Local Atmosphere

Washington, DC
Admission Difficulty
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5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: American University is a mile away from the Tenleytown metro, and a few miles away from the city. It is a perfect get away. AU is right smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Homeland Security is right across the street, which makes us the safest campus obviously.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Cost of Living is what makes DC not 'the best' but instead great. There is plenty to do around DC, whether that be go to a museum or the National Mall. You don't need money to attend cultural attractions like the monuments or smithsonian, and walking around Georgetown or Dupont can be a great way to spend your day. However- dining options and shopping is very expensive. DC is a great city with so much to offer at a price- lots of high-end shopping places and restaurants. Scenery is beautiful in the spring and fall, and transportation is no problem. Safety is okay if you're in the Northwest, and sometimes Northeast, but SW and SE can be very unsafe if you are traveling alone or at night.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: If you love the city environment it's great. Plenty of great restaurants and clubs to go to. That being said you are always near someone's house or office building so it's sometimes hard to find spots where you can be by yourself like you can in a more rural area.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Great metro location. Easy to get into the city but the campus is in the more beautiful, residential area. Easy to get into Georgetown for shopping or around Connecticut to club.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The atmosphere in Washington DC where American University is located is great. There is so much to do, as residents of DC we take advantage of the historic city, from the monuments to the museums and the white house. we live in the nation's capital.


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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 96 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 97 responses

  • 1% Painfully remote.
  • 4% 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.
  • 90% 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 96 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 96 responses

  • 5% No way.
  • 41% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 54% Totally.



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