The DC Life


DC'S Vibrant, Diverse, & Growing Community

Washington, DC is a city that welcomes all, cherishing the contributions of its diverse residents and global community. This is why DC is the third most livable city in the country, recognized as a cultural epicenter and historic center of black culture.

It’s the city where lifestyle and community meets innovation and impact; where history, heritage, passion, and diversity are the pride of its residents. Washington, DC interweaves street-born beats with the classically trained. An evening in DC can range from DC-born Go-Go music to classical opera at the Kennedy Center; marching bands to gospel choirs; Smithsonian museums to the rest US punk rock scene; tradition to counterculture.

From sports to food, Washington, DC is baseball at Nationals Park and Goodman League street basketball; the 9:30 Club and jazz in the National Sculpture garden; a half-smoke and Michelin-star gastronomy; Fourth of July reworks on the National Mall and a hike through Rock Creek Park.

DC Life

Beyond the shadow of Congress, along the U Street corridor, across 8th Street, SE, around the block from Martin Luther King Avenue, the real Washington, DC awaits. It’s where a million voices have marched, where national art is a local delicacy, and where local culinary artisans become global legends. From being the most walkable city in the country to more than 150 miles of bike lanes and paths, easy accessibility to nature and free museums, and a thriving music and theatre district, it’s no surprise that DC consistently ranks as one of the happiest places to live in the nation.

Only in a city like the District of Columbia can you attract the best of the best. Employees want to live in cities where they feel welcome. Your affinity groups like Amazon Warriors, Glamazon, and the Black Employee Network reflect your diverse workforce, and your diverse workforce will feel right at home in a city like DC. We not only have vibrant and diverse communities, but also the laws in place to allow everyone to reach their full potential. Simply put, your commitment to diversity is our reality here in the District. Come to a city where all your employees will feel welcome, at work and in the community.

David Mariner | Executive Director, The DC Center for the LGBT Community

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An Arts and Culture Capital

Known as the busiest performing arts facility in the nation, The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts hosts approximately 3,000 performances each year, including regular Tony Award-winning productions.


The Washington Ballet and National Symphony Orchestra, among many contemporary and modern troupes, regularly perform around the city. DC’s annual Capital Fringe festival, spotlights fringe theatre, music, art, dance, and unclassifiable forms of live performance and visual art.

Headlining artists draw sold-out shows at the Capital One Arena, Merriweather Post Pavilion,
and Wolf Trap. DC’s historical local music scene continues to improvise, master, and blend genres including Go-Go music, a mix of funk, blues, rhythm, and old-school hip-hop. Each May, DC pays homage to its music roots during Funk Parade, a one-of-a- kind day fair, parade, and music festival. Local and national performers take stage at 9:30, Echostage, Howard Theatre, National Theatre, and U Street music halls. Four additional music halls were added with the opening of The Wharf in October, 2017.

Home to the Smithsonian, Washington, DC is the keeper of the nation’s history. There are 17 Smithsonian museums and galleries that contain 140 million objects, works of art, and specimens–all free. The Air & Space Museum on the Mall is the nation’s second most visited museum. DC has over 25 public neighborhood libraries and is home to the Library of Congress, the largest library complex
in the world with a collection of over 164 million books, manuscripts, recordings, newspapers, and other materials.

In 2015, there were more than 10 million attendees of cultural events and festivals throughout the city. The world renown National Cherry Blossom Festival attracts more than 1.5 million visitors on an annual basis, and the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the largest of its kind, engages over 365,000 students every year in STEM education.

Forty- five performing arts venues seat more than 27,000 people including prominent local theaters and national icons, that include:
  • Arena Stage

  • Anacostia Playhouse

  • Atlas Performing Arts Center

  • Ford’s Theatre

  • Howard Theater

  • The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

  • Lincoln Theater

  • National Theatre
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company
  • Source Theater
  • Studio Theatre
  • Warner Theater
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
From the grand stages and halls of prominent, national institutions to intimate venues located in neighborhoods around the city, the abundance of options available to arts-goers eclipses most US cities. Washington-based cultural institutions invest deeply in building equity and access for our residents. Arts education is a top priority, and thrives through investments by the DC Public Schools and in the partnerships forged and funded by community-facing organizations and the District.

Jenny Bilfield | President & CEO, Washington Performing Arts

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Thriving restaurants and nightlife

The culinary community of Washington, DC rivals bigger cities. Of DC’s 2,220 restaurants, 72 have received Zagat food scores of 4.5 out of 5 or higher. Distinctions include Michelin-ratings, James Beard awards, AAA Five-Diamond ratings, and rankings on Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants in America” list. Since 2008, the number of bars, clubs, and alcohol-serving restaurants increased by 63%.

Because District laws permit producers to self-distribute, the city is now a regional center of craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries. The Washington region has the second most number of breweries of any East Coast city, and ranks ninth nationally. More than 20 planned breweries are expected to increase the region’s beer production by nearly one-third.



