Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States. Washington (the city) is coterminous with the District of Columbia (abbreviated as "D.C."). The city and the district are located on the banks of the Potomac River and bordered by Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the northwest, northeast, and southeast. The city was planned and developed in the late 18th century to serve as the permanent national capital; the federal district was formed to keep the national capital distinct from the states.
The city was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States. The district's name, "Columbia," is an early poetic name for the United States and a reference to Christopher Columbus, an early explorer of the Americas. The city is commonly referred to as Washington, The District, or simply D.C. In the 19th century, it was called the Federal City or Washington City. The official 2007 estimated population of Washington, D.C., was 588,292. During the workweek, however, the number of commuters from the suburbs into the city swells the District's population an estimated 71.8% to a daytime population over one million people. The Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, is the eighth-largest in the United States with more than five million residents. When combined with Baltimore and its suburbs, the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area has a population exceeding eight million residents, the fourth-largest in the country.
The centers of all three branches of the U.S. government are located in the District. Also situated in the city are the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other national and international institutions, including trade unions and professional associations. Washington is a frequent location for political demonstrations and protests, large and small, particularly on the National Mall. A center of American history and culture, Washington is a popular destination for tourists, the site of numerous national landmarks and monuments, the world's largest museum complex (the Smithsonian Institution), galleries, universities, cathedrals, performing arts centers and institutions, and music scenes. The District also includes substantial areas of wild natural habitat, particularly along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, as well as in Rock Creek Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island located in the Potomac River.
The District of Columbia and the city of Washington are governed by a single municipal government and for most practical purposes, are considered to be the same entity. This has not always been the case: prior to 1871, when Georgetown ceased to be a separate city, there were multiple jurisdictions within the District. Although there is a municipal government and a mayor, Congress has the supreme authority over the city and district, which results in citizens having less self-governance than residents of the states. The District has a non-voting at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. In the financial year 2004, federal tax collections were $16.9 billion while federal spending in the District was $37.6 billion.
THE CLIMATE OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
Washington has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). Its climate is typical of Mid-Atlantic U.S. areas removed from bodies of water, with four distinct seasons.
Summer tends to be hot and humid with daily high temperatures in July and August averaging in the high 80s to low 90s (in °F; about 30° to 33 °C). The combination of heat and humidity in the summer brings very frequent thunderstorms, some of which occasionally produce tornadoes in the area.
Spring and fall are mild with high temperatures in April and October averaging in the high 60s to low 70s (about 20 °C).
Winter brings sustained cool temperatures and occasional snowfall. Average highs tend to be in the low 40s (6 to 8 °C) and lows in the mid 20s (-5 to -2 °C) from mid-December to mid-February. Additionally, Arctic air can lower nighttime lows into the teens, even in the city.
While tropical cyclones (or their remnants) occasionally track through the area in late summer and early fall, they have often weakened by the time they reach Washington partly because of the city's inland location. Flooding of the Potomac River, however — caused by a combination of high tide, storm surge, and storm runoff — has been known to cause extensive property damage in Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Spring is generally the most favorable time of year, with low humidity, mild temperatures, and many kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants in bloom. This period generally lasts from late March until mid-May. Because the heat island effect is not as pronounced, temperatures of the Dulles Airport area and suburbs to the west and north are on average 6 to 7 °F (3 °C) cooler than Washington year-round, so a weather forecast for the city may not be accurate for outlying suburbs.
The average annual rainfall is 39.3 inches (998 mm) and average annual snowfall is 16.6 inches (422 mm). Some outlying suburbs to the north and west receive upwards of six more inches of snowfall each year. The average high temperature in January is 41 °F (5 °C); the average low for January is 27 °F (-3 °C). The average annual temperature is 57.5 °F (14.1 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 20, 1930 and August 6, 1918 and the lowest recorded temperature was -15 °F (-26 °C) on February 11, 1899, during the Great Blizzard of 1899. he city averages 36.7 days hotter than 90 °F (32 °C), and only 64.4 nights below freezing.
