Step 5: Life In D.C.

life in dc

D.C. is a busy, interesting, and fun city. There is always something to do, and many ways you can get around. The following section will provide advice on how to travel around D.C. and out of the city, and will provide details on events going on during your quarter in the city. 

Transportation in D.C.

Traveling outside of D.C.

D.C. is only a few hours away from many major citiies, including: Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. To book your trip, consider busing or the train over a flight, but there are definitely cheap ways to fly out of D.C. See the following information to book your next weekend trip in the capital!

Bus

Train

Flights

Walking
Remember, the UC Washington Center is in the heart of the city! Map out the distance from the Center to your internship to see if it is walkable. Often, things are closer than they seem in the city!
Metro

There are three metro stations that are approximately equidistant to the UC Washington Center: Dupont Circle, Farragut North, and Farragut West. Different metro lines run through each station.

You can purchase single-trip fare cards, but if you will be using the metro frequently, it is recommended to purchase a SmarTrip card.This card is a permanent, plastic,rechargeable fare card that can hold up to a $300 value. A benefit of using this card is the potential to receive discounts on fares, and can be registered online to recover the card’s value if it is lost or stolen.

Use the WMATA website to plan your route to work. 

Note that fares vary by distance traveled and time of day. Check the website above for the most up-to-date information. SmarTrip cards can be refilled or single-trip fare cards can be purchased at every station.

Bus

The bus is another great option for getting around the city. Use the WMATA website to find your nearest bus stop and to plan your commute.

Fares vary depending on the route and whether you use a SmarTrip card (fares are discounted when you use the card). You can use cash, but you must have the exact fare.

Be aware that many lines have different weekday vs. weekend hours or destinations. Refer to the website above to find the most up-to-date information.

Capital Bikeshare

If you want to get a little more exercise on your commute, biking is a great option! You can rent a bike from any of the 350 stations across the city and return it to any station near your destination.

Sign up online here.

Pay a fee to use the service for 30 days.The first 30 minutes of your ride are free, and any extra time incurs a small additional fee. See the link above for the most up-to-date fares.

Events in D.C.

Event resources for DC

Now that you’re in D.C., it’s time to make the most of it! Besides all of the requisite museum and monument trips, take out some time to enjoy Washington D.C.’s annual events. Check out our handy calendar below to see what fun annual events are offered in each quarter.These websites are great resources to find out about events in D.C.:

