Moving to Washington D.C.

2019 Moving to Washington D.C. Relocation Guide

Welcome to 2019 Ultimate Moving to Washington Relocation Guide! Before this big step, find out all important information about Washington D.C..

  • Basic information about Washington D.C. zip and area codes, average yearly temperature and spoken languages.
  • Read about Washington neighborhoods and learn some fun facts about the city.
  • Check out the list of Pros and Cons of living in Washington D.C. before deciding to actually move.
  • Most importantly, find out all about Washington D.C. moving and living costs!

    Take a look at the list of basic daily expenses, transportation costs, basic leisure, and recreation costs and housing and utilities cost in Washington.

  • Read all about moving and shipping costs.
  • Learn about flight costs from Washington D.C..

    Every information regarding costs and pricing is compared with average US pricing.

  • You will also find very detailed information about the average yearly salary in Washington D.C., as well as the information about schools and education.
  • We prepared lists of moving to Washington D.C. tips.

For moving tips in general check out our Moving Checklist and Paperwork page.

Washington D.C.

Welcome to the Capital. Washington D.C. is the city that has it all, the city of multiple personalities. The capital of the United States is widely known as the federal city, one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world and the city of history, art, and culture. Because of the countless museums, Washington became one of the most important cultural destinations, where the lines in front of the art venues are always too long. There are numerous galleries, museums, and art centers that you can visit for free and get to know the story of America.

Welcome to the showcase of American art, place where you can go from prestigious venues to as important independent theaters. Washington is a very lively city, filled with festivals, live events, and new ideas. Often enough, Washington is called “The Strange City.” This description comes from the combination of numerous characters of the city. Washington is the historic city and home to innovative technology companies. D.C. is the federal city and home to some of the most vibrant events of the world. Washington is the city for everyone.

Moving to Washington D.C. Pros & Cons

Living in a big city may have its share of cons, but opportunities are endless. There are more choices for everything, food, lifestyle, nightlife, music, careers, schools and every other thing that defines who you are. You can always be yourself in the big city because no one will care. You can meet all sorts of people, become familiar with various cultures and try new things on a daily basis.

Moving to Washington D.C. Pros

1. Job Oportunities

Numerous job opportunities and endless career choices are probably the biggest pros of living in Washington D.C. This is the city where you can thrive in almost any industry if you know how to make connections you will easily get your business to the highest level. Just keep in mind that the competition in Washington DC is fierce. This is the city that is constantly growing, and you have to follow the growth, you always need to move forward.

2. Universities and Colleges

Washington D.C. is home to some of the world best universities and colleges. Schools such as Georgetown University, Howard University, George Washington University, American University, and Catholic University are much more than just universities. They are also the biggest employers in the city and very important cultural institutions. Students from all around the world are coming to Washington to get a degree and a great number of them stay in D.C. after the studies.

3. Washington D.C. Is Big

Living in a big city may have its share of cons, but opportunities are endless. There are more choices for everything, food, lifestyle, nightlife, music, careers, schools and every other thing that defines who you are. You can always be yourself in the big city because no one will care. You can meet all sorts of people, become familiar with various cultures and try new things on a daily basis.

4. Diversity

NYC is the most diverse city in the US, but Washington does not fall behind. You will have the opportunity to meet all the cultures here, and you will have the chance to see how they all coexist. If you enjoy getting to know different people from different parts of the world, moving to Washington is the right choice for you.

5. Level of Walkability

DC ranks high among walkable urban areas. The street grid in Washington is straightforward, and you will hardly get lost in here. 2019 reports from George Washington University found that the D.C. metro area was fourth for walkable urbanism—places where people can meet most of their needs within walking distance of their homes. Waling will get you off the crowded streets and public transports, you will be exercising daily, and walking is also one of the best ways to get to know the city.

6. History and Museums

TWashington is widely famous for its breathtaking monuments, numerous museum, and memorials. If you want to get to know the history of the united states, there is no better place on earth to do that then in DC. There is a museum of almost anything you can think of, for example, visit the museum of bonsai trees. Apart from a history museum, you will also find great number of art galleries dedicated to the modern arts. Remember, you can enter most of these venues for free.

