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Welcome, Washington, D.C. 'Dores

One thing we all loved about Vanderbilt is the community and you’ll find that again here in D.C.! The Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter stretches from Virginia up to Maryland, encompassing the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia, not just the Department of Motor Vehicles!) and don’t worry, we’ll get you talking like a local soon!

The D.C. Chapter is one of Vanderbilt’s largest and most active alumni communities in the country. I’m proud to say that here in D.C. you’ll find plenty of opportunities to engage fellow alumni, explore our city, and continue to stay connected to Vandy. The Chapter hosts game viewing parties and cultural experiences around the District, including visits from Vanderbilt faculty, known as Commodore Classrooms. We offer a wide range of activities aimed at strengthening alumni ties for all ages!

To keep up with the latest Washington D.C. Chapter happenings, please make sure your contact information is up to date on VUconnect. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, recommendations, or if you’d like to plan an event! We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event.

Go 'Dores! 

Where to live

When first moving to D.C., figure out where you are going to be working and then look for places that are close to a Metro station or bus stop (wmata.com) especially if you don’t plan to have a car—parking is at a premium pretty much everywhere.

Neighborhoods: All the young people live in Columbia Heights, but I think it’s overrated. Try to find a place in Eastern Market, convenient, cool and young and potentially cheaper than other locales. ’12

Shaw is a fun, vibrant section of the city with quaint townhouses and mom and pop stores. Mount Vernon Square is a residential spot with tons of recent graduates and generally cheaper rent in the inner DC area. Dupont Circle is a great spot with restaurants, bars and very cool bookstores. ’17

Columbia Heights is a laid-back neighborhood in D.C. with lots of culture and charm. Check out the papusas at any of the several Salvadoran restaurants! ’14

Washington, D.C.

  • Dupont Circle/Logan Circle – Right in this area is near great restaurants and nightlife, but because of its convenience it can be a bit more expensive. There are lots of apartment buildings and row homes that have been converted into apartments. Dupont Circle is on the Red Metro Line.
  • Georgetown/Glover Park – An older more established area where historic homes line the streets. Few apartment buildings, but an English basement apartment or renting a house with friends are options. You will most likely need to use a car or the bus service.
  • Foggy Bottom/West End – A mixture of apartment buildings and row homes close to downtown and the west end of the National Mall. This area overlooks the Potomac River and is in walking distance to the Georgetown Waterfront and Kennedy Center. Foggy Bottom is on the Blue/Orange/ Silver Metro Lines.
  • Capitol Hill/Eastern Market – Apartments here can be expensive, but quite popular and convenient for those working on the Hill. You can find a well-priced apartment in a converted row home. Capitol Hill and Eastern Market are on the Blue/Orange/ Silver Metro Lines.
  • U Street/Columbia Heights – A young, diverse area with a lot of activity and culture to the north of The National Mall. There are several apartment options in addition to row houses. Between the metro and buses, it is easily accessible. Both neighborhoods are on the Yellow/Green Metro Lines
  • Adams Morgan – An area full of row homes and vibrant small businesses. This neighborhood is typically quiet Sunday–Thursday, but very busy on any given Friday or Saturday. You will likely need to use a car or bus service as there is no nearby Metro.
  • Chinatown/ Mount Vernon Triangle – A mix of affordable housing and more expensive, brand-new high rises. This area features a young population and is walkable to the Yellow/Green/Red Metro Lines.
  • Cleveland Park/ Woodley Park – Quiet neighborhoods nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Both areas are on the Red Line.
  • Friendship Heights/Tenleytown/Cathedral Heights – Right on the border of D.C. and Maryland with great shopping, restaurants and a movie theater. You will find a mix of reasonably priced apartment buildings and houses accessible to the Red Line.

Virginia

  • Rosslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon/VA Square/Ballston – Great for young professionals looking to save a bit of money, these areas along the Metro’s Blue/Orange/ Silver Metro also have lots of restaurants and bars.
  • Alexandria – A more historic area with row homes and larger apartment buildings. There are lots of small shops on a quaint main street that ends at the waterfront. Alexandria is on the Blue/Yellow Metro Lines.
  • Reston – If you need to commute to D.C., Reston is a bit far, but has easy access to the interstate. This town offers good shopping, dining and a movie theater. Here you will find a mix of apartment buildings and houses, though it can be a little pricey. The area is metro accessible on the Silver Line, and has some bus options.

Maryland

  • Bethesda – A small city of its own, Bethesda offers great restaurants, shopping and entertainment just outside Washington. There are many apartment buildings in Bethesda and a free trolley that runs in a loop. Parking is a bit easier to find if you have a car. Bethesda is on the Red Metro Line.

Check out the Washington Post to look for apartments and rentals. You can also find neighborhood information about grocery stores, pharmacies and libraries for D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Other places to try are the Apartment Showcase, which can be found at most street corners or online (https://www.apartments.com/, apartmentshowcase.com), Four Walls in DC (4wallsindc.com), Zillow, or Craigslist.

Food and fun

D.C. is a foodie’s delight with hundreds of top-notch restaurants, great places to grab a quick bite and everything in between. During Restaurant Week, some of the finest restaurants offer multicourse menus for lunch and dinner at a fixed price!

