- Free museums, memorials, concerts, historical venues! In most cities, these things cost money, but in our nation’s capital, they’re free! It spoils me.
- Abundancy of wineries and breweries. We have a gin distillery, VA/MD wineries, Bluejacket, Three Stars, DC Brau, Port City, and more beer breweries. Basically, for small batch booze, we’ve got it covered.
- Foodie heaven. After 4 years, there are still so many amazing, acclaimed, mouth-watering restaurants that I haven’t been able to visit. You can go somewhere different every night for years. You can find fancy things, cheap things, exotic things, familiar things. You can discover a gem no one knows about, or go somewhere known around the world. There’s molecular gastronomy and tasting menus. There’s ramen and small plates and fabulous BBQ. Brunch stands alone. There are also places that you discover and can’t wait to return to again and again, most of which change their menus seasonally so you can never go wrong – Raku and Rustico, I’m thinking of you. Jose Andres…mmm Zaytinya.
- Proximity to cool places. Annapolis and Baltimore less than an hour away. Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Parkway just a few hours drive. 3 hours to NYC, 2 hours to Philly. 3-4 to Virginia Beach, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Williamsburg, Pittsburgh. Less than a day to Charleston and OBX. $120 round trip flights to Boston. Three airports, an amtrak station, and access to I-95.
- Music scene. There’s a ton of venues, including but not limited to Lincoln Theater, 9:30 club, Wolf Trap, Merriweather, and Jiffy Lube Live (Bristow). Blackhat and Rock’n’Roll hotel. There’s always a concert, whether local or national, and tons of music festivals.
- Festivals. National Book Festival, Smithsonian Folklife festival. Every ethnicity in a festival. Jazz festival, Blues festival. BBQ, Bourbon, and Bacon festivals. Irish music festivals. Craft beer festivals. Free festivals, paid festivals…it goes on.
- Holiday celebrations. Memorial day, Labor day, Veterans Day, July 4 concerts and parades on the mall. National Christmas Tree and Menorah lightings.
- Politics. You can sit in on supreme court hearings, listen to Congressional debates, and observe congressional hearings. There are rallies and protests. Local politics are always brewing.
- Intellectual events. Check out linktank – there’s a think tank event, speaker, or discussion happening pretty much every moment of every day. There’s Geeks Night Out, Nerd Night, Encyclopedia Show, and other stupidly nerdy things. Sixth and I Synagogue and Politics and Prose always have authors doing speak&sign events. There are more MeetUp book clubs than there should legally be allowed.
- Unique (or just really cool) events. Burlesque. Roller Derby. Medieval Times. MD RennFest. Black Rose, Dark Odyssey, DXS alternative groups. MagFest, AwesomeCon, Tattoo and Sexuality conventions. Scavenger hunts – in museums and in limos. Board Gaming groups and conventions. Glass blowing classes, massage classes. Comedy events up the wazzoo. Fitness events all around. Gun ranges, snow tubing.
And because 10 is too few… Friends – my grad school peeps, college peeps, kinky (now vanilla) peeps, and more. Online dating culture resulting in my boyfriend :). Fly-over state populations. Willingness to meet new people.
And the bad – high price of living, too crowded, traffic, rampant hipsters or pretentiousness, constant transiency of social circles, inability to handle snow.