Washington, DC is a dynamic city that has a historic charm that also has the distinguished title of being the nation's capital. People move from across the country to either live within the city itself or right outside in a neighboring Virginia or Maryland suburb. Over the last decade DC has revitalized many neighborhoods which has led to an influx of people looking to move into the city. Although an urban area, DC was originally planned with green spaces in mind and that can still be seen to this day with beautiful parks and tree lined streets. Washington is home to some of the best entertainment venues in the area including the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage and many more. Overall, this cosmopolitan city is a thriving area that cannot be compared to any city.
Washington, DC was named after President George Washington and founded in 1971. It is unique in that the District of Columbia was not created as a state, but rather a "federal district" to serve as the nation's capital. Washington, DC's is situated along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers was the result of a compromise between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. The founders wanted D C to be both the center of the government as well as a thriving commercial center. George Washington eventually chose the site and asked Pierre Charles L'Enfant to design the new city, bringing ideas and innovations from his native France. With the help of Benjamin Banneker, who provided the calculations for laying out the city, Washington D. C. was born. The monuments that DC is so well known for were not actually created until nearly a hundred years later with the go ahead from the McMillan Commission. After the Civil War, DC began to make significant growth expanding past Florida Avenue (one of the original city boundaries) and eventually to Georgetown. This time period also brought streetcar lines to the city, which helped to grow the suburbs and neighborhoods of DC. Development occurred at a rapid pace during the first half of the 20th century as grand row houses were built in neighborhoods around the Capitol including along 16th Street and Massachusetts Ave in what is now known as Embassy Row. The cultural attractions also increased with brand new museums, concert halls and art galleries constructed throughout the downtown area. The mid 20th century brought the first airport to DC and the Pentagon was completed shortly after that. The latter half of the 20th century brought the movement to the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. DC began to hit a low point with the race riots in the late 1960s and many neighborhoods fell into disrepair. In 1976 the Metro subway system first opened its doors and over the next 25 years as more stations were added, DC began to see a sweeping period of revitalization and the once forgotten neighborhoods were once again renewed and are almost unrecognizable since the riots.
Washington, DC is a cosmopolitan city that is made up of so many different pieces and people. Since it is home to federal government, the city attracts politicians, diplomats, lobbyists, and even protesters. DC is also a major tourist destination and on nearly any day of the year you can see swarms of foreigners taking pictures of and exploring the history and neighborhoods of DC. The numerous foreign embassies in DC add to the worldly nature of this city. There are plenty of ethnic restaurants, nightlife, and culture throughout DC. Washington, DC attracts scholars from around the world and is home to several prominent universities: Georgetown University, American University, Catholic University and George Washington University among others. Although many residents left the city during the “suburban flight” of the latter part of the 20th century, DC has seen an influx of people over the last decade thanks to the revitalized neighborhoods and convenience of living in a city.
If you are looking to go shopping in DC look no further than the M Street area of Georgetown and the Mazza Gallerie further up in Northwest DC. Georgetown has some of the best shopping options available and includes both big name stores such as Lacoste and Ralph Lauren as well as boutique options like Diesel and Kate Spade.
DC is home to some of the most beautiful and unique parks and recreation that you can find anywhere in the United States. Pierre L'Enfant designed DC with green space in mind and driving nearly anywhere in DC you can find quaint parks on tree lined streets. Some of the more notable parks include Georgetown Waterfront Park, the National Mall, Hains Point, and Rock Creek Park. Georgetown Waterfront Park is a peaceful retreat just blocks outside of the heart of Georgetown and has amazing views of the Arlington skyline and Potomac River. The National Mall is perhaps the most well known park where you can explore the Washington Monument or Capitol Building. Since it is such a large space there are festivals, concerts, and demonstrations held there. Hains Point is a great place to play an inexpensive round of golf, tennis, swimming, or picnicing while admiring views of the National Monument and the waterfront. Rock Creek Park is a heavily forested area where you can spend the day hiking, biking, picnicking, or catching a show at the amphitheater. Rock Creek Park is also home to the popular National Zoo.