7. Variety of Neighborhoods

As mentioned before, there is numerous completely different neighborhood in DC, and your neighborhood will define you. Choose wisely, but also remember, there is something to love in all of them. Washington is always giving you multiple choices, so choose the community that suits your lifestyle best.

8. Things to Do

Millions of people are coming to the District each year. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In the city, this big, this crowded and this diverse, there is always something going on. You will enjoy your weekends that will become the days for festivals, exhibitions, fairs, concert, sports, and other events.

9. Sports in Washington

If you are a sports person, you will enjoy living in the District. You can find live games in any season, whether you are a fan of baseball, soccer, basketball or tennis you will have your share of fun in D.C. There are numerous professional sports teams that have home stadiums within the city limits.

10. The Food

Diversity also means great food. You can find authentic food from all over the world. You can find all sorts of multicultural restaurants and bars. Washington is made of numerous completely different neighborhoods, and all of them have their own food specialty. Explore the food scene. It is so big that you never have to eat in the same place twice.

Moving to Washington D.C. Cons

1. High Living and Housing Costs

This is probably the biggest con of moving to Washington DC. Housing costs are high, among the highest in the country. Renting is not cheap either. Living costs are above the national average, so you want to get prepared to pay more for food, leisure activities, clothing, and everything else. On the bright side, salaries in the District are higher too!

2. High Stress Level

Higher stress level comes with living in the big city. People in Washington work long hours. They have the tendency to sacrifice their personal life and they may seem a little rude. It can be difficult to meet and get to know new people.

3. Traffic and Commute Time

The Washington, DC, area has lots of traffic congestion and commuting is stressful and time-consuming. Public transportation will get you off the crowded streets, but options can be limited from time to time and in the rush hours, public transportation is crowded too. On the bright side, Washington is extremely walkable city!

4. Weather

The weather in Washington D.C. can be both a pro and a con but it still is one of the biggest negatives about the city. Winters can be really cold, and you will have to deal with some snowstorms. Summers can get extremely hot and muggy. There is a lot of rain in Washington D.C. too, so you will have to bring your umbrella with you all the time.

5. The Crowd

One of the best things about Washington is a number of things you can do, the number of festivals, fairs, exhibits, and other events. That also means that it can get overcrowded at times.

Washington D.C. Pros and Cons
Washington D.C. Fun Facts

Moving to Washington D.C. Tips

Moving to a new city can be really stressful, especially if you are moving to the city as big as Washington D.C. Big cities usually have sets of unwritten rules, established traditions, and secret that you will need to learn. If you are considering moving to DC, you will want to get some information ahead, here are 10 TIPS for moving to Washington, 10 facts that will help you prepare for this step.

  • Learn About the Neighborhoods - One of the most important things is to decide where you are going to live. Washington neighborhoods are diverse and there are several factors that you need to consider before making this choice. If you are moving with your family you can take a look at Capitol Hill and if you are looking for something modern and cool you should take a look at Logan Circle. Housing costs are different throughout the neighborhoods and you will also want to live close to your job so you can avoid the traffic.
  • Don’t Sell Your Car - Washington D.C. has a great transportation system, and traffic is as bad as in any other big city. But you will want to consider keeping your car anyway, even though you will not use it to go to work. There are some great places that you will want to visit that are outside of the Metro's reach. There are also some neighborhoods that are not so crowded and in some o them you may even find a parking spot without a problem.
  • Go To Mini-Vacations on Weekends - Washington D.C. is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. In only 3-4 hours ride you can enjoy numerous weekend getaways. You can go hiking in Shenandoah National Park or rafting in Harper’s Ferry. If you are more of a beach then mountain person, you can visit the Virginia Beach situated four hours away from D.C. Explore all the great places that will help you get away from the city noise and crowd every once in a while.
  • Learn About The Taxes in D.C. - The taxation system is complicated in D.C. You will find that the sales tax is not the same for every purchase. For example, alcohol is taxed at 10%. There are taxes for hotels and garage parking. You will want to get to know the taxation system before you start living in Washington.
  • Get Used To the Rain - As mentioned before, it rains a lot. Make sure you have enough clothes that will help you get through the rainy days. Washington D.C.ers are not big fans of the umbrellas, but you can have one until you get used to the rain.
  • The Dress Code Is Formal - The influence of the government can be seen in the city’s dress code, which is formal and conservative. Residents adopted the style of politicians, and they probably shop in similar places for workwear.
  • Washington is Family Friendly - Washington is a very family-friendly city and you will need to get used to the fact that kids are everywhere. Kids are welcome in most of the brewpubs in the city, and some places have certain areas where kids are not allowed. Apart from that, your pets will also be welcome almost anywhere.
  • Hiking is Popular - Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Washington. There are numerous surrounding hills that provide perfect landscape for this kind of activity. Hiking is great way to meet people in Washington.
  • Downsize - You will need to learn how to downsize. Starting with your home, you don't need a big home with many rooms, and you don't need big rooms! You will not spend that much time inside anyway. So start thinking about the stuff you own that you can get rid off, make a yard sale, donate them, explore all the options on how to make the most out of the space you can afford.
  • Make Connections - Making connections is one of the most important things to do in the big city. Residents of Washington can seem cold and unfriendly, because they usually don't care about people they don't know, and you can care for everyone if you are living in the city with so many people. You will want to start making friends as soon as you move, but don't worry, there are tons of ways to do that. You can volunteer, go out, attend live events. There are numerous Meetup groups you can check out. Salsa dancing, history, hiking, soccer…if you like something, odds are there’s a group for that.

