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16 Things You Miss When You Leave Washington, D.C.

16 Things You Miss When You Leave Washington, D.C.

Picture of Nicole Hampton
Updated: 4 November 2017

D.C. is one of those places that few people are originally from or make their permanent residence. So, naturally, there are often many who suffer wrenching themselves away from one of the greatest American cities. Even things that at first irked you about D.C. upon arrival, soon become nostalgic once you leave. Here are the things you’ll miss most about the nation’s capital.

Conversations that matter

It comes with the territory, the political territory that is. Being so close to where some of the biggest decisions which affect our nation and the world are made, can lead to some pretty heavy conversations. Once you leave, you might find it surprising that your new coworkers shy away from discussing international relations, military power, and the federal deficit.

Melting pot of people

The multiculturalism is strong here and, besides New York, it would be hard to find any other city that is as diverse as D.C. This brings a lot of qualities that are unique to a place where diversity is so high, including tolerance, inclusion, acceptance, open-mindedness, and the knowledge of and exposure to fascinating cultures.

Phenomenal food

Speaking of D.C.’s melting pot, the food that’s a staple in the city’s variety of cultures certainly adds to the diversity of cuisines on offer. From the small local restaurants to quality chains, the Afghani food truck kebabs to authentic curry dishes, there is no other food culture like D.C.

Sightseeing

Yes, even locals sightsee. Even if they don’t spend whole days and weekends dedicated to wandering around monuments and memorials, they still notice the picturesque city they live in on their commute to work, or catching an Uber into the city on a Saturday night. It’s common to have the blues once you can’t casually walk by the historical homes, Washington monument, or beautiful political buildings anymore.

The well groomed attire

People have a habit of looking good in a business- and singles-city like D.C. This well-to-do way to dress can be annoying for some, especially when the Ralph Lauren and J. Crew all blends into one big blurring mass walking down the sidewalks. But as far as a community of young business professionals goes, this is much better than seeing people going to the bar dressed in a Chinese-food-stained shirt and sweats.

Snow days

It’s not something only kids get to be excited over, and for some reason D.C. just doesn’t handle snow days well. It’s an annual thing that everyone still can’t function in. Maybe it’s because a lot of people from Florida and California make D.C. a temporary residence, or it could be the traffic is already so terrible without snow, that it’s just madness when the flakes start to fall. Regardless, Washingtonians get great snow days from it, so no one’s complaining about working from home.

Spring days

It’s a tough call as to which is better, the winter days off or the warm days leading into spring. Hibernation is fun and all, but the first few weeks of spring are lovely in the capital. Hello again, nightlife without the requirement of a puffy coat and layers of shirts. Bonjour, rooftops and beer gardens and outdoor activities and cherry blossoms. The spring in D.C. is always a cause for celebration.

The Metro

Yes, everyone complains about public transportation. Nobody wants to commute to work at 7 a.m., tired and cranky, with other tired and cranky people around them. But as far as commuting goes, it’s better than D.C. traffic, and it’s clean, functional, and efficient when there’s not a strike going on.

City layout

It makes a lot of sense, at least more sense than the layout of most other cities. It’s alphabetical and numerical crossing one another. Genius.

Music venues

When you think of music hubs, you typically think New York, Nashville, Chicago, New Orleans or Los Angeles. But D.C. really does have unique music venues like DC9, 9:30 Club, Black Cat, Gypsy Sally’s, and U Street Music Hall. They’re intimate and fun, and host some really talented performers.

Living in the D.M.V.

Living in D.C., western Maryland, or northern Virginia gives you the option of traveling to three different states in less than an hour. Each has a different culture and a lot to offer, and it’s great to have the country, city, wilderness, and quaint historical towns available to you whenever you feel like a weekend drive or a night out.

Free stuff

There’s no other city where you can get tons of education and culture for zero dollars. From the Kennedy Center having free concerts every night and the Wooly Mammoth Theater’s Pay What You Can performances, to the free memorials and beautiful architecture, and free admission to shows and museums. That’s not even mentioning all the stuff that’s close to free, including happy hours, comedy shows, gardens, music venues, and more.

The touristy stuff

Locals take full advantage of the touristy events, or at least they should. It may be a super-crowded expedition, but the National Zoo at night, the abundance of cherry blossoms that are only found in D.C. in America, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial, fireworks and events on the mall, are all part of the beauty of living here. So we’re able to accept the tourists that come with the touristy stuff.

Efficiency

Being a hub for ambitious and competitive businessmen and women, you get a lot done. At first, you probably find this annoying. Some coworkers will surely rub you the wrong way, or if you’re the type-A personality, they might not be fast enough for you. Then, you move to a place where they still fax things and really miss the high paced energy of the District.

Local artisans

D.C. has a thriving local markets scene to get your cousin’s next Christmas present at. Washingtonians really value the small handcrafted businesses and make it easy to find unique gifts all year round including food, décor, clothes, and much more from local artisans all over the area.

Being a part of the nation

When you’re in D.C., you feel like you’re more included in the monumental decisions made for the nation. Whether it’s a historical law passing and there’s much cause for celebration, or something is in need of a protest, you feel like, and sometimes actually are, able to be more in that moment of lawmaking and a part of national change when living in D.C.