Living in Fairfax, Virginia

Reside in peaceful, welcoming Fairfax, with the assurance that an escape to Washington, DC is less than an hour away. The innovative atmosphere of DC invites you to build your future in the city where Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and research thrive. Fill your résumé with all the career development opportunities of a big city, knowing that you have a community behind you supporting your goals.

Take your classes at the Fairfax or DC campus, spend the day soaking in the buzz of a multicultural metropolis, then relax with your friends in the comfort of Fairfax. 176 cultural festivals and embassies fill the city, welcoming its diverse citizens. At Mason, there’s no need to choose—safety and excitement live together in harmony. For more exciting tips about living in Fairfax, visit our City Guide.

What makes this place unique?

  • Fairfax ranks #3 on Forbes’ Top 25 Places to Live Well (2009).
  • DC boasts some of the most amazing attractions in the world, including the (free) Smithsonian museums.
  • DC's White House and Capitol building are the backbone of American government.

Just a 45-minute commute to the White House

The Washington, DC area is known for having so many free things to do—and 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).

Sports in and around Washington, DC

Professional spots for every fan populate Washington, DC. Interested in catching a fly ball or game? Check out baseball’s Nationals. Craving the cool air of a rink and the sound of blade on ice? Check out the National Hockey League’s Capitals. The National Basketball Association’s Wizards and National Football League’s Redskins are popular events for you and your friends to attend together.

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.

Malls for miles

If you like to shop, Northern Virginia is a great place to find whatever you're looking for. 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!

Transportation in the city

Transportation to and from Mason is made easy by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Second only to New York City, Washington, DC ranks #2 in the nation for number of commuters. Do as locals do and queue on campus for the next metro into the city. The Fairfax Connector stops on campus and takes you all the way into DC, helping you get to your internship at Amazon or to the dinner and show with your friends in just 45 minutes.

What you should wear

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.

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