I got a sweet little MacBook for Christmas and want to be one of those cool kids using it in public. Places that I thought would surely have free Wi-Fi (Alexandria public libraries, NVCC campus, Starbucks) apparently do not.
The places I know about that do, so far, are St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub (Del Ray) and Busboys and Poets (Shirlington). The library in Annandale (George Mason) doesn’t, but claims they will soon. I can’t find any useful websites that tell me definitively where the local hot spots are. Could any local Dopers clue me in to other local free Wi-Fi hot spots? Old Town locales are preferred, but I’d like to know about the general vicinity as well.
If you go out to Fairfax/Burke, I believe the Pohick Regional Library is a hotspot (just down the street from me, in fact).
Also, some areas, especially near apartment buildings, etc. may have unprotected wireless networks. While not strictly speaking the best idea, you can usually find places near residential areas where somebody has security turned off for whatever reason. Point in case, I’m using somebody’s network right now while in Indianapolis. The GMU campus itself is almost certainly wireless, but it may require a campus logon, as the UF network does.
I live in a really tall apartment building just outside Old Town on Duke St. Until recently, I lived near the top floor, but moved to a much lower floor. I used to be able to piggyback on the signal at the Holiday Inn, but no longer!
Looking over this list, many of the Alexandria locations I’m familiar with don’t actually have access. AnaDolla Restaurant and Dancing Peppers Cantina have been out of business for months; I was unable to connect (with my old computer; I’ll have to try again with my new one) at Panera or Beatley Library. The only ones I can really vouch for at present are the ones I mentioned in the OP, plus the hotels. Can anybody add any that they can personally attest to?
I won’t add one, but I’ll confirm that the Caboose Cafe in Del Ray (which I highly recommend, whether you’re there for coffee and pastries while web-surfing, or whether you’re there for their very good Ethiopian food) still has wifi.