It’s hard to believe that at the end of the month that I’ll be celebrating my 10 year anniversary of moving to Washington, D.C. I was an eager college graduate with a job on Capitol Hill & an eagerness to make my mark in our nation’s capital. I made almost no money & lived in a tiny apartment with a bit of a mouse problem. Luckily, three days after I moved here I ran into B (who I had lost touch with after we had a class together in college) & life would never be the same. Ten years later, I’m firmly rooted here. Here are 5 reasons I love the traditional, political, conservative, funky, challenging, wonderful city of Washington, D.C.
1. The skyline
Every time I travel to New York City, I’m struck by the skyscrapers & how they literally block the sky. We just don’t have them here because, thanks to the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, no building can be taller than the Washington Monument (& most buildings aren’t even close). This results in a low skyline where, walking down the street means you can see a pretty big expanse of bright blue sky or the sunset – we have amazing sunsets here.
2. The history
There’s no denying that if you’re a politics or a history buff, DC is the place for you to be. I am amazed, almost on a daily basis, that I get to commute to work by driving past monuments & memorials, honoring those who shaped our country. From meeting veterans at the World War II Memorial to standing behind a U.S. Senator at Starbucks, there are constant opportunities to to brush shoulders with those who have made our nation into the country we are today. One of the best things about soaking in all the history is that much of it is free or low cost to visitors. I could spend days exploring the Smithsonian museums, visiting the monuments, & just strolling down the National Mall (NOT a mall, BTW).
3. The smarts
The one thing that struck me immediately when I moved to DC was how smart everyone is here. I went from the Midwest, when manners & charm got you much further than a bunch of college degrees, to a place where I was surrounded by super smart people with PhDs on every topic imaginable. Sure, sometimes the politicians in the White House & Capitol don’t always make the smart choices, but I can assure you that their staff is crazy smart & always make their best recommendations.
4. We’re a city of neighborhoods
Like most big cities (New York, Philadelphia, Seattle), DC is a city of neighborhoods. Historic row houses dominate our city streets (I’m proud to live in one!) & American flags wave proudly on front porches. Our neighborhoods are urban & walkable & full of families & friendly smiles. The best part about our neighborhoods is that they’re easy for visitors to explore. The next time you’re in town, make sure to explore Capitol Hill beyond the Capitol building, hop on the Metro & come visit my neighborhood of Old Town in Virginia, or take a walk around Dupont Circle.
5. We aren’t who you think we are.
The name “Washington” has taken on a negative connotation over the last few decades. It has become synonymous with America’s broken government, PR hacks spinning the news, $600 toilet seats & lobbyists buying steak dinners. But I’m happy to report that much of our government is working just fine, most of my fellow hacks & I do very little spin, transparency is on the rise & I know a lot of lobbyists – many who I consider friends – & not a single one of them has ever bought me dinner. Oh, & those Members of Congress? Having worked for two of them & met countless more, I have potentially news to share: they’re just like us. Behind all the stereotypes, Washington, DC is actually just a hard working American city.
Have you been to DC? What did you love about it?