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Living in D.C. Temporarily (Well, VA Now).

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

I may be doing a TDY for work in Alexandria this summer. I know nothing about DC, haven't been there since I was 10.


First things first, I need to find a place to live. Less than :30 commute would be great, and it seems that I would be fine using the Metro to King Street station, so I am comfortable with that. Can someone clue me in to the good and bad areas around Alexandria? Should I be looking at living in DC proper? It will be my first experience living in a city of this size, and if DC proper would be more fun I am up for it.


Also, since I've never looked for part-year accomodations, what is the standard method now? Sublets on craigslist?


~ Huntsman

Edited by Huntsman - 4/22/12 at 6:59pm
post #2 of 81
So I assume that you won't have a car and/or want to use metro to commute to work? You'll probably want to live in Alexandria or somewhere close to the blue or yellow line.

I don't know much about Alexandria other than Old Town (the stretch along King Street between the metro and the waterfront). Most of the housing stock there is houses, so you're probably out of luck. Pentagon City/Crystal City are close by with plenty of large apartment buildings, but boring. Ditto for Rosslyn, although it has the saving grace of being a short walk to Georgetown. You might have luck in Foggy Bottom, which is the home of George Washington University. Other places to consider in D.C. are Gallery Place (lively bar scene, lots of apartment buildings, but pricey) and U Street (a little grittier, not sure of housing availability).

For a sublet, I would look at Craigslist and classified advertisements in the Georgetown and George Washington student newspapers. You might also contact the schools directly if you don't mind living in a dorm.

And now for the important information: D.C. is a great cocktail town. People work hard and need to drink to take a little off. The two giants of the cocktail scene are probably Todd Thrasher of PX at Restaurant Eve and Derek Brown of Columbia Room, but there are a lot of mixologists who know their stuff. I can recommend the Gibson, the Passenger, Tabard Inn, Jack Rose, Wisdom, Church & State, POV and J&G Steakhouse at W Hotel, Art and Soul, and America Eats Tavern.
post #3 of 81
2nd everything AC says. Old Town Alexandria is really nice. You may be able to rent a room in a single family or row house within walking distance but I know nothing of prices. Know nothing about sublets too. I love DC. Pretty good night life, a lot of places to be active (hiking, biking, running trails within the city or not too far out). Nice culture. I've been here for a while so it's growing a little old to me but I think it'd be sick for short term living.
post #4 of 81
Used to live there and loved the city. Miss it a lot. You will have fun, trust me.
post #5 of 81
Is Conne still around to wingman?
post #6 of 81
What kind of place are you looking for and at what rent? That will really dictate what options will work for you.

Rent on the metro is obviously more expensive.

I've used with a lot of success. It lists all craigslist,, etc. rentals that fit in your criteria, on a google map of the area.
post #7 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys.


AC -- yes, I will have a car. I need to be mobile for work. I poorly phrased my thought that I wouldn't mind using the metro as my primary means of commute. Thanks also for the cocktail recommendations! I only know (unsurprisingly) of PX.


Joffrey -- nice to know that there are places to 'get out of' the city. I enjoy cities when I visit, but where I live my biggest disturbance is when one of my neighbors cows gets out and moos while it eats the herbs in my garden. I might need to get away for a bit at times.


KJT -- those websites sound great, especially padmapper, thanks! I don't know about cost yet. As it is company work, I expect some accomodation there, but I want to be a good  and reasonable steward of company resources, so I don't need to do a dorm, but neither would I be comfortable with $4k/mo. I'll use padmapper to see if I can get an idea of the spread.


impolyt -- well, it's far more likely that Conne would need me to wingman, but I doubt I'm senior enough to help him out. Anyway, my gf will be down whenever we can manage it, so I'm in no need of help. Where is Conne anyway, is he still on the forum?


Any places I ought not look, from a travel/neighborhood standpoint?


~ H

post #8 of 81
You should probably stay away from Maryland and parts of DC that have limited street parking (e.g., Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U Street).
post #9 of 81
Pretty much anywhere you want to live in the greater DC area that is worth living in is going to be 1.5-2.5k/mo for a 1BR, getting higher the closer you are to a metro. Houses are generally another 500-1.5k on top of that, depending on what you want.

