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The best places to live in Washington, DC
The capital offers a range of accommodation options. There's a variety of areas and suburbs in Washington, DC, to suit every lifestyle, from those wanting to experience the buzz of city living to those preferring a quiet life in the leafy suburbs. Where a new arrival chooses to live in DC ultimately depends on their lifestyle preferences and budget.
Areas close to the city centre, such as Adams Morgan and Georgetown, are perfect for young professionals and students. Meanwhile, Dupont Circle and Anacostia are ideal for those moving with a family to Washington, DC.
As a result of the city's unique location and proximity to the neighbouring states of Virginia and Maryland, newcomers will find that it's even possible to live outside of DC and commute to work in the city daily.
Young and trendy areas of Washington, DC
Washington, DC has a fairly large student population, and plenty of young graduates flock to the capital to start their careers. There are lots of areas close to the city centre that cater well for this demographic.
New bars, eateries and trendy fashion boutiques are constantly springing up to serve the younger market. Rent tends to be pricey close to the city centre, and these areas are most suitable for those with a higher disposable income.
Close to the city centre, Adams Morgan is a cosmopolitan part of DC that has traditionally been popular with expat communities hailing from Central America, North Africa and the Caribbean.
Despite the gentrification and the construction of high-cost housing complexes, Adams Morgan retains a robust multicultural atmosphere. This is evident in the diverse range of international shops and eateries that can be found in the area.
There are numerous rental options in this neighbourhood. This area is popular for young professionals as it's close to most workplaces in the city centre. It's also a lively nightlife spot and home to some of DC's top nightclubs and bars. The area is served well by public transport, as it has several subway stations in close proximity.
Georgetown is a historic area in northwest DC and is known for great shopping, nightlife and dining options. This neighbourhood is characterised by old houses, cobbled streets and trolley tracks, which are all part of Georgetown's historic charm.
Georgetown is located close to the Potomac River. It's common to see residents walking, jogging and cycling along the canal path. The fact that this area is also home to Georgetown University means that there is a large student population and always plenty going on in terms of entertainment, sporting events and lectures. The area is also home to many foreign embassies, making it a popular neighbourhood for newcomers working in the diplomatic sector.
Family-friendly neighbourhoods of Washington, DC
Each year, large numbers of people are transferred to Washington, DC through companies that allow them to bring their families along. The city is a great place to set up a family home.
Washington, DC, has some of the USA's top schools and universities. For those moving there with children, being close to good schools will undoubtedly be a priority.
This is a choice neighbourhood in which to set up a home as a new family in Washington, DC. Dupont Circle offers many different accommodation options, from large apartment communities to spacious family homes and condos. The area is suitable for a variety of people, from young professionals to those with growing families.
The neighbourhood has a vibrant entertainment scene, and people come to Dupont Circle from all over DC to eat at some of the city's top restaurants. The neighbourhood also has many coffee shops, bookshops and art galleries.
Dupont Circle has a strong community spirit; residents are often seen relaxing, playing chess or walking their dogs in the grassy circle. Solid public transport links make it easy to travel anywhere in DC from Dupont Circle.
Due to the popularity of this area, however, rent is high.
Anacostia is a previously neglected residential neighbourhood that lies alongside the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, DC.
Anacostia is popular with families because of its proximity to some of DC's best schools and the availability of spacious housing. It is also a viable option for those who prefer to be further away from the hustle and bustle of the city or those on a tight budget. Getting around DC from Anacostia is easy, as there are regular Metrorail services to the city centre.
Outside Washington, DC
For those who work in Washington, DC but prefer a quieter suburban life, living in nearby Virginia or Maryland is also an option.
New arrivals will find that certain parts of these neighbouring states are well-connected to Washington, DC, by both road networks and public transport.
Rockville and Bethesda
Owing to their proximity to the capital, the suburbs of Rockville and Bethesda (located in Montgomery County in the state of Maryland) have become popular spots for those working in DC. Rockville and Bethesda have diverse populations and offer a variety of housing options, from high-rise condos to modern family homes.
Rockville is only a 25-minute drive from Washington, DC's city centre and is well-placed on the I-270. Bethesda is located a 20-minute drive from DC and is connected to the capital by the I-495. Both areas are also well served by public transport.
While rental costs are not cheap in Rockville or Bethesda, many newcomers choose to live in these areas because the properties tend to be more spacious. In addition, these areas are located close to several good schools.
Alexandria, Virginia, is an independent city located just seven miles (11km) south of Washington, DC. It's a charming area steeped in history, and there are many old buildings, churches and museums here. While the area doesn't have the buzz of Georgetown or Adams Morgan, Alexandria does have a fair number of good restaurants and entertainment facilities.
This city is well located on major roads such as the I-95, I-395 and Route 1. When it comes to public transport, bus services link the city to Washington, DC.
►For an overview of the capital's property market, see Accommodation in Washington, DC
►Getting Around in Washington, DC provides a guide on transport in the city
Photo credits: Washington by Andra C Taylor; Washington by Alexey Topolyanskiy; Alexandria, Virginia by Jack Prommel. All sourced from Unsplash.
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