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JoeTro Dec 27th, 2011 01:05 PM

DC trip for interview
Hi, guys.

I'll be in DC Monday, January 2nd to noon on Wednesday, the 4th, for an interview at Catholic University. I'm staying at the Marriott Courtyard Capitol Hill.

I'd like to get a bit of sightseeing in as well as maybe time to wander around a couple of neighborhoods to get a feel for where I might want to live.

Here are some thoughts:

Monday - arrive at Reagan at 2:30 pm.
Schlep big suitcase and stuff to hotel (Not sure if metro makes sense given my big bag ... unfortunately I'm coming from a trip to visit my family over the holidays)
Go to Smithsonian American art museum, which I think is open until 7.
(Explore somewhere around here, maybe meet a friend for drinks?)

Tuesday -

Interview at Catholic from 9 am to 1 pm
Head back to hotel (maybe) or directly to Phillips to see the Degas exhibition
Time for anything else quick, like the National Gallery or Corcoran, before closing at 5?
Meet friends for dinner/drinks.

Wed - I leave out of IAD at 2 pm, so I'm not sure I'll have time for much of anything. Maybe a quick jaunt to National Gallery or Corcoran? Explore nearby neighborhoods?

(My best friend currently bought a place in Logan Circle and previously lived in Dupont. I've also heard of Penn Quarter and Adams Morgan as up-and-coming places. Not sure if there are other safe neighborhoods to explore as places to possibly live on a salary in the mid 20s?). If I get an internship here, I'd be working at Catholic but would prefer not to live right around there. I'm kind of intrigued by the Cathedral/Cleveland Park areas, but they seem to be more condos than apartments.

Finally ... how should I get back to IAD? I think a taxi is pretty expensive ... maybe a bus?


Ackislander Dec 27th, 2011 01:33 PM

You will need to take a bus to IAD. Your hotel can set it up.

kayd Dec 27th, 2011 03:15 PM

The bus to Dulles is the 5A, which you pick up at L'Enfant Plaza metro station.

Your hotel could direct you to the nearest Metro station, but I doubt it would arrange metrobus service for you.

nytraveler Dec 27th, 2011 05:48 PM

Don't know the cost of apartments in DC but assume it is significantly less than in NY. Still the salary you quote is very low for someone to have a solo apartment versus a share. I would ask your friends in advance about prices and neighborhoods for those on a very modest budget.

JoeTro Dec 27th, 2011 06:19 PM

Thanks everyone. I think the downside about DC is that both the housing and rental markets are probably going gangbusters now, unlike where I'm coming from in LA. I've asked my friends for tips. The benefit is that I wouldn't mind living in many places as the public transport system is so good. Safety is paramount for me, and I don't require much space. I may try to venture up to the Cleveland Park area.

amyb Dec 28th, 2011 05:33 AM

Joe, as an aside I saw the Degas exhibit in November. It was certainly good, but I'd also just seen the MFA's Degas exhibit right before which is blockbuster spectacular. If you can manage to get up to Boston in the next couple months, it would be well worth your trip.

The Phillips is an interesting collection, especially how it is laid out not by genre or even chronologically but more to spur conversation. That makes pieces tough to find but it is a manageable enough collection that it is easily seen in one visit. I think Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party is worth the price of admission alone.

Just a couple stops up from the Phillips is the National Zoo, which I love. If it's warm enough to be out and about that's an easy and free visit.

As a fan and frequent visitor of the DC zoo, I like the area up near there, but have been told by locals that it's well out of my price range. Have you contacted rental agents in any of the cities you are visiting? I wouldn't rely on a travel forum necessarily to help you with this part of your decision.

