Ever since I joined We Love DC a few months back, I have been looking forward to writing this post. I’m pretty much a DC fanatic and absolutely love living here, so this list could go on and on. Lucky for you, I’ve narrowed it down to my five favorite things about this city:
It’s an urban planner’s dream. Vibrant public spaces, sidewalks filled with pedestrians, revitalization, mixed use development close to transit, beautiful architecture, and downtown attractions that keep people here after the 9-5 workday are what makes this city a prime example of excellent urbanism. There are only a handful of American cities that are even in the same league. Sure, it’s got its problems, but the District is doing a lot of things right and is creating great places to live, work, or play.
Also, DC lets this urban planner live her dream. I live three blocks from my office, I don’t own a car because I can walk to four Metro stations, I’m within a few blocks of great restaurants and shopping, I’m a quick jog from Rock Creek Park, and I have a breathtaking view of the city from my rooftop patio. I don’t know another American city where I could have all of that.
DC is full of history, myths, and legends. Sure, half the legends about the city are not true, and probably 95% of what you hear on a Capitol tour is probably made up, but they make for great stories. It’s pretty cool to live in a city full of historical significance, and to be able to show out-of-town friends our city (even if we avoid the national monuments and memorials at all other times). It’s also a great feeling to be a part of DC’s ongoing history– I know I will someday tell my grandkids about what it was like to be in Washington during Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The Metro is a fantastic system. As anyone who has seen my author picture can tell, I really love the Metro. I know it is nowhere near perfect, and we all suffer through track work and broken down trains and delays too frequently. But as much as we like to complain about it, we are so lucky to have such a great system. It’s the second-largest rail system in the country, which in turn means that it runs reliably enough and frequently enough for me to live without a car. And because there are plenty of us who don’t have cars, we’ve got great options for getting around like Zipcar and Smartbike.
Our neighborhoods are unique and diverse. While many tourists never leave the Mall, the neighborhoods are really at the heart of the city. Each has a unique character, and every time I interview people about their neighborhoods I hear over and over how much people love living where they live! And there’s really somewhere out there for everyone. Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Anacostia, and the Southwest Waterfront are distinctly different places located within the same 68 square mile city.
It is a city full of memories. To me, the city is full of memories and emotions tied to specific locations. Every time I walk near the Washington Monument, I remember the sense of accomplishment I had crossing the finish line at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April. Every time I walk up 15th Street by the White House, I remember how happy I was wandering through the celebrating crowds on election night. Every time I walk through Eastern Market, I remember my first date with my boyfriend to visit the crepe stand. And every time I pass through the Stadium/Armory Metro station, I remember how excited I was to receive the phone call from my realtor there telling me that my offer was accepted and that I would officially become a homeowner in this great city.