Fresh food culture


Since 2000, 38 new or modernized grocery stores have opened in Washington, DC, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Giant, Safeway, and homegrown favorites like Yes! Organic Market and Good Food Markets Community Grocery. With the most farmers’ markets per capita, Washington, DC residents have easy access to fresh food and local produce. New grocery stores continue to open regularly, including Wegmans and Wawa, which have both announced plans to expand into the District.

The vibrant maker community produces a range of local products from cookies and candles to stationary and clothing. Six culinary incubators provide food entrepreneurs with the space and services necessary to operate and grow their companies. Markets like Union Market, Union Kitchen Market, Eastern Market, and Steadfast Supply feature Made in DC products year round.

Washington, DC is where I choose to base my restaurant group because of its unique history and devotion to the United States of America. It also so happens to have an amazing food scene with many talented and inspiring entrepreneurs from all ages and background making it truly the melting pot of America and serving as its heartbeat. I have the opportunity to rub shoulders every day with people from all over the world doing incredible things. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to cook for so many in this city. I think Amazon locating in D.C. would be a major game changer and not only amazing for this city but for the rest of the country. Amazon could leverage their experience and diversity to really help fix systemic problems we face within our food system here in the District that are mirrored across the United States. I think the local D.C. people from all 8 Wards would welcome the opportunity to host such a reputable company and Amazon would experience the diverse and talented people that make D.C. home.

Spike Mendelsohn | Chef/Owner of Good Stuff Eatery, We the Pizza, and Santa Rosa Taqueria

Puddin’ started in 2010 as a weekend farmers’ market vendor and gradually grew to include multiple open-air markets and food trucks. My business growth was largely due to the rapid demand for commercial diversity and the favorable business environment in DC, made possible by the initiatives of the Mayor’s Office, the local business community, and residents of the District.

Toyin Alli, | Owner and Operator, Puddin’

DC’s ecosystem is very supportive of business, but is also incredibly diverse and reflects our country better than any other urban center. We have used this environment to build over 400 businesses, create over 1,200 jobs, open up over 70 storefronts, and drive almost $500 million in revenues in the five years we have focused on growing food businesses.

Cullen Gilchrist, | Founder, Union Kitchen


DC hosts the world


In 2016, DC welcomed more than 20 million visitors, setting a new record for the seventh year in a row. The hospitality industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years as a result of its increasing appeal to business visitors and tourists.


An expanding ecosystem of homegrown music, food, art, and Made in DC products appeal to visitors from near and far. Washington, DC’s flourishing creative economy provides makers and creatives access to a wide audience and, as the creative community continues to grow, so do the opportunities. Compass Coffee, founded by two US Marine veterans who served in Afghanistan, opened their first coffee shop in 2014. Today, they operate seven coffee shops and became the coffee of choice at the White House during the Obama administration. Their newest roastery in the Ivy City neighborhood makes them the largest coffee manufacturer in DC.

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World Class Shopping and Local Retail

An expanding ecosystem of homegrown music, food, art, and Made in DC products appeal to visitors from near and far. Washington, DC’s flourishing creative economy provides makers and creatives access to a wide audience and, as the creative community continues to grow, so do the opportunities. Compass Coffee, founded by two US Marine veterans who served in Afghanistan, opened their first coffee shop in 2014. Today, they operate seven coffee shops and became the coffee of choice at the White House during the Obama administration. Their newest roastery in the Ivy City neighborhood makes them the largest coffee manufacturer in DC.


Since 2001, more than seven million square feet of retail space has been built in the District and another 1.5 million is under construction with a number of shopping corridors including historic Georgetown, Chinatown, 14th Street, Friendship Heights, and luxury downtown shops at CityCenterDC. Local purveyors feature their Made in DC products in the open-air Eastern Market and recently opened Steadfast Supply. The diverse retail scene is an eclectic mix of national chains, including Apple, Nike, and Target, peppered with one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops, including Proper Topper, Current, and Lettie Gooch.


Fitness, Fresh Air, and Fun


Between miles of trails, the National Mall, parks, and Rock Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, the DC region boasts plenty of outdoor locations to run, bike, hike, and kayak. Among high-density cities in the US, the District has the largest percentage of park land, and 97 of District residents live within a half mile walk to a park.


Highlights include:

  • One of the largest urban parks in the country, Rock Creek Park features 2,100 acres of parkland, 32 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, tennis courts, and a planetarium.

  • The Potomac and Anacostia Rivers offer water-based activities including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards at four points of waterfront access across the city. Boaters can rent or dock boats along the river from Georgetown to Navy Yard.

  • DC is close to major hiking trails in the Mid-Atlantic, with over 60 hikes within 60 miles of DC including the Appalachian Trail, the C&O Canal, Great Falls, and Roosevelt Island.


From yoga and meditation studios to HIIT and cross t gyms, Washington, DC stays t at one of hundreds of gyms and tness studios. The DC Department of Parks and Recreation maintains more than 60 different public recreation centers featuring sports elds, gymnasiums, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor public pools. DC’s parks and recreation centers host diverse sports leagues for all ages including kickball, softball, volleyball, ag football, and basketball.

