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Old 08-14-2009, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Roxborough, Philadelphia
12 posts, read 38,987 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi, all.

I might possibly be moving to the DC area within the next few months on a promotion from work. I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, went to HS and College in Philadelphia, and have lived in the city for the last 12 years. I love where I live.

What kinds of general things are positive about moving from Philadelphia to DC? What things would I miss? What things wouldn't I miss? Any help you could provide me with would be great.

Thanks so much.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:39 PM
 
Location: DC
3,303 posts, read 11,099,670 times
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Yay, another Philly person! I love Philadelphia, and plan on moving back there some day, but honestly DC is a great place to live. It's a smaller city, which can be nice. After you move here you get amazed when you realize how close everything is. I remember whining that something was too far when it was 5 miles away (I have a car).

Some of the positives are that DC is a nice, pretty city with a lot of interesting things going on, interesting neighborhoods, and people from all over the world. I like the energy, it is very different from Philly which is still very "blue collar" in many ways (not that it's a bad thing, just something I noticed). The Metro is better than SEPTA, it's cleaner, safer, and has a more extensive subway. Similar to Philly you can always find different events going on like outdoor concerts, festivals, etc. The job market here is also very stable, which is nice.

One negative is that it's pricier here than in Philly. This is mostly due to housing prices, and you won't have as much sticker shock as most people, but just know about it. Rents aren't too far off, but to buy a decent 2-bedroom condo in the city you're looking at paying at least $400k. You didn't mention kids but the schools in DC itself are horrible, worse than Philly. Actually, I think Ackermann used to work for the DC school district and she's friends with Rhee. In terms of local politics, it's pretty similar to Philadelphia (very blue, issues with corruption or embezzlement, etc). There's a decent amount of crime, but if you just have some common sense you'll be fine.

You'll miss cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, pizza, and Italian food. I don't know why, but just finding a standard "family" Italian restaurant is so difficult here. There are several Rita's in the area, but no Wawas for about 25 miles (very sad). The ethnic groups you'll find here are different. In Philly you've got a lot of Irish, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, German, and other European groups that have a definite presence. Here it's more Korean, South American, and African. Also, some of the biggest immigrant/ethnic neighborhoods are outside of the city in Annandale and Falls Church, not in DC proper. The "Chinatown" in DC is also not a real Chinatown, just so you're warned. I think it used to be at some point, but over the years as the neighborhood got worse they all moved out to the suburbs. Now it's safer and has been redeveloped, so they added a bunch of Chinese signs.

A big difference you'll notice is that most people haven't been here long, unlike Philly where it's more common to be born, live, and die in the same neighborhood. The city also just feels "newer" to me for some reason. Maybe it's all the light-colored government buildings in the downtown area or all the redevelopment. By the way, if you like the Phillies, go to Ventnor Sports Cafe in Adams Morgan or Capitol Lounge in Capitol Hill. If you're an Eagles fan, go to Rhino Bar. I haven't found a "Flyers bar" yet.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:46 AM
 
184 posts, read 712,868 times
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DC is more international, more transient (so there will be lots of other people who have moved in from somewhere else), cleaner, more beautiful (in a big-building, sparkling-limestone way), with people who tend to be highly educated and are frequently attorneys or government types. There are tons of museums and admission to most is free.

Housing is much more expensive than Philadelphia and traffic is much worse. You will not be able to get a decent slice of pizza. Both are great cities, very different. I've lived in both and there are things to love about each.
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Old 08-17-2009, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Roxborough, Philadelphia
12 posts, read 38,987 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for the advice, JB & SS. My job will be located in Fairfax, VA. What affordable places to live are located at or near Fairfax? How far is Fairfax from DC Proper? Is the drive from DC to Fairfax bad? We currently live in the Roxborough/Manayunk area of Philadelphia and would like something kind of similar (convenient location, option to use public transportation, affordable, good places to eat/shop, etc.).

Any more insight you could provide would be excellent. Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:13 PM
 
Location: DC
3,303 posts, read 11,099,670 times
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Fairfax is about 20 miles out from downtown DC, so it's a fair distance. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes to get there (non-rush hour, usually on a weekend). During rush hour if you're going with traffic, the drive is pretty bad. If you're going against traffic (which you would) it might be better, but there's still usually a backup around Tyson's Corner (like King of Prussia, lots of office buildings and a big mall).

