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SO you just arrived to DC. Is it your first time here? Are you an intern? Are you a hopeless post-grad? Do you even know anyone? More importantly, does anyone know you?  Here are some of your basic survival tips to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself in the District your first week here.

Step outside DCA – hopefully you were wise enough to fly into Reagan and not Baltimore -[rookie mistake] and you realize it’s hot, humid, your hair is a frizz-ball. Welcome to the Nation’s Capital!


1) Getting Around

-Cabs don’t take credit cards here. If they say they do [they don’t]. And if you cry loud enough they might, but be prepared to dish out of a lot of money so your driver can take you the long route. They can smell if you’re not from here, and most likely they’ll smell too [hot car, long days, oye].

-WMATA has its share of drama, and sure, they always decide to have track work on busy weekends, but compare the aesthetics of DC’s metro to NYC’s subway, and you’ll never want to return to the Big Apple. Go get yourself a SmarTrip because the paper cards make you look like you can’t tell north from south. And if you even try to stand on the left side of the escalator? You may as well throw yourself off the stairs. [Sidenote: the bus isn’t really that bad and stops every block and if you’re lazy like we are, that’s gold.]

-Uber sounds like a Russian mafia family, but it’s not. Uber helps with making you look like you have more money than you actually do. A sleek black car to drop you off in front of your destination? BINGO. If you don’t mind shelling out double the cost of a cab, then you’re in luck. But really, Ubers are the best thing to hit DC since John Wall.

2) Posting Up

-Foggy Bottom. No, that’s not what happens when you wear jeans in 100 degrees. Otherwise known as “West End,” this neighborhood is where you live if you can shell out $5,400 a month for a 2 bedroom. You’re near a lot of cool attractions [h/t State Department] and a nice walk to Georgetown. But, you can’t really live here unless mom & dad help.

-Shaw. It’s ‘up and coming.’ And by up and coming, we mean it’s up, and coming at a very slow pace. No one is really quite sure where it is or what it’s near. But if you look up restaurants on YELP, we guarantee you’ll find some amazing 5 star hole in the wall joints.

-Arlington. One word: LOLNO

-Capitol Hill. Home to many beautiful redone rowhouses. Great colors, fancy doors, big gardens. Just kidding, most of the homes here are overpriced, rundown and housing 7 hill staffers. It’s doable for a bit, though.

3) Looking Good

-Intern? PLEASE DO NOT VERIFY what everyone thinks of DC interns: skinterns. Go to Ann Taylor LOFT, or CURRENT Boutique on 14th Street. You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good here [hello, DC is the Hollywood for ugly people] but that doesn’t mean the sequester has to affect your reputation.

-K Street? Sure, everyone looks good in a fitted power suit, but they can also be done so wrong. Men, hem the pants. Women, stop wearing sneakers with your skirt. Just in general: Get rid of that damn backpack, this is not the 8th grade.

-Capitol Hill Staffers: OYE. Where to begin. Recess is great because you can come in late, watch Netflix all day and leave early, but for the love of God, flip flops are never acceptable in the professional world.

-Everyone else not listed: Please do yourself a favor and check out @CapHillStyle for more tips

4) The Scene

-Networking aka pounding a vodka soda at 5:31 p.m. [no one in DC works past 6] with your cubicle mate. Make sure you learn to hold your alcohol before you make rounds along the happy hour circuit with your new power friends. Seriously, those guys are tailored to put bottle to their face for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You better know how to keep up, unless you want to be THAT girl falling all over Connecticut Avenue [You went to MadHatters again, didn’t you?]

-14th Street bars AND restaurants are a breath of fresh air. A nice eclectic mix of folk all drinking in grungy, yet very trendy places. Beer, people watching, and open windows. Why not? FYI: we trust @HungryLobbyist for all our edible decisions.

-Georgetown Waterfront is what some may call a ‘sweat cocktail.’ It’s hot as hell and you’re drinking a $15 cocktail in a plastic cup next to men wearing pink and their collars popped higher than the national debt.

-Food trucks. Nom nom nom. Besides your normal brick & mortar stores, the phenomenon that is eating food prepared in a dirty truck and handed to you from a window is incredibly tempting. Check out our favorites @SUNdeVICH @FarEastTG @BasilThymeDC @DCBallers

5) Don’t forget…

-DC Sports. Honestly, they tend to disappoint. The post season and DC sports DO NOT MIX WELL. RG3’s knee. The Nats collapse against the Cards. And let’s not talk about what happens when the Caps meet the Rangers. Not sure DC United can ever win 2 games in a row. Although, the Kastles had a good season [WHO?].

-Art & Culture. Have you been to Howard Theatre? Seen a show at the 9:30 Club? Put on a suit & tie for a production at the Kennedy Center? Sweltered through Jazz in the Garden? DC is home to a lot of diverse cultures that actually allows you to find something cool [and relatively not expensive] to do every damn night.

-The Slang: It’s AMO, not ADMO. Jumbo Slice, it’s your 3 a.m booty call. Brunch or die tryin’. [SOTW] Sign of the Whale happy hour…NO. Avoid using “BACK DOOR” in a dirty text to Anthony Weiner, save it for the X2. [VIDA, WSC, MINT, CRUNCH] all that alcohol goes somewhere, work it off here. No car? Zip[Car] It. Eastern Market: go on Sundays. Two Amys: worth the two-hour wait, GTOWN Cupcakes: not so much [try Baked & Wired]. Alas, donuts are the new cupcake, Jose Andres is the man, and DC has the most beautiful people on the Hill [LOL].

Want to be FAMOUS in DC? Good luck with that.

Featured photo by: Brian DiCola