From picking the right neighborhood to avoiding the pitfalls of leasing, The Hatchet has got the guide to help students find the perfect place for off-campus living.
The Good: Vibrant nightlife scene
The Bad: Expensive rents
One of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Washington D.C., Dupont Circle has a multifaceted culture offering something for everyone. From the manors of Embassy Row to the artsy Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café, the one adjective that describes Dupont is “eclectic.”
Full of young people, the area has an energetic vibe and offers many conveniences that are lacking in Foggy Bottom. It also boasts a wide range of restaurants that keeps one’s palette guessing, in addition to its popular farmers market, which operates year-round each Sunday.
The area is home to many young urban professionals and is also known for its nightlife scene. Clubs and music venues are in anything but short supply here, each offering its own brand of entertainment for the perpetual going-out type.
If students are in the mood for salsa dancing, the place to check out is Café Citron (1343 Connecticut Ave. NW), which serves a mixture of seafood and Spanish cuisine to go with the fiery performances. For those who want a taste of D.C.’s trip-hop scene, the Eighteenth Street Lounge (1212 18th St. NW) is the best choice, but be careful not to miss the well-hidden mansion-style bar.
Dupont is also known as a bastion of the District’s sizeable LGBT community, and the area is undoubtedly gay-friendly. Apex (1415 22nd St. NW) is the place to be Thursday nights when admission is free for college students, and the club attracts a large crowd that returns each week to dance the night away.
Having so much variety at one’s fingertips is by far the most compelling reason to live in Dupont, and there is almost no end to the possibilities on an adventurous Friday or Saturday night. The area always has something going on and is not far from Foggy Bottom – a 20-minute walk at most.
In addition to its animated character, Dupont is also architecturally and intellectually stimulating. The circle for which the area is named is built around an exquisite white marble fountain, while embassies and historic townhouses dot the surrounding streets.
Other attractions worthy of attention are the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St. NW) and the Textile Museum (2320 S St. NW). Arguably the biggest benefit, though, is the location – Dupont is located just north of campus and has its own Metro stop on the Red Line. For the most part, the area is also generally safe.
In terms of apartments, Dupont has a plethora of options, from modest starter options to more luxurious spaces. Winston House (2140 L St. NW) tends toward the more affordable end, with a one-bedroom starting at $1,750 (there are no studios). For a chic, urban look, try The Flats at Dupont Circle (2000 N St. NW). The high-rise building offers a doorman, courtyard and outdoor pool surrounded by public grills, in addition to hardwood floors and modern accents in each room. But beware the higher price – studios here start at $2,075.
Drawbacks of living in this area include high rents and a significant amount of noise throughout the day as well as at night, especially close to the traffic circle and main thoroughfares of Connecticut and Massachusetts avenues.
However, despite these factors, Dupont Circle and the surrounding area remain a top choice for students seeking to move off campus. Its youthful character combined with easy accessibility to GW makes it a prime choice not to be neglected.
This article appeared in the February 25, 2010 issue of the Hatchet.