Relocating to Washington, D.C.
Part of your internship may include relocating to Washington, D.C., coordinating a commute, or both. If you have any questions or concerns about housing prior to your internship, you should feel free to contact your intern coordinator who, as a D.C. resident, will be able to offer some advice.
Some things to consider before looking for housing:
- How long do I plan to live in Washington?
- Do I want to live with roommates or alone?
- How much can I afford to pay for housing?
- Do I need access to public transportation or will I have a car?
- Do I want on-site laundry? How close am I to a grocery store, dry cleaners, etc?
- What kind of environment will best accommodate my needs and wants?
- How close will my residence be to my office?
Washington, D.C. has a wide variety of housing, however real estate in the metro area can be costly. If cost is a key issue, remember that living farther from the city often means less expensive housing. If you bring a car, you should know that parking is scarce in Washington, D.C. itself. Many interns prefer to live in Northwest D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, near a Metro stop. The Metro is a safe and reliable transportation method and very efficient for interns on a budget.
Washington, D.C. 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. In general, avoid housing within Northeast and Southeast D.C. past 11th street.
- Southeast/Capitol 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. It is located on the Blue and Orange lines at the Capitol South and Eastern Market stations.
- Adams Morgan - This exciting neighborhood is located near Dupont Circle and Kalorama, centered around Columbia Roads and 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 with many ethnic restaurants and markets. Moderately priced apartments are common to this location, making the demand also high.
- Dupont Circle - This area, known for its lively urban and cultural life, 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.
- Foggy Bottom - This area is located along the D.C./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 in this area.
- Georgetown - Home to popular shopping and nightlife, Georgetown offers some of D.C.’s highest real estate rates. 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.
- 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.
- Cleveland Park/Woodley Park - Located on the Red Line about 15-30 minutes from downtown D.C., 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.
- 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 D.C.. It is located 30-50 minutes outside D.C. 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.
Rental rates vary greatly within Washington D.C., but Rent Jungle gives a great detailed overview of the current rental market.
Where to look
- Washington Intern Student Housing - WISH secures housing primarily for interns and all of their properties are on the hill and convenient to the office buildings and the Capitol. They offer several different types of housing – apartments, group houses, etc. You can count on having one-three roommates depending on your budget and the housing type. Prices are high, but they provide practically everything you need – furniture, TV, cable, kitchens with necessary utensils – and pay all bills (electric, water, etc.)
- General housing website - Click on Washington D.C., then look under the housing links. This is a reputable site, but sometimes the users are not.
- Thompson Markward Hall - women only - In 1887 Congress chartered the Young Woman's Christian Home to provide housing for women aged 18-34, newly arriving in the city to work or study. TMH is located on Capitol Hill within walking distance of Congressional offices and also provides meals as part of the rent.
- The Catholic University of America
- Facebook subletting groups – Local students maintain several Facebook groups to sublet and rent their college housing during the summer and during other parts of the year as well.
These are just a few of your options – there are many more and you may find other lists on various websites. Make sure that you look into everything and feel comfortable with a program/place before committing any money. Keep in mind some websites might not have the most updated prices. Always call/email them directly to confirm all your details. Also, keep in mind that our office is not personally endorsing any of these programs –just offering suggestions.
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 month’s rent. Your security deposit, paid 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.