Questions to Consider before Looking for Housing:
- How long do you plan to live in Washington DC? Three months? Six months?
- Do you plan to live with others or alone?
- How much can you afford to pay for housing?
- Do you need access to public transportation or will you have a car?
- Do you want on-site laundry facilities? How close are you to grocery stores, dry cleaners, and drug stores?
- What kind of environment will most accommodate your needs and wants?
- How close will your residence be to the office?
A wide variety of housing is available throughout the Washington DC area. However, real estate in the metropolitan DC area can be costly. If cost is a key issue, remember that the farther away from the city, the less expensive the housing. If you rely on public transportation, keep in mind that living in the city requires less travel time. If you own a car, you should know that parking is generally a problem in the city, as street parking is scarce and garages often cost approximately $10 per day. Many interns prefer to live in Northwest DC, or in Virginia or Maryland, near a metro stop. Listed below are descriptions of safe, accessible neighborhoods within a 20 mile radius of the DC area.
Washington, DC is arranged in quadrants - NE, SE, SW and NW - with the Capitol building at the center of the quadrants. Like any city, it has its share of crime. In looking for housing, you should keep in mind that certain areas are safer than others within the DC area. In general, avoid housing within Northeast and Southeast DC past 11th street. If you decide to live in Northeast or Southeast DC, keep in mind that it is usually safer in areas nearer to the Capitol.
Southeast/Capital Hill - This historic area is well known for its many federal and governmental offices as well as the Library of Congress, and the Capitol. Many federal employees as well as students live in the Southeast area. Due to the diversity of its residents, rental rates vary widely in the area. Affordable and safe housing is available but rent out very quickly. It is located on the Blue and Orange lines at the Capitol South and Eastern Market stations.
Adams Morgan - This diverse and exciting neighborhood is located near Dupont Circle and Kalorama, centered around Columbia Roads & 18th St. NW. It is located on the Red Line at "Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan" and "Dupont Circle" stations. Adams Morgan is an urban area home to many students, families, and diplomatic officials, as well as many ethnic restaurants and markets. Moderately priced apartments are common to this location, making the demand also high.
Dupont Circle - This area, know for it s lively urban and cultural life, as well as luxurious office and retail space, offers a variety of housing opportunities, including older high rises, apartment buildings, as well as rooms within private homes. Dupont Circle is located along Connecticut Avenue, surrounded by Foggy Bottom to the south, and Adams Morgan to the north. The Metro rail (Red Line) and Metro buses run directly through the area as well.
Foggy Bottom - This area is located along the DC/Virginia border on the Blue and Orange Lines. There are housing opportunities within group housing or basement apartments in private homes. Foggy Bottom is surrounded by the State Department and the George Washington University. The rent is high and opportunities somewhat few particularly in this area.
Georgetown - Home to one of the city's most popular shopping and nightlife Meccas, Georgetown offers some of DC's highest real estate rates. Many apartments do not rent to students, but instead to government and diplomatic officials. However, townhouses are available to several students willing to share the cost. Also, families occasionally rent rooms or basement apartments out in their private homes. Georgetown is not immediately near a metro rail stop, but there are regularly running city buses. This area, because of its proximity to Georgetown University, has a large student population.
Glover Park - This quiet neighborhood, sometimes referred to as Upper Georgetown is located near the National Cathedral around Wisconsin Avenue. There are plenty of group housing situations in this area, as well as smaller apartments with rent at reasonable rates. Glover Park is not located near a metro rail stop, but there is metro bus transportation nearby. This area tends to be particularly popular with graduate students.
Cleveland Park/Woodley Park - Located conveniently on the Red Line just 15-30 minutes from downtown DC, these are elegant neighborhoods situated near attractions such as the National Zoo, and many shops, restaurants, and bars. They have a variety of housing options, including apartments, group housing, and apartments in private homes.
Spring Valley - This affluent area is also know as Tenleytown, Tenley Circle, or Ward Circle and is home to many American University students. It is located conveniently on the Red Line approximately 20-40 minutes from downtown DC, and is near many stores and restaurants.
