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Author Topic: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)  (Read 5507 times)

suchgreatheights

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Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« on: February 24, 2008, 01:37:43 AM »
It seems that i have a reasonable chance of ending up in DC...

Whats it like to live in?  I live in central London now, i'm kindof afraid of living in a smaller boring or boring-er city.  Does DC have a good night life bar/clubbing scene?  How late do bars/clubs stay open?  How about restaurants and cafes?  Are there lots of fun areas or not so much? 

What is the feel of the city like?  Would you feel comfortable being out late a night alone? 

How good is public transport?  How close together are subway stops and how frequently do they run?  How late do they run?  What about buses?

I realize that its law school and everything and that people are apparently expected to work constantly but its important to me to live in a city thats enjoyable enough. 



TraciRai

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2008, 11:35:47 AM »
It seems that i have a reasonable chance of ending up in DC...

Whats it like to live in?  I live in central London now, i'm kind of afraid of living in a smaller boring or boring-er city.  Does DC have a good night life bar/clubbing scene?  How late do bars/clubs stay open?  How about restaurants and cafes?  Are there lots of fun areas or not so much? 

What is the feel of the city like?  Would you feel comfortable being out late a night alone? 

How good is public transport?  How close together are subway stops and how frequently do they run?  How late do they run?  What about buses?

I realize that its law school and everything and that people are apparently expected to work constantly but its important to me to live in a city thats enjoyable enough. 

I don't want this post to spiral out of control, so I will keep my answers brief. DC has enough nightlife, especially since once the semester really gets going you won't have enough time to get bored with it. There are a few main areas to go out in, Dupont, Georgetown, and Adams Morgan are a good start. There are tons of great restaurants, and DC takes their happy hours pretty seriously. The city feels big, but not overwhelmingly so, probably due to the restrictions on building heights. I go out late by myself all the time (I'm female), but I wouldn't live in parts NE unless I was being paid for it.  Transportation is good, and DC is a very walkable city.  The metro will get you most places, but watch out, cause it closes at midnight on weekdays, and 3am friday and saturday.

In sum, I really like living here.  There's enough variety for everyone to find their niche, it's easy to get around, and there are tons of museums and historical buildings (that might just be my thing, but I think it's cool).

gladiator

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2008, 03:30:46 PM »
Quote
You do get good sports.

Really? I'm pretty sure the DC United are the only team that has been near success in the last decade. Orioles and Nationals are dead, Capitals suck, Wizards and Redskins haven't gone too far in the playoffs.

nicole1220

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2008, 03:54:16 PM »
Quote
What about in terms of recreation, accessibility to necessities (like...grocery stores) without a car, rent costs, etc. Things other than nightlife
?

Obviously, where you live really determines this, but my roommate doesn't have a car and she has never had a problem. If you were to move out into parts of VA or MD, it could become an issue, but generally, grocery stores and things like that cluster around metro stops, so even in VA or MD, if you live near one, you should be ok.

As far as rent, it is definitely expensive. Foggy Bottom near GW will cost you at least $2,500 for a two bedroom and not much less for a one bedroom. If you are thinking GW, places in Arlington (near Clarendon, Rossyln, Ballston) are definitely cheaper. You can also live in other areas of DC, like Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, or parts of Capitol Hill for less, but you will probably have to sacrifice proximity to the Metro for cost.

Hope that helps.
GW '11?

Rhymnoceros

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2008, 04:03:07 PM »
What about in terms of recreation, accessibility to necessities (like...grocery stores) without a car, rent costs, etc. Things other than nightlife?

I don't have a car this year and I live in right outside DC in Arlington, and work in the heart of DC. If you live on a metro line you won't be inconvenienced by a lack of car at all. The trains run pretty often, are fast, and go most places you want to go. It's a little walk to the bars in Adams Morgan from the metro stations, but it goes by fast if you're drunk. The buses are pretty good for a city, but they still take way longer then a train, so if you have to transfer to a bus to go anywhere it sucks. Its easy to live by a grocery store so you don't have to use the public transport every time you go. I live by three, which is slightly more then i need. If you ever really need a car for something like going to IKEA (don't ask why that's the example that popped in my head) you can get a zip car membership. it's 9 bucks an hour or 50 bucks a day to get a car with insurance and gas all included.

Museums are free and plentiful. I have yet to visit a fraction of them despite being here for months, and they rotate exhibits all the time. So if you like that kinda stuff, like art or history, or giant trilobite fossils, i guess you won't be bored.

Rent is cheap if you're several blocks form a metro, but this sucks for the aforementioned reasons.  In DC its hard to find places for a reasonable place that aren't really inconvenient and/or unsafe areas. You can find a one bedroom place in VA or MD for cheap, around 1500 and depending on where you live the commute won't be much longer. But the downside is that the nightlife in your neighborhood will suck, like it does for me, and you will find yourself having to go to the city every weekend to go out.

Sergio

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 04:39:09 PM »
I'm guessing Ted Kennedy was one of them?

gladiator

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 05:03:49 PM »
Did Mark Foley hit on you? Larry Craig tap his foot in your general direction? David Vitter mistake you for a prostitute?

TraciRai

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2008, 06:26:25 PM »
That in mind, there is a Giant that is also "ok" that you can get to on the metro.  They always have taxis to bring you back to your apartment (for a ~$8 fee IIRC).  And, you can order your groceries online and have them delivered to you, which is what I almost always did.

As for other necessities, there's a lot more small and mom-and-pop stores than big retail outlets. I don't recall there being a Best Buy, or a Target, or a Wal-Mart anywhere in the city (inside the beltway).  There is a mall, however, that is right off the metro.  In general, though, the city is very walkable, and the metro is very nice.