The Washington Post has a weekly article that they publish that lists fun things to do each weekend. ’15

D.C. is full of amazing restaurants and bars! Check out Shaw, 14th St., City Center, and Eastern Market.  ’13

D.C. is a playground for post-grads. You’ll meet so many interesting people who have recently graduated and are new to the city starting out their careers. The Washington Post has a great “Going–Out Guide” that I love to reference when I’m looking for something new and fun to do. ’14

The museums are beautiful, and certain museums have great study spaces! During study breaks, walking around the museum is inspiring. ’15

There’s a big network for everything and anything. Always an event where you will meet people. CultureCapital is a great website for this. The most expensive city in the nation, make sure you limit your vices. Limit eating out and your happy hour visits. It’ll drain you more than you think. ’13

DCist and Washingtonian magazine are my favorite sources to see what events are in town as well as  food recommendations. ’19

I geek out over museums so I personally love the Smithsonian (as cliché as that is). The Newseum is also incredible. There’s also a fair amount to do outdoors in D.C.—kayaking in Georgetown, running on the Mall and hiking in Rock Creek Park. Even coming from Nashville, I’m still in awe of the number of music venues here, basically every touring artist comes through the area at least once a year. There are farmers markets all over the district when it’s not winter. I feel like every weekend there’s some cool–sounding street festival somewhere in the district. There are also tons of options for nightlife—Clarendon (Arlington), DuPont, U–Street, Adams Morgan... I could go on and on about how much I love this city and the palpable energy that runs through it. I feel like D.C. is one of those cities that truly has something for everyone. ’16

  • Adams Morgan (AdMo) – Notorious for its nightlife and late-night Jumbo Slice pizza, AdMo also offers great brunch spots and is around the corner from the National Zoo.
  • Dupont Circle – Always astir, Dupont Circle offers great restaurants including Kramer Book’s, Circa, Bistro du Coin, and Raku, a year–round farmers market on Sundays, shopping and nightlife. Some classic bars are Public Bar, Lucky Bar, Mad Hatter, Sign of the Whale, and Mighty Pint.
  • U Street Corridor/14th Street – With an eclectic feel, U Street hosts a variety of hot spots including Ben’s Chili Bowl, a D.C. landmark, Tabaq, Copi’s Organic, Marvin’s, Local 16, Saint Ex, and Vinoteca.
  • Chinatown – Lively at all times of day, Chinatown has it all from the Verizon Center where you can catch a Washington Wizards and Capitals game to a movie at Regal Cinema to a bite at Momiji, Zengo, Matchbox, Rosa Mexicano, or Oyamel.
  • Capitol Hill/ Eastern Market – Capitol Hill has some of the city’s oldest bars and restaurants. The Eastern Market area, as the name suggests, is also home to D.C.’s oldest public fresh food market where you can buy anything from fresh produce to handcrafted jewelry or framed artwork.
  • Foggy Bottom – Foggy Bottom boasts the Kennedy Center; the city’s best location to see the arts.
  • Georgetown – Georgetown is home to plenty of shops and the Key Bridge Boathouse to rent kayaks, canoes, and bikes in warmer weather. At night, stop into one many popular bars on M St or Wisconsin Ave, or head down to one of the Georgetown Waterfront restaurants or bars.
  • Southwest Waterfront and the Wharf – Newly re-developed, the Southwest Waterfront is home to one of the largest new developments in the city, The Wharf with a major music venue, numerous restaurants and bars, and one of the oldest fish markets on the east coast. Catch a ride on the water taxi to Georgetown or Alexandria or bike to Nationals Park or Audi Field.
  • Courthouse and Clarendon – A great place to hang out with friends, Courthouse and Clarendon are home to sports bars where you can watch Vandy games, dine alfresco at Eventide, Boulevard Woodgrill or Liberty Tavern and hit the local watering holes like RiRa.
  • Ballston– Ballston Commons is a cool new spot, with mixed use buildings and a brand-new mall. Be on the lookout for Alex Ovechkin, as the Capitals’ Practice Arena is located at the top of the building.

Outdoor activities

  • Jazz in the Sculpture Garden – picnic and listen to live jazz music
  • Screen on the Green – bring a blanket and watch movies on the National Mall
  • 4th of July – parade and fireworks display
  • National Tree and Menorah lighting
  • Ice skating – in the Sculpture Garden and at the Georgetown Waterfront
  • Sports leagues – there are many social sports leagues you can join— kickball, basketball, soccer, flag football and softball. If softball is of interest, the chapter has a great Vandy alumni team, so please be sure to contact us and we will put you in touch with the coaches.

Getting Around

The Metro system is comprised of the rail and bus systems and is the easiest way to get around D.C. The SmarTrip card is a rechargeable fare card you can use to pay the metro fare on the rail or bus systems and also allows you to transfer buses for free or at a discounted fare when transferring from bus to rail or vice versa. There is also the Circulator (dccirculator.com) which makes fewer stops than a regular bus, but is still a great way of getting to/from popular places and works with the SmarTrip card.

Washington, D.C. - By the Numbers

  • Alumni: 6,742
  • Students: 393

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