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10 Commandments of Living in Washington DC

Washington, D. C.
by Nia Davis Jul 26, 2016

1. Thou shalt never call yourself a Washingtonian if you were raised in MD or VA.

This title is given to a select few who were actually born and raised in the city.

2. Thou shalt not use Metro as your main transportation.

There are more delays and track work on Metro rail than visitors to the Smithsonian. This summer, SafeTrack work means that Orange and Silver lines are now affected (so, no quick shopping trips to Tyson’s). It’s best to leave this mode of transport to the clueless tourists roaming the National Mall.

3. Thou shalt remember that go go music is a part of the culture.

Go go music is one of those rare things born from the streets of D.C. Its history is like a timeline of the city’s past and present. Local bands have been around for decades and Chuck Brown is legend. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to respect its place in D.C.’s culture.

4. Thou shalt not frequent Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Is there any late night food spot more popular than Ben’s? The original home of the half-smoke, a local delicacy in D.C., and once stopover for President Obama is lined with people every minute of the day. It’s a great spot to try, but unless you’re craving a hot dog while walking down U street street at 3 a.m., best to leave this spot for the tourists.

5. Though shalt not steal another’s parking space.

Parking is difficult and at times impossible, especially downtown, Georgetown and around DuPont Circle. The frustration can lead to multiple trips around the block or, gasp, paying $20 for a valet or sketch parking lot. Still, if a car is waiting for a spot, let him/her go for it. You don’t want to get cursed out or return to your Benz to find a key scratch. Who knows? Maybe your good karma will find you an even better spot with a “parking attendant” who’ll watch over your car for a 5 note.

6. Thou shalt not take the word “Redskins” in vain.

Football is religion in D.C. And while the name “Redskins” is super offensive and not always synonymous with winning, disparaging the name is akin to sacrilege. Especially if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan.

7. Thou shalt never complain about the city.

Think what you want about housing prices, the neurotic weather, the crime, the politics, the numerous potholes and the bureaucracy. But never say anything about the city — it’s like complaining about the trees in Central Park.

8. Thou shalt honor brunch and happy hour culture.

This is a busy city full of driven idealists who come here to change the world. It’s no wonder they need a break from all the brain work. Brunch at almost any restaurant in the city is where they go on Sundays, while weekdays 4-7 p.m. is reserved for after-work complaints.

9. Thou shalt remember to ask “where are you from?”

In a city as transient as DC, this question is a given and is expected to be answered with the name of a city other than Washington. Otherwise, you’re just weird. Or possibly lying. Asking this question is second only to “what’s your name?”

10. Thou shalt never call the city “Washington”.

It’s either the “District” or the city.


11. Thou shalt not talk about politics on the first date.

Living in the capital city, one would expect politics to come up at least a dozen times at every outing. However, when trying to cozy up to your (maybe) future spouse, it’s best to avoid the topic altogether. People pick sides here, and if you’re on opposite sides, it could lead to a Hillary-Trump showdown at Fogo de Chao.

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