Students living off-campus have a variety of options when it comes to choosing where to live, but price and location tend to be the main concerns. Being near campus might be convenient for classes, but other D.C. neighborhoods and locations just outside the District offer a variety of benefits ranging from low rent to cultural activities.
Other D.C. Neighborhoods
If being right on campus isn’t a concern, the District has plenty of other places to live ranging from Chinatown to Columbia Heights and beyond.
Senior Teresa Thomas lives in The Newton Condominiums in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Located about 10 Metro stops from campus, it is roughly a 30-minute trip.
Thomas said the extra time it takes her to get to class is not a bother, but that coordinating social activities is a bit more difficult.
“The days are over of the quick phone call to stop by a dorm room because my friends and I had only been two or three blocks away,” Thomas said. “I don’t mind coming to hang out on campus, but I have found that most people perceive where I live to be so far away,” she added.
Still, Thomas calls her low rent “unbelievable,” adding that several big stores are scheduled to open soon and that this change adds even more to her neighborhood’s attraction.
While convenient, this development may be a double-edged sword for people like Thomas who love the neighborhood for its cultural aspects.
“The Salvadorian influence is vibrant and there are a lot of authentic Salvadorian restaurants as well as Gala, the Spanish theater,” Thomas said. “The suburban-esque development does take away from the charm of the neighborhood.”
Logan Circle provides another option just a few blocks from Dupont Circle. Like Columbia Heights, the average rent is lower, while getting to campus for classes can be a hassle.
“I usually walk and it takes about 25 to 30 minutes, or I Metro in when the weather is bad, and that takes 10-15 minutes total,” junior Joshua Samuels said.
Living near Chinatown can also be a relief for anybody who has gotten sick of Foggy Bottom cuisine after two or three years on campus, as there are plenty of restaurant options in the area.
Don’t let an out-of-the-district address scare you away. Oftentimes buildings in Virginia can be closer to campus than many D.C. neighborhoods.
The Normandy House in Rosslyn, Va., is located just one Metro stop away from campus, and within walking distance of Georgetown. The price is similar to living in a dorm.
“When you add in utilities, Internet and cable, Metro fares and furnishing the apartment, you’ll probably end up paying slightly less than what you’d pay for a two-bedroom (quad) in E Street or Ivory,” said junior Charlie Coppa, who lives in the Normandy House.
But Coppa said that the quality of his apartment is significantly better than a GW dorm.
“The rooms in E Street and Ivory aren’t 1,500 square feet and they don’t have full sized balconies, walk-in closets or enough space to fit full-size beds,” Coppa added, emphasizing the benefits of living outside D.C.
While the Normandy House is still relatively close to campus, location is still one of the biggest drawbacks.
“It only takes 15 or 20 minutes to get from the Foggy Bottom Metro to my front door,” Coppa said. “But friends complain about ‘having to go all the way out to Rosslyn.”