Local Atmosphere

Washington, DC
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: It's the capital so there's some expectation

5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: AU is in DC and there are so many things to see and do. Many are free.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: The campus is close to DC so you have the entire city at your disposal, but is secluded in the northwest corner so you can easily get away from the hustle and bustle

5 College Student

Local Atmosphere: youre living in D.C. so whatever youre looking for is a bus, metro ride or walk away which is amazing.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Washington DC is wonderful! It's absolutely amazing to be studying at a university that is the nations capital. There are plenty of internship opportunities in the city. Public transportation allows students to explore the city and there lots of sites to see. There always events going on some of which are linked with events at the University is the ideal location to learn and explore. It allows the students to be well-equipped and well-informed with the city. I love Washington DC!

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Jesse MacDonald
Law & Society
View all previous student authors

American University is in the Northwest quadrant of D.C., which, though pretty, doesn’t necessarily reflect the fast-paced and urban environment of the city. Fear not—there’s truly something for everyone. From the downtown area that is home to every government building imaginable, to the colorful Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, to the neighborhoods in the Southeast that some choose to mistakenly avoid, the city offers clubs, culture, and politics to all those seeking excitement and willing to explore.

D.C. is considered one of the best college towns in the country, and there is no shortage of young people out to have a great time (or climb the social ladder in hopes of political success). At the same time, AU offers a haven from the intensity of its quiet suburban-type setting, with easy access to I-95 and quainter towns in Maryland and Virginia.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. It's built on a swamp.
  2. No buildings are allowed to be built higher than the Washington Monument.
  3. The first election in which residents legally participated was held in 1964.
  4. DC itself is perfectly square, and measures 15 miles on each edge.
  5. It's divided into quadrants (NE, NW, SE, SW), each with a distinct flavor.
Notable Natives
  • Dave Chapelle - actor, comedian
  • Alyson Hannigan - actress
  • Goldie Hawn - actress, Kate Hudson's mom
  • Marvin Gaye - R&B singer
  • Edward Norton - actor
Local Slang
No specific slang: DC is very much composed of residents native to other states, both northern and southern, so there's a wide range of speech patterns here.
Points of Interest
  • Eastern Market
  • John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • National Mall
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • U Street Corridor
  • United States Capitol
  • Washington National Cathedral
  • The White House
Shopping Centers
  • Crystal City Shops
  • Montgomery Mall
  • Tysons Corner Center
Movie Theaters
AMC Mazza Gallerie 7
5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
(888) 262-4386
Movie Theaters
Avalon Theatre
5612 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 966-6000
Major Sports Teams
  • D.C. United: MLS (soccer)
  • Washington Capitals: NHL
  • Washington Freedom: WPS (women's soccer)
  • Washington Mystics: WNBA
  • Washington Nationals: MLB
  • Washington Redskins: NFL
  • Washington Wizards: NBA
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Baltimore: : 1 hour
  • New York City: : 4 hours
  • Philadelphia: : 3 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 101 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 100 responses

  • 1% Painfully remote.
  • 5% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 1% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 4% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 89% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 100 responses

  • 1% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 30% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 69% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 99 responses

  • 5% No way.
  • 40% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 55% Totally.



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