DC Living: DC Culture

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Like I’ve said before, I’ve lived in DC for a little over a year now.

There are just some things that are a little bit different than what I am used to. It seems normal now (for the most part) but was strange when I first got here.

  • On escalators, if you value your life, you will stand on the right so people in a hurry can walk up the escalator on the left.
  • Charges for plastic bags. Bring your own reusable bags. Otherwise stores charge five cents/bag.
  • Happy Hours and Brunches are big things here. (This might just be my personal preferences, but I am not really into either).
  • Running and biking are normal — year-round. Yes, people bike in the snow.
  • But when it DOES snow and things close, the city SHUTS down. For northerns, it’s a great time to explore the museums brave enough to stay open. It’s GLORIOUS because no one is on the roads.
  • DC sidewalks – dangerous in all kinds of weather. In the summer, you figure out what side is mainly shaded because it’s dang hot. In the winter, you figure out where the sliver of sunlight can shine through to melt some of the ice. (*sidenote: someone yelled at me for walking on the sidewalk last winter… they said I should walk in the road, which is at least plowed a little bit — DC doesn’t clear their sidewalks — it’s up to residents) Rain, well, it makes it slippery.
  • Speaking of rain… it’s just as bad as snow in DC for shutting things down/not motivating people to GO ANYWHERE!

DCers — what else am I missing?

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DC Living: Travel (Cars)

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Having a car can be a good thing.

But then you weigh the pros and cons and notice that it’s ok to live in DC without it.

Pros:

  • You have freedom to explore the DMV* more than a few miles.
  • You can escape the city at any given point.
  • Group outings
  • Can lessen travel time

Cons:

  • Registering your car at the DMV** (I hear this is nightmare-ish)
  • Tickets (our church actually budgets for tickets for their church van)
  • Gas prices
  • Tickets
  • Parking (usually metered or parallel or zoned two hour parking)
  • Did I mention tickets?

I’ve lived for over a year without a car. I’m not great at asking people for rides, but my roommate definitely is. Now that I’ve figured out more bus routes, I am better, but you definitely want to make friends with people with cars. 🙂

*While most places DMV stands for Department of Motor Vehicles, in DC DMV stands for DC, Maryland, Virginia.

**In this instance DMV actually does stand for Department of Motor Vehicles.

DC Living: Travel

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In DC, WMATA is your friend.

OK, so maybe there are metro problems. Lines close. You have to be flexible and plan around it.

But for the most part, I am rarely in a hurry when using public transportation. I do not use the metro for my commute — I take two buses.

That being said, if you DON’T know, there’s a 7-day bus pass you can purchase on the WMATA site for $17.50. If you ride the bus more than 10 times/week, it actually works in your favor. I take the bus to church as well, so it’s a good deal for me.

Buses go pretty much everywhere, so I’m glad I’ve mostly overcome my fear of sitting next to strangers (man, the school bus I rode when I was younger could be so brutal while sitting next to older kids…).

App I use: DC Metro Transit
Includes Metro Map, Next Bus/Train, Trip Planner and more.

Cars are another story in DC… Next post will cover that…