Washington, D.C. Regional Engagement
Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, is home to over 1400 alums. Use the links below to connect with your local ‘Cats!
Have an idea for a program or event? Looking for a way to get involved? Want to get an update on what’s happening in the region? Contact your leaders below!
Rishonda Thomas Puffett '09
Davidson Connect Profile (login required)
Young Alumni & Communications Chair
Meredith McGill '22
Davidson Connect Profile (login required)
A Crowd-Sourced Guide to D.C.
Get to know Washington, D.C. thanks to suggestions from Davidson alumni and parents.
- Two American presidents kept alligators at the white house. Both Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators in the White House.
- President Jimmy Carter loved to watch movies in the White House, and to date, nobody has beat his record of watching 480 movies in the White House movie theater.
- Darth Vader adorns the Northwest tower of the National Cathedral.
- A very international city, DC is home to more than 170 embassies and international cultural centers. More than 15% of the residents in the city speak a language other than English in their home.
What We Wished We'd Known: Advice for Alumni New to the City
- When figuring out housing, the main factors to consider are price, size, and location. Prioritize which you want, because you can rarely get all three. And don’t be afraid of Craigslist.
- If you are going to work downtown, think hard about how you will get there as you decide where to live.
- Figure out your commute. Use the train, bike in the city, or take the bus. Buy a SmarTrip card your first time on the metro, and make sure to always have enough money on your SmarTrip card or have cash on hand. Be sure to look at the color of the metro train before you get on, or else you might end up crossing a river you didn't mean to. Don't be afraid of buses. The bus system is far more comprehensive than you think.
- Everyone loves to make fun of tourists, but if you can help when they ask you a question or look lost, do it. That means you need to get to know the city yourself.
- Live on the same side of the river you work. If you are able to avoid the bridge traffic in the morning commute, you are doing yourself a huge time-saving favor.
- Always make sure you know which "quadrant" you're supposed to be going to (NE, SE, SW, NW). Nothing like having your cab driver drop you off at 15th and D northwest when you really needed to be northeast!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help, and do it as often as you want or need. Not only will you benefit, so will your employers, peers and colleagues.
- Cast a wide net when looking for jobs, understand that cost of living is high and do your best to save money, and do not be afraid to ask your connections (alumni included) for things. We can’t help you if we don’t know you need it.
- Remember to get out of the city occasionally.
- There are many Wildcats here – don’t be shy! Say hi! Network! Network! Network! Go to alumni events and don’t be afraid to talk to people working in the field you’re interested in.
- Be open to meeting new people and making new friends. DC can be very transient and it is important to make new friendships/relationships.
- Don't forget to play tourist, and take advantage of living in a city with world-class, not to mention FREE museums.
Must-Do Activities in D.C.
- Get outside: Attend a free outdoor movie screening in the evening. Rent a bike and spend a day in Old Town Alexandria or Mt. Vernon. Check out Rock Creek Park. Beach Drive is closed all day Saturday and Sunday for all vehicles, so perfect for runners and walkers and bikers. Attend a summer concert at Wolf Trap. Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden. Visit the U.S. National Arboretum. Bike, walk or run on the Mt Vernon, Custis, Washington-Old Dominion, and Four Mile Run trails in Virginia. Rent a car with friends and go out to the Shenandoah or Great Falls Park for a day. Walk the Tidal Basin or the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda, MD to see the Cherry Blossoms in spring.
- Enjoy being close to water: Go to Theodore Roosevelt Island. Have a drink or a meal at the Georgetown Waterfront. Go for a spin on the Capital Wheel at National Harbor. Watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the Marine Corps War Memorial. Kayak along the Key Bridge or the Anacostia. Explore the Wharf District.
- Cheer on DC Sports: The Nationals at Nationals Park. The Washington Capitals and the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Commanders at FedEx Field. D.C. United and Washington Spirit at Audi Field. The Washington Mystics at Entertainment and Sports Arena. Join a social sports league (ZogSports or DC Fray).
- Soak up the art and history: Tour the memorials at night. Visit Arlington National Cemetery. The best view of the city is in front of the Arlington House, looking out over the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Go to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Have coffee in the atrium of the National Portrait Gallery. Go to the National Gallery of Art. Go to the International Spy Museum. Do a pre-arranged guided tour of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the Department of State. Tour the U.S. Naval Observatory. Take a guided tour by the Library of Congress of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Tour the Capitol and call your congressman’s office! Hear a cool speaker at the Sixth & I Synagogue. Go gallery hopping on a Friday in Dupont Circle. Tour the Swedish Embassy on the weekend. Tour the White House. Go on the White House Garden Tour or the Christmas Tour, and try to see the tree lighting at least once! Take a tour of the Washington National Cathedral. Check out H Street’s rocking social scene. Take advantage of the DC libraries. Attend a “Free for All” Shakespeare performance through the Harman Center for the Arts.
- Experience the culture of the area: Listen to jazz in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art. Go to a show/concert at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Be sure to visit the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant. Visit the Flea Market at Eastern Market on the weekends. Attend Katie’s Cars and Coffee in Great Falls. Go to the top of the Washington Monument. Go to a concert at the 9:30 Club. Spend a Sunday summer afternoon on the National Mall. See a theater production at Signature, Studio, Woolly Mammoth, or the Folger Shakespeare Library. Have a doughnut at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Stop by Politics and Prose bookstore.