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Last Updated: 06/10/2023

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All About

Living In Washington, DC

Getting to Know Washington, D.C.

On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act was passed, creating the Federal District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C., home base to all three branches of the United States federal government and more than 680,000 residents. The "District" is comprised of eight separate wards, each featuring vibrant neighborhoods along with eclectic dining, shopping and entertainment.

Attractions and Landmarks in D.C.

No trip to D.C. is complete without a visit to the National Mall, home to renowned monuments, including the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. Book-lovers should be sure to stop by the Library of Congress, which houses over 164 million books and maintains the largest law library in the world. 

D.C. Neighborhoods

Washington, D.C. neighborhoods represent a wide range of options, as you'd expect in such a culturally diverse city. Some notable neighborhoods include: 

  • Foggy Bottom: Home to George Washington University, this is a favorite for students and the younger crowd. The area has been responsible for much of the industrial development of D.C., with a large concentration of breweries, glass makers and gas works.
  • Adams Morgan:  Noted for its diversity, this area hosts the annual Adams Morgan Day Festival, a must-see local event featuring live music, art, food and more.
  • DuPont Circle: Named for Civil War Union general, Samuel Francis DuPont, this neighborhood comprises the "Old Town". Queen Anne and Richards Roman revival architectural styles define the area's rowhouses.
  • Columbia Heights: This area is home to the renovated Tivoli Theatre, Howard University and George Washington University. 
  • Downtown: This is the official business district, located in the northwest, with numerous attractions, including International Spy Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Verizon Center.
  • Georgetown: With its cobblestone walkways and Georgetown University, Georgetown is a picturesque neighborhood and a go-to for fine dining and shopping.

Public Transportation and Commuting in D.C.

The Metro connects all four quadrants of D.C. to parts of Maryland and Virginia, making it ideal for commuters. There are three airports in the area, including Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Fun, Free Things to do in D.C.

Check out our top picks for free attractions in D.C.:

  • The White House: Tour the historic home of the nation's first family and learn about the history of such famous rooms as the Red Room, State Dining Room and the East Room.
  • Lincoln Memorial: Read the words of the famous Gettysburg Address etched into the side of this iconic monument.
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Check out the planetarium and aircraft collections on display at this family-friendly museum.
  • National Gallery of Art: From Henri Matisse to Claude Monet, the National Gallery of Art is filled with must-see works by renowned artists.
  • National WWII Memorial: Stop by this breathtaking memorial which honors the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives in World War II.

Top Washington, D.C. Adventures

Check out six of our favorite adventures as you get to know the city:

  • Grab the peanuts and Cracker Jacks to watch the Washington Nationals play at Nationals Park.
  • Rub elbows with your legislators (or at least eat in the same restaurant) at The Capital Grille, one of the city's top restaurants.
  • The DuPont Circle Citizens Association promotes the circle traffic area and offers tours of historical buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Capture great photos of the 555-foot Washington National Monument at Washington National Monument Park.
  • Visit the 17 museums and galleries owned by the Smithsonian Institution for an afternoon of discovery and exploration.
  • Head to FedExField to catch the Washington Redskins in action for an NFL football game.

Did You Know?

  • Do you know why American foreign policy has been described as "foggy?" The U.S. Department of State is headquartered in Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.
  • The Washington Nationals are the third Major League Baseball team to be based in Washington since 1901. The two previous teams, both called the Senators, moved out of the city to become the Minnesota Twins (1961) and Texas Rangers (1971). 

Family and Family Fun in D.C.

Kids have a blast exploring the interactive exhibits at the International Spy Museum, or spend the day at the Smithsonian National Zoo. D.C. is home to 59 different school districts, providing families with excellent school choices throughout the District.

Outdoor Living

Don't miss the world-renowned cherry blossom trees lining Tidal Basin that bloom every spring. Yards Park features a waterfall, gardens, a dog run and a boardwalk. The venue often hosts outdoor entertainment such as live music, free movies and fitness classes.

Getaways from D.C.

D.C. is close to the beaches of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. Cape May, New Jersey is a 3.5-hour drive and offers a variety of family-friendly weekend activities.

Washington, D.C. Communities

Washington, D.C., is one of the nation's most diverse cities. As most D.C. residents are very career focused, it can be difficult to find your social comfort zone and people to truly connect with. If you're new to the city, be patient. It takes time to develop a sense of community in D.C.

The best way to make new friends is to get involved in activities that interest you. The nation's capital has a wide variety of things to do and many interesting people. It's an easy city to stay active and there are many organizations that you can join to get involved in the community. There are a variety of resources to help seniors, military families and pet-lovers connect with one another and find support.

Senior communities in D.C.

D.C. is a great city for an aging population as there are many museums, historic landmarks and cultural institutions that offer educational opportunities. Seniors especially enjoy the ability to stay connected and volunteer at the hundreds of non-profits where they can contribute to social, economic and cultural development. Many resources are available to support the senior community and encourage an independent and a healthy lifestyle.

Agencies on aging

  • Department of Aging and Community Living is a D.C. government agency that serves residents 60 and older, adults living with disabilities and caregivers. Through partnerships with more than 20 community-based organizations, the agency provides community activities and events, healthcare and insurance counseling, transportation services and caregiver support resources.
  • DC Senior Advisory Coalition is an advocacy group that seeks to improve and expand services for D.C.'s older population. Subgroups focus on transportation, nutrition, housing and support services.