CULTURE AND ACTIVITIES IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Washington is home to numerous national landmarks and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The National Mall is a large, open park area in the center of the city featuring many monuments to American leaders; it also serves to connect the White House and the United States Capitol buildings. Located prominently in the center of the Mall is the Washington Monument. Other notable points of interest on or near the Mall include the Jefferson Memorial (see right), Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, District of Columbia War Memorial, Albert Einstein Memorial, and United States Navy Memorial.
The world famous Smithsonian Institution is located in the District. The Smithsonian today is a collection of free museums that includes the Anacostia Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of the American Indian, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, National Postal Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, and National Zoo.
There are many art museums in D.C., in addition to those that are part of the Smithsonian, including the free National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection.
The Library of Congress and the National Archives house thousands of documents covering every period in American history. Some of the more notable documents in the National Archives include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
The District of Columbia operates its own public library system with 27 branches throughout the city. The main branch — which occupies a multi-story glass and steel-framed building at the intersection of 9th and G Streets, N.W., designed by modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — is known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. It has a large mural in its main hall depicting the civil rights leader.
Other points of interest in the District include Arena Stage, Chinatown, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family (across the street from the Basilica Shrine), Blair House, Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Folger Shakespeare Library, Ford's Theatre, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, International Spy Museum, National Building Museum, National Geographic Society, Old Post Office Building, Old Stone House, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Franciscan Monastery, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Victims of Communism Memorial, and the Washington National Cathedral.
Washington is a major national center for the arts, with many venues for the performing arts in the city. Arena Stage, one of the first non-profit regional theaters in the nation, is rich with history and produces an eight-show season ranging from classics to world premieres, dedicated to the American canon of theater. The Shakespeare Theatre Company is regarded as one of the world's great Shakespeare troupes. Numerous other professional theaters, such as The Studio Theatre and Woolly Mammoth, and venues such as the National Theatre, make the city a major theater center. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosts the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, the Washington Ballet, and a variety of other musical and stage performances.
The Lincoln Theatre hosted the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald on U Street (known as "Washington's Black Broadway") prior to the 1968 riots. Notable local music clubs include Madam's Organ Blues Bar in Adams Morgan; Blues Alley in Georgetown; the ESL Music in the Dupont Circle district; and the Black Cat, the 9:30 Club, the Bohemian Caverns jazz club, and the Twins jazz clubs, all in the U Street NW area. The U Street area actually contains more than two dozen bars, clubs, and restaurants that feature jazz either nightly or several times a week.
Notable Washingtonians in the entertainment industry include singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, musician Ian MacKaye, film actress Merle Oberon, comedian Dave Chappelle, musician Duke Ellington, filmmaker Ted Salins and two members of the rock group Jefferson Airplane: guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Cassidy.
D.C. has its own native music genre, called go-go, a post-funk, percussion-driven flavor of R&B that blends live sets with relentless dance rhythms, so-called because they "go and go and go". The most accomplished practitioner of go-go was D.C. band leader Chuck Brown, who brought go-go to the brink of national recognition with his 1979 LP Bustin' Loose. Go-Go band and Washington natives Experience Unlimited (E.U.) hit the American pop charts in 1988 with their memorable dance tune "Da Butt." Other notable go-go bands include Rare Essence, Trouble Funk, Junkyard Band, Backyard Band, and the Northeast Groovers.
Washington was an important center in the genesis of punk rock in the United States, and the label Dischord Records, formed by Ian MacKaye, was one of the most crucial independent labels of the 1980s hardcore scene and eventually 90's indie rock. Punk/indie bands of note from D.C. include Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Government Issue, Scream, Tru Fax and the Insaniacs, the Slickee Boys, the Dismemberment Plan, Penguin's Exploding Octopus, and The Psychotics. Washingtonians continue to support punk bands, long after the punk movement's popularity peaked. The region also has a significant indie rock history and was home to TeenBeat, Dischord Records and Simple Machines, among other indie record labels.
TRANSPORTATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Roads & Highways
Pierre L'Enfant's original plan for the city provided for a grid of streets and a diagonal array of avenues, all centered on the Capitol building. The north-south streets are primarily named with numbers and the east-west streets with letters. From the Capitol as the center, one set of numbered streets sweeps eastward (1st Street, 2nd Street, etc.) and another set sweeps westward (1st Street, 2nd Street, etc.) Similarly, sets of lettered streets sweep northward from the Capitol (A Street, C Street, etc.) and southward. The diagonal avenues in L'Enfant's plan are chiefly named after states (e.g., Pennsylvania Avenue). Street addresses are identified by their location in one of the four quadrants of the city, centered on the Capitol building: Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Southeast (SE) and Southwest (SW). Addresses end with a quadrant suffix to indicate whether the location is, for example, on 4th Street NE, 4th Street NW, 4th Street SE or 4th Street SW. Outside the original city boundaries, street layout and naming practices are less regular. However, the alphabetic order of east-west streets, ending with W Street, is in some areas succeeded by an alphabetic progression of two-syllable names (e.g. Adams, Bryant, Channing), followed by a three-syllable progression (e.g. Allison, Buchanan, Crittenden), and then a progression of botanical names (e.g. Aspen, Butternut, Cedar).
Major interstates running through the area include the Capital Beltway (I-495), I-66, I-95, I-395 (also called the Southwest-Southeast Freeway), I-295 (also called the Anacostia Freeway or Kenilworth Avenue), and I-270 (which does not reach D.C., terminating at I-495). Other major highways include the Whitehurst Freeway, Anacostia Freeway, and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway in D.C.; the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia; the Suitland Parkway, US Route 50, and the Clara Barton Parkway in D.C. and Maryland; the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia. I-95 was originally planned to cross through the city, but due to the freeway revolts of the 1960s, this plan was aborted, and I-95 was re-directed onto the eastern portion of the Capital Beltway.
Rail & Bus
The Washington area is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the region's subway system, Metrorail (the nation's second-busiest after New York's subway), as well as Metrobus. The bus and rail systems serve both Washington and the immediate closest counties. A public-private partnership operates several DC Circulator bus routes downtown. Many of the jurisdictions around the region run public buses that interconnect with the Metrobus/Metrorail system; the state of Maryland as well as private bus lines provide rush-hour commuter busses from more distant counties. Union Station is the second busiest train station in the United States after New York's Penn Station. It is the southern terminus of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service, and is served by MARC and Virginia Railway Express commuter trains.
Intercity bus service is available from the Greyhound Lines Terminal in Northeast D.C., located near the New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U Metro station, and from dragon buses leaving from Chinatown.
The American Automobile Association for several years has ranked the Washington metro area has having the nation's second worst traffic congestion, surpassed only by Los Angeles. Among other factors, no new Potomac vehicular bridge spans have been added since 1965.
Washington, D.C. is served by three major airports, one in Maryland and two in Virginia. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is the closest — located in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Hains Point, and accessible via Washington Metro. The airport is conveniently located near the downtown area; however it only serves flights to and from airports within the United States and has additional restrictions because of noise and security concerns. Most major international flights arrive and depart from Washington Dulles International Airport, located 26.3 miles (42.3 km) west of the city in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Dulles is the second busiest international gateway on the East Coast. Dulles is a hub for United Airlines and offers service from several low-cost carriers, including JetBlue Airways and Southwest, although the low-cost selection decreased greatly when Independence Air (which was headquartered at Dulles) folded in January 2006. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, is located 31.7 miles (51.0 km) northeast of the city in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, near Baltimore. BWI has had the highest passenger volume of the three major airports in the Baltimore-Washington Metroplex for several months.