Four major sporting event venues are located in the Washington, DC area with 185,000 total seats and eight major professional teams including the Nationals, Wizards, Capitals, Redskins, Mystics, DC United, Washington Freedom, and Washington Kastles. New sports venues are coming soon, including the Entertainment and Sports Arena at St. Elizabeths, opening fall 2018 with more than 4,000 seats.

The temperate climate of Washington, DC offers all four seasons, with pleasant springs and autumns, and mild winters with approximately 15.2 inches of seasonal snowfall. It is not prone to major natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts, res, and tornadoes.

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Making family growth affordable

Over the past ten years, DC has transformed a school system that underperformed into the fastest improving urban school district in the country, the District of Columbia has 263 elementary and secondary schools that serve 80,958 local students, and enrollment has been steadily growing in DC public schools for nearly a decade – a reflection of the confidence parents have in the District’s education system. Unique among major US cities, nearly half of DC’s public school enrollment is in public charter schools, which are tuition-free and open to all. With over 6,500 teachers, DC’s pupil/teacher ratio is 12.33, far better than the national average of 16.06. DC also has over 40 different private and parochial schools, many among the best in the country, including Sidwell Friends, National Cathedral School, Georgetown Day School, St. Albans, and St. Anselm’s Abbey.



DC offers many childcare options, with more than 350 licensed child development centers and 115 licensed home-based child development facilities. Over the next three years, the District will create an additional 1,300 infant and toddler seats and support 300 DC residents gain certi cation as educators for infants and toddlers.

The District offers free pre-K3 and pre-K4, the only jurisdiction in the region to do so. These investments help families save money on childcare and other educational expenses. The District’s funding provisions for universal pre-K are among the strongest of any city in the country with an investment of $15,400 per child, far above the national average of $4,100 per child.

DC outranks all other states in pre-kindergarten enrollment with an estimated 70% of three-year-olds and 84% of four-year-olds enrolled in a pre-K program during the 2015-16 school year.

Our vision is for every DC Public School (DCPS) student to feel loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. DCPS has made tremendous progress in the last decade thanks to strong educators and leaders who believe that every student can be successful.

Antwan Wilson | Chancellor of DC Public Schools

DC was the first major US city to offer universal pre-K3 


Committed to K-12 STEM

DC public schools serve students from pre-kindergarten through adulthood with a variety of programming. Students choose their path in Montessori or learn Spanish, French, Mandarin, or Hebrew in a dual-language immersion setting. There are more than 200 public schools within District limits striving for academic excellence and preparing students for post-secondary college and careers.

This year, Mayor Bowser announced millions in new investments for middle and high school programming at DC Public Schools (DCPS). Every middle school in DCPS will offer additional algebra and STEM courses, including computer science and engineering, and every student will have the option to participate in at least one extracurricular program including computer coding clubs, new athletic programs, and performing arts courses.

Many DC high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science, with the number of students taking the exam increasing by almost 50% every year since 2013. This is partly due to a National Science Foundation grant to train 20 teachers from 16 DCPS High Schools to lead entry level computer science courses, allowing students to develop a foundation to succeed in AP-level classes. In 2016, the majority of DC students who took AP Computer Science exams attended DC Public Schools. Introductory computer science classes are offered at these schools in conjunction with Project Lead the Way, with programming expanding next year to include a cyber security course.


Youth Partnerships

Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP), the District’s agship youth pathway to employment, is a locally funded initiative that provides youth ages 14 to 24 with enriching and constructive summer work experiences through subsidized placements in the private and government sector. MBSYEP allows youth to earn money and learn and develop the skills, attitudes, and commitment necessary to succeed in today’s world of work.

The District of Columbia Government has partnered with Microsoft’s Digigirlz program for several years to give middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.

The DC STEM Network is dedicated to inspiring and preparing all DC youth to succeed, lead, and innovate in STEM fields and beyond. The DC STEM Network maintains a list of all local STEM programs for youth and hosts events including the STEM Summit and career fairs.


DC is home to 10 hospitals and medical centers. The region is host to key institutions including the FDA and National Institutes of Health.


Safer, Stronger Communities

The success of cutting-edge policing and crime prevention strategies Washington, DC has implemented are reflected in the crime outcomes. Year-to-date, the District has seen a 32% decrease in robberies, a 23% decrease in assaults with a dangerous weapon, an 8% decrease in homicides, and a 26% decrease in burglaries. Violent crime in the District in 2016 was the lowest the city had seen since at least 2003. So far this year, violent crime has dropped another 24% compared to last year’s historic low.

Under the decade-long tenure of Police Chief Cathy Lanier and now Chief Peter Newsham, DC has risen as a national model of effective community policing. In 2015, Mayor Bowser announced the Safer, Stronger DC initiative, a renewed approach to keeping DC residents and visitors safe. The initiative is ongoing, and includes putting more police on the streets, giving police officers better tools to prevent crime, focusing on stopping repeat offenders, and growing a community partnership strategy.

As one of the world’s top pediatric hospitals, we stand at the forefront of discovery, innovation, and clinical care. Every day, we strive to ensure that every child in our richly diverse community can reach his or her fullest potential.

Kurt Newman, MD | President and CEO, Children’s National Health System

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