Living in DC

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So you’ve submitted the app, you GOT IN, and now for the big move to DC! The District was named the #4 best place to live in terms of metropolitan areas in the US, so you’ve pretty much hit the jackpot. But where to move? How much for rent? And what’s with the the weird area names? No worries, we’ve got your back! Here are some tips for looking for your next dojo in the DMV (Distict/Maryland/Virgina).

  1. Budget: Let’s face it, DC is great, but also pricey. Most students choose to live with roommates and rents on average range from about $900-$1,100/month (sometimes including utilities, sometimes not). If you find something between $800-$900, be cautious, but jump on it if it works for you! Looking to live alone? You’ll want to budget about $1,200+/month. And if you’re on the hunt for roommates, well, that’s what our Facebook page is for 🙂
  2. Don’t fear Craigslist, embrace it!: This is a great place to start your search for housing. You can narrow it down by price range, area, how many bathrooms you might need (maybe you need two, no judgement here!). The only thing to be weary of is an offer that looks too good to be true. Because $700/month in Chinatown IS too good to be true (and probably a scam…stay away!)
  3. CoHi? NoMa? What are these neighborhoods?: The District is split into 4 quadrants: NW, NE, SW, SE, each with their own distinct neighborhoods (Columbia Heights, Northern Market, Petworth, Bloomingdale, Adams Morgan to name a few). You really can’t go wrong with any of these places. However, students also live in places like Silver Spring MD and Arlington VA which are also metro accessible…speaking of which…
  4. What does metro accessible mean? Does it matter?: If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download a DC metro app (I like iTransDC) so you know where everything is at and how it’s connected. Luckily, if you don’t live near a metro station, MetroBus is the best way to get around for $1.85 and free transfers for up to 2 hours.
  5. But I have a car, forget public transport!: Hold up homie! Parking in DC is not cheap, and not all apartments or housing arrangements will coming with a parking space. If they do, you’ll have to pay for the permit that lets you park. On top of that, GW does not offer free parking to students, and if you’d like to park in the Elliott parking structure, you’ll be looking at $16 a day before 5pm or $12 after 5pm (keep in mind, all ESIA classes are after 5pm!). However….
  6. What’s with all the 2 person SmartCars?: Temporary ride services like Car2Go and Maven let you use a car only when you need it! Car2Go has a fleet of smartcars and Mercedes-Benz’s (for you high rollers) that you rent by the minute, hour, or day. And you don’t have to pay for parking!
  7. I don’t wanna drive in DC, is there anything else besides walking? You could Segway! Or more realistically, consider investing in a Capital Bikeshare membership if you don’t already have a bike with gears (beach cruisers won’t work in this town, I learned the hard way!). You can make free, 30-min one way trips anywhere in the city (and if your trip is longer than 30 min, just dock at a station, get a new bike, and start a new trip!)

While this is by no means the definitive resource for moving to DC, taking these tips into account will hopefully make your transition to the Beltway a little better. Happy Moving!

-Yadira