14 Reasons to be Thankful for Living in DC

25Nov09

Let’s acknowledge the truths: DC is full of smart people (yes, quite a lot of them are lawyers); free attractions and events; and is a powerhouse of the democratic world.  But if you live, have lived, or yearn to live in DC, many other reasons convinced you to love this multifaceted city.

Photo by ccperkdog

  1. Beyond the Smithsonian Kite and Folklife festivals, annual street festivals such as the DC Caribbean Carnival, Annual Capital Pride Street Festival, and Latino Fiesta DC attract locals and visitors alike.  These parties celebrate the many enclaves that compose the city’s diverse population.
  2. While President Obama might not forsake Chicago (or Hawaii or New York while we’re at it) for DC during his residency in the White House, his daughters will have a profound connection to the city.  Growing up in the city during their formative years and being influenced by their parents’ efforts to engage in the city, there is a good chance that the First Daughters will think of DC fondly and stay connected.
  3. Anyone can be elected to political office – even elected multiple times – despite a record of drug convictions and tax fraud.  Add to Marion Barry’s resume not only “mayor for life,” but also the role of reality TV star (filming for his series is underway).  Seriously, though, current DC Mayor Adrian Fenty is a Mount Pleasant native and evidence of an unlikely but impassioned young resident rising to power.
  4. Though no one will admit to seriously watching either one, there is some relief that MTV’s Real World and Bravo’s Real Housewives finally selected Washington as the backdrop of their salacious series.  I’m curious to learn which places I will have to avoid due to tourist over-exposure after they appear on the shows.
  5. It’s taken for granted, but the Lincoln Memorial is stunning and serves as the site of many engagements and subsequent wedding portraits.  I admit to posing at the predictable romantic spot for my pre-wedding photos.
  6. We can always get tickets for our local baseball teams.  Whether a Nationals or Orioles fan, games are rarely sold out.  Anyway, sometimes it’s more fun to go for the sporting event experience rather than investing in whether your team actually wins. Take that Yankees and Red Sox!
  7. Three contestants from this past season of Top Chef hail from the Baltimore/Washington region.  Several others contestants from past seasons have come from DC, such as Carla Hall, or set up new businesses in DC, such as Spike Mendelsohn.  They prove that DC is a culinary hub of talent.
  8. There are at least 18 weekly farmers markets that bring organic and local produce and baked goods to DC.  In addition, we have a selection of grocery store chains and independent or ethnic shops in which to find just what you’re craving.
  9. The Going Out Guide reveals that there are exactly 50 coffeehouses within the District alone.  I appreciate the availability of caffeine and pastries every few blocks.
  10. To work off all those pastries, we have parks.  According to Forbes, 19.4% of city land has been purposed for recreation.
  11. We don’t just have parks, we also take time to enjoy the parks.  At any time on the National Mall and throughout city neighborhoods, DC is a recognizable haven for joggers.  There is a culture of running here that makes us both a healthy city and a logical site of many road races, such as the Army Ten Miler and Marine Corps Marathon.
  12. Architecture keeps the eye entertained.  From marble buildings to colorful row houses, you won’t find a building development of identical single-family suburban homes here.
  13. Washington was the first major American city to require LEED compliance for private projects.  91 buildings here are LEED(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified, leading the way for responsible and sustainable construction.
  14. DC is great and all, but sometimes you need to get out of town.  With three local airports, Union Station, and new bus depots emerging regularly, you don’t need to plan far in advance for your travels (unless, of course, you’re traveling on Thanksgiving weekend).

Why are you thankful to live in DC?  Leave a note in the comments.  Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!



10 Responses to “14 Reasons to be Thankful for Living in DC”

  1. This is an interesting list, I expected a “Washington DC is the center of the Politics/USA/Universe” statement- I think that’s a pretty cool reason to love DC.

  2. goddamn lawyers.

  3. 4 Jonny D

    I thought you were trying to get DC to convince you, not the other way around. This list goes against the purpose of the blog!

  4. Fair question. The object of my blog is to seek out ways to enjoy DC that I haven’t experienced before, while also sometimes faking appreciation in hopes of making appreciation. I concede that there is a lot to admire about this flawed city. But, I could (and probably will) counterbalance with a list of reasons why I am not thankful for living here. For now, the holiday spirit is muddling my ambivalence!

  5. 6 earlgrey

    i won’t nitpick your content. however, all cities have flaws. it’s just that dc/metro area is extremely multifaceted in terms of economy, history, culture, affluence, diversity and influence enough to outweigh the flaws and make it worthy of being a member of the top cities in this world. that’s “top”, as in, if you’ve travelled the world, you would miss the experiences and opportunities you left behind in DC. those who live and work here may take it for granted as is often the case where urban sprawl must keep up with demand. those americans from other towns cannot seem to separate the city/metro area from the political aspects as they focus on the negative. too bad for them. where are the other 500 reasons to be thankful for living in DC?

  6. With you on #7. Forgot how beautiful this city can be at night. We took the little one to the Lincoln Memorial in the evening and it was magnificent.

  7. 9 Sarah Livingston

    I’m thankful for people like you who love DC and make the decision to be public about it in a blog.
    There is sooooo much cynicism, neagativity and trendy(ineffective) whining about what’s wrong and what we don’t have that your list stands out as a bright, clear antidote and that is a wonderful, much appreciated addition to my day.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words! You’re right – essays on DC’s foibles are far too common and dispiriting. Imagine if it were trendy instead to have pride in our city!


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