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Moving to Washington D.C.! Tell me where to live!

  1. Apr 17, 2015 #1

    MarneMath

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    Howdy y'all. So due to something called "career progression" I got put in charge of some project in Washington D.C. so i'm moving there pretty soon. My problem is that I literally know nothing about the city! My wife and I currently live in Atlanta (Virginia Highlands area if anyone is interested) and would really love to prefer to live in the city limits of D.C. So question! Anyone have good recommendation on what are good neighborhoods in D.C. (ie safe, able to walk to places, maybe a park nearby to run in?)
     
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  3. Apr 17, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    Do you have kids? How much can you afford on housing? What do you like to do? The answers to these questions will have a big impact on where you choose to live.

    DC is bisected in the middle by Rock Creek Park. This is a large, fairly undeveloped park, with its signature creek. There are interesting areas near the park. Lots of people use the park for jogging, biking, etc. there are lots of apartments along Connecticut Ave. which follows the park up from DuPont circle to the Maryland line. Most of these neighborhoods are walkable, with restaurants, etc. I lived up on the far North of DC off of Connecticut Ave. for a number of years. It was quiet, safe and quite walkable to restaurants, wine stores, shopping. From North to South are Chevy Chase, Van Ness, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, and Du Pont Circle. This road also follows the Red Line of the Metro System.

    DC has changed a lot since I lived there. Many areas that were kind of dicey many years ago are gentrifying rapidly.

    I always liked the area of Connecticut Ave. around the National Zoo, but it was a bit out of my budget back then.
     
  4. Apr 17, 2015 #3

    MarneMath

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    Thanks for the response! I have two little kiddos. As for housing, my wife and I both work and earn pretty decent salaries. Our current home in Atlanta is priced at 700k, so not sure how that translates into DC prices since from what I have heard DC is a more expensive city. As for hobbies, the reason why we prefer city living is because my wife and I really enjoyed going to a local community bar and hanging out with other locals. We enjoy museums, classical music, opera, and exploring new restaurants.

    Despite our income, we really don't enjoy living in exclusive neighborhoods. We want a place that is diverse, open, and will expose the kiddos to different people from different backgrounds.

    I looked into Penn Quarter and so far it seems like my favorite neighborhood! Although DuPont Circle is a close second.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2015 #4

    Quantum Defect

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    Penn Quarter is very urban. We went to a performance at the Folger Theater near there, across from the verizon center. It struck me as being very much concrete and asphalt.

    Du Pont Circle is more "residential" in feel. You might also look at Adams Morgan and Woodley Park. They are close to Du Pont circle, and somewhat similar in ambience, with Woodley Park being a bit more quiet. I once heard someone say that Adams Morgan was the most linguistically diverse neighborhood in the country. All of these neighborhoods have lots of nice, small restaurants with some bars. Having a car is a liability in these neighborhoods, since parking is scarce. If your kids are small, any of the trio of neighborhoods are close to the National Zoo. The zoo is free, and abuts Rock Creek park. The trio of neighborhoods are next to the Red Line. A few stops away is the National Mall, with all of the museums. A lot of the classical music events will be at the Kennedy Center, which isn't really close to any residential areas, but you would be close by cab.

    If this is a short-term move, you might be better off renting. There are lots of nice apartments in the area. Condos are expensive, and houses are very expensive.

    You should definitely visit first. There are some funky small hotels in the Du Pont circle area.

    DC is a very walkable city with lots going on. I think you will enjoy your time there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  6. Apr 20, 2015 #5

    Borg

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    I know someone who lives near the National Zoo and she loves it there. To address the safe part of your post, it always helps to check the local crime statistics. DC has a crime map to help you check out the neighborhoods that you're interested in.

    If you don't have to be within the city limits, I would consider Arlington, VA and the old-town area of Alexandria, VA. I've lived in Arlington and have friends in Alexandria.
     
  7. Apr 21, 2015 #6

    MarneMath

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    Hey Borg, thanks for the answer.

    My question now has to do with commute. I'm open to Arlington and Alexandria and I understand the area has pretty decent public transportation. So with that in mind, how long would you say a commute from those places to near the White House?
     
  8. Apr 21, 2015 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Arlington is big. Your time may well be dominated by the time to get from where you are to the right Metro station. Ballston to Farragut West at 8AM is 13 minutes. Crystal City to Farragut West is 13-19 minutes.
     
  9. Apr 21, 2015 #8

    Borg

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    Here's a http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm [Broken]. Alexandria and Crystal City are just a few stops on the blue line from Farragut West (which is the closest to the White House). My wife used to take the blue line from Crystal City to Metro Center and her commute was about 20 minutes. During rush hour trains run every 10 minutes.

    My wife said that I have to tell you about a site called City Data Forum. She hangs out in the Northern Virginia forum and says that there are a lot of very helpful people there. From what she's told me about the posts, one of the biggest issues is cost of living shock. 700k will get you a place to live in the area but people often expect the same size house that they previously had - that isn't happening.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  10. Apr 21, 2015 #9

    MarneMath

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    Thanks everyone for the great replies. The cost is definitely a bit of a shocker for me. My wife who went to school at NYU is a bit more used to it, so she's doing her best to reassure me that I made a good decision. My daughter is pretty excited about moving to a city with 'trains'. I'll go ahead and check out those forums you mentioned, so thank your wife for me!
     
  11. Apr 22, 2015 #10

    Quantum Defect

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    The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has a trip planner that is fairly useful for timing trips on public transport.

    www.wmata.com

    It will do address to address plans. If you know where you will be working, you can "time" the morning and evening commute to various possible places where you are considering living.
     
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