White House in Washington, DC

Living in Fairfax, Virginia

Just a 45-minute commute to the White House

Want to study in a large metropolitan area or on a quiet, tree-lined campus? Become a George Mason University student and you'll get the best of both worlds. At Mason’s Fairfax, Virginia campus, you'll be part of a safe, suburban community with students from all over the world. The best part? You’ll still have all the benefits of the big city, with easy access to all kinds of exciting things to see, learn and experience in the Washington, DC, area.

The city of Fairfax is ranked #3 on the Top 25 Places to Live Well (Forbes 2009). You can walk to downtown Fairfax to enjoy unique restaurants, free community festivals and boutique shops. You can also take a free shuttle from campus to the metro, and 45 minutes later, you can find yourself in front of the White House or some of the world-famous (and free) Smithsonian museums. Shop along the Georgetown Waterfront, hike in the Blue Ridge mountains, or visit historic US sites like George Washington's home. You'll never run out of things to do with your new friends.

An exciting city

You'll love the variety of cultures, restaurants and experiences that the Washington, DC, metropolitan area has to offer. The multicultural community is one of the city's best features. People from all over the world call it home.

In Washington, DC, you can learn about the whole world in one place. With 176 embassies and cultural festivals year round, you'll always have plans for the weekend. You can also get around the area using the Metro and other easy public transportation. There’s so much to do. 

You'll probably also want to travel around the United States during your studies, right? With two major airports within 30 minutes of Mason’s campus, it is convenient to get anywhere you want to go.

More to do


Malls for miles

If you like to shop, Northern Virginia is a great place to buy anything you want! You’ll find hundreds of brand-name stores at Fair Oaks Mall, Tysons Corner Center and Potomac Mills outlets, which offer sales and special events year round. Town centers like Fairfax Corner and the Mosaic District are great alternatives to the mall scene because they feel like a downtown neighborhood. And, across the Potomac River in Washington, DC, you will find breathtaking views along the historic Georgetown Waterfront shopping district on M Street. There is shopping everywhere you go!

Eating out

Worldwide cuisine

Looking for a restaurant that serves food from home? You won’t need to look far in the Washington, DC area! You can try an array of international cuisines in Washington DC. Ethiopian? Mexican? Indian? Middle Eastern? You name it, there’s a restaurant for it nearby. If you prefer to cook for yourself, you can find familiar ingredients from home at some of the international grocery stores nearby, including the Great Wall Supermarket and Super H Mart.


A fit for any budget

The Washington, DC area is known for having so many free things to doand that’s great for international students! Whether you like to visit museums, watch films or enjoy a theatrical production, you can experience culture on any budget. The world-famous Smithsonian museums change up their displays often, so you can enjoy something new every time you visit. (Our favorite? The Air and Space Museum.) For film lovers, you can check out the Angelika Film Center and Cafe or any of the film festivals that take place throughout the year. For theater, it’s hard to choose because there are so many options! You might want to start with one of the most famous venues, The Kennedy Center. It has many different stages, including the Millennium Stage (which offers free performances every day of the year!)

Weather and Dress

What you should wear

The Washington, DC, climate has four distinct seasons. Average temperature range: 5° C in January to 32° C in July C. Most students at Mason dress casually. There is no official dress code. Due to weather changes, you will need clothing for both warm and cold seasons. All of these items are available for purchase in Fairfax upon arrival, so only pack what you need for the first few months after you arrive.

Fatou Faye
"It is a beautiful small town. If you want to do more, you can easily get to DC. I think having that balance between calm and busy is great for students." Fatou Faye Senegal