A friend asked me for a hand in convincing someone that it’s a good idea to move to the District from elsewhere outside the Metro. This was my response, and I felt it was good enough to post. Got something to add? Slot it into the comments.
A friend of mine asked for my help in explaining why DC was a pretty great place to live, and to try to convince you to move here. I’ve lived in the area for 12 years now, moving here from my beloved California after graduation. I’ve stayed because this is a city that is anything but its stodgy image; this is a city that loves action and activity, good food, drink and service, and has plenty to offer. This is a great city in which to work and live, where not everything is politics, not everyone is transient, and not everyone hates or loves each other based on their politics.
It’s hard not to love all the amazing neighborhoods from my own Brookland to the Park’s Mount Pleasant, from Bloomingdale’s iconic Victorian row houses to Clarendon’s built-up modernity. DC’s human scale means neighborhoods that aren’t swamped full of people, and thanks to the height limit, the density of the city isn’t such that you find yourselves craning your neck to see everything. As for that silly rumor that we were built on a swamp? Yeah, we’ve busted that, it’s just the humid subtropical climate at work. It can be steamy here in the summer, but thanks to the great St. Carrier, this is not a hazardous city from a weather perspective. Plus, given that we’ve had our snowpocalypse for the century, and our last winter was pretty light on the snow, and we’ve mostly steered clear of the hurricanes.
It’s hard not to love the food in this town. Sure, we’ve got the fine dining atmosphere that has DC’s culinary star rising amid a crowded field, but it’s not just the white tablecloth and expense account set that make this town so wonderful. This town has approachable food in spades, the kind of gastronomical delights that leave you full and happy without the need for a second job. From the brilliant Chivito at the Lowest Best Price Gas Station’s Fast Gourmet, to the simmered-for-days ramen at Toki Underground, to the down-home cooking of Ted’s Bulletin and delicious hoagies of Taylor Gourmet.
While I’ve been some places with better single meals or one-off cocktails, this town has such a vibrant life when it comes to a food and drink that’s sustainable. The Farmers Markets and area farms that power them, as well as a legion of CSAs and good gardening environments make cooking your own dinner not that tough, either. Couple that with a burgeoning food truck and homemade culture, and you’ve got the most flexible food town outside of the state of California.
The sights here aren’t so bad, either, and there’s plenty of them. From the winding roads of Skyline Drive that just beg to be explored just above the speed limit, to the beaches of Ocean City, to tubing down to Gunpowder Falls to Monticello and nearby Charlottesville all just a short drive up the street, it’s hard to feel anything but in the middle of it all.
Sure our city government can, at times, be mistaken for a comedy troupe born of Tammany Hall, but underneath the headlines is a vibrant and growing culture of civic engagement. But more important, there’s no city on earth that has as many permanent reminders of invisible things: the principles and people that represent the best of America. Freedom, Liberty, Unity, and Honor.
Washington isn’t just the Capital of America, it’s the Capital of the free world. And that’s not a bad lesson for kids to learn.