meeting new people in dc
November 28, 2006 9:18 PM   Subscribe

moving back to dc, and looking to meet new people - but trying to stay AWAY from the mass of transient young professionals everywhere.

I know this question, to some degree has been asked before on MeFi, but I wanted to take it a bit deeper.

I'm recently settling back into the DC area - got a great job in Dupont, and about to move to an apartment in Mt. Pleasant (like the neighborhood, and lots of family nearby).

I do like DC a lot, plan to stay here for good (both personal and job reasons), and am quite familiar with it - but i haven't been living here for quite some time and I don't know lots of people.

The one frustration I have with DC is that as a newcomer, the most immediate groups of people around tend to be other professionals through work or similar avenues. They tend to be really transient here, coming in, staying for a few years, and then moving on. They also tend to be all middle class backgrounds and predominately white. That's not bad in and of itself, but i'm just used to having a much more diverse group of friends.

My friends that grew up in this area I like a lot, but I've just met them randomly. I know I will meet people, but I'm fishing for suggestions on going places and meeting people where everyone isn't an upward bound professional focused on their career and/or more schooling.

(For instance, I made a number of good friends from when I went to Northern Virginia Community College - unfortunately, I'm a DC resident now. I was also thinking that I might have more luck in MD/VA, as suburban Maryland/Virginia residents tend to be more rooted.

Any thoughts would be welcome - i know this question is pretty vague...
posted by jare2003 to Human Relations (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Until you get situated (and if it's remotely possible given your upbringing/outlook), you might want to try the All Souls Unitarian church on 16th Street. Even if you don't love the church thing it's an easy way to meet non-transient people and once you're connected you don't even have to go to church anymore.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:43 PM on November 28, 2006

If you are looking to get away from upwardly mobile, transient, white, upper middle class then the VA/MD 'burbs are not where to go (with the exception of PG county). DC is not known as "Chocolate City" because these people make up the majority of the population.

Go East young man (or woman)! There are tons of nice, diverse, pleasant locales to hang out between Shaw and College Park, MD where the folks will range in ethnic make up, socio-economic status, and transience.

Try heading over to Colonel Brook's Tavern for a meal and a drink some evening. Take a drive up University Boulevard up in Langley Park, MD or Georgia Ave. in DC and stop off for incredible vegitarian Indian, or Pakistani, or Salvadoran, or West African, or Vietnamese, or... all in the same randomly selected strip mall.

If you need more pointers, I'm at hotmail and will be back in Feb.

Maybe you should plan a meetup?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:49 PM on November 28, 2006


well, i mean - I'm not talking about places like Loudoun County or Potomac when i say burbs!

But Falls Church, non-yuppie Arlington, inner Fairfax, Silver Spring tend to be pretty mixed. That's the other thing - the inner burbs tend to be a lot more ethnically mixed and what i'm used to (lots more Asian and Latino + black and white), whereas DC itself is pretty black and white (that's one reason i like the Mt Pleasant/Columbia Heights/Petworth/etc area, it feels like an intersection of a lot of different people and cultures. Good thought on Brookland - i havnet been there in ages.

The UU church is a good idea. I had forgotten about it, and it's quite close.
posted by jare2003 at 10:20 PM on November 28, 2006

Befriend government workers - they tend to stick around.
posted by exogenous at 6:39 AM on November 29, 2006

See if you've got a neighborhood association and check out local government-related meetings. People that go to those things tend to be more rooted in their communities, so folks who are just there for a few years to puff up their resumes probably won't stick around.

I admit I haven't lived in the DC area for a while, but it seems just about impossible to live in the city and have mostly white friends if you talk to and associate with others. Give it time.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:04 AM on November 29, 2006

Second the neighborhood meetings, also any local political campaings. That's how a DC colleague of mine met her husband. (I'm no longer in DC but lived there in the early 90s for 3+ years.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:18 AM on November 29, 2006

Hmmm. Something weird about this is that I seem to have the exact social circle that you're looking for in DC, only I live in Baltimore and came by my surplus of rooted/diverse DC friends completely randomly. My suggestion would be to get involved in the arts/culture scene. People that are building something like a theatre company or an arts gallery tend to be more invested in the place in which they're doing it.