Social activities and organizations for seniors

  • Department of Parks and Recreation Senior Programs include sports, camps, aquatics, health and wellness programs and other social activities
  • Smithsonian Associates is open to all ages but is particularly popular among seniors. It's the largest museum-based education program in the world, offering educational and cultural programming covering the full scope of the humanities, sciences and arts.

Caregivers and healthcare suggestions for seniors

Whether you're looking for full-time or part-time care, D.C. offers a variety of caregiver options. While there are many national companies and websites offering caregiver services, the following are locally owned-businesses.

  • Georgetown Home Care specializes is a non-medical home care staffing agency that serves the Washington, D.C., Metro Area. The company offers a wide range of services including personal care, light housekeeping, errands and transportation.
  • ABA Home Health Care provides healthcare, including private duties, nursing services and home health care to children and the elderly. Nursing services include health care in a patient's home, assisted living facility or retirement center.
  • Home Care Partners is a private non-profit agency providing comprehensive home care services in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Their mission is to enable vulnerable people to remain in their own homes in comfort, safety and dignity. Their home care aide training institute provides continuing education classes for all of their employees.

Apartment Guide renting resources for seniors

Senior Living Renter's Guide is a great tool for seniors looking for places to live. It provides an overview of senior living options and resources to retirement communities, independent living communities, nursing homes and faith-based senior centers. This guide will help you weigh the costs and benefits of each option so that you make the right decision for yourself or loved one.

Military and veteran communities in D.C.

As the nation's capital, D.C. has a large community of active-duty military and veterans and many resources that provide support to their families. The D.C. Veterans Resource Guide provides websites and phone numbers to dozens of agencies that assist with employment, health care, housing, legal assistance and more.

Local organizations for active-duty military and veterans

There are more than 45,000 non-profit organizations in the U.S. that provide services for the military, veterans and their families. Many of them have headquarters and branches in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has compiled a directory of service organizations with details about their mission and the community that they serve. Many organizations provide support services, as well as social activities to bring people together.

Mental health and healthcare support for active-duty military and veterans

  • Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center is the only health care system that specifically provides care to Veterans. With seven locations in the capital region, the VA medical center provides specialized services and care, such as cardiology, home based primary care, women's health, trauma services, nutritional services, homeless outreach, substance abuse treatment, recreation therapy and a wide variety of Telehealth services.
  • VA Centers are community-based readjustment counseling centers that provide social and psychological services to veterans, active duty service members and their families.
  • National Coalition for Homeless Veterans focuses on homeless veterans' issues by promoting collaboration, shaping policy, ensuring accountability and managing a referral helpline for veterans.
  • Apartment Guide rental resources for active-duty military and veterans

    Apartment Guide offers a number of blogs posts and guides to help veterans, active-duty military members and their families with housing resources.

Pet-friendly communities in D.C.

Washington, D.C., is full of green spaces and public parks which makes it a great city for your four-legged friends. It's pretty easy to find a pet-friendly apartment or house rental in just about every neighborhood. The city has plenty of pet-related businesses, services and even outdoor dining hot spots that welcome well-behaved dogs.

Resources for pet lovers in D.C.

  • D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation manages about a dozen dog parks throughout the city. These are great places to let your pooch run off leash, as well as meet fellow pet lovers.
  • Bring Fido is a helpful resource for pet owners. It offers many services, including individual or group dog walks, dog sitting and grooming. It also compiled a list of more than 300 dog-friendly restaurants in Washington, D.C.
  • D.C. Dog Sitter is a boutique pet care company serving the D.C. Metro area. Services include walks, hiking adventures, feedings, play times and companionship.
  • District Pet Care is a locally-owned business providing dog walking and cat sitting services.
  • Dogma located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., provides outdoor and indoor daycare, overnight care and training for dogs

Pet Stores in D.C.

  • PetMAC Marketplace & Adoption Center sells a range of small-animal foods, toys, supplies and provides adoptions for dogs, cats and other pets.
  • Howl to the Chief is committed to natural pet and food supplies and located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Animal shelters and rescue organizations in D.C.

  • Humane Rescue Alliance -- District of Columbia Animal Care and Control rescues and cares for animals in need. This is a great place to adopt a pet or find affordable medical care for your cat or dog.
  • City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties is not a shelter, rather it rescues adoptable dogs and cats in overcrowded and high-kill shelters, where resources are severely limited.
  • D.C. PAWS Rescue is an all-volunteer organization committed to rescuing homeless animals from high-kill animal control facilities that are under-funded.

Apartment Guide resources for pet lovers

Apartment Guide's pet-friendly housing guide is dedicated to helping pet lovers find housing options for themselves and their furry friends. You'll also find a variety of articles on all things pet-related from housing to the best apartment dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washington

What is the average rent in Washington?

The average rent of a studio apartment in Washington is $2,039 per month. For a one-bedroom apartment it's $2,467 per month. For a two-bedroom apartment the average rent is $3,594 per month.

What is the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom in Washington?

The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Washington is $2,467

Are there any cheap apartments for rent in Washington?

For the best deal, we recommend using our cheap apartments filter.

You can also filter by price: Under $900, Under $1000, Under $1100, Under $1200, Under $1300

Are there any pet friendly apartments in Washington?

Apply Apartment Guide's pet friendly filter to see only Washington apartments that accept pets.

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Information is copyrighted and school data provided by GreatSchools.org. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Schools listed above are based on distance from the selected location and are just a sampling of the schools in the area. To find a particular school district, and how it relates to a specific apartment, please contact the apartment manager.

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