Fall Quarter
WalkingTown D.C. (September)
  • This popular annual event introduces people to the art, history, and culture of D.C. through a series of tours led by historians, licensed tour guides, community members, and docents.
D.C. Shorts Film Festival (September)
  • Spotlights independent short films with screenings and discussions with the filmmakers who created them.
The Marine Corps Marathon (October)
  • Military and civilian runners are welcome to this 26.2 mile race taking runners past DC’s most iconic landmarks. Not a runner? Spectators are always encouraged!
Fotoweek D.C. (November)
  • Citywide celebration featuring 150+ exhibitions, programs, and events highlighting world-class photography.
National Christmas Tree Lighting (December)
  • Join the President and the First Family for this annual event! Free tickets are distributed via an online lottery.
Downtown Holiday Market (December)
  • More than 175 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses sell their wares at this festival holiday shopping “village”.
Winter Quarter
Chinese New Year Parade (January/February)
  • The parade is held in Chinatown on H Street, NW, between 6th and 7th Streets.The event features the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations, and live musical entertainment
Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade (February)
  • Held in Arlington,VA. The parade included local community groups, horses, dogs, fire trucks, color masks, and plenty of Mardi Gras beads! Enjoy New Orleans-style food and contests as well.
Cupid’s Undie Run (February)
  • In this unique charitable event, participants run a 1.75 mile lap in front of the US Capitol Building in their Valentine’s themed undies to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Join the run or cheer runners on as a spectator!
Saint Patrick's Day Parade (March)
  • In this parade, all things Irish come to the capital! Stop by for bagpipe bands, police and fire departments, Irish step dancers, music, culture, and fun!
National Cherry Blossom Festival (March/April)
  • The festival, full of events that honor both the American and Japanese cultures, represents a close bond forged between the US and Japan that began with Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki’s gift of the trees back in 1912.
Spring Quarter
National Cherry Blossom Festival (March-April)
  • Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. There are several events in coordination with the month-long celebration. For more information, and to purhcase tickets, visit their website
White House Spring Garden Tour (April) 
  • The White House Garden Tours have been a tradition since 1972 when Pat Nixon first opened the White House gardens to the public. Two weekends each year, visitors are invited to view the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children's Garden and South Lawn of the White House.
White House Easter Egg Roll (Easter Monday)
  • The annual family event invites kids of all ages to hunt for and race Easter Eggs on the White House Lawn while enjoying a morning of storytelling and a visit with the Easter Bunny. Free tickets are required. 
National Cathedral Flower Mart (May)
  • Washington Cathedral's annual outdoor festival for garden enthusiasts and families features annuals, perennials, landscape exhibits, Olmsted Woods and Garden Tours, and children's activities such as a rock wall, moon bounce, mini-Ferris wheel and a century-old restored carousel. 
Mount Vernon's Wine Festival & Sunset Tours (May)
  • Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with special evening tours of the Mansion and cellar, appearances by “George and Martha Washington”, and live music on the east lawn of George Washington's Mount Vernon home overlooking the scenic Potomac River. 
Passport DC (May)
  • Washington, DC's embassies open their doors to the public during a two week event called Passport DC, a new annual celebration of international culture presented by Cultural Tourism DC. Passport DC will showcase Washington DC’s embassies and cultural organizations with a wide range of performances, talks, and exhibits. For more information, visit their website
National Asian Heritage Festival - Fiesta Asia (May)
  • The street fair in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month showcases Asian art and culture with live musical performances, Pan-Asian cuisine, martial arts and lion dance demonstration, a multicultural marketplace, cultural displays and interactive activities. For more information, visit their website
Truckeroo (May-October, One Friday each month)
  • Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. There are several events in coordination with the month-long celebration. For more information, and to purhcase tickets, visit their website
DC Jazz Festival (June)
  • The annual event features more than 100 jazz performances at concert venues and clubs throughout Washington, DC. Celebrating musical styles from Bebop and Blues to Swing, Soul, Latin and World music, the DC Jazz festival includes performances at the Kennedy Center, the Phillips Collection, on the National Mall, and at more than 30 museums, clubs, restaurants, and hotels.
Capital Pride (June) 
  • The DC community comes together for the annual Capital Pride, a citywide celebration of LGBTQ rights and the continuing fight for them. This year’s signature events include a rooftop pool party (June 8), a block party (June 10), the popular Pride Parade (June 10) and the Pride Festival and Concert (June 11).


Summer Quarter
Truckeroo (May-October, One Friday each month)
  • Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. There are several events in coordination with the month-long celebration. For more information, and to purhcase tickets, visit their website
Smithsonian Folklife Festival (July)
  • The Smithsonian Folklife Festival salutes different international and American cultures every year on the National Mall with craft exhibits, live music, cooking demos and an expansive marketplace full of pottery, books, textiles, toys, sculptures, clothing and more. This year, the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary with a focus on the evolution of circus arts and the importance of migration.
Fourth of July Celebrations
  • Visit the Declaration of Independence, catch a free concert at the U.S. Capitol, watch the Independence Parade, and more!
Fourth of July Fireworks
  • Check out this article for 14 great spots to watch the D.C. Fireworks.
17th Street Festival (August)
  • This annual festival honors the incredible diversity of restaurants and retailers on 17th Street NW in Dupont Circle, as well as its communal vibe. More than 100 vendors will be on-hand showcasing their offerings and over 50 artists will display jewelry, crafts, fine art and more. There will also be live music, a kids’ zone featuring a moon bounce and a pet zone for those looking to shop or adopt a new pet!