Sure, Washington, DC, is known primarily as the seat of our national government, but the capital is also a draw for night owls who love to stay out eating and drinking past midnight. Last call at DC bars is 2:00 a.m., according to Thrillist, and the Metro runs until 3:00 a.m. on weekends. We also had to call out DC with an honorable mention for its food scene. Be sure to check out the Washingtonian's "A DC Foodie's Guide to Eating Your Way Through Washington" for some dining options sure to get your mouth watering.
The late hours and abundance of amazing food draw more than just politicians to DC: tech jobs have been on the rise here. According to statistics from the Washington DC Economic Partnership, DC has seen a 20.6 percent increase in tech employment since 2001, which could be partly due to the abundance of steady government work.
"The tech / IT industry is minimally affected during economic downturns due to a strong IT government contracting base and private sector companies that have established themselves in the area," says Ryan Shapiro, senior technical consultant at digital services provider Aquilent. "It also offers you the opportunity to work in one of the most powerful areas of the country."
So if you want to be around those in power (but aren't harboring political aspirations to be the next Frank Underwood), DC might be your dream city.
"The tech scene in DC is very much thriving and taking off," says Erin Horne McKinney, senior advisor to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity. "There's been quite a bit of effort by the current and previous administration to really create a tech innovation hub of the East Coast. We thrive in that area just by the nature of the Federal Government being here."
Horne McKinney says Washington, DC, has an active co-working community, and is one of the top markets in the US for the co-working space WeWork, which currently has eight DC locations.
"It's important for small businesses to have places that they can establish professionally without the financial outlay of an office," says Horne McKinney. "In the co-working space, they also are around an ecosystem of other businesses that can be helpful to them."
Washington, DC, is also home to several incubators, like 1776, and accelerators, like AccelerateDC. Horne McKinney has served as a mentor to entrepreneurs at both companies.
"Having organizations like [incubators and accelerators] gets tech companies on track and gives them an opportunity to connect with very high-level people that they probably otherwise wouldn’t know and be mentored by them," says Horne McKinney.
So beyond the easy access to government work, why should an aspiring tech entrepreneur make the move to DC?
"My favorite part is the buzz of the city," says Shapiro. "There are always a lot of activities one can get involved in and, professionally speaking, there are endless opportunities for growth."
To get more of a sense of the tech scene in DC, we recommend checking out ProudlyMadeInDC, DC Tech Meetup, and DC Web Women.