Check out our printable Stage-by-Stage MOVING CHECKLIST.

This ultimate moving checklist will help you complete your moving without stress.

Moving Checklist

Washington D.C. Moving Costs

There are certain costs associated with moving that most people tend to neglect. Even if you have opted for a self-moving job that does not involve hiring a professional moving company, you will have to pay extra for certain things. Here is a list of moving and packing costs you may have forgotten.

  • Packing Supplies

    If you plan to move on a budget and want to fo the packing yourself, you must know that you will need to invest in packing supplies like boxes, tape or bubble wrap.

  • Moving Insurance

    During the move something almost always brake. Getting moving insurance is always recommended. Most of the moving companies offer insurance and you can decide how much to get, considering how valuable your things are.

  • Moving Start-up Costs

    For renting new space start-up costs include things like your first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, a pet deposit or an application fee.

    If you are buying start-up costs are much bigger. They include closing costs for your new mortgage which is often measured in thousands of dollars. Average closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the cost of your home. These costs include things like a fee for running your credit report, a loan origination fee, attorney’s fees, the cost of a home inspection, a title search, an appraisal fee, and a survey fee, etc.

  • Boarding Your Pets

    You can expect extra costs for boarding your pets. Often enough, people tend to move their pets overnight, that way pets are not exposed to the stress.

  • Stair Fees

    Some of the moving companies will ask you to pay a stair fee.

  • Moving Large Items Fees

    It is always best to check with moving companies about extra fees and inform them about your large items, like piano or pool table, in advance. That way you will avoid surprises on a moving day.

  • Valuable Artworks or Decorative Pieces Are Often Handled by Specialised Movers

    There are professionals who are trained to handle valuable items. Packing and moving valuable items is more complex than regular moving. So you can expect to pay extra on moving those kinds of pieces.

  • Storage Space Renting

    Sometimes, you don't want to bring all of your things to your new home, but you don't want to throw them either. If you find yourself in this situation you will have to find storage space for those things. Having to store items could mean an additional monthly expense.

  • Re-buying Items Once You've Moved In

    While you shouldn't get rid of everything before a move, there are going to be some items that you're not going to want to bring to your new space.

  • Tips For Your Movers

    Your movers are doing a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, and they deserve to be compensated. Just note, that tips are always expected by your movers.

Washington D.C. Shipping Costs

Here you can find a list of shipping costs. Please note that the cost of international shipping (calculated with reallymoving) is solely the cost of shipping itself, while the cost of shipping within the United States (calculated with also includes other additional expenses. Costs are calculated for moving entire two bedroom home, in the next three monts.

