10 Things to Know Before Moving from San Diego to Washington, DC

 10 Things to Know Before Moving from San Diego to Washington, DC

Oct 26, 2023

Do you plan to move from San Diego to the US capital, Washington, D.C.? The trip will take you  about 1,265 miles and takes around 20 hours and 21 minutes of driving.  

Mature middle-aged couple family wife and husband counting funds, savings declarations, investments,paperwork, financial documents, bankruptcy, court case, bills, pension with laptop.

A relocation of this distances means a significant change in everything from climate to culture and lifestyle. Thus, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with Washington, D.C. before making the move. Here is everything you need to know.

1.    Be prepared for weather changes

San Diego has a Mediterranean-type climate with mild winters and hot summers. However, Washington, D.C. is a state with more extreme variations in weather. Expect to experience all four seasons, including cold winters and hot, humid summers. 

Moving from San Diego to Washington, D.C. thus requires you to adjust to the changes in every season. In summer, you need to be ready to experience temperatures rising to around 90 degrees F. However, get ready to experience an average low of 28 degrees F in winter.

2.    Anticipate a high cost of living

Washington, DC, is known for its high cost of living. Comparatively, San Diego is fairly affordable to live in. Therefore, if you plan to move to Washington, DC, make sure you are getting enough salary to cover your expenses in Washington, D.C.

The latest figures show the average cost of living required in Washington, DC, is $78,809 annually. This places Washington, DC, on a low affordability scale. Housing is also 150% higher than the US national average.

Nevertheless, some of the hot spots for affordable housing include Petworth, Anacostia, and 16th Street Heights, all of which lie in Washington, DC downtown. If you are moving from San Diego, make sure to declutter your belongings, as you now not only have to pay more for a small apartment but also adjust to a small living space.

3.    Traffic in Washington, DC, is a nightmare

There is no denying that traffic congestion in Washington, D.C. is real. Driving during rush hour is impossible and sure to add to your frustration. However, the state is backed up by a robust transportation system. Metrorails, local trains (MARC), and even buses are the most convenient means of transportation in Washington, D.C.

Life without a car is easier in Washington, DC, as you also have streetcars, Uber, and taxis to help you move within the city. Prior knowledge about metro routes and schedules will help you navigate within D.C. more conveniently. 

4.    Enjoy free museums

Interested in historical places? Washington, D.C. overflows with free museums and testaments to our country’s rich history.

space and air museum statue at evening hours

Some of the must-visit museums include the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs, mummies), the National Gallery of Art (historical art), the National Air and Space Museum, the International Spy Museum, the National Archives Museum, and many more. There are around 70 to 80 museums in D.C.

5.    Learn to read the city’s street grids

Do you know Washington, DC, is the city of quadrants? The Capitol Building is considered the center point. Now, picture four paths extending in each direction from the Capitol Building. In order to navigate the city effectively, you need to understand how these quadrants work, and how to read street addresses. You also need to pay attention to the cardinal directions (SE, SW, NE, and NW) mentioned in the street addresses. Once you gain this skill, getting around will become much easier.

6.    Job opportunities are diverse 

In Washington, D.C, it’s not just politics that drive the job market. You can find jobs in every field, from management to law, sales to production to transportation. Amongst these, the professionals with a management background tend to earn the most, with a typical annual salary of $166,604, followed by financial operations, computer, and mathematical professionals.

Young woman signing contracts and handshake with a manager

Since it’s also a hub of politics, government, and international organizations, there is a tremendous opportunity to create new ties and bring a transition to your career.

7.    Make a list of places to visit

Besides the free museums and memorials, Washington, DC, has a fair share of green space and a lot to explore. For a breath of fresh air, you can visit:

  • Potomac River
  • Anacostia River
  • Oxon Creek
  • Rock Creek
  • Sandy Point State Park, Maryland
  • Fenwich Island (32 miles)
  • Chesapeake Bay

The Potomac River is the best weekend spot, with trails, parks, and other recreational activities. Want to get out of the city? The options are mammoth. Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia, and Delaware are some of the best cities to enjoy on your weekend getaway.

8.    Know how DC taxes work

Washington, DC, uses a progressive income tax structure. It also stands 11th in the list of states with the highest tax rates. Individuals are expected to pay an income tax in DC ranging from 4% to 10.75%. Corporations have to pay a flat income tax rate of 8.25%. It has a sales tax of 6%; however, liquor is taxed at 10.25%. Similarly, eating at a restaurant, staying in a hotel, etc., are taxed at different rates.

Washington DC, USA skyline on the Potomac River.

The best part is that groceries, medicines, and other utilities are free from taxation in Washington, D.C. However, be aware that the tax rates in the city do tend to be higher than those in San Diego, so you may end up spending more of your income on these expenses.

9.    Washington, D.C. has abundant schools and colleges

There are a plethora of schools and colleges in Washington, D.C. A few of the neighborhoods with good schools in D.C. include Kent, Wesley Heights, Grover Park, and Cathedral Heights.

The top three public high schools in Washington, DC, are Thomas Jefferson High School, School Without Walls, and Poolesville High School, as per a US News report.

WASHINGTON, DC -26 MAR 2022- View of the college campus of Howard University (HU) in Washington, DC, the most famous Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the United States.

Washington, DC, is considered a college town for higher education. This is because it’s home to some of the best universities, like George Washington University, Howard University, Georgetown University, the University of the District of Columbia, Johns Hopkins University of Advanced International Studies, and many more.

10. Living in Washington, D.C. offers diverse food options

Washington, D.C. has diverse food options and is one of the top foodie cities. Chinese, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Indian food—Washington, DC, has it all. Burgers, pizzas, charbroiled chicken, and palak chaat are some of the most popular food items to explore.

Have a Smooth and Effortless Move

At Oakley Relocation, we offer premier moving services in the San Diego area, and can handle moves of any distances – Even to Washington, D.C. We offer full-service, women-owned services designed for moves of any distance. Contact us today for a quote! 

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