Congratulations to all those who are coming to DC in the fall. I know from current experience that you'll have a great time. Hopefully the weather will be better for you (snow day tomorrow, but I probably still have to go to work). I know it's early but feel free to reach out to me or the guys if you have any questions about stuff.
For now I can tell you how Aman, Dane, Henry and I came to live where we do now. I'd say the first thing that we considered when looking for housing was where we were going to work, and then worked outwards from there to find places that would make for an easy commute. One of the (usually) great things about DC is the walkability and public transportation, this meant we had two options, either we find a place that was in easy walking distance from our respective offices, or we find a place that was in easy walking distance to either a bus or metro station that runs by our offices.
Essentially, during the months before we got to DC, we all checked out padmapper.com or craigslist, or asked around, then sent inquiries, and kept an e-mail and facebook message chain going discussing the options we liked. In the end, we chose an apartment complex, and option number two (close to a metro station). We decided to go with an apartment complex, and especially a relatively new one, because they are designed to be convenient and easy to live in, and generally with the times. Here are some perks of our complex: washer/dryer, dry cleaning if you take your stuff to the concierge, free wine and cheese every once in a while, a trash chute on our floor, a balcony, the sweet capitol view, the pool, small gym, and integration with the Harris Teeter supermarket. It's in walking distance of the Capitol and Union Station (~15 minutes) and right above a huge supermarket (we discovered it's possible to get there and back without ever going outside). There's also a network of other residents, which is how Henry found a free TV to replace the 55" one we already have when I give it to my sister for her birthday in May.
The only issue so far (the same reason I wouldn't want to live in a tower) is the elevator system, which sometime takes a while in the mornings, can make getting guests/ food deliverers to our apartment a struggle sometimes, and meant it took us like 45 minutes to find the apartment where the free TV was. There's apparently a whole separate elevator system for the apparently entirely separate area of our apartment complex where the previous owner was. Our key fobs didn't work for the other elevator, nor did the one we got at the concierge desk, so we spent like 30 minutes climbing up the stairs and coming out in various sections of the complex we'd never seen before. At one point, we climbed from the first floor to the sixth and the stairs just ended there, no explanation, and when we got out we were back in the same building we'd started in. Later on, I remembered that in that particular stair case on the fourth floor, we had passed a door that led to another staircase which led past the sixth floor, which was eventually how we made it to the free TV. I'd map this out and attach an image if I thought it was possible. The closest thing I can compare it to is that room with the moving stairs in Harry Potter. Ben said it was like the hotel in The Shining. Still an adventure though, and it was only a one time thing, so it wasn't that big of an issue. Altogether, we really like our apartment and building. Lot's of people just out of college and dogs, even a shar pei puppy which makes my day every time I see it. If anyone is looking for a place to live in the fall, or especially this summer (because our lease doesn't end until July, but Dane and I are leaving in May), let us know. You're welcome to come check it out any time.
Back to the paragraph before that confusing story, we found a place that fit all our needs, and chose option number two, and currently live a half a block from the NoMa/Gallaudet U metro station on the red line. In the mornings, Dane gets off at Metro Center, Henry and Aman get off one stop later at the Farragut North station, and I get off one stop later at the DuPont Circle station, when I get off the escalator at the DuPont Circle stop, the door to my office is about 50 feet away, so I walk farther from mid quad to class at Kravis than I do during the entirety of my morning commute. Depending on the unpredictable combination of factors that dictates the speed of the red line, and whether the escalators are working or not, my commute can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes from the door of my apartment to my desk. CMC's suite is in turn about a 4 minute walk from my office, and a 2 minute walk from the Farragut North metro station. DC geography can be pretty confusing, although still not as confusing as our apartment complex, so here's a map.
Kids I work with visiting G Town
City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate Tommy Wells reading "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" at a Black History Month Celebration in a DC Public Library
Walk/snow ball fight back from an Indian food restaurant with Henry and Alana
Visit to the Corcoran Art Gallery's Question Bridge Exhibit with the non-profit I volunteer with
Fajitas I made for the boys a couple weeks back, kicked up with bold flavors
I wish I could attach some pictures of me asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama my question, but there was no photography allowed until after the event, check out Annie's blog/CMC website/His Holiness' facebook page for pictures of that.