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Dear PoP – Housing Advice on the Hill (by Nichole)

by Prince Of Petworth December 29, 2008 at 9:59 pm 23 Comments

U.S. Capitol, originally uploaded by NearDC.

“My daughter will be interning from January 12th-May 09 in the Senate building, and we have been trying to locate reputable, temporary housing for her, via the internet. This is quite challenging, since we live in Tennessee, and she will not be traveling to D.C. until two days before she reports to work. Do you have a community bulletin board that is available to the public, which might list rental property? What communities are considered safe and offer a short commute to the Senate building? Any info would be appreciated.”

I was going to take a crack at this but decided to punt it to Nichole who lives on the Hill. So below please find Nichole’s advice.

The first thing I’d recommend is Craigslist for temporary housing. With the transition, rentals are moving quickly with so many new people coming into town. As for neighborhoods, the first I’d recommend is Capitol Hill, which is definitely walking distance to the Senate. The Senate offices are on the Northeast side of the Hill, but really, it’s all walking distance. (I live on the NE side at the corner of 10th and Constitution NE, and one of my neighbors works in the House, the other in the Senate and they both walk to work) The Hill has been experiencing a great rennaissance, and the “safe places” are expanding every year. The “Hill East” area (which is roughly east of 12th St. SE/NE) is becoming a great neighborhood, with several restaurants and the new Harris Teeter grocery store, and easy access to the Potomac Avenue metro.

A little north of Capitol Hill is the H Street area. You might see it called “Atlas District” in listings. This is another great neighborhood, and the demographic is a little younger than Capitol Hill. Prices there should be a little cheaper than on the Hill, and it’s still an easy walk to the Senate buildings. I will be very honest though: a single young girl should be very cautious walking at night. This rule is true of everywhere, even in the nicest of city neighborhoods – but I will say that both the Hill East and H Street areas are constantly evolving and are considered “transitional.” That said, I’d still highly recommend both areas because of their proximity to amenities and the Senate and I don’t think they are unsafe areas.

I took a quick look at craigslist and found a couple of postings that looked promising, depending on your price range: (Continues after the jump)

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/973309166.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/973422977.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/973277978.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/973273875.html

Some landmarks to consider (a lot of posts will say “near x” which means nothing if you don’t know where “x” is):

Stanton Park (close to Union Station and Senate; the Western part of the Hill; NE quadrant)
Lincoln Park (the Eastern end of the Capitol Hill historic district; very nice and close to bus routes, metro and about 11 blocks from the Capitol; NE and SE quadrants)
Eastern Market (about 8 blocks from the Capitol; a lot of ads say they are near Eastern Market – be sure to ask their address and check google maps; SE quadrant)
Results Gym (on the South side of the Hill; near the highway. Close to the Capitol though, and a pretty nice area – the gym is a neighborhood landmark for the Southeast part of the neighborhood; SE quadrant)
Union Station (on the North side of the Hill; the city’s main Amtrak station and a Metro stop – also close to the H Street area; NE quadrant)
H Street (North of the Capitol; about 9 blocks from the Capitol on the west end of H ST NE. People use H St as a landmark, as in “x blocks off of H St”; NE quadrant)

I don’t like to say, “Oh, that’s a bad neighborhood,” or “Don’t live beyond x street” because our side of the city is constantly changing and there are lovely neighborhoods everywhere. However, I’ve been in the situation where I’m moving to someplace I don’t know very well so I know those kinds of rules can be helpful. While not hard and fast, I’d say, the area bounded on the East by 15th Street (NE and SE), the North on I Street (NE), the South on Virginia Ave. SE (stay north of the 295 overpass) is a safe bet. To the West is downtown, which is very nice too – it’s just a little farther and can be a lot more expensive.

I’d also recommend joining these two yahoo groups that focus on neighborhoods in and around Capitol Hill:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newhilleast/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/capitolhilldc/

People on there could be helpful.

Of course, there are many other really lovely neighborhoods in NW DC, if she doesn’t mind the additional time commuting, these are just a few ideas near the Hill. Good luck!

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