General aviation is additionally available at several smaller airfields, including Montgomery County Airpark (Gaithersburg, Maryland), College Park Airport (College Park, Maryland), Potomac Airfield (Friendly CDP of Prince George's County, Maryland) and Manassas Regional Airport (Manassas, Virginia). Since 2003, the general aviation airports closest to Washington, D.C. have had their access limited by an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
EDUCATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The public school system in the city is operated by District of Columbia Public Schools and consists of 167 schools and learning centers, which consist of 101 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, nine junior high schools, 20 senior high schools, six education centers, and 20 special schools. In 2005-2006, 54,800 students were enrolled in the public school system, with enrollment decreasing. Enrollment in independently run and publicly funded charter schools has increased 13 percent each year since 2001. The District of Columbia Public Charter School Board monitors 37 charter schools in Washington, D.C. In 2005-2006, 19,300 students were enrolled in charter schools.
The city is also home to some of the nation's most renowned private high schools. Many children of political dignitaries have attended St. Albans School and Sidwell Friends School. Other private institutions include Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, St. Anselm's Abbey School, Washington International School, St. John's College High School, Georgetown Day School, Gonzaga College High School, Holton-Arms School, National Cathedral School, and Maret School.
The city is home to several universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher education, both public and private. The University of the District of Columbia is the city's public university; it is the nation's only urban land-grant university and is counted among the historically black colleges and universities. The Department of Agriculture's Graduate School offers continuing education and graduate-level classes in many disciplines.
Among private institutions, Georgetown University is older than the District itself, having been founded in 1789 by John Carroll. It is the nation's oldest Roman Catholic affiliated body of higher education. The nation's first African American university president was at Georgetown. The university is especially well-known for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Georgetown University Law Center. It also is home to a School of Medicine and the McDonough School of Business.
The George Washington University, founded by an act of Congress in 1821, is the largest institution of higher education in the nation's capital with its main campus in Foggy Bottom and its Mount Vernon campus in the Foxhall neighborhood of Northwest Washington. GW, as it is called locally, is known for the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs, as well as the George Washington University Law School, George Washington Medical Center and the School of Business. GWU has the distinction of having established the first School of Medicine (1825) as well as the first Law School (1865) in Washington, D.C. The University is the second-largest landholder and employer in the District, second only to the Federal government.
American University, a private institution chartered by an act of Congress in 1893, is situated on an 84 acre (34 ha) campus in upper Northwest Washington and is well known for the Washington College of Law, the Kogod School of Business, the School of International Service, the School of Public Affairs, and the School of Communication.
The Catholic University of America (CUA), in the Northeast quadrant of the District is unique as the national university of the Roman Catholic Church and as the only higher education institution founded by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops. Established in 1887 following approval by Pope Leo XIII as a graduate and research center, the university began offering undergraduate education in 1904. In April of 2004, CUA purchased 49 acres (20 ha) of land from the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The parcel is the largest plot of open space in the District and makes CUA the largest university in D.C. by land area.
The Trinity Washington University, located near CUA, was founded in 1897 by the Sisters of Notre Dame as a Catholic liberal arts college for women. Trinity educates women in its College of Arts and Sciences, and both women and men in the School of Education and School of Professional Studies.
Other notable private colleges in the District include Gallaudet University, the first and only liberal arts college for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, Howard University, a historically black university dating to the nineteenth century which among other achievements trained many early black physicians, and Southeastern University, a smaller institution with a concentration in business studies.
Furthermore, The Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), dedicated to the graduate study of international relations and international economics, is located near Dupont Circle, on Massachusetts Avenue's Embassy Row.
The Department of Defense maintains the National Defense University at Fort McNair. The National Defense Intelligence College is also located in D.C. The Corcoran College of Art and Design has an arts program attached to the Corcoran Museum of Art, adjacent to the White House Complex. The Reformed Theological Seminary, Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Washington Theological Union have graduate programs in theology. Strayer University, a for-profit career school, has a campus in Washington, D.C.
