« on: April 21, 2006, 12:32:19 PM »
I have lived in the DC area a huge chunk of my life, and I have mixed feelings about it, too.
One thing is that the metro runs much later on the weekends than the OP said, I think until about 2am, but don't quote me on that... it is later than 11:30, tho! The metro system in general is a bit of a pain, unless you plan your living situation just right, but it can be nice for getting through the city and into the close MD/VA suburbs. Otherwise getting around can be a challenge without a car.
I agree with a lot of what has been said on here, it's a very transient city and so making good, long-term friends is hard. The good thing is that people do seem to realize this fact and there are a good number of young professionals groups and activities for people to get involved in to meet people, I've gone to a few such activities and people are more friendly than they were in many other places I've lived-- might be something w/the political nature of the city, people have to be outgoing to survive, so they are in social situations, too. Of course, that means that it can be a little superficial from time to time, too.
The city is odd b/c it is so small, and for people expecting things like SF, NYC, LA, Boston, etc. might be disappointed by the size and array of activities. However, with a car, the area has a ton to offer (or by using flexcar, I have friends who use it and love it, they don't have to deal with parking in the city and they can get away when they want.) VA and MD both have beautiful places w/in one-two hours and that can be very nice when the city is too insular.
I am not a big city person and so for me it is a nice-sized city with a lot to offer. There are sketchy neighborhoods, but some nice places--and of course the history and such, museums, etc., are really great things to have!
If you don't mind a little commute, the VA and MD suburbs are both really nice, Alexandria and Arlington, and then Bethesda and Silver Spring have really revitalized recently with some great restaurants, bars, etc.
I hate the traffic and the congestion and the obnoxious attitudes I encounter from people who work on the hill and think that means they run the world--but those kinds of people are everywhere (you might just meet more of them here)--and I spent a lot of my life trying to sever all ties to the area.
But, once I moved back I realized that it does have a lot to offer and I love the beauty of the surrounds. I hope I don't live here forever, but if I did, I can think of worse things.
that's really repetitive with other posters' comments, but maybe there's a kernel in there that might help. Feel free to ask me any other ??, I have lived or have friends who have lived in at least 25 different areas w/in 30 min of the city (and in the city), so I have a good feel of a lot of the areas!