Friendship Heights/Bethesda - These neighborhoods are conveniently situated on the Red Line approximately 25-45 minutes from downtown DC, at the DC/Maryland border. This posh area contains luxury high-rises, elegant boutiques, lots of restaurants, and two large shopping malls. Housing opportunities may exist for renting a room in a group house or a basement apartment in a private home, but rental rates on the average are high.
Takoma Park - This diverse, artsy Maryland town is right over the DC line. It is located on the Red Line and offers Metro-Bus and Ride-On bus services. Many group houses are available in this area that are especially popular among young people.
Alexandria, Virginia - This historic and charming city is home to many students, young adults, and families who chose to live outside, yet near downtown Washington DC. It is located 30-50 minutes outside DC on the Yellow Line at "Braddock Street" and "King Street" stations. A key attraction to Alexandria is Old Town, a restored colonial area with a wide array of shops, restaurants, and bars.
Arlington, Virginia - This area offers relatively low rent housing options including townhouses, high-rise apartments, duplexes, and individual homes, and is home to many undergraduate as well as graduate students. It is located near an abundance of restaurants, and shops, as well as the large Fashion Center shopping center. Arlington is located on the Blue, Yellow and Orange Lines with a commute ranging from 20-45 minutes and including stations such as "Rosslyn", "Ballston-MU", and "Pentagon City". This area offers reasonable rental rates in older apartment buildings.
Important features in looking for an apartment:
- Location near a Metro stop
- A short-term lease
- Furnished (it's easier to get something that's already furnished, but you can lease furniture as well)
- Convenience to services important to you; grocery stores, laundromats, transportation services
- Maintenance within living area
Rental rates vary greatly within Washington DC, but the figures below should give you an idea of average rental rates within the area.
|Housing Type||Washington, DC||Maryland/Virginia|
|Apt. to share||$350-650||$300-500|
Rates for Furnished Apartments in the DC area:
- $900-1000 for a studio apartment (one large room w/ bathroom and kitchen area)
- $1000-1600 for a one bedroom apartment
One of the most convenient housing options is subletting from students who attend area universities. The down sides of sub-letting are that you may not have an official contract with a landlord and you will have to deal with issues such as separating phone bills. The positives are that you will have an automatic short-term lease, sub-lets are usually partial, if not fully furnished, and most are located in areas with other students or interns. The universities and their web sites listed below contain apartment listings and some have helpful search engines.
Where to Look
The International Student House
1825 R Street, NW
Telephone (202) 232-4007
Located near Dupont Circle, this type of housing is privately run for American and international students. It provides dormitory style housing which includes educational, cultural and recreational activities for its residents. Residents also experience living with people from a variety of political, religious and cultural backgrounds. In addition, each potential resident is carefully screened for security purposes of all residents. Monthly cost includes a shared room, breakfast and dinner for a price ranging from $725-940.
Summer Housing On-Campus/Off Campus Housing
Anderson Hall, 1st Floor
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC, 20016-8142
Fax: (202) 885-1154
AU offers limited residence hall space from May 14 through August 13 with a four week minimum stay. Located at the intersection of Nebraska and Massachusetts Avenue, the Ward Circle campus is the heart of one of Washington's most affluent, quiet residential neighborhoods. Transportation to downtown: City buses run every five minutes during rush hours and less frequently during non-rush hours. Free shuttle to subway (Tenleytown AU - Red Line) every fifteen minutes during Metro hours. You can also try The American University Off-Campus Housing Guide.
Catholic University of America
Summer Housing On-Campus
Housing and Residential Services, Saint Bonaventure Hall
Washington DC, 20064
Located on the Red Line just two stops north of Union Station. Residence hall rooms are available from May 21 through August 6. For example, double rooms without air conditioning run $17/night; ($19/night with air conditioning). 5% discount for stays over 30 days; 10% discount for stays over 74 days. However, we recommend you look into this area carefully before deciding to live here, as parts can be somewhat high risk.
George Washington University
Summer Housing On-Campus/Off Campus Housing Resource Center
2121 I Street NW, Rice Hall, Suite 402
Washington DC, 20052
GW offers summer housing for students attending GW summer school, doing an internship or working on the Hill. Housing is available from May 19 through August 11. GW is located near the Foggy Bottom Metro stop (Red Line). The Housing Resource Center can also assist in finding housing within the DC, Maryland, or Virginia area.
