For Washington Interns
For those students who plan to serve as interns in Washington, the following information about housing, weather, transportation, and other areas of concern is designed to help make your summer in our Nation’s Capital a success.
Housing in Washington
Dormitories on the campus of George Washington University serve as your housing for the summer. GW is located in the safe and elegant, Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington DC, which is also home to the State Department. The campus is located near the subway and within short walking distance of Georgetown, DuPont Circle, the Kennedy Center, and other interesting spots.
Dorms become available the last week of May. Rooms feature phones with local service, laundry facilities, and security entrances. They are also equipped with microwaves and small refrigerators.
Check-in for all residence halls begins at3:00 PM on your scheduled date of arrival. Check-in is located at the Summer Guest Services Office in New Hall, 2350 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. Residents may check-in at any time—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On registering, interns will be given cards that must be shown on entering dorm buildings and also keys to their rooms.
Check-in can often be crowded. Past interns have told us that there is no way to predict lines, so be prepared for the possibility of having to stand in a long line in bad weather.
Interns are expected to abide by all GW housing policies. For more on GW dorms and dorm policies, please visit: http://gwired.gwu.edu/gwhousing/summerhousing/interns/.
The Subway System - Washington, DC has a fast, clean, reliable, and safe subway system. Unlike the New York subway, lines are named by color. Fares depend on distance, so you must use your fare card to both enter and exit a station. For most downtown travel, however, the base fare applies. http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm
The Street Grid - In Washington, cross streets are lettered; north/south streets are numbered. What often confuses visitors is that the city is divided into four quadrants…North West, South West, North East, and South East. The central business district and most of official Washington is in North West. You must remember to specify a quadrant when you use a taxi or ask directions. If, for example, you are looking for 9th and H streets, there could be as many as four such intersections…one in each quadrant.
Summer in Washington is extremely hot and humid outside and over air-conditioned inside. Evening rush hours are often accompanied by sudden thunderstorms. You can leave for work in sunshine and return home in a downpour. Carry a small umbrella or keep one in your desk at work for such unexpected turns in the weather.
Getting to Washington
You can drive, but parking may be a problem. Amtrak regional trains (as opposed to Acela or Metroliner service) are fairly reasonably priced and offer access to the subway that goes to GW. There are also a number of very inexpensive and, according to past interns, reliable buses from Chinatown.
Fun In Washington
Washington offers many wonderful sights and summer pastimes. Most are well known, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza on the mall. Listed below are some of the less well known, but highly prized attractions. These are the things the locals know, but visitors often miss. Also, go online regularly to www.washingtonpost.com, and click on “city guide.” It offers lots of information on upcoming events, as well as restaurant and movie guides, and other useful visitor information.
The C and O Canal National Historical Park - You can pick up the canal just below M Street in Georgetown. The tow paths along the canal are great for walking, jogging, and biking. Not far outside Georgetown you can visit Fletcher’s Boat House, where you can rent canoes and paddle along the canal to your heart’s content. http://dc.about.com/od/sports/a/Fletchers.htm
Screen on the Green - During the summer months, the Park Service shows movies on a giant outdoor screen on the Mall. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket. There is nothing better.
Bike Washington - Washington DC offers some of the best biking in the world. There are paths that take you out along the Potomac River, offering breathtaking views of the city and its monuments. Alternatively, follow the Crescent Trail out along the C and O Canal for a pleasant afternoon with nature. http://bikewashington.org/ You can rent bikes at Thompson’s Boat House, which is located behind the Kennedy Center. Thompson’s also rents kayaks for those who want to paddle on the Potomac. http://www.thompsonboatcenter.com/
The African American Civil War Museum - Unique in the nation, the museum helps tell the largely unknown story of African American participation in the Civil War.
The Dupont Circle Fresh Market - It can't compare with the Union Square version, but it's fun nonetheless. The market is held Sundays at Dupont Circle (Q Street Metro exit) from 9 in the morning until one in the afternoon.
Dumbarton Oaks - More than twenty acres of lush gardens surrounding the Harvard Center for Byzantine Studies in upper Georgetown. Also visit the Museum of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art there.
Trio’s at 17th and Q Streets NW has been serving the DuPont Circle neighborhood for decades. If you remember the TV series "Alice," you have a good idea of what Trio’s is like. Its fried chicken is famous, and it is one of the few places on earth that still serves real chocolate malted milk shakes (real milk and ice-cream). Legend has it that Wayland Flowers modeled his famous puppet, Madame, after long-time and greatly loved Trio manager Margo MacGregor who died in 2007. Across the street from Trio’s is the historic Cairo, the city’s tallest building.
Full Key Chinese Restaurant, located at 509 H Street NW in Washington’s rapidly vanishing Chinatown, is the real deal. Its shrimp dumpling noodle soup is well known by the Washington establishment. The lobster with green onions and scallions, and the scallops with black pepper are winning dishes as well.
The U Street corridor is Washington DC’s Harlem. Ben’s Chili Bowl, at 1213 U Street NW, has been a fixture there for decades. If you have never had red-velvet cake, Ben’s is the place to try it.
Pizza Paradiso, at 2029 P Street NW near DuPont Circle, has great pizza baked in wood-burning ovens. It is small, so try to avoid peak lunch and dinner hours, especially on weekends.