JoeTro Dec 28th, 2011 07:03 AM

Thanks, Amy. I did a bit of searching last night, and that area is definitely more expensive than I had planned. I have friends who live in all the places I'll be interviewing, so I'll also ask them for advice and then, when I figure it out where I'll be, I can really dig in with my own searching and contacting local agents.

obxgirl Dec 28th, 2011 10:08 AM

If the suitcase isn't a rolling one, I can see why you'd take a cab to get to the hotel but it won't be inexpensive, I'd guess $15-20. If your case rolls, no reason not to take the Metro. I'd guess Navy Yard is the closest station to your hotel.

You have a couple issues to deal with regarding living arrangements and the first is that you are not going to be making a lot of money. It's hard for me to imagine you not having to house or flat share. Catholic U might be a good source for pointing you at resources for sharing a place.

All of the neighborhoods you've mentions are great and all well established (including Penn Qtr and Adams Morgan which are up and there). You might consider expanding to Arlington as well.

Don't assume that condo's don't have rentals and don't be afraid to ask at the front desk if they know of space available in the building. The desk attendants can be an excellent source of information. The management in our Foggy Bottom condo keeps a notebook at the front desk with owners looking to rent. We spent most of this year rehabbing the place and probably got 1-3 requests a week about renting.

You are correct, American Art and Portrait Gallery across the street from the Gallery Place metro are open until 7 and well worth the trip.

Good luck with your interview!

gardendiva Dec 28th, 2011 10:59 AM

I was in DC last month and stayed at the Days Inn at the next metro stop from Cleveland Park. My research of the area mentioned that it was a college district. You may be able to find affordable housing there.

During my visit I went to the Portrait Gallery. I found it to be very enjoyable.

You did not ask about places to eat but this may be helpful. I had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, just a block or two from the Capital. Good food and reasonably priced, specializing in burgers.

Dukey1 Dec 28th, 2011 12:42 PM

That Marriott is ONE block from the Navy Yard Metro station.

Get ready for some major sticker shock when it comes to renting places in Cleveland Park and environs

JoeTro Dec 28th, 2011 03:52 PM

Thanks for the comments. I was shocked at how expensive the CP area was, as I assumed it was definitely cheaper than the other neighborhoods I'd heard of (and maybe it is, which really prices me out of there!).

Just out of sheer curiosity, is Alexandria more affordable than DC? I know it's better from a voting and tax perspective, but I had assumed it was also very high in real estate/apt. prices due to many yuppie families moving in. I'm also worried it's too suburban for me - I'm kind of a snob.

EricH Dec 28th, 2011 05:51 PM

It's going to be difficult to be a snob on a "mid-20s" income. On that income, you'll have trouble affording the commute from Alexandria to CU. Unless you've got parents willing to subsidize you, you're going to have to live like an intern, which means a share. Look for apartments or group houses near CU or in Takoma Park or Silver Spring.

obxgirl Dec 28th, 2011 07:42 PM

Relatively speaking, Alexandria is less expensive than the DC neighborhoods you've mentioned, but the part of it you'd be most interested in, Old Town, is still pricier than your salary. I wouldn't call OT suburban but it's more of a draw to married and singles in their 30s.

Arlington, along the Orange line, is a bit of a mecca for 20 somethings and close to downtown. I'd look there before Alexandria.

Don't give up on DC but be realistic.

JoeTro Dec 28th, 2011 08:08 PM

Thanks; I think I meant to say Arlington rather than Alexandria. I get them confused. I'll definitely have to adjust my budget and expectations. EricH I was actually just being tongue-in-cheek about my urban leanings, but I appreciate the Maryland suggestions. I'd forgotten that a friend lived in maybe either Silver Springs or Chevy Chase and really enjoyed that area.

kayd Dec 29th, 2011 08:18 AM

Silver Spring (singular), Wheaton, and College Park may be more affordable than the other side of the Red Line (Chevy Chase, Bethesda) for someone working at Catholic, with both lower rents and shorter, less costly commute.

edjim Dec 29th, 2011 09:40 AM

Agree. College Park has a number of potential group rentals because of proximity to U of Md. Silver Spring apartments are pricey but doable with a roommate. A room in a house might be the best bet.

nytraveler Dec 29th, 2011 10:40 AM

Are you sure you have the salarythey're offering right. Not sure wha thte job is - but here in NY our interns (not free summer but full year interns) and starting admins get in the high 30's. A senior admin will earn in the upper 50's and a personal assistant way more. You might want to consider if the salary they're offering is fair.

