Local Area

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Local Area


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3 College Junior

Local Area: DC is obviously a great place for some people. It's an active atmosphere and there are lots of attractions. In my opinion however, the city is too politically-active and pretentious. Everyone seems to put on a false air of superiority.

5 College Sophomore

Local Area: I love Washington D.C. and the surrounding area.

5 College Freshman

Local Area: DC is one of the greatest cities in the US, and the world. It is truly unique. There is ALWAYS something to do or some new neighborhood to explore. There are lots of downsides, though. DC is really expensive, and can be unsafe. Transportation in DC exemplifies both of these things. Never go anywhere alone, even if you know the area, it's not worth the risk. Since DC is expensive, it can also be kind of lonely and isolating, like any big city, for people without a lot of money to spare. But there are lots of free activities, as long as you can afford transportation. The Smithsonians never get old and there are lots of parks and even forests you can visit. Plus, you can always window shop. Having said that, locals aren't well known for being friendly. It can be hard to make friends in the city, as DC is a very career-oriented spot. The same can be said for dating. The biggest facet of nightlife is drinking, although pot being decriminalized might change that soon. People in DC also tend to be attractive, or at least try to take care of themselves! There's always someone interesting around, that much is for sure.

3 College Freshman

Local Area: I really don't like DC - metro and bus system doesn't work at all.

3 College Sophomore

Local Area: DC closes at night despite the amount of college students that reside in the city.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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 124 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 124 responses

  • 87% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 5% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 1% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 6% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 1% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 124 responses

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

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 125 responses

  • 54% Totally.
  • 35% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 10% No way.



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