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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM | Nightlife in DC

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Cornell has some great off-campus programs to offer, one of them being Cornell in Washington. This program offers students the opportunity to live, study and work in Washington, D.C., which means you get to kill three birds with one stone by earning Cornell credits, getting work experience and touristing. My schedule in DC for this semester involves working full-time Monday to Wednesday and then taking classes on Thursdays and Fridays on the first floor of the dorm. Once all my homework assignments and readings are done, I’m left with a lot of free time on my hands. Unlike Ithaca, where my friends and I always complain about not having enough hangout spots, there is always something going on every day in DC, so you don’t have to scratch your head and dig through the snow to find something fun to do. If you are considering participating in the Cornell in Washington program in the future, here is a guide to some of the spots you can check out when you aren’t at your internship or in class.

Ultrabar Nightclub

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DC has a lot of 18+ clubs and bars. What I love about Ultra is that it is a great place to mingle with other DC students who attend universities like Georgetown or American. The most exciting feature is its five floors (main floor, mezzanine, bedroom, chroma and basement), each with its own distinct music. The DJ on the main floor and mezzanine plays Top 40 hits, mashups and hip hop; the Bedroom is mainly hip hop and R&B; Chroma features international music and the basement is mostly mashups. This means that you can spend the night on the floor that is playing your favorite music or explore each floor for a different experience! The advantage of this is that you won’t be stuck listening to the same DJ all night!

Wine and Dessert Tasting at Barcelona Wine Bar

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This intimate restaurant and bar serves Mediterranean, Spanish and South American food. With over 400 wines featured on their wine list, it’s one of the best places to test out your knowledge from the wines course at Cornell if you are 21 and over. For those that are underage, the dinner menu and desserts alone are motivation enough to give it a try. From a delectable tiramisu to melt-in-your-mouth crepes, you won’t go wrong with putting this eatery on your to do list. Barcelona is dimly lit with most tables being candlelit, giving it a cosy, intimate feel. There is also an option to sit outside if the weather is nice, which adds a dinner-under-the-stars feel to your experience.

Rocket Bar

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The Rocket Bar is located a few blocks away from my dorm, and I am always excited to play the games it has to offer. From darts to board games, you will never get bored during a night at the Rocket Bar. I learned how to play pool for the first time and shot some zombies with a friend playing their Walking Dead arcade game.

The Big Hunt

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The Big Hunt is one of DC’s oldest beer bars and is just a few minutes’ walk away from the dorm. While its beer is the bar’s main attraction, what’s most appealing about The Big Hunt is its Underground Comedy events. Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, The Big Hunt features local and touring comedians in the Devil’s Kitchen bar in the basement. If you are good at stand-up comedy, they welcome sign-ups via email, so here is your shot to perform some of your amateur stand-up or just to watch if you have never seen a live comedy show! Some of the comedy shows are free; all you have to do is look out for the free events on their website.

Cafe Citron

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Cafe Citron is a cosy Latin American restaurant and lounge also located near the dorm. The options at Cafe Citron are endless. Not only can you enjoy authentic, home-cooked Bolivian, Peruvian and Mexican-inspired dishes, but you can also learn how to salsa and bachata. There are free dance classes every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Here is your chance to learn something new and show off your new dance moves when you go back home!

Finally, the above list has shown that most of the coolest places in the city are within walking distance of Cornell’s DC dorm, which means figuring out how to get back home won’t be a struggle. So if you plan on doing the Cornell in Washington program next semester or in the future, there is no excuse to stay cooped up in the dorm. There is so much exciting stuff to do and with this list to kick-start your DC weekend plans, you can have the best semester during your time at Cornell — and the Snap Stories to prove it.

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