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Washington

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Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia and often referred to as “Washington,” “the District,” or simply “D.C.”, is the United States capital.

The District is home to all three parts of the United States’ federal government, including the Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court. Washington is home to several national monuments and museums, the most of which are located on or around the National Mall. 176 foreign embassies are located in the city, as are the headquarters of several international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations.

On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act authorized the establishment of a capital area along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The United States Constitution established a federal district subject to the exclusive authority of Congress, and so the District is not a part of any United States state.

Maryland and Virginia both contributed property to establish the federal district, which comprised the pre-existing Georgetown and Alexandria communities. The City of Washington, named after George Washington, was built in 1791 to serve as the nation’s new capital. Congress restored the area relinquished by Virginia in 1846 and established a single municipal government for the remainder of the District in 1871.

As of July 2015, Washington’s estimated population was 672,228. During the workweek, commuters from the neighboring Maryland and Virginia suburbs increase the city’s population to more than one million. The Washington metropolitan region, which includes the District, has a population of more than 6 million, making it the country’s seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area.

Washington, D.C – Info Card

POPULATION :• Federal district: 672,228
• Metro: 6,033,737
FOUNDED : • Approved: 1790
• Organized: 1801
• Consolidated: 1871
• Granted limited self-government: 1973
TIME ZONE :• EST (UTC−5)
• Summer (DST): EDT (UTC−4)
LANGUAGE :English (official), Spanish, Indo-European, Asian and Pacific island
RELIGION : 
AREA :• Federal district 68.34 sq mi (177.0 km2)
• Land 61.05 sq mi (158.1 km2)
• Water 7.29 sq mi (18.9 km2)
ELEVATION :• Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
• Highest elevation 409 ft (125 m)
COORDINATES : • 38°54′17″N 77°00′59″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.20%
 Female: 50.80%
ETHNIC :• 49.5% Black or African American
• 43.4% White (35.8% non-Hispanic White)
• 3.9% Asian
• 3.2% Other
AREA CODE :• 202
POSTAL CODE :• ZIP code(s) : 20001-20098, 20201-20599
DIALING CODE :• +1 202
WEBSITE : www.dc.gov

Tourism in Washington, D.C

Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America and the seat of the country’s three arms of government, is home to an unrivaled collection of free public museums and the lion’s share of the nation’s most beloved monuments and memorials. The National Mall’s panoramas between the Capitol, Washington Monument, White House, and Lincoln Memorial are internationally renowned.

Beyond the Mall, Washington, D.C. has abandoned its previous image as a dull and violent city in the last two decades, with shopping, eating, and nightlife befitting a world-class metropolis. The city is novel, fascinating, and undeniably cosmopolitan and international, as travelers will discover.

ARCHITECTURE

Washington’s architecture is quite varied. The District of Columbia is home to six of the top ten buildings on the American Institute of Architects’ 2007 list of “America’s Favorite Architecture”: the White House; the Washington National Cathedral; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; the United States Capitol; the Lincoln Memorial; and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The neoclassical, Georgian, gothic, and contemporary architectural styles are all represented in those six buildings, as well as several other notable Washington landmarks. Notable outliers include the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which was created in the French Second Empire style.

Outside of downtown Washington, the variety of architectural types is much greater. Historic structures are mostly designed in the Queen Anne, Châteauesque, Richardsonian Romanesque, Georgian revival, Beaux-Arts, and other Victorian styles. Rowhouses are particularly prevalent in post-Civil War neighborhoods and are often designed in a Federalist or late Victorian style. Georgetown’s Old Stone House was constructed in 1765, giving it the city’s oldest surviving original structure. Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and boasts a blend of Romanesque and Gothic Revival architecture. The Ronald Reagan Building is the District’s biggest structure, covering an area of about 3.1 million square feet (288,000 m2)

ARTS

Washington, D.C., is a cultural capital of the United States. The National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, and the Washington Ballet all call the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts home. Each year, the Kennedy Center Honors recognize individuals in the performing arts who have made significant contributions to the United States’ cultural life. The historic Ford’s Theatre, which was the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s murder, is still in operation as a performance facility and museum.

The United States Marine Band is housed in the Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill; established in 1798, it is the country’s oldest professional musical group.

John Philip Sousa, an American march composer and native of Washington, directed the Marine Band from 1880 until 1892. The United States Navy Band was founded in 1925 and is headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard. It plays at official occasions and public performances across the city.

HISTORIC SITES AND MUSEUMS

Between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol sits the National Mall, a wide, open park in downtown Washington. Due to the mall’s popularity, political demonstrations, concerts, festivals, and presidential inaugurations often take place there. The Washington Monument and Jefferson Pier are located south of the White House, near the mall’s center. The National World War II Memorial, located at the east end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, as well as the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, are also located on the mall.

The Tidal Basin, located just south of the mall, is lined with rows of Japanese cherry blossom trees that were given as presents by the Japanese country. The Tidal Basin is surrounded by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the George Mason Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the District of Columbia War Memorial.

The National Archives is home to hundreds of historic documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The Library of Congress, housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill, is the world’s biggest library complex, with a collection of over 147 million books, manuscripts, and other items. The United States Supreme Court Building opened in 1935; before, the court met in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber.

The Smithsonian Institution is a congressionally established educational organization that operates the majority of the nation’s official museums and galleries in Washington, D.C. The United States government partly finances the Smithsonian and its free public access to its treasures. In 2013, the Smithsonian’s venues had a combined 30 million visitors. The National Museum of Natural History, located on the National Mall, is the most visited museum. The National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Sackler and Freer galleries, both of which focus on Asian art and culture, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Arts and Industries Building, the S. Dillon Ripley Center, and the Smithsonian Institution Building (also known as “The Castle”) are additional Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries on the mall.

The Old Patent Office Building, in Washington’s Chinatown, houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The Renwick Gallery is technically affiliated with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but is located in a separate building near the White House. Several other Smithsonian museums and galleries are located in Southeast Washington, including the Anacostia Community Museum, the National Postal Museum at Union Station, and the National Zoo in Woodley Park.

The National Gallery of Art is located near the Capitol on the National Mall and exhibits masterpieces of American and European art. Although the gallery and its holdings are owned by the United States government, they are not affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. Congress created the National Building Museum, which is housed in the old Pension Building in Judiciary Square. The museum has exhibitions on architecture, urban planning, and design.

Climate of Washington, D.C

Washington State is located in a humid subtropical climatic zone with four distinct seasons.

Spring and autumn are pleasant, but winters are very cold, with an average annual snowfall of 15.5 inches (39 cm). From mid-December to mid-February, winter temperatures average approximately 38 °F (3.3 °C). Summers are hot and humid, with an average daily temperature of 79.8 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius) in July and an average daily relative humidity of roughly 66 percent, which might cause some personal discