To all those Bologna SAISers who are going to be starting the apartment search in Washington DC this summer or fall, I thought I’d share this with you. I wrote this for a friend who was moving out to DC last year and asked for my opinion on DC neighborhoods given his price range (which is kind of around ours, I would guess, if maybe slightly cheaper).
PLEASE take this with a grain of salt because I a) only lived in DC for a year when I wrote this, b) wrote this with one friend in mind, c) am just one person who sometimes makes snap judgements about places based on things I’ve heard. The below views don’t represent those of SAIS, or even my ever changing opinions. My best advice would be to talk to any of our classmates to learn more about the city. For those of you who have lived in DC before, I’d love to see your comments below!
My opinions on DC neighborhoods, ranked roughly by order of awesomeness. Ratings 1=least, 10=the most:
Dupont Circle (Awesomeness: 9, Danger: 2, Price: 7)
I might be biased because this is the neighborhood from which I got my first DC bearings, but Dupont has a great combo of proximity to EVERYTHING and some of the periphery places are in your price range. A little pricey otherwise. Drawbacks: the Red Line isn’t always the most convenient line.
U Street (Awesomeness: 10, Danger: 7, Price: 6)
U Street is a quick metro/bus ride/walk to most work and fun places in DC and everyone will envy you if you live there. There are many more reasonably-priced townhouses here, plus some less-reasonably priced apartments. I’d definitely consider looking here. Despite its awesomeness, U Street is also one of the sketchier places in Northwest.
Colombia Heights (Awesomeness: 6, Danger: 5, Price: 5)
All the young people live here. Why? There’s a Chipotle and a Panda Express and it’s much cheaper to live in Colombia Heights. One or two good bars, but the main strength is the price range.
Adams Morgan (Awesomeness: 8, Danger: 2, Price: 8)
Despite its (thoroughly deserved) reputation as DC’s frat row, Adams Morgan is a really great place to live. Especially west of 18th street, you might find some apartments or townhouses in your price range (although in the upper part of it). Drawbacks: not close to a metro.
Capitol Hill (Awesomeness: 8, Danger: 1, Price: 9)
It’s nicer, and a lot of the people who live there have steady salaries from our favorite branch of government. That would lead me to believe that everything there is pricey, but then again, I have a semi-unemployed friend who works at a bar and he lives in Capitol Hill because he says its cheaper. Pros: Capitol Hill is close to all the cool things in Capitol Hill. Drawbacks: Capitol Hill is far away from all the things that are not in Capitol Hill.
Chinatown/Logan Circle (Awesomeness: 8, Danger: 5, Price: 9)
My friend Zach lived in this area for a while. From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly really nice high-rise apartments that might be at the upper end of your price range. It’s also close to everything because the Chinatown metro station is one of the hubs. You might want to check out listings for Logan Circle, which often is really just southern U Street neighborhood.
Woodley Park (Awesomeness: 5, Danger: 1, Price: 7)
I don’t know much about Woodley Park except that the my undergrad study-abroad house is there. I’ve never met anyone who lived there – wait, I take that back. My roommate’s girlfriend lived there as a student, so it’s probably a cheaper, less attractive version of Adams Morgan.
Foggy Bottom (Awesomeness: 2, Danger: 3, Price: 7)
Only undergrads live here.
Petworth (Awesomeness: 2, Danger: 8, Price: 3)
I’ve met a few people who live there, almost always because it’s cheaper to live there. Some sketch times in Petworth, but also some nicer places for less.
Georgetown (Awesomeness: 0, Danger: 0, Price: 10)
Georgetown is not DC.
Northeast/H Street (Awesomeness: 2, Danger: 9, Price: 1)
No one who works lives here. Only hipsters. And poor people.
Southeast (Awesomeness: 0, Danger: 10, Price: 1)
You will be murdered here.
Virginia/Maryland (Awesomeness: 3, Danger: 1, Price: 3)
Meh. I know some people who live out there, I guess.
There are a bunch of other neighborhoods further out (Waterfront, Cleveland Park, Navy Yard, Congress Heights) but I don’t know anything about them/anyone from them. Good luck!