About The Washington, D.C. Area
Washington D.C. has it all -- majestic buildings steeped in history, beautiful, eclectic neighborhoods, lots of parks, and access to some of the best arts and culture in the world. The museums and galleries are fantastic. The educational institutions are unrivaled. Significant world decisions are made here. There is always something to do, see and learn in Washington D.C.!
Library of Congress
Our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. is located on the east coast of the United States, between Virginia and Maryland on the Potomac River. It is centrally located and a commutable distance to many state Capitals including Baltimore, Maryland, 35 miles away, Richmond, Virginia, 95 miles away, Raleigh, North Carolina, 232 miles away, New York City, 204 miles away, Dover, Delaware, 83 miles away, and Philadelphia, 123 miles away. Atlantic City, New Jersey is 144 miles away.
Washington D.C. is encircled by the Capital Beltway, which is formed by Interstates I-495 and I-95. The D.C. metropolitan area extends well beyond the beltway into Maryland and Virginia.
For the water lovers, Washington D.C. is only 30 miles from Annapolis, Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay and only 109 miles from Bethany Beach, Delaware and many other beautiful eastern coastal beaches.
Ronald Regan Washington Airport is located 3 miles south of the city in Arlington.
Washington Dulles International Airport is located 22 miles west of the city in Fairfax & Loudoun Counties, Virginia.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport is approximately 30 miles northeast of Washington DC, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, near Baltimore.
Andrews Air Force Base in located 13 miles away in Camp Springs, Maryland.
Local public use airports in the D.C. area include South Capital Street Airport, in D.C., Montgomery County Airpark, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, College Park Airport, in College Park, Maryland, Potomac Airfield, in Prince Georges County, Maryland and Manassas Regional Airport in Manassas, Virginia.
The first impression of the scenery as you approach the District is that it is green. Mature trees punctuate the landscape and add a sheltering ambience to the neighborhoods and boulevards. The cherry blossoms in the spring that border many of the monuments and buildings are so beautiful they shouldn’t be missed. Situated between lush New England landscape to the north and the warm, graceful southern states, D.C. has the best of both worlds.
Washington DC has a land area of over 61 square miles, with three natural bodies of water. The Anacostia River and Rock Creek are both tributaries of the Potomac River. The Potomac River is large and highlights this exquisitely designed city. It is as beautiful as shown on picture postcards.
Dalecarlia Reservoir, the McMillan Reservoir, and Georgetown Reservoir are three reservoirs in the D.C. area. The elevation of the District of Columbia ranges between 1 foot and 410 feet. The majority of the tourist areas and neighborhoods are quite flat and good for walking.
March on Washington
5.4 million people live in the entire Washington D.C. metro area but Washington D.C. proper has approximately 580,000 residents.
D.C. residents are well educated as 78% of the population has a high school diploma, 42% have a bachelor’s degree, and 21% have a graduate or professional degree. Washington, DC, is second only to the Silicon Valley, California region in educational attainment.
The average household income in Washington D.C. is $74,221.
The Nation's Capital has an economy that extends to both national and international markets. Its workforce is well educated and highly skilled. The city offers a wide range of business opportunities.
The federal government, of course, is a large employer in D.C. and many political, professional, economic, and non-profit organizations are located here. Tourism is also a large portion of the economic base in Washington D.C.
Strong employment sectors in D.C. include Professional, Scientific, Administrative, Executive and Managerial, 19%, Educational, Health and Social Services, 18%, and Public Administration, 15%. The top industries are Retail Trade, Educational Services and Finance, Insurance and Real estate.
The top ten private employers in Washington D.C. are George Washington University, Georgetown University, Washington Hospital Center, Howard University, Fannie Mae, Children’s National Medical Center, Georgetown University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, American University, and Providence Hospital.
Over 400,000 people commute into the city every week day --- an increase of 71%.
The average travel time to work is 30 minutes.
Washington DC is home to some of the best universities, colleges and educational institutions in the world.
American University (AU) with approximately 1,100 students;
Catholic University of America, established in 1887, with approximately 2,300 undergraduate and 3,300 graduate students;
Gallardo University, established in 1856, and serves approximately 1,200 full and part time students;
George Washington University is located in the heart of D.C., was founded in 1821 and has about 6,700 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate level students;
Georgetown University was founded in 1789, the same year the U.S. Constitution took effect, and has approximately 6,000 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students;
Howard University was established in 1867, and has approximately 6,700 undergraduate, 2,000 graduate, and 1,600 professional studies students;
Trinity College was founded in 1897 with an enrollment of about 1,100 undergrads and 400 graduate students;
The University of the District of Columbia is the city’s public university, created in 1976.
D.C. is such a mixture of neighborhoods that it gives eclectic a new meaning. Every style of living is available --- from small apartments overlooking Dupont Circle to large Tudor or Renaissance style estates in Chevy Chase or historic row houses in Georgetown.
A detached single-family home in D.C.ranges from $325,000 to $10,500,000. The average cost of a home in northwest D.C area is $803,500, with many renovated homes selling for over $1 million. The median price of a home in Georgetown is $2,300,000. An efficiency apartment-style condo in Adam’s Morgan starts at approximately $135,000.