THE WASHINGTON, D.C. ECONOMY
Washington, D.C., has a growing economy that is also diversifying with a decreasing percentage of federal government jobs over the current and next decade and an increasing percentage of professional and business service jobs over the same period. With five Fortune 1000 companies (two of which are also Fortune 500 companies), nd a large support infrastructure of professional services, including law, public relations, and architecture, Washington, D.C., is one of the Gamma World Cities. Washington, D.C., is also a leading city for global real estate investment, behind London, New York City, and Paris.
As of 2002, the federal government accounts for 27% of the jobs in Washington, D.C. The presence of many major government agencies, including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration, has led to business development both in the District itself as well as in the National Capital Region of Maryland and especially northern Virginia. These businesses include federal contractors (defense and civilian), numerous nonprofit organizations, law firms and lobbying firms, national associations of labor and professional groups, catering and administrative services companies, and several other industries that are sustained by the economic presence of the federal government. This arrangement makes the Washington economy less vulnerable to economic downturns relative to the rest of the country, because the federal government will still operate no matter the state of the general economy, and it often grows during recessions.
The gross state product of the District in 2006 was $87.664 billion, ranking it #35 when compared with the fifty states. In 2006, Expansion Magazine ranked D.C. among the top 10 metropolitan areas in the nation for climates favorable to business expansion. In terms of commercial office space, Washington, D.C., has the 3rd largest downtown in America, only behind New York City and Chicago respectively.
Of non-government employers, the major universities and hospitals in Washington, D.C., are among the top employers, with The George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Washington Hospital Center as the top three. Howard University and Fannie Mae round out the top five employers in Washington, D.C.
Washington is also a global media center. Most major news outlets have bureaus in the city, and Washington is home to Black Entertainment Television, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post Company and XM Satellite Radio. Washington's unique scenery makes it a popular location for film and television production.
The financial regulatory environment in Washington, D.C., is adapting and becoming more competitive as a jurisdiction for captive insurance companies and financial institutions to locate and do business. This increasingly popular form of alternative insurance allows large corporations and industry associations to create independent insurance companies to insure their own risks. Since 2001, the District's Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking has licensed over 70 companies, including captive insurance companies owned by the American Society of Association Executives, General Motors, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As of 2006, Washington, D.C., is the world's fifteenth-largest and the United States' sixth-largest domicile for captive insurance companies, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
AveryHess, Realtors® also offers property management and mortgage assistance for the entire Washington, D.C. Area, and Avery-Hess is also able to extend full relocation and mortgage assistance to any part of the United States.
Adams Morgan, DC
Types of Homes in the Area
- The Big Chair: You will see it. It is noteworthy as the world’s largest chair. No need to say more.
- Home of Frederick Douglass: Learn about this former vice-presidential candidate and tour his real former home on Cedar Hill.
- Smithsonian Anacostia Museum: This superb museum is too often underrated due to its distance from the Mall. It finely exhibits the history of DC and African American history.
- Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: All that remains of the marshlands, these ponds of waterlilies attract bird watchers and flora lovers.
- Anacostia Waterfront Park, popular location for kayak rentals, fishing, and rowing clubs. There is also a beautiful and scenic hiking trail that runs alongside the river.
Types of Homes in the Area
Cathedral Heights, DC
Types of homes in the Area
Georgetown University hosts a number of events through the year that are open to the community; there are also farmers markets and various touring events that happen all year long.
Logan Circle, DC
Types of homes in the Area
Types of Homes
Apartments and Townhouses
Types of Homes in the Area
The Trinidad Neighborhood Association and local churches plan numerous events throughout the year to foster a stronger sense of community and have taken steps to revive the area with vibrant murals, a new dog park, a recreation center, and increased security
Columbia Heights, DC
U Street, DC
Types of homes in the Area
The Funk Parade which usually brings arounfd 70,000 people on U Street happens annually in May and is one of a kind day fair, parade and music festival celebrating Washington DCs vibrant music and arts and the spirit of funk that brings everyone together.