Washington, DC has different types of housing available depending on where you want to live. From expensive single family houses in beautiful neighborhoods in Northwest to condos and co-ops in the downtown area, there is a range of options to choose from. One of the most common types of housing in DC are the historic row houses, some which were built over a hundred years ago. Many of the housing stock in neighborhoods close to downtown have been renovated or rebuilt over the years. It has been a trend in DC for developers to turn some of the larger row houses into condo developments, while retaining much of the same exterior features of the property. Overall you have a selection of single family houses, row houses, condos, co-ops, as well as numerous apartments to choose from. Expect to pay a premium to live in DC and the area shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Washington DC was initially developed as a port city with ships being the primary means of transportation. Today it offers a myriad of options including the metro, bus, driving, biking, in addition to several major airports. The ever expanding metro is one of the most popular forms of transportation in DC and commuters from Virginia, Maryland, and DC take advantage of it. Union Station is also located in DC, which is home to Amtrak and services locations all across the east coast. Bus routes are prevalent throughout DC as well, including the D.C. Circulator routes, WMATA, and also Chinatown area buses that can take you as far as Boston in a day. Driving in DC can get somewhat congested during peak hours but you can find parking in garages (although pricey) or on the street in some cases. DC is just outside of major highway routes like the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, I-295, the George Washington Parkway, and I-495 or the Beltway as it is commonly known. Biking is a popular mode of transportation and many neighborhoods in DC have Capital Bikeshare stations as well as signified bike routes on the streets. DC has one major airport within the city and two others within a short proximity. Ronald Reagan National Airport is technically across the Potomac River in Arlington, although it has a DC address and is a quick drive or metro ride for DC residents. Dulles International Airport lies further south of DC by about 25 miles and is located in Loudon County, VA. The other option includes the Baltimore Washington International Airport which is just 30 miles north of the city near Baltimore.
Washington, DC is nearly 70 square miles and is located south of Maryland and north of Virginia, along the eastern coast of the United States. The U. S. Capitol building marks the dividing line for the city's quadrants including Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast. The “Washington Metropolitan Area” includes all of D.C. as well as the Virginia suburbs of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William, Stafford, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax City, Manassas, Manassas Park and the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's.
DC has some of the finest dining around and is home to hundreds of different types of restaurants. Some of the best areas for dining in DC are downtown near the Verizon Center, Barracks Row on Capitol Hill, and the Georgetown area. The Verizon Center is a great place to catch a show, concert, or game. Additionally the downtown area around the Verizon Center is home to some of the best food around. Some of the notable restaurants include Rosa Mexicano, Jaleo, and Zola. Another great area to dine is over on Capitol Hill on 8th street, also known as Barracks Row. They have some of the best ethnic cafes around including Belga Café, Cava Mezze, and Café 8. Yet another area for great dining and walking around is Georgetown. There are numerous restaurants, stores, shops, and historic landmarks. A few of the recommended restaurants include Bodega Spanish Tapas and Lounge, Citronelle, and Papa Razzi.
DC has an amazing selection of nightlife, bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from. There are many neighborhoods that cater to the nightlife scene including Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U Street Corridor, and the H Street Corridor. Dupont Circle is most notably home to the Eighteenth Street Lounge, Madhatter, and Public Bar. If you prefer live music you should head over to the historic U Street Corridor where you can catch a show at the 930 Club which routinely wins national awards for its nightclub and live music venue. Adams Morgan has a myriad of interesting bars to choose from including The Reef, Heaven and Hell, and many more. The H Street Corridor is a great place to stop by for a political trivia night at Argonaut, or to shoot a round of indoor mini golf at the H Street Country Club bar and restaurant. If you are looking to see a show or play, then head over back towards the Capitol to The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage or the Verizon Center for a game or concert.
Overall Washington, DC is a dynamic, diverse, and thriving metropolis that is home to our nation's capital. The DC area includes suburbs in Virginia and Maryland and has numerous forms of transportation available for commuters or tourists. There is perhaps no place in the United States with as much history as DC and that is why people come from far and wide to visit or live here. The renowned Universities in the District attract some of the brightest students in the world and the area is home to so many types of people. There is never a shortage of things to do in DC as there are numerous parks and recreational opportunities. The nightlife, live music, and restaurant scene is unmatched anywhere in the vicinity. From politicians, diplomats, to students, families, and private sector employees DC is a place that many people love to call home.