Where you want to be is largely dictated by what you want to be walkable to- if you are looking to party with co-eds in sports bars, near the GW campus, or north arlington towards ballston/ clarendon would be ideal.

U-street/ H-street are the hot recently gentrified areas downtown, though your metro commute would be upwards of a half hour, and driving would likely be even worse.

Old town still has a lot of great places, though it has really become more and more dominated by chains, but is definitely a solid choice, and would be incredibly convenient. There are some lovely neighborhoods pretty much anywhere east of the king street metro and south of the braddock road station, though there are some dicey (by NoVa standards) section 8 dominated areas up around braddock.

I'm in Pentagon City, which compared to some places, is definitely more soulless, but has gotten substantially better recently, and is a few hundred/month cheaper than old town or north arlington. While there are plenty of generic steakhouses and tourist-based chains, there are actually a few great local eateries and bars that are quite a bit less pretentious than most places in the area. It's on the blue/yellow line as well, which makes getting to either north arlington, downtown, or alexandria extremely convenient. Definitely does not have the character of old town or U&H street though.

Send me a PM if you want more information on any neighborhood, I've lived in Arlington the last 5 years or so.
post #10 of 81
If you must drive for work, I'd recommend trying to live within 5 miles of your job to keep your commute under 30 minutes. That might sound silly, but it's not that far-fetched. If you plan to take the metro for work, try to live somewhere on the same color line-- eliminating a transfer is key-- which would be blue or yellow line if you work near King St. The suggestions of Foggy Bottom are good, if you afford it. I was looking there a few months back and only found a few studio/1BR under $1500/mo; if $2k/mo for rent isn't a problem for you, it'd probably be a nice place to live and have DC out your front door while keeping the commute reasonable. (I'm sharing a house in NE DC instead.) Foggy Bottom does have a good amount of short-term/corporate housing due to proximity to embassies, law/lobbyists, and World Bank/IMF folks, so if you're only here for a few months that might be the best place to look. Also, short-term summer housing is a tight market due to interns taking over the city, so don't wait too long if you see something you like.

With regards to bar suggestions.... avoid Church & State at all costs. Terrible, one of the worst bars in the city IMO. If you want cocktails, Columbia Room is the KING, hands down. PX has lost its edge lately, but is still a very good spot. Others that I enjoy a lot are Quill at The Jefferson and Bourbon Steak in G'town, which has a surprisingly excellent and under-rated cocktail program and a great courtyard for summer night drinking.
post #11 of 81
Originally Posted by speedy4500 View Post

With regards to bar suggestions.... avoid Church & State at all costs. Terrible, one of the worst bars in the city IMO.


What was so bad about your experience(s)?
post #12 of 81
Went there twice. Both times got terrible service-- had to remind bartender of order several times. Both times the drinks on menu were not good at all to the point that I sent one back, which is an extreme rarity for me, and the "bartender" couldn't make basic cocktails that weren't on the menu. If a place sells itself as a cocktail bar, I'd expect them to be able to make a gin fizz or sidecar or rob roy on request. Is that unreasonable? It's a shame, because the space is pretty neat, tons of potential. Towards the end of the second time there, I gave up and just got the corn-whiskey moonshine neat... that shit will light you up.

Considering it is the sister-bar to Wisdom (at which I've had very good experiences) it's a little confounding.
post #13 of 81
Wisdom is awesome wish I had a reason to go to Potomac ave more often. The passenger, bourbon in admo, jack rose, bar DuPont, Circa at DuPont, American ice co and Russia house are dearest to my heart. Have cut back a lot on going to my $1 pbr dive frown.gif
post #14 of 81
DC can be a lot of fun. I'm here for a couple days, and have enjoyed it, as I always do. I could live here, I think.
post #15 of 81
If you have decent money, it is an incredibly fun city. Lots of drinking, lots of women, great history.....just a damn good time. Love the place.
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