Capitol Hill - This is Georgetown's location.  I wouldn't live farther than 8th St E.  Anything past there is really trashy and unsafe.  Not much nightlife (oh, how I do not miss "Hawk & Dove"), but there are a lot of happy hour places and some decent restaurants.  Of course, you also get to be near Congress and the Supreme Court, but the coolness of this passes very quickly.  You can choose between old apartments and old row-houses.  Rent is surprisingly high (imo) for what you get.  Not a ton of high-rises.  I'd guess 1200-1300/m.

Foggy Bottom - George Washington's location.  Really nice, upscale area.  Nice, kind of big buildings (it's DC, so nothing is huge).  Not a ton of nightlife right there, but it's within a very reasonable distance to Georgetown and Dupont Circle, and it's not too far from Adam's Morgan.  The coolest bar/club in DC is here, too -- McFadden's.  Good access to the METRO.  This is the most expensive area AFAIK.  I'd say $1600/m.

Adam's Morgan - Right near the most "true" nightlife in DC.  Lots of semi run-down apartments, occasionally some crime.  Cheapest place to live inside the city, however... About $1,000/m.

Arlington - Outside the "city."  You'll have to commute on the metro, which can sometimes be a pain because there's no "express," and you have to stop at every stop (I would guess that you'd spent ~20 minutes on the subway to GULC).  I didn't spend much time at all here, but I think there's some semi-high-rise apartments that are pretty nice, and much more affordable.  You could probably grab something for ~$850/m.

Georgetown - Really ritzy strips, and then some nicer old row houses.  Relatively expensive, and kind of far away from everything, especially since the metro doesn't have a stop there.  ~$1500/m.

Dupont Circle - This is where I would choose to live if I didn't stay on-campus at GULC.  Really nice and upscale.  New stuff, good food, very modern-city feeling (I imagine San Francisco being similar).  Nice high-raise apartments, good access to a couple metro lines.  Close by Adam's Morgan, and a lot of nightlife of its own.  Very GLBT-friendly, but plenty of heterosexual spots as well.  Rent is about $1300-1400/m.

Keep in mind that all of these areas, with the exception of Arlington, are relatively close together.  Downtown DC is only like 3 miles or so across (3 miles is a long way when you don't have a car, though). And the prices obviously vary a lot based on how big of a place you want, and how nice of a place you want.  The prices I gave are best for ball-parking an area and comparing it.  Note that if you want a really upscale place, you probably won't find it in Adam's Morgan, Capitol Hill, and maybe not in Georgetown either..

Your guess on the Arlington living cost seems way low, unless you're spliting an apartment that's nowhere near a metro stop.  all the other ballpark's seem reasonable, but only with some hardcore craigslist searching off the beaten path, or living in a tiny studio apartment for some of the more expensive areas (foggy bottom, dupont, georgetown).

There is a Target a block from the Wheaton stop (yes, that's a pain), or a few pretty close in NOVA.  Don't forget the importance of Friends With Cars.  They are a good thing to have, and there will be some at whatever law school you go to.  I use FWC or zipcar every few months for big trips.  There's a Best Buy across the street from the Pentagon City mall (the one right on the metro stop).  Also right across from there is a Costco... I happen to have an FWC with a membership, worth her weight in gold. :)

I tend to either get invited along on my friend's trips to NOVA for groceries (cheaper).  Or go to Trader Joe's on 25th and Penn (I live in Foggy Bottom).  Also in Foggy Bottom is the communist Safeway: artificially high prices, bad selection, always out of half of what you want... but it's one block from my apartment, so I deal.  Safeway and Giant have online delivery, which is great.  Generally there's some sort of free delivery deal when you move in, and once you use it, they'll send free delivery coupons about once a month.  If you plan right, you'll never have the $4-10 fee.

Another thing I didn't realize before I lived here... those little rolling grocery carts are your best friend.  Get one, or your back will hate you.

Last but not least, there is an... interesting... statement up above... McFadden's is the best bar in DC!?!?!?  Um, the frattiest, the loudest, the most filled with tools and douchebags, I will agree to.  Best... not so much.  A lot of other people hate it too:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/mcfaddens-restaurant-and-saloon-washington

My favorite review has this to say: "I hate this place with every fiber of my being.  Everything about it makes me want to burn it down, at 11 on a Saturday night, with the doors locked. . . The music is lame, and it's too loud to allow any sort of conversation.  You're not there to talk though, you're there to act hard and try to date rape an acquaintance."

suchgreatheights

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 01:36:06 AM »
Thanks for the responses everyone, especially for theDecider's list, Dupont Circle sounds pretty good i hope i can get a flat there if I end up in DC.  Does anyone have a sense of how long it would take to get from Dupont Circle to GULC? 


I went to McFadden's website it looks horrible so I hope you're being sarcastic though. 

Quote from: TraciRai
once the semester really gets going you won't have enough time to get bored with it.

 :-[ i tend to slack off though.

Quote from: TraciRai
The metro will get you most places, but watch out, cause it closes at midnight on weekdays, and 3am friday and saturday.

Are their night buses afterwards?  Whats the situation with taxis like?

Quote from: TheDecider
There's also a few really big clubs throughout the city.

What are the big clubs like?  Are there big techno/house clubs?  Where are the better ones and what are they called (so i can google)

Quote from: TheDecider
Not much live music, almost 0 big concerts, very few good comedy shows...People in DC aren't really into the (supposed) Manhattan "stay-out-all-night" thing.  The night ends at 2:30 and then you go home.

 :-\ that kindof sucks. 





princetonug

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Re: Whats DC like to live in? (for people who live there)
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 03:21:51 AM »
great thread, thanks