Congratulations! You’re living every young politicos dream–you’re living in the nation’s capital. Whether it’s for a month, a summer, or the rest of your life there are some things that the experts (aka: the people that struggled before you and are constantly learning) would like to share to make your experience living in this bustling city a little bit easier.

We hope these 20 tips will make your experience in the city a positive one!

  • Learn how to concisely answer the question, “What do you do?” because it’s the first thing people will ask you. If you don’t want to reveal exactly who you work for, figure out a way to do that beforehand. 

  • Get a public library card and use it often. As a DC resident, you can also gets a library card in Arlington, Montgomery County, and PG County. 

  • If you’re flying, and you’re not driving, you’re going to want to come into Reagan. You can get to Dulles and BWI without TOO much hassle, but flying in and out of Reagan is a much more seamless experience for city dwellers.

  • Practice your commute to work before the first day and experiment on days you have extra time to explore the best route. 

  • When in doubt, Uber. It’s better to spend a little bit of money than end up lost and far from home, especially when you’re new, and especially if you’re drunk. 

  • If you live in a residential area, get your parking permit or a guest parking permit so no one gets a ticket. You can get them both online. 

  • Figure out where your nearest post office is–but order stamps to your house just in case. It’s a lot easier to drop them in a blue bin than stand in line for an hour. 

  • If you commute daily on the metro, figure out if a monthly unlimited pass is right for you. It probably is. 

  • Explore grocery delivery–especially those tied to a specific store instead of InstaCart or Amazon Pantry that will upcharge you extensively. 

  • Explore the free museums during the week, and avoid them during peak-tourism season. You don’t want to spend three hours in line for a museum you could see in ten seconds if you’d simply come on another day. 

  • Save a current image of the metro map on your phone and reference it quickly instead of ending up hurtling the wrong direction. 

  • It’s a big city–don’t be dumb. Don’t walk around displaying money. Don’t play your music so loud that you aren’t aware of your surroundings. 

  •  If, and this is a big if, you insist on using the motorized scooters, stay aware of your surroundings and obey traffic laws. Too many people get hit on them and you don’t want to join that crew. Or just..don’t use them. Bicycles are fine. Scooters are…something. 

  • Escalator etiquette: stand on the left, walk on the right. Do not take up the entire escalator with your body. If you’ve got a suitcase, park it directly in front of or behind you on the escalator stairs. 

  • Invest in walking shoes. Especially if you’re not using a car, you’re going to be walking a lot. Invest in shoes with good soles that are comfortable and as cute as you want, but you’re not going to want to stroll the town in heels. Throw those in your purse to put on at the office. 

  • Get out of the city if that’s your thing. Don’t just hang out in Capitol Hill and DuPont. Go hiking in Great Falls. Visit the Baltimore Book Festival. Learn about what’s near, what’s far, and it’ll help you figure out if District dwelling really is the right path. 

  •  Go to happy hour–but leave happy. It’s okay, even ideal, to engage in these networking, community-building events. But don’t get too sloshed to get home, so drunk you made a bad impression, or stay longer than your heart and mind wants you too. Listen to yourself–leave when you want to leave. It’s better than staying and being grumpy. 

  • If you want to meet other conservatives, and spend way too much money on cocktails, go to Trump Tuesday at the Trump International. But dress well and don’t make a scene of yourself. People are watching. 

  •  Join local Facebook groups–especially those for Housing, Job Hunting, and The Buy Nothing Project. It’ll make life a lot easier–if you join, but turn off notifications. 

  • Don’t be surprised when people leave. DC is a transition city for a lot of people. Your friends and significant others may not be as permanently here as you are–don’t take it personally. It’s just the “thing” here, and as administrations change, so will a lot of the town’s residency.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member