Summer Housing On-Campus/Off-Campus Housing Office
37th and O Streets, NW Box 2217
Washington DC, 20057
(202) 687-3999/(202) 687-8467
Housing is available from June 2 through August 10 ( 3 week minimum). The campus is in Georgetown, one of Washington's most popular centers for shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. GU is not near a Metro stop, but city buses can get you to and from the nearest one (Foggy Bottom, Red Line).
Summer Housing On-Campus/Conference Office
125 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington DC, 20017
Trinity College has double rooms (with A/C) which can be rented as a single or a double. The campus is a 5-10 minute walk to the Brooklyn/Catholic University Metro Stop (Red Line).
The Washington Center (Gallaudet University)
Director of Student Life
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington DC, 20005-5601
Office of Residential Life
2401 4th Street, NW
Washington DC, 20059
They offer summer housing within their dorms from June 1st through July 31st to interns working in the DC area. Rent is $18/night ($15/night without A/C). We recommend that you thoroughly look into this area before deciding on housing, as parts are high risk.
The Young Woman's Christian Home
235 Second Street, NE
Washington DC, 20002
Located on Capital Hill within walking distance of congressional offices, government agencies, and the Library of Congress, this residence offers housing for young women ages 18-34. They offer single, air-conditioned rooms with telephones and limited weekly maid service, with two multi-unit bathrooms located on each floor. Laundry facilities, a TV lounge, living room, library, and garden are also available to residents. For the protection of its residents, the home prohibits alcohol and drugs on the premise, as well as male guests above the lobby level. Rental rate is $925 a month, which includes breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday and Sunday brunch. This is a highly recommended housing option for women.
Other Search Areas
These papers and web sites offer lists of available housing in DC and sometimes have search engines to help you find what you're looking for in an apartment.
The Washington City Paper - This paper is issued weekly and its web version is updated by 3pm on Tuesdays, before its print version.
The Washington Post - This paper gives lists of a variety of housing opportunities in the classified section
The Blade (A local Gay/Lesbian newspaper) - This paper is issued weekly and can be found in grocery stores, newsstands and bookshops
The Uptown Citizen - This paper is issued weekly and can be found in grocery stores, newsstands and bookshops
Tips for Renting an Apartment
The Security Deposit
If you are considering renting housing, you'll need to factor in the cost of a security deposit, which will usually equal one or one and one half months rent. Your security deposit, payed with the first month's rent, is held to pay for any damages which might occur during your occupancy, to pay for cleaning/repairs when you move out (if you don't leave your apartment in satisfactory condition), or to hold if you don't pay your rent. Mainly, the security deposit is an initial expense to consider when renting, one you should get returned provided you fulfill the requirements in your lease when vacating.
Washington has an abundance of lower-priced furniture stores and you may want to investigate leasing furniture rather than buying. Another alternative is buying second-hand furniture found through other university students, the Goodwill, Salvation Army, thrift stores, or AMVETS.
Safety and Security
Living in Washington DC, you should take extra precautions both in where you live, as well as while you are out and about in the city, as DC has its share of crime. When looking into housing, be sure to look for security in and near the building (i.e. locked doors, access to laundry room by non-residents, well-lit hallways and laundry rooms, grilled windows on ground floors and well-lit streets near the building). Always be aware of your surroundings and use common sense when traveling throughout the city. At night, avoid deserted areas like parks or public facilities, such as restrooms. Try to plan to travel in groups, especially if you are a woman. Try to avoid carrying large purses or bags that make you an easy target for robbery. Also, carry backpacks or bags in front of you while you are in crowded areas, especially on the Metro. Never leave personal belongings, particularly purses and wallets, unattended. If is often a good idea to carry emergency contact information on you when traveling alone. Being aware and thinking ahead make the chance less likely that you will be the victim of theft or of a violent crime.
Please feel free to contact our office at (202) 224-2621 if you have any remaining questions about finding housing, transportation, expenses, or any other information related to interning in Washington, DC.