Friendly, fast-paced, passionate, idealistic … in Washington, D.C., you’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the country’s most highly motivated, intelligent and ambitious minds. This capital city is the nerve center of US politics and is home to the White House and United States Capitol, alongside 200 foreign embassies and international organizations, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Politics aside, the city is also a national center for the arts; it boasts a thriving local and national theater scene and is a hub for US indie culture and music. Here too, you will find the Smithsonian Institution, which runs 19 museums and the national zoo, all of which are free to the public. Passionate about sports, the city is one of only 12 in the US to boast teams from all four major professional men’s sports, including basketball, hockey, baseball and football. Those moving here for professional reasons are advised to find accommodation near their workplace or to work from home. In recent years, the city’s high cost of living has prompted many to seek more reasonably priced accommodation in suburban areas, further exacerbating commuter traffic. On the upside, the Washington, D.C., area boasts a huge range of cultural activities, entertainment, shopping, festivals, outdoor recreation and great restaurants. Its location in the mid-Atlantic region ensures mild weather, making the city less prone to natural disasters than other parts of the United States. Washington, D.C.’s residents look forward to the region’s beauty throughout its seasonal changes. The city's ideal situation places the beach, the mountains, and several cities—including Baltimore, Annapolis, Richmond, Philadelphia and New York—within just a few hours’ drive. What is special or unique about your city? Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia, is often referred to as the "Capital of the Free World." With a population of some 531,833 in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the population of the surrounding area of northern Virginia and southern Maryland numbers more than 5.3 million residents. Washington, D.C., is fortunate to have exceptional schools, world-class sports and entertainment and excellent public transportation. Above all, Washington, D.C., is packed with history and culture, which, combined, deliver the "American Experience." This city is home to many famous sights, free attractions and an endless calendar of special events, as well as some of the most famous museums you'll find in the United States. There is much to do and see in this unique city that has a character all its own. Once you get settled in to your new home, you're going to love it! What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city? Typically, newcomers are amazed by all that there is to do and see here, but with the many government buildings, embassies and businesses located directly in the center of the city, it can also be somewhat intimidating. Once settled in, however, and having had the opportunity to explore the different neighborhoods, newcomers quickly learn that Washington, D.C., is a very friendly city that reveals something new around every corner. Are these impressions likely to change? Most find that their appreciation for the city grows every day. Washington, D.C., is full of historic homes and museums, colorful and diverse neighborhoods, hip boutiques and galleries, urban parks and spectacular gardens. What is there not to like? What is the local language? The primary language spoken in Washington, D.C., is English. Spanish is a second language frequently spoken in many Washington, D.C., communities. Furthermore, there are many nationalities within the city and you will most likely hear several different languages spoken as you walk down the street. How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language? It is recommended to have a basic knowledge of English. Without the knowledge of English or Spanish, you will face some challenges. However, since Washington, D.C., is a very international city, you may be able to get by using your native tongue. Below are some phrases in Spanish that may help you out while you are here: English Spanish Good morning Buenos días Good night Buenas noches Thank you very much Muchas gracias My name is … Me llamo … Do you speak English? Usted habla inglés? What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city? Because Washington, D.C., is home to many diverse cultures, respect for and acceptance of others’ cultures should be given at all times. People in the United States value their personal space, which is at least an arm’s length between you and the person next to you. Also, asking too many personal questions when you first meet someone and/or using certain hand gestures (such as displaying your middle finger) is considered offensive. How might the local weather affect my daily life? Washington, D.C., offers the best of all four seasons. You will experience wonderfully warm weather from April through October and winter is often very short, with more rain than snow. Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people? Washington, D.C., is well known for its friendly hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. The best time to visit is in the spring during the Cherry Blossom Festival (late March and early April).