GWU Adds Touch of Class to Foggy Bottom Neighborhood

George Washington University

Campus life: Several George Washington University buildings dot the Foggy Bottom area, giving the community a pronounced scholarly feel that you won’t find in other Northwest neighborhoods. (dcJohn via Flickr)

If you’ve ever taken a ride on the Metro’s Blue/Orange Line and gotten off at the Foggy Bottom-GWU stop, what you see on your left – the George Washington University Medical Center – clues you into one giant fact: You’re in a college town in the middle of the city. Sorta.

The lucky apartment renter in Foggy Bottom will certainly get used to seeing college students walking around the neighborhood. This population of young, learning minds serves to counterbalance the various professional “grown-ups” who habituate the area.

[ Related: Colorful History, Upscale Amenities Give Foggy Bottom Clear Appeal ]

The George Washington University, known to locals as GW, has quite a copywriter on staff (or hired from an agency). Get a load of this bit from the About GW page: “Our University actively engages Washington, D.C., and the world. Our location in the heart of Washington places us at the core of U.S. government, policy and law.”

Now that’s what I call important. Kinda makes the community college you attended feel like small potatoes, or even your hallowed state school alma mater.

Further, the university sits “where the worlds of science, technology, media and the arts converge.” This surfeit of importance is giving me a head rush, and they pull out all the stops with this zinger: “Our students and faculty have the unparalleled opportunity to study and work alongside leaders and practitioners in every discipline, to take part in the interchanges that shape our community and the world.”

You must be thinking, “Am I worthy even to be in the presence of these kids?!”

Trust me, I’ve, let’s say, met a few of these students, and they’re just like you and me … more or less.

Lisner Auditorium
730 21st St., NW
Washington, DC 20052

“OK, Apartment Showcase,” you protest. “What are you getting at? You seem to be skewering a fine institution, and I’m not gonna take it!”

Really? Settle down a mite. I’m just having some fun with you, and I feel secure writing the above because GW is a pretty impressive institution.

Created in 1821 through an Act of Congress, George Washington University is the largest school in the District. Though there are three campuses (another one in the city, and one in Ashburn, Va.), GW’s Foggy Bottom campus is the one most people surely think of when you say “GW,” and it boasts more than 42 acres of area. In total, the university teaches more than 20,000 students who hail from all 50 states, the capital itself, and more than 130 countries. In a city with an international flavor, GW fits right in.

But you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the benefits of the GW campus in Foggy Bottom.

Firstly, there’s Lisner Auditorium, which presents eclectic live music and other entertainment. Taking a look at their calendar for upcoming events, what can you say about a place that books the likes of the Trailer Park Boys (one of the few truly funny phenomena to arise in the last decade), the Laurie Berkner Band and Gal Costa? Nothing short of an epiphany, that’s what.

Secondly, there’s the basketball team. It’s true that denizens of the city and surrounding environs usually pick one of two national powerhouses to root for in college basketball: the University of Maryland or Georgetown University. But by mid-decade, another area team emerged (well, two, counting George Mason, which very nearly upset the college basketball applecart in 2006). With NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament appearances in 2005, 2006 and 2007, the George Washington Colonials briefly broke the two-team, Washington-area binary basketball system. Though they have since come back down to earth, my bet is a game at a mid-major is nearly as fun as one at Comcast Center or the Chinatown’s Verizon Center.

[ Related: Chinatown a Flashy, Fun Home for the Renter in Northwest ]

When you find your next apartment with Apartment Showcase and move here, take the kids, take a date or take your buddies to something fun for a change. The bars and restaurants will still be around for you later. We promise.

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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