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Relocating to DC for Grad School


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Hi Guys!!

I will be starting grad school at George Washington University this upcoming fall! I am moving to DC from Florida and was wondering if any of you could help me. I mainly want to know what are some awesome neighborhoods that are close to campus, and the rent is not crazy expensive? My budget is $1500-1700 a month. 

If any of you start at GW this fall feel free to message me, or anybody who just lives around the area and would like to connect!! :) 


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Congratulations and welcome to DC! GW is an amazing school, you will be going places for sure!

I'm a Washingtonian and love my city :) I don't know what your criteria are for an "awesome neighborhood" but regardless there'll be something that's a good fit for you. DC offers wonderful variety. Are you a quiet sort or do you like to go out on on the town?

Will you be living alone or with roommates? If you're living alone you won't find anything super close to main campus (but that's city life for you - part of the adventure :) ). Personally I wouldn't want to live near Gtown anyway; it's expensive and I find it stuck-up (gorgeous to visit though - beautiful parks, lovely walks along the canal, and river views, and you're near the Kennedy Center - it doesn't get any better than that!)

Assuming you'll be taking Metro, I would check out Alexandria (you'd have to transfer from the blue/orange/silver line, which is a pain in the butt, but you're far more likely to find affordable rent there), or, I don't know much about neighborhoods in Southeast but I hear Eastern Market is fun, and in general SE is not quiiiiiiiite as expensive as most of the rest of DC, although unfortunately it is gentrifying rapidly. Southeast would be relatively close to campus for you (I say relatively because there are often severe delays on Metro, especially on the weekends and during off hours).

Only area I would absolutely say to avoid living in is around Union station. I dreaded walking there every night to catch the metro home. At night the place is a ghost town - scary! My friends who've lived there have all said it was awful. But they're covering over the highway near there and putting up some new businesses and I think housing on top of it, so that will probably change in the next couple years.

Good luck!

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Lifelong DMV resident here. For my money, I'd recommend very different places from Crescenza (not saying they're wrong, I just have different priorities).

First of all, there's nowhere near GW's campus that's inexpensive; it's directly downtown. Make peace with that now. That said, GW is right on the metro, so you have a lot of options. And if the budget you listed is for rent only, you could get a place almost anywhere (if $1,500-1,700 is your total budget, you still have a lot to choose from).

Maryland suburbs are cheaper than Virginia, but the quality of life is lower. Silver Spring is a good MD option, although they're gentrifying the HECK out of it. There are also a few places to left in DC proper that aren't offensively overpriced. Columbia Heights is cheap-ish for how centrally located it is (it also features a grocery store and a Target). Mount Pleasant, the next neighborhood over, has a similar vibe. Both are fairly safe, middle-class neighborhoods with large Latino populations and decent architecture.

I used to live around Union Station, and personally I found it very comfortable. The only weird section is the area near Union Market, which used to be populated entirely by wholesale warehouses (however, the arrival of the market is changing that quickly). Anacostia and upper NE are the only areas that haven't really been gentrified, which could be appealing or unappealing depending on your outlook.

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