International Cost
Vancouver (Canada) $4,000 - $5,400
Sydney (Australia) $4,600 - $6,400
Auckland (New Zealand) $4,600 - $6,400
Beijing (China) $4,900 - $6,600
Tokyo (Japan) $4,600 - $6,400
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) $3,600 - $6,100
Mexico City (Mexico) $3,200 - $5,400
London (United Kingdom) $3,700 - $5,100
Dublin (Ireland) $3,700 - $5,100
Singapore $4,600 - $6,400
United States Cost
San Francisco, California $4,981 - $6,354
New York, New York $2,342 - $2,919
Los Angeles, California $4,754 - $6,059
Chicago, Illinois $2,743 - $3,439
Austin, Texas $3,706 - $4,692
Boston, Massachusetts $2,463 - $3,074
Miami, Florida $3,214 - $4,052
Seattle, Washington $4,858 - $6,193
San Diego, California $4,763 - $6,070
Denver, Colorado $3,836 - $4,861

Washington D.C. Living Costs

Washington D.C. is more affordable than New York, but it is one of the top 5 most expensive cities to live in the USA. Housing is the most challenging but even the everyday expenses are much higher than in other major cities. One of the most important things that you will need to learn before moving to D.C. is how to make the responsible management of your money. If moving to Washington is the next step you will probably need to get informed about the cost of basic and personal necessities in this city. For more information about living costs visit numbeo or expatistan.

How much are utilities in Washington D.C.

  • 85m2 Apartment Monthly Utilities, Basic (Electricity, Water, Cooling, Heating, Garbage):


  • 1 Min. Of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans):


  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/adsl):


  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), for 20 Years Fixed-rate, Yearly:


Washington D.C. VS US Average
Food Washington D.C. US Average
Meal in Inexpensive Restaurant $15.75 $14.50
Mcmeal at Mcdonalds (or Equivalent) $8 $7.00
Water (1.5 Liter Bottle) $2.32 $1.45
Milk (Regular), (1 gallon) $3.41 $3.11
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb) $3.36 $2.36
Eggs (Regular) (12) $2.96 $2.27
Chicken Breasts (1 lb) $6.38 $3.85
Potato (1 lb) $1.52 $1.1
Apples (1 lb) $3.11 $2.02
Local Cheese (1 lb) $5.56 $4.74
Child Care Washington D.C. US Average
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Monthly $1,445.46 $886.18
International Primary School, Yearly $29,000.00 $17,116.12
Self Care Washington D.C. US Average
Private Doctor Short Visit $105 $112
Box of Antibiotics $19 $17
Tube of Toothpaste $1.78 $1.78
Hair Shampoo 2-in-1 $4.49 $4.77
Deodorant, Roll-on $3.47 $3.39
Toilet Paper - 4 Rolls $2.1 $3.41
1 Box of 32 Tampons $7 $7
Transportation Washington D.C. US Average
Local Transport - One-way Ticket $2.67 $2.20
Local Transport - Monthly Pass $134 $70.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) $3.5 $3.25
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) $3 $1.71
Gasoline (1 gallon) $2.91 $2.77
Housing Washington D.C. US Average
Apartment (1 Bedroom) - City Centre $2,310.56 $1,291.27
Apartment (1 Bedroom) $1,731.42 $1,015.10
Buy Apartment in City Centre - Per Sq Ft $586.64 $239.62
Buy Apartment - Per Sq Ft $294.13 $173.92
Hourly Rate for Cleaning Help $30 $21
Leisure and Recreation Washington D.C. US Average
Fitness Club Monthly Fee, 1 Adult $69.94 $36.17
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $6.75 $15.14
2 Movie Tickets 28 $25
2 Theater Tickets (Best Available Seats) $206 $171
Coke/pepsi (Small Bottle) $2.12 $1.80
Cappuccino (Regular) $4.36 $4.07
Domestic Beer (500ml) $6 $6.00
Bottle of Wine $15 $12.00
1 Cocktail Drink $36.04 $12.00
Marlboro Cigarettes 20 Pack $10 $7.25
Clothing Washington D.C. US Average
Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 or Similar) $56.12 $43.12
Summer Dress (Zara, H&m or Similar) $36.04 $34.67
Pair of Nike Running Shoes $79.47 $73.84
Pair of Men Leather Shoes $119.38 $94.36
Laundry Detergent (3 L.) $10 $11

