If you’re searching for an intellectual community, breathtaking monuments, free museums, and all four seasons, then look no further than our nation’s capital. Many passionate, hardworking people move to the Washington, D.C. region to work for the federal government, mobilize a grassroots campaign, lobby for policy changes and make a long-lasting difference.

However, it’s important that anyone considering living in the DMV area weigh the pros and cons. Although Washington, D.C. offers plenty of attractions and entertainment, housing can be difficult to come by.

We each have distinct preferences when it comes to lifestyle choices. If you’re wondering whether living in D.C. is the right choice for you, consider the following to find the ideal place to rent.

Pros And Cons Of Living In D.C.

Washington, D.C. offers plenty of advantages that have people clamoring to move to the policy capital of America. Below are a few reasons you might want to call this historic city your home.

Pros of Living in D.C.

  • Endless activities. Between the free museums, shopping, the National Mall, cultural events, outdoor recreation and dining options, there is no shortage of things to do and places to visit. During the spring, you’ll be able to run among the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin, and in December you’ll enjoy the famous holiday décor at the White House.
  • Central location. D.C. residents can enjoy a quick escape to nearby destinations. Baltimore, Annapolis, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York City are just a few hours away from the District by car.
  • Diverse opinions and people. The nature of Washington, D.C. is inherently transient, depending on campaign cycles, congressional sessions, research, etc. People come from all parts of the country and all corners of the globe. This floods the city with different backgrounds, beliefs, nationalities, religions and socioeconomic.

Cons of Living in D.C.

Just because your office building is in D.C. proper doesn’t mean you have to live within the borders of the capital, too. Here are some of the disadvantages that come with living in D.C.:

  • Heavy traffic. The District might not be huge in terms of geography, but a two-mile car ride can take 20 minutes. The area is notorious for heavily congested traffic and limited parking. It’s smart to take advantage of the state-of-the-art public transportation system if you’re commuting into D.C.
  • Steep living and housing costs. Although salaries slightly offset the cost of living in D.C. compared to the national average, rent in D.C. is among the highest in the country. Many individuals who reside in the District are forced to choose between rundown townhomes or callous apartment complexes that nickel and dime for amenities. Living in D.C. can make it difficult to save for an apartment.
  • Increased stress level. Many individuals who choose to both work and live in the nation’s capital face high levels of stress. It can be difficult to establish a healthy work-life balance when living so close to the office. Generally, people in the city work long hours, are highly educated and driven to succeed professionally. These observations may factor into Washington, D.C.’s recent ranking the second loneliest city in the U.S. Washingtonians are less likely to get to know their neighbors or seek out a community, which is why finding an inclusive apartment community just outside of D.C. might be a wiser option.
  • High income tax. D.C.’s income tax rate is higher than that of the surrounding states. There are six income tax brackets ranging from 4% to 8.95% in the nation’s capital, which can significantly reduce your monthly take-home pay. If you work in D.C. and live in Virginia or Maryland, you avoid D.C. income taxes.

Best Places To Live In The DMV Area

There are plenty of incredible communities in northern Virginia and Maryland that are close to the city in a more relaxed atmosphere. The cost of living in D.C. compared to the national average is very high, but living outside of the city offers more affordable places to live around D.C. Here are some of the best places to live in the DMV area while working in D.C. 

  • Silver Spring, MD: Located just over the border from D.C., Silver Spring has an urban feel with plenty of culture. Great public transit makes it easy to commute into the city when necessary. 
  • Falls Church, VA: If you’re looking to work in D.C., live in Virginia and have the best of both worlds, Falls Church is a great place to look. It provides a mix of urban and suburban living and has plenty of beautiful parks. Like Silver Spring, Falls Church offers easy access to the Washington Metro system for a quick commute. 
  • Woodbridge, VA: For a quieter community with a more traditional suburban feel, Woodbridge is an excellent option. Woodbridge is located on the Potomac River and is close to several wildlife refuges, making it a perfect choice for nature lovers. 
  • Hyattsville, MD: Hyattsville is a lively suburb just northeast of the D.C. border. It is known for its historic charm and bustling arts district. The area also has a thriving LGBTQ community
  • Annandale, VA: Annandale offers quiet and comfortable suburban living and is full of beautiful green space. It is also home to one of the largest Korean populations in the region and is known for delicious Asian cuisine. 

How To Work In D.C. and Live in Virginia or Maryland

If you’re living in Virginia or Maryland and working in D.C., the biggest challenge is your commute. You’ll need to decide if you want to drive or take public transportation. In many areas, taking public transit is faster, cheaper, and less stressful. However, many people still prefer to drive. You’ll need to determine what makes the most sense for your needs. If you do want to drive, make sure to choose an apartment with parking and easy access to a highway. 

Maryland and Virginia offer some of the most affordable places to live around D.C. One of the greatest things about living in the DMV area is all of the fun activities available, and when you live outside of the city you’ll have more money to spend on them. 

When choosing a place to live, consider the activities you enjoy and look for a community that offers them. For some, that’s beautiful parks, while for others, it’s shopping or great restaurants. You can find all of these things in Maryland and Virginia— it’s all about finding the right place. 

Using Public Transportation To Commute Into D.C.

More than likely, living outside of D.C. and commuting into the city for work is a more cost-effective option than living in D.C. proper. Nationally, only about 5% of individuals commute to work by public transit. However, D.C. is a different story, with approximately 37% of commuters using public transit according to one study.

The metro region offers one of the most reliable public transportation systems in the country. Composed primarily of buses and underground subway tracks, the public transportation throughout the D.C. region makes it quick and easy to access every area of the region.

Southern Management: Where To Live To Commute To D.C.

It’s safe to say that living outside of D.C. and utilizing public transportation is rational and economical. If you want to live as close as possible to work while reaping all the benefits of living outside of Washington, then choose to live at one of Southern Management’s apartment communities around D.C.

Southern Management’s friendly team members create an environment that fosters authentic community and contagious positivity. We are happy to answer any question about pricing, living outside of D.C., public transportation and more.

Visit an open house to see what makes Southern Management different from other property management companies. Contact us online today to start your new chapter!