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Visiting D.C. on a Student Budget: Here’s Where to Go and What to Do!


Three-day weekends in college can mean one of two things: sleeping in or a road trip! Choose the latter. Instead of racking your brain figuring out where-to on your next quick getaway, I’ll make the choice very simple. Choose D.C.!

Washington, D.C. is a burgeoning city that attracts a large amount of college students. Before we go any further, I have a confession. When I moved here for my freshman year, I hated it. It wasn’t fast enough for this New York City native. But over the years I found beauty in a city that wasn’t quite as fast as the city that never sleeps, but speedy in its own right.

Some of my best friends attend schools in slower towns, and I get texts every weekend about the fact that I’m always out. That’s because D.C. offers a little something for everyone — without having you feel like you’re so minute in comparison to its population.


9:30 Club 

The 9:30 Club is a hidden gem in the District. It had been down the block from my campus and I hadn’t even been there until a few weeks ago! This venue is a double whammy, as it functions as a concert space as well as a nightclub. Just a few weeks ago Ciara performed a concert–all at no cost. Frank Ocean also serenaded a crowd here just before he released his album Channel Orange. Large enough to have elbow room, yet small enough to have a great view of the performer, the 9:30 Club makes for a great concert space. Ticket prices range from $15-$35 dollars. Grits & Biscuits, a party highlighting the “dirty south,” turned the concert venue into a club atmosphere.

The 9:30 Club is located at 815 V Street, NW.

Stadium Club

Why watch Miley Cyrus and that terrible excuse for a twerk when you can watch professionals? Stadium Nightclub has been frequented by many men and women in the hip-hop community. Drake said it best when he said ” I’m up in Stadium in D.C., still tippin’ man.” College students frequent this strip club on Wednesday nights because of their open bar from 6-9 p.m all for $10 admission. You literally get to pay $10 for all the drinks your liver can handle for three hours. You decide.

Stadium Club is located at 2127 Queens Chapel Road, NE.


Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben’s Chili Bowl has become a historical nugget in D.C.’s story. Founded by Ben and Virginia Ali, Ben’s Chili Bowl have become a permanent fixture of the U Street Corridor. This establishment frequents tourists for their renowned “Ben’s Famous All Meat Chili Dog.” Aside from a hearty meal of burgers, hot dogs and fries, Ben’s Chili Bowl offers a healthy alternative for their vegetarian customers. Prices range from $4.40-$9.85. President Barack Obama grubbed here prior to his inauguration in 2009. If it’s good enough for the president, it should be good enough for you!

Ben’s Chili Bowl is located at 1213 U Street NW.

Georgetown Cupcake

When two sisters founded this cupcakery, they hit a gold mine. Who knew cupcakes would grant the Kallinis sisters a book deal and a reality television show? With an array of flavors and designs that seem too pretty to eat, Georgetown Cupcake hit the spot nonetheless. Gluten-free and vegan options are available. Be careful, there is almost always a line outside the door for customers to get their hands on these baked goods. A single cupcake is $2.75, $15 for a half dozen and $29 for a dozen cupcakes. The location in Georgetown is their first location although there are other locations across the country.

Georgetown Cupcake is located on the corner of 33rd and M at 3301 M Street.


McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon

Two words: Thirsty Thursday. Thursday night happy hours at McFadden’s are always a good time. Who can beat $2 drinks? The DJ keeps you dancing, and will probably have you screaming some Backstreet Boys songs at the top of your lungs. There is usually a mixed crowd as college students from the surrounding schools frequent McFadden’s often.

McFadden’s is located at 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sign of the Whale

Another Thirsty Thursday favorite, Sign of the Whale is another go-to bar for college students. It’s a little more cozy than the space at McFadden’s, but you will still enjoy yourself. Drinks are $3 but investing in a Whale Pail gives you more bang for your buck. Try “Kristin’s Kiss.” It’s by far the best one, and not just because it shares my name!

Sign of the Whale is located at 1825 M Street.


Adams Morgan

Culture-wise, the neighborhood of Adams Morgan is the place to be. I couldn’t just narrow it down to one location, so I suggest you visit the neighborhood and see for yourself. Bukom Cafe is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant that serves great food. Aside from its Ethiopian cuisine, Adams Morgan is home to Hispanic and New Orleans styled dishes. Hookah lounges and clubs are also on this strip, so there is literally something for everyone.

Adams Morgan is located in North West (no confusion to Kimye’s baby girl) at the intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road.

[Lead image via f11photo/Shutterstock]

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