Historic Places of Interest
Northwest Washington DC is home to so many important historic sites that only a few must-sees can be mentioned here. In fact, most of the tourist stops in Washington D.C. have important historical significance.
The Washington National Cathedral and National Shrine, completed in 1990, is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. The cathedral was planned in 1792 but construction didn’t actually begin until 1907. It was completed in 1990. Many significant artisans contributed their work to this extraordinary building. The top of the cathedral’s tower is the highest point in Washington DC. It is one of Washington’s most popular tourist attractions. Some of its extraordinary features include a Space Window containing a piece of moon rock, magnificent stained glass windows, gargoyles, and rose gardens. Helen Keller and President Woodrow Wilson are buried at Washington National Cathedral.
The largest theatre in D.C. is the Uptown Theatre, and the only one in the city to have maintained its original configuration. In Art Deco design of the 1920’s and 30’s, it has etched glass windows. It was recently renovated and is now an outstanding theatre.
Once a colonial port town, the charming Georgetown Historic District is made up of approximately 4000 buildings. The architecture alone is unique and memorable to see. High fashion, excellent restaurants, fun night clubs, beautiful homes and gardens all contribute to Georgetown’s reputation as one of the centers of wealth and style in the District of Columbia.
The Massachusetts Avenue Historic District is now home to Embassy Row but between 1890 and 1930 Massachusetts Avenue between Scott Circle and Observatory Hill developed as an elegant boulevard lined with gorgeous homes of some of the most influential citizens of D.C. Many of the buildings in the district possess individual architectural and historical significance. More than 100 nations have embassies in Washington, DC.
The National Arboretum is located in northeast DC and is bordered on the east by the banks of the Anacostia River. Today it encompasses 412 acres. It is one of the larger arboretums in the country and its mission is to serve the entire country through research and education.
The Hotel Washington was opened in 1918. It is still in business and Pennsylvania Avenue's oldest hotel.
Giant Panda at the National Zoo
A great view of the Potomac River can be seen from Francis Scott Key Park. It is one of the city's newest parks, located east of the Georgetown side of the Key Bridge. Its walkway and bike path connects to the C & O Canal trail.
The Chesapeake and Ohio (C & O) Canal is 184 miles long, from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland with trails alongside the canal. It is a beautiful route for walking or bicycling and home to an abundance of wildlife. Visit the Canal Museum along the trail for the amazing story of the canal or ride the mule-drawn canal barge in the summer.
The D.C. Metro area is home to many excellent golf courses that include the Rock Creek Golf Course, The Red, White and Blue Golf Courses at East Potomac Park, Langston Golf Course, and Tournament Players Club at Avenel, that has hosted numerous PGA Tour events. There are 35 courses in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Rock Creek Park is a large, historic, scenic reserve that winds its way through Northwest DC, beginning in Georgetown and travels into Maryland. The trails are well traversed by those who want to enjoy nature’s beauty in the midst of big city life. A rushing creek and grassy meadows stretch throughout the park and are some of the park’s highlights.
National Zoological Park is one of Washington’s favorite family attractions. It features a Pollinerium which illustrates the complex relationship between animals and plants. It is noted for housing the first breeding Komodo dragons in the western world and its Heritage Garden and wetlands. The Zoological Park's primary goal is the preservation of endangered animals indigenous to the United States.
The Corcoran Gallery has a permanent art collection that consists of well over 14,000 items, most of which are American. Not only is the Corcoran an architectural achievement, but the gallery’s continual dedication to art is a contribution to the cultural heritage of the nation's Capital.
National Geographic's Explorers Hall has a wide variety of changing exhibitions as well as permanent and interactive displays that reflect the richness and diversity of our world.
Washington DC has hundreds of monuments and museums. Some of the most popular attractions in the city are the White House, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian Institution.
The Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium offers a variety of nature programs, planetarium shows, interactive exhibits, and a special Discovery Room for preschool children.
A Day Trip from Washington D.C. is a wonderful thing as there is so much to see within a commutable distance. Places recommended to visit include Annapolis for small-town charm and rich maritime history, Baltimore Harbor for boat taxi rides and a fabulous night life, Gettysburg or Manassas for Civil War history, Harpers Ferry for incredible scenic beauty at the convergence of two major rivers, and President’s Washington’s Home and Gardens in Mount Vernon, Virginia. And let’s not forget the fabulous Atlantic Beaches in the summer and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall!
The most popular museum in D.C. and worldwide is the National Air and Space Museum, which had 219 million visitors in its first 25 years.
The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C has hosted every presidential inaugural ball from 1949 for President Harry Truman through 1996 for President Bill Clinton and boasts the most ballrooms of any hotel in Washington, D.C. with a total of seven ballrooms ranging from 6,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet.
The White House is officially called the Executive Mansion. The corner of the White House was laid by George Washington.
Sports teams in D.C. include the Washington Wizards (Basketball), Washington Redskins (Football), and Washington Capitals (Hockey).
Places Rated Almanac (2000) ranked D.C. the second-best overall place to live in the U.S.; Men's Fitness magazine rates D.C. the fourth fittest city in the U.S.; FamilyFun magazine voted D.C. the best city destination for family travel in the United States.
The Pentagon has 17 1/2 miles of corridors.
The American Beauty Rose is the District of Columbia’s flower.