By Abby Masenheimer
I live right next door to the president. OK, well maybe not right next door, but I do live about 10 minutes away when the red line isn't delayed.
You see, I go to school in our nation's capital. Washington, D.C. is not only the home of President Obama, the famous cherry blossoms and the National Mall but also nearly 7,000 American University undergraduate students, including me.
American University is a medium-sized private university nestled in the northwestern part of the district. It has its own stop on the red line of the metro in Tenleytown, the commercial neighborhood in which American resides. Logistically speaking, AU is three metro stops away from nightlife in Adams Morgan, four stops away from fine dining in Dupont Circle and five stops away from the heart of the city.
Because AU's immediate neighborhood, American University Park, is mostly residential AU students get to enjoy a suburban-style campus life, far different from its rival school, George Washington University. Whereas GW has a bustling city atmosphere, AU has a grassy quad where AU students like to hang out during the warm days in the spring semester.
AU's campus provides the best of both worlds: it satisfies students who want city life while maintaining a suburban atmosphere.
Now, about that dorm room ... I actually don't live in a 4-by-4 concrete box with a roommate and a twin XL bed. In fact, I have my own room with a double bed and a private bathroom, living area and kitchen that I share with two of my friends. And no, I do not live off-campus. I live in Nebraska Hall, a dorm building recently built by American University for its upperclassmen students.
Speaking of kitchens, one of the best things about the district is the food! There's the famous Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street that's well-known for its chili dogs and Georgetown Cupcake, made famous by TLC's television show D.C. Cupcakes. And yes, they are that good. Hawk 'n' Dove is the place to be if you're looking for a staffer from the Capitol building, but if you want to go to an AU student's favorite spot, try either Angelico Pizza or Z-Burger. Angelico has tasty (and cheap) sandwiches, pasta and pizza while Z-Burger is like Five Guys plus a menu of 100 different milkshake flavors.
If you're looking for shopping, your best bet is M Street in Georgetown. M Street is dotted with well-known stores such as Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste and J. Crew, while its side streets are filled with tiny, quaint boutiques. Georgetown also has some awesome restaurants, such as Filomena, an Italian restaurant that is frequented by politicians and celebrities. My personal favorite is the Rugby Cafe which serves huge half-price burgers on Tuesdays, delicious macaroni and cheese and the best guacamole ever. I love how it's a small, relatively unknown spot frequented by all the local college students.
Perhaps the best part about living in the district is all of the museums! All of the Smithsonian museums are free and are a great way to spend an afternoon. The zoo and the American History museum are great to roam around all day. The Newseum is the coolest museum I have ever been in and is reasonably priced. Make sure to look for the TIMES NEWS daily front page! If museums aren't your thing, a nice stroll around the National Mall is fun, too. Just be careful to avoid the tourists ...
As exciting as the district is, though, I can't wait to come home to the Lehigh Valley on breaks.
And then after a week, I can't wait to go back to the district.