Alternately: plan a meetup. :)
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:20 AM on November 29, 2006

Our neighboorhood (Springfield, VA - specifically "Springvale" ) is going through a transition phase... and we're close to the Metro. Come on down!!

Housing is expensive - but hey, it's expensive everywhere around here. Our neighboorhood is at the point where the people who have lived here for 40-50 years are dying off (literally) and new families are moving in and sprucing things up.

A new "Pentagon Row" type of development is being built across the street (, and BRAC is bring 18,000 jobs to Ft. Belvoir. Yes, Springfield is turning into a happening place!!
posted by matty at 7:39 AM on November 29, 2006

However... if I was you - I'd think about the U-Street Corridor.
posted by matty at 7:42 AM on November 29, 2006

I second All Souls Unitarian Church!

The minister there, Rob Hardies, is a good friend of mine. The church is very friendly to new people and is really about having a good time and knowing neighbors rather than being saved and fire and brimstone and all that.

You might also think about joining a kickball club, a great way to get some exercise and hang out with people who plan to be in DC for a while.
posted by parmanparman at 8:14 AM on November 29, 2006

I third the call for a meetup - I'm fairly new to the area and am always looking to meet new/fun people as well, so I think that would be a great idea.

Piggybacking a bit on the question - after perusing the All Souls website, I'm very interested in it, but unfortunately I work on Sunday mornings and wouldn't be able to attend the worship service. Are their other non-worship events any good, and would it be okay for me to do those if I'm not attending services? I know some churches frown upon people having all the fun without any work. :)
posted by sarahsynonymous at 8:58 AM on November 29, 2006

Heh. I was going to suggest finding a church, but I thought it would sound trite. Considering several people have recommended the same UU church, I would third or fourth or whatever that recommendation.

The other thing I would do is seek out clubs, activities, or charities you are interested in. I participate in Habitat for Humanity builds in my area. The nice thing about HFH is that most of the volunteers I've met are longterm members of the community. Transient community members, I think, may not worry about or have the time to give back to the community. By volunteering in some capacity, I think you are more likely to meet longterm community members.

(And even if you don't, it will be time well-spent!)
posted by Doohickie at 9:37 AM on November 29, 2006

thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone!

croutonsupafreak: yeah, i totally agree with you that it is (longterm) not to have a pretty mixed group of friends - the DC area is very mixed. but a lot of transient people tend to come from more homogenous locales.

sarahsynon: perhaps a meetup is a good idea to plan!

After hearing so many good reviews, i will definetly check out All Souls.

matty: I actually just signed for a place in Mt. Pleasant. Four years ago, I used to rent a rowhouse with two roomies in U Street Corridor, off 12th&V, but that area's gotten really expensive now.

I also wanted my own apartment this time around (I know a group house is better for meeting people, but i unluckily got stuck as an impartial observer in the middle of drama between housemates in both last group houses i lived in.

Can anyone recommend a kickball league?
posted by jare2003 at 9:57 AM on November 29, 2006

jare2003 -- there's a kickball league that plays down at the baseball diamond in Adams Morgan (just north of 18th & Florida). Can't remember which one it is, though.

I live in Mt Pleasant (well, more Columbia Heights) and a meetup could be pretty cool. Also, I used to live at 13th & W -- you are absolutely right, it's gotten much more expensive. Check out the developments at 14th & V/W -- no more used car lots. Yeesh!
posted by kdar at 5:17 PM on November 29, 2006

Well, the Alexandria Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) seemed to have a fairly stable membership base (as in it wasn't that transient) and was made up of diverse folks. I think the same is true of the Arlington Jaycees as well.
posted by bananafish at 10:24 PM on November 30, 2006

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