourists. It’s an unavoidable aspect of living in D.C. but it is not intolerable so long as you have some patience. Tourists have a tendency to clog the escalators in the Metro, which is perhaps the most annoying thing. However, if you enjoy people watching, tourists can be amusing. Sit outside the Museum of American History and you are bound to hear several disagreements between family members.

Pro: Happy Hour

It is also hard to talk about D.C. without mentioning the amazing happy hour deals. Close to The Washington Center's Residential and Academic Facility is TD Burger. For five bucks, you can sit down with a burger and a beer. While you should definitely research the best happy hour deals here, I also recommend walking down H Street and seeing what you stumble across.


A meal at TD Burger

Con: Costs

My theory is that D.C. has amazing happy hours to make up for the fact that nearly everything else is expensive. From souvenir shops to the nearest grocery store, you have to be smart in how you spend your dollar.


That being said, you can still live comfortably here without the biggest budget. A shuttle provided by TWC will take you to Walmart where the prices are much more reasonable than the Giant grocery store down the street. You can also take a streetcar on H Street to my personal favorite grocery store - Aldi. At Aldi, you can conceivably load up on basic groceries for the week and spend no more than thirty dollars.

Pro: A Focus on Learning

If you’re like me, you have always loved sitting in on lectures and watching Ted Talks. In this city, there is no shortage of educational events to attend. As a bonus, many of these events have free food and sometimes, if you’re over twenty-one, free alcohol. I encourage you to attend lectures for anything and everything. If you are particularly political, try going to an event hosted by a political group you don’t agree with or belong to.


Representative Raskin speaking at a D.C. protest

On a different note, protests are integral to the D.C. community. Find a protest you are passionate about and attend it while you're here. You might even hear from a special guest or two!

Pro/Con: Public Transportation

Public transportation in this city could belong in a category all its own. D.C. does not actually occupy that much space, but public transportation can be tedious and time consuming. At the same time, motorist traffic can also be overwhelming, so I would discourage bringing your car with you.


A strangely empty Metro train


One of the things I miss the most about my home is the independence and convenience of being able to jump in my car and drive wherever I want to go. Here, there is a bit more planning involved in daily activities. For instance, times that the Metro opens and closes must be taken into account if you don’t plan to use an alternate form of transportation, such as Uber or Lyft.


What other pros/cons does Washington, D.C. have? Feel free to add yours in the comment box below!


Read Sara's previous blog posts

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