Washington, DC the capital of the United States, is located on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland (locals call this the DMV area) on the East Coast. DC hosts all three branches of the federal government (Executive branch, Congress, and Supreme Court) however culture, cuisine, wellness, and community thrive in an area known for power and politics.
Whether you are coming for business or leisure, DC will not disappoint. Use the Metro or take a cab to visit a variety of neighbourhoods that are distinct in character and charm. Georgetown, Navy Yard/Wharf and Old Town Alexandria offer scenic views of the Potomac River, shopping, and restaurants. Eastern Market located in Capitol Hill hosts a year-round farmers market and weekend flea market. Adams Morgan, DuPont Circle, U Street Corridor and Shaw areas are filled with cafes, boutiques, and acclaimed restaurants. Parks are found throughout the District for residents and visitors alike to exercise or to take a moment to relax. All Smithsonian museums and monuments in DC are also free to visit.
DC is known as one of the healthiest cities in the US; if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of your day, join the many runners or run clubs that run to the National Mall, or find your zen by taking a yoga class at a local studio.
Winter Months: (December – March): The area tends to get light snow; bring warm clothes and winter gear (jacket, gloves, boots, and a hat).
Spring (April – May): It’s absolutely beautiful to see all the leaves budding into full bloom during the spring when the humidity is still low. The weather tends to be crisp; a light jacket and boots are recommended. The famed cherry blossoms bloom around the Tidal Basin in March, timeframe pending upon weather conditions. Be prepared for a high pollen count as allergy season is in full force.
Summer (June – August): The weather tends to be hot and humid during these months; as a result, frequent thunderstorms take place.
Fall (September – November): Humidity tends to dissipate by the end of September to early October, however, there are periods in the early part of this season where the temperature is hot and humid or crisp and cold. The weather tends to get chilly during the latter half of October through November.
Local business etiquette and customs
Business dress codes are conservative.
Business casual is the average mode of fashion in Washington, DC. During the spring to fall months, women wear skirts, tank tops with a cardigan with sandals or flats. Pants are also an option. You will find many women wearing flats or sneakers as they commune from the Metro to their work location. They typically change their shoes at their desk or before the meeting if they do not work at the location they are travelling to. Wearing accent jewellery is common.
Business formal is suggested for high-end meetings or formal events. Women wear pantsuits, dresses, or a formal jacket with a matching skirt with a scarf and heels.
It is common to shake hands with males or females while maintaining brief eye contact with them. Business meetings could either start by asking the person how they are, or asking them about their family, weekend plans, or area happenings, OR they may begin right away, getting down to business matters.Meetings are held on time. If you may be late due to transportation issues, notify the person you are meeting as soon as possible.
travel and transport
The Metrorail system is very easy to use and attendants are available at every station to guide visitors or answer questions. The stations are safe, however, trains tend to come every 30 minutes weeknights and weekends.
Car sharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and Via are all available and readily used throughout the Metro area.
Community bike rentals are available throughout the city. The city has designated bike lanes; use caution during rush hour (between 7AM – 9AM and 4PM – 7PM).
dining and bars
With a plethora of restaurants and bars in D.C, there is always somewhere good to eat:
- Zaytinya (plus other Jose Andres restaurants)- Turkish, Greek and Lebanese
- Cava Mezze- Meditteranean
- Kramerbooks and Afterwords- Bookstore and cafe
- Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro- Meditteranean
- Ambar Balkan Cuisine
- Le Diplomate- French
- Founding Farmers- American Rustic Chic
- District Winery- Boutique Wine
- Raku- Japanese, Chinese, Thai
women’s networks and events
Ellevate Network, FemCity DC, Travel Plus Social Good, Summit to Soul Run Clubs and Wellness Events
beauty and fitness
- Multiple Crossfit locations
- Multiple Sport and Health locations
- Vida Fitness
- Soul Cycle
- District Yoga
- Be Here Now Yoga Studio
- Multiple Drybar locations
- PR and Partners Salon
- Corps d’Elite Salon
safety and emergency services
Police are always on patrol in the District, however, 911 is available to use through your cell phone or landline for emergency services. It is also a good idea to keep the contact information for your embassy prior to departing.Use caution if you are walking or running at night. Stay in places that are well populated and well lit.
ambassador: sophia hyder
Travelling and learning about different cultures is one of my passions in life. I have been fortunate enough to travel to over 30 countries around the world for business and leisure. My career interest in international development work sparked at the age of 10 when I lived in Sri Lanka; I knew I wanted to do something meaningful for other people.
After working in the industry for over 10 years, I decided to start my own company, Papilia, which offers customized cross-cultural communication, mindful leadership, and international etiquette training to businesses that want to improve their strategic international relationships or expand their portfolio to include diverse clientele.
As a yoga instructor and life coach, I integrate wellness principles into each training or individual coaching session to help people design their best life. I love helping people find their ‘aha’ moment and to help them feel confident with any business or personal situation.