But honestly - for a first job in a big city - most people have to share small apartments to be able to make the rent.

JoeTro Dec 29th, 2011 11:16 AM

It's a graduate degree-related required internship, so there's no budging. Thanks for the thoughts about CP. I applied to Maryland and did not get an interview, but it might be nice to consider that area.

Christina Dec 31st, 2011 03:58 PM

A lot of people live in Brookland which is right where Catholic is, more or less, and it is cheaper than these other areas.

Van Ness metro (where that Days INn mentions is) isn't a college area where students live, not sure where that idea came from. Yes, UDC is located at that stop but that's a commuter school, they only have one residence hall which is really an apt building. The neighborhood is pretty expensive to live in around there, students mainly live in other parts of the city.

There are lots of apts on Connecticut avenue, actually, and I've seen some rents that aren't too bad in some of them (bit north of Cathedral area), but that is relative. You couldn't afford them on your salary alone, I don't think. Or much of anywhere in the city. Columbia Heights should be cheaper, maybe something in Adams Morgan area.

I'd recommend Silver Spring. It's got a lot more young people now, lots to do and it's right on the red line only a couple stops to Catholic U. Rents are cheaper than in DC for the most part.

smetz Jan 1st, 2012 06:15 AM

Hi Joe - I noticed you have already found that Cleveland Park is more expensive than you expected, and that is going to be true of any place in NW DC on the west side of Rock Creek Park, and that would include Chevy Chase.

The orange line locations in Arlington are going to be equally pricey, for the most part, particularly if you are looking at newer buildings. One advantage you could consider in Arlington is that there are a slew of older buildings that have much lower rents than the newer buildings. But anything within walking distance of a metro station is going to be pretty expensive.

Affordability is going to be a big problem for you, unless you are willing to consider locations you might not consider to be "safe" or highly accessible, or unless you are willing to have one or more roommates.

Doesn't CUA offer housing for people in programs such as yours? If they do, you should consider it. The are right around the campus is fine, and there is a metro station close by. There is also a pretty nice apartment complex on Michigan Ave just south of campus (The Cloisters, I think), which would be a lot cheaper than anything in any of the neighborhoods you have mentioned. There are also a couple of apartment complexes on Taylor St at the north end of campus which are also pretty affordable.

One other thing you should definitely look into - DC, Maryland, and Virginia all have affordable housing programs where they require developers of new buildings to include affordable units that can only be occupied by people making less than some percentage of the area median income, could be 40%, 50%, 60%, sometimes 80%. Many are very nice and in excellent locations, and you would undoubtedly qualify. In Maryland, check the MPDU program for Montgomery County-

Mongtomery County has had this program for a long time, and they are going to have the largest number of units of this type available.

In Arlington:

There should be a similar web page/office in Alexandria, where the rents will be cheaper than those in Arlington.

There are also lots of these units in DC, but the problem is that DC's government is so dysfunctional that it you might not find the same kind of organized guidance at DC's website that you would find in Maryland or VA. But many of the new apartment buildings in DC have an affordable component, usually about 15% to 20% of the total inventory. Here is an example of one that I happen to know has affordable units:

What you might do perhaps is contact a property like Park Place, and first check to see if they have any affordable units available, but also ask how they get tenants for the affordable units. If there is some central registry in DC for these units, that might be of some help. Otherwise, you would just have to go around to buildings in an area you're interested in, and ask if they have affordable units.

Good luck - if you search long enough, you'll find what you're looking for!

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