If you like Manayunk, I wouldn't live in Fairfax. It's a nice area, but very suburban. Look into North Arlington (Clarendon, Ballston, etc) near a metro stop. That way you'll be close to DC, but not too far away from work either. It's a lot more urban, with strips of bars, restaurants, and stores along Wilson Boulevard. Public transportation from there is pretty easy (get on the orange line and take it to wherever it DC you'll be going). When I take the metro from Ballston to Capitol Hill it takes about 25 minutes (just for reference, Georgetown, Dupont, and downtown are all closer than that).
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Roxborough, Philadelphia
12 posts, read 38,987 times
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Is it realistic to believe that we could get a 2 or 3 bedroom rental in Arlington for $1,500 or less? If so, is there a particular area of Arlington that you would recommend?

We'd like to still get the benefits of living in that area, but at an affordable price and convenient lifestyle (if that's even possible).
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:58 PM
 
446 posts, read 1,554,107 times
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This isn't a real negative, but just an observation. In Philly, you can head over to the beaches of NJ much quicker than us DC area folks can get to Rehoboth.

If you like the mountains though, I think this area is better than Philly because we have the Shenandoah so close. You can even see the beginnings of the mountain ranges from Fairfax!

Good luck in your move.
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:06 AM
 
Location: DC
3,303 posts, read 11,099,670 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rox View Post
Is it realistic to believe that we could get a 2 or 3 bedroom rental in Arlington for $1,500 or less? If so, is there a particular area of Arlington that you would recommend?
$1500 would be hard for a 2-bedroom, and very difficult for a 3-bedroom. The only rental in that range I've seen recently was $1475 for a 3-bedroom in Fredericksburg (50 miles south of DC). You'll be pushing $1500-1600 for a 2-bedroom, but try looking in Virginia further from a Metro stop. You probably won't need the Metro for work, so it's not a big deal to drive in to a stop when you do want to go out in DC (or just drive into DC, it's not that bad).

If your roommate/significant other needs to take the Metro, look for a good bus line and live on that. I commuted via bus from Alexandria last year and it wasn't that bad. I think we paid about $1600/mo after utilities. Actually, that area wouldn't be bad to check out (King & 395, I lived in Archstone Newport Village). It's more suburban than DC or North Arlington, but you're about 15 minutes from Old Town Alexandria (reminds me of Old City or Society Hill) and downtown DC. Fairfax would be a bit of a hike, but it should be against traffic for the most part (ask on the NoVa thread about traffic).
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:08 AM
 
Location: DC
3,303 posts, read 11,099,670 times
Reputation: 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyMac View Post
This isn't a real negative, but just an observation. In Philly, you can head over to the beaches of NJ much quicker than us DC area folks can get to Rehoboth.
Forgot about that, I definitely miss making day trips down the shore every weekend. Despite DE/MD being closer, I still make the 4-hour drive to Cape May anyway (I figure if I'm going to drive 3, I might as well go all the way for an extra hour).
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,036 posts, read 8,638,580 times
Reputation: 1517
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rox View Post
Thanks for the advice, JB & SS. My job will be located in Fairfax, VA. What affordable places to live are located at or near Fairfax? How far is Fairfax from DC Proper? Is the drive from DC to Fairfax bad? We currently live in the Roxborough/Manayunk area of Philadelphia and would like something kind of similar (convenient location, option to use public transportation, affordable, good places to eat/shop, etc.).

Any more insight you could provide would be excellent. Thanks in advance for the help.
Fairfax covers a huge area. As someone said it would be 30-45 without traffic. I personally would not pick DC if I worked in Fairfax. If living in a city type neighborhood is essential then your best options would be Old Town or North Arlington (Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston). It would be about 30 from Old Town and maybe 20-25 from North Arlington. In my opinion if one works in VA it's better to live in VA.

So North Arlington would be a better bet but Old Town is beautiful and more walkable. Although North Arlington is a little closer to the metro and it's easier to get into DC. To live in either area you'll have to give up space. A 3 bedroom for $1500 in either area is either non-existant or really run down. In Clarendon or Old Town $1500 will get you a one bedroom possibly a one bedroom with a small den. I know a couple who pays about that much in Old Town for a one bedroom with a den/office versus two full bedrooms.

In the outside the beltway suburbs $1500 will get you two bedrooms but it doesn't sound like that's what you want. So I'd say you'll just need to look at one bedrooms or one bedrooms with small dens/offices.
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