Stay Safe

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Washington, District of Columbia

Stay Safe Washington Reviews

HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
General safety for visitors and tourists Jul 19, 2010
As with any major metropolitan city, you should have your wits about you. If you are visiting DC from a small town, things to be aware include: women holding the straps of their pocketbooks with it over your shoulder, using a pocketbook/purse with a zipper, looking behind you every block or so when walking around at night or in underpopulated areas, not showing all your money when paying for souvenirs and food or when out in the street, asking for the price of souvenirs and food (I prefer to compare-DC and even NY sometimes charges more to tourists than locals), and other safe tactics.

There aren't a lot of pickpocketers, but when on the metro or a bus and its crowded, be weary of your pocketbook/purse and location of your wallet and other valuables. In Europe, people would like to think they'd feel a thief digging into their pocket, but that's what a professional does, steal your stuff without you noticing.

The basic diamond shape of DC is divided by the Anacostia river and sometimes that area, called SE DC, is avoided by tourists. It is residential and there is very little to visit over there. SE DC makes the news on a frequent basis, but it is often due to shootings and other problems that occur late at night.

SE DC in the Capitol Hill/downtown area is fine. The Capitol building divides DC into 4 quadrants divied up by North Capitol, S. Capitol, E. Capitol, and W. Capitol streets. Far reaches of NE DC is another area that tourists should avoid unless you are visiting or staying with someone who lives out there.

Chinatown has developed over the last few years and it's really pretty, has lots of restaurants, a movie theater, and a chic bowling alley. It is so popular and metro-accessible that it is a harbor for young teenagers and naughty adolescents, so when walking around at night, watch your bags and keep your wits about you.

As for homeless persons in DC, the mentally ill, the addict, and who ever else wanders the streets and homeless shelters, they are really stigmatized. I don't give out money and when I can't, I say so. It breaks my heart to see people just walk pass the homeless like they aren't even people. I do often carry snacks and fruit in my bag or car and if its something I don't need, I give it away or buy an extra burger when I go into McDonalds. I don't give out money when I have it because it might go to supporting an activity I don't condone, but food is usually graciously accepted or saved for when needed. I'm not saying you have to come to DC and support our homeless, but I just want you to think about some other options.

Enjoy your visit to DC
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Documama Documama
4 reviews
Two cities, one address Dec 04, 2008
There are, in reality, two cities here: Washington (the nations Capitol) and the DC (a city where 500,000 people live and work, most of them *not* for the federal government).

Washington has monuments and museums and tours and fine restaurants and memorial parks. It is fairly compact. 6 blocks on either side of the National Mall (the grassy area). Throw in Georgetown for shopping and dining.

DC (the District of Columbia) is everything else. Neighborhoods from the swanky to the down-and-out-y. Good restaurants and bars, but not world-class. Bike trails. Coffee shops. Bookstores. Lots of local businesses.

People who have lived here for generations or decided to make it home at some time in their lives. About even ratios of Caucasians to African Americans with Hispanics making major inroads, population-wise.

Racial tension and racial harmony, depending on the people and the neighborhood. Local crime. A lack of celebrities. A middle-class that has the same relationship to the federal government (it's where we send our taxes) as everyone else in the country.

Two cities, overlaid. Two different experiences. Both cool in their own ways. If you want to see "Washington", focus on the Mall. If you want to see DC, step out from downtown (and northwest) and explore the neighborhoods. You'll understand both cities better for it.
A flag for the "other" city.
Only his beard is snowy white.
More rowhouses than mansions.
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