Work and Salary

Average Yearly Salary in Washington D.C. is $71,901

Currently, most popular and best-paid jobs in Washington D.C. are:

  • Management Consultant - $82,141/yr
  • Project Manager - $83,975/yr
  • Program Coordinator - $46,285/yr
  • Executive Assistantr - $58,521/yr
  • Software Engineer - $86,200/yr
  • Program Manager - $59,604/yr
  • Administrative Assistant - $42,784/yr

All the information is provided by Glassdoor and Payscale where you can get more detailed information about the job of interest. If you don't have a specific job in mind, you can also check this list of 10 common jobs and professions in the United States with an average salary for each of them.

Job Washington D.C. US Average
Cashier $23,289/yr $22,711/yr
Receptionist $32,383/yr $29,844/yr
Repair Technician $36,570/yr $32,606/yr
Actor $40,473/yr $37,208/yr
Registered Nurse $68,412/yr $69,270/yr
Secretary $36,083/yr $31,279/yr
Preschool Teacher $31,170/yr $28,973/yr
High School Teacher $55,723/yr $51,027/yr
Lawyer $106,091/yr $141,470/yr
Truck Driver $56,294/yr $57,062/yr

Washington D.C. - Important Information

Washington D.C.

District of Columbia

Washington D.C. Seal

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country. Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States. Washington is an important world political capital. The city is located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia. D.C. is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

  • Official City Website:

  • Official State Website:

  • Official Language:


  • Spoken Languages:

    Spanish, French, African languages, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian, Portuguese, and other.

  • Area Code:


  • Zip Codes:

    20001–20098, 20201–20599

  • 68.34 sq mi (177.0 km2),:

    Land: 61.05 sq mi (158.1 km2)

    Water: 7.29 sq mi (18.9 km2)

Washington D.C. Population:

  • According to the last census (2012): 632,300
  • According to the latest estimate (2019): 702,455
Washington D.C. Demographics by Race
White 273,471 40.67%
Asian 25,558 3.80%
Other Race 30,961 4.60%
Black or African American 321,062 47.75%
Two or More Races 19,293 2.87%
Native American 1,757 0.26%
Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander 289 0.04%

Taxes in Washington D.C.

Single Filing Status, Average Washington D.C. Salary ($71,901) Taxes:

  • Income Tax: - $18,224
  • Sales Tax: - $1,080
  • Fuel Tax: - $91
  • Property Tax$: - $1,389
  • Total Estimated: - $20,785

Percent of income to taxes = 32%.

For more personal information calculate your taxes with smartasset.

Washington D.C. - Average Yearly Temperature

  • Hours of sunshine: 1,783 hours
  • Average Rainfall: 1036 mm
  • Annual high temperature: 18.2°C
  • Annual low temperature: 8.1°C
  • Average temperature: 13.15°C

Washington D.C. - Crime rate

Washington D.C. struggles with crime-related problems in certain areas. As in many major cities, crime is a significant factor in D.C., especially in the city's northwestern neighborhoods, which tend to be more crowded, draw more tourists, and have more vibrant nightlife. Violent crime is also a big problem in parts of the city with the highest concentration of poverty. Washington D.C.crime index by numbeo is 56.63 (moderate).

  • Level of crime: - 66.75 (high)
  • Property crime index: - 59.95 (moderate)
  • Violent crime index: - 58.89 (moderate)
  • Corruption and bribery: - 54.72 (moderate)

Flight Costs from Washington D.C.

List of flight costs, from Washington D.C. to other major cities. Based on the cheapest flights from skyscanner, booked one month ahead.

  • Vancouver (Canada): $149 (1 stop)
  • Sydney (Australia): $678 (2 stops)
  • Auckland (New Zealand): $794 (2 stops)
  • Beijing (China): $317 (2 stop)
  • Tokyo (Japan): $508 (2 stops)
  • Dubai (United Arab Emirates): $443 (1 stop)
  • Mexico City (Mexico): $152 (1 stop)
  • London (United Kingdom): $192 (1 stop)
  • Dublin (Ireland): $341 (direct)
  • Singapore: $472 (1 stop)

Washington D.C. Reviews