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Old 02-08-2007, 10:16 AM
7 posts, read 44,839 times
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I'm currently trying to decide where to go to graduate school. One of the options is Washington, DC. The school itself seems pretty cool, but I'm concerned about two things: cost of living and attitude.

I'm moving from Chicago, so I'm pretty used to dealing with "city stuff" (eg: avoiding crime, dealing with transit/traffic, etc...). I've lived in a lot of neighborhoods in Chicago, and I found I couldn't really deal with the "hippest" neighborhoods there -- places like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Wicker Park where there were lots of well-off young white people doing their thing. I can see why people like them, and I definitely went to them for entertainment, but I really didn't like living there. It was too loud and intense for me. Unfortunately, most of the advice I've gotten about DC points to neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Georgetown, which seem very similar to these places.

I'm looking for neighborhoods that correspond to places like Edgewater, Ukranian Village, or Lincoln Square. These are neighborhoods with slightly older populations (like, late 20s rather than early 20s), which are maybe a little further from the central city but still have fun or quirky bars, clubs, bookstores, and the like in them. Also, it would be great if they were a little cheaper (some of the rents I've seen around school make my eyes bug out). I've been told that some of the suburbs, particularly in Virginia, might be closer to what I'm looking for. But how well-connected are they to transit? I can deal with city traffic, but I usually prefer to take the train.
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:13 PM
Location: 757 raised and 703 living
21,300 posts, read 29,219,935 times
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i live in alexandria,va on the west side. it's very well connected to DC by metro and I-395. it has a lot of 20-somethings of all races. The rent for a 1-bedroom can be $800-$1200 for something in the landmark-duke area. it has a considerable share of the city's crime but you will feel way safer walking around here than you will in 80-90% of DC. The main problem is traffic. It gets really bad on 395, pretty bad on streets like van dorn, duke, and king, even my street has a rush hour and its a straight up residental street. its a good thing alexandria has it's own bus service in addition to metro and the fairfax connector. so alexandria may be what you is looking for.
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:36 PM
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If you're looking at Georgetown, AU, GW, I'd consider Arlington. The Metro's Orange Line runs under the river from Foggy Bottom (where GW is), so look at neighborhoods around these stations: Courthouse, Clarendon, and Ballston. Lots of young professionals, cool restaurants, bookstores, bars, shops, etc, but less "edgy" and much safer than Adams-Morgan and even Alexandria. And if you have a car, you can actually find a place to park. And on weekends, it's a snap to drive into DC from these areas.
The neighborhoods past Ballston are more family-oriented, with single-family homes and townhouses more common than apartments and condos.
Another generally more affordable option is the Shirlington/Fairlington area, which is on the border of Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Lots of garden apartments and a diverse population, plus the Shirlington commercial area with some nice restaurants, movie theaters, etc. It's not as convenient to Metro as the Arlington neighborhoods, and probably not as "cool," which is one reason it's not as pricey.
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:10 PM
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,407 posts, read 12,766,252 times
Reputation: 1752
I think that you should take a look at Takoma Park in Maryland and Falls Church in Virginia (within the actual city limits). Both communities are cool but not filled to the brim with yuppies, and have in general a good mixture of people. Both have good access to Metro stations and have a decent number of hangout spots, but as a whole are fairly mellow and quiet. You won't be woken up by drunken frat boys stumbling down the street. Takoma Park in particular is actually relatively cheap for the DC area.
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Old 02-09-2007, 08:32 AM
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I have never been to Chicago but I have lived in DC for 7 yrs and in the metro area for all my life (MD and VA) and I'm an early 30 something..I think I have an idea of they type of area u lived-in in Chicago and yes they are probably comparable to Adams Morgan here in DC ..Adams Morgan is blocks and blocks of bars and restaurants where suburbanites come because they think its cool and they like to get real drunk and make lots of noise..as a city resident I avoid these parts of the city because of those people.. I would suggest Logan an area that is mostly young professionals with nice restaurants and places to have a drink..and its safe ..no its not as safe as Alexandria..but what large city has less crime than its surrounding suburbs? Alexandria is not a large city..alexandria requires a commute and by no means would be like living in Chicago or DC..if you like suburbia than yes, its great..if you want somewhere in the middle than Clarendon is a nice option..basically a small version of a large city but comes with roughly the same price tag
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:01 PM
Location: 757 raised and 703 living
21,300 posts, read 29,219,935 times
Reputation: 27086
another thing to consider. car insurance can be expensive in dc. i have people who move to VA from DC/MD and say that their insurance drops $400-$600.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:52 PM
19,179 posts, read 26,482,150 times
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Well, any neighborhood that includes Wrigley Field can't be all that bad! As for the DC area, it would kind of depend on what the school was. If it's Georgetown or American, you're going to deal with buses or walks of a mile or more to get from the nearest Metrorail stop to there, and Metrorail is the key means for getting around the area since the roads are all a nightmare and parking is no fun at all. For either of those schools, looking around for places that are within walking distance of the campus might at least be a good thing to add to the agenda.

Otherwise, two of my three ideas have already come up. The Ballston Corridor on the Metro Orange Line (though poor Virginia Square was left off of the earlier list) is a young professional haven. It can be a bit pricey on the main drag, but there are more reasonable alternatives a block or two back as well. I was glad to see Logan Circle get a mention. It's sort of next in line to the east from the more well-known (and perhaps overdone) Adams/Morgan and Dupont Circle. Not so-o-o-o long ago, it was mostly pimp and drug dealer turf, but it's been cleaned up really nicely, and it's proximity to the edgy and very lively U Street Corridor is a definite plus. Well worth a look. Idea three would be Eastern Market, which is tucked along the southern and eastern edges of Capitol Hill. A lot of Congressional staffer types are holed up there, and a rather eclectic mix of clubs, bars, and other such amenities has grown up along Pennsylvania Ave SE. Metro Orange and Blue line stop right there too, so you'd be well connected. One caveat there is that there are some badlands a few blocks south across the street. You'd not want to venture into those too often, but the northside is just fine.

Costwise, nothing here is cheap, but heck, piddly old Fairfax County has a population larger than seven states, so somebody's getting by. You may just have to look hard to find something that matches both your tastes and your budget, but DC seems to have something from everywhere and for everyone, so just be a little persistent and something that works really well is almost sure to turn up. One resource that particularly out-of-towners often tend to overlook is the Washington City Paper. There will be a lot of ads in there that don't show up anyplace else. They have a website...
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:25 PM
3 posts, read 57,619 times
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takoma park or mount pleasant.
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