Talk the Talk

DC can seem pretty confusing to someone not from the area. With so many abbreviations and acronyms, it can be difficult to understand what everyone is saying! Here, TFAS breaks down some of those terms.

“The Beltway”: This refers to the area around DC; named for Interstate 495 that runs a circle around the DC area. You’ll hear people refer to a locale as either “inside the Beltway” or outside the Beltway” – meaning within the circle or outside of it.

“The Hill”: Perhaps obvious, but used in reference to Capitol Hill and the surrounding neighborhood.

K Street”: DC’s lobbying corridor – numerous lobbying firms are on K Street, NW.

“The Mall”: Not a place to go shopping, the National Mall refers to the 2 mile span between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. It’s often a location for festivals and concerts, and framed by some of DC’s most famous museums. 

“Embassy Row”: Area in Northwest DC where many embassies are located, mainly on Massachusetts Avenue northwest of Dupont Circle.

“Old Town”: Old Town refers to a historic area of Alexandria, Virginia which has fantastic shops and restaurants and is a great place to visit on the weekends.

“The Quadrants”: The city is broken into four areas, referred to by their directional locations (NE, NW, SE, SW).

“SmarTrip”: This is a Metro card that works more similarly to a Debit card. You put money on it online or at Metro card kiosks, and it is not a paper card.

“POTUS”: President of the United States.

“SCOTUS”: Supreme Court of the United States.

“Caps” “Nats” “Skins”: DC’s professional sports teams. The hockey team the Capitals, the baseball team the Nationals, and the football team the Redskins, respectively.

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