7 Things You Need to Know If You’re New to DC



So, you just moved to Washington D.C.? Congratulations! You’ve come to a great city full of culture (tons of free museums), fabulous restaurants and bars, and everything else that urban living has to offer. And with every city comes a unique set of quirks and customs.

Here are the 7 things you should definitely know if you plan to make DC your new home.


Walk on the left, stand on the right.

Ingrain this into your mind. While probably not unique to just Washington, here, this rule is strictly enforced by all who use public escalators, especially in the metro. You will get yelled at, pushed against and basically everything short of mauled if you are standing on the left side of the escalator during rush hour at Metro Center.

And as a side note, when you do make it inside the metro during rush hour, at a station like Chinatown, it may be wall to wall crowded with commuters waiting for the next train. When that train arrives, please let people get off of it first before you try to embark. There is nothing that holds up the metro more than someone attempting to wedge themselves on the train when the doors have barely even opened (except maybe track fires, which seem to happen more than they should).

The President (or Vice President) passing you on the street is annoying, not exciting.

Sure, if it happens the first time, it’s pretty cool and you really get a sense you live in the capital of the United States. Any time after that though, it’s just a hassle. Not only is traffic held up, but it’s also really loud, and you run the risk of running right into a tourist who decided to stop everything in the middle of the sidewalk just to watch.


It’s all about networking.

We just love to network here. Even if you don’t like or are simply not the best at networking, for some reason you still feel compelled to do it. Maybe it’s the fact that in a city like Washington D.C. it’s all about who you know, whether you’re working on Capitol Hill, at the State Department or are in non-profit. But don’t fret if going to a happy hour where you have to wear a color-coded name tag based on your industry sounds overwhelming. Join one of our social sports leagues instead! It’s a much more casual and natural way to meet people, we promise.

Learn the difference between Uber Pool and Uber Express.

The DC novice will think they’re calling an Uber Pool and wait at their current spot, unaware that they actually called an Express, which requires them to walk a couple blocks to meet their driver. Then they get mad when they have to walk and there are three other people in the car. Uber Pool refers to you getting picked up at your current spot and sharing the car with other passengers. Uber Express means that you still share the car, but that you walk a few blocks to meet your driver at a more convenient location for them. Make sure you know which one you’re calling to avoid delays and mishaps.

Also, get used to using both. Sometimes taking an Uber (or Lyft) is cheaper than taking the metro, and it just seems to be the way DC prefers to travel.

DMV means DC, Maryland and Virginia.

It does not stand for the dreaded place you go to renew your driver’s license in this case. Since large parts of the two states make up the suburbs of Washington D.C., the whole area is referred to by this acronym. It would behoove you to get familiar with not only the city itself, but also these suburbs, as they tend to be very urban and have as much going on as D.C. itself.

Not everything has to be about politics.

Yes, Washington D.C. is known as a political town, but there is so much more to it that is worth exploring. Don’t get so caught up with the Capitol Hill crowd that you lose sight of all the culture. We’ve got so many free museums for you to discover, plenty of charming neighborhoods, art shows, murals, outdoor festivals and more. Underneath all that political drama is a whole different city.


We’re kind of big foodies here.

Washington D.C. actually has a lot of great restaurants and all different types of cuisines. Washingtonians love everything from happy hour, to tapas, to bottomless brunch (all three are very big here). The nice thing about a city like DC is it’s not huge, so you more or less know what they all are. That’s not to say that there aren’t enough places to eat, but it means that once you’ve lived here for a while, you’ll be able to easily identify your favorites and confidently recommend them to others.


#FrayLife Tip: Speaking of brunch, are you obsessed with bloody marys? You’ll fit right in here with our killer bloody mary scene.

This just begins to scratch the surface of all the intricacies of this city, but hopefully it’s a helpful place for you to start living your best life here. If you’re looking for more information on things to do around DC, check out our neighborhood guides to every hopping spot in each area.

And if you’ve been here a bit, add what you’ve learned about living in Washington D.C. in the comments below!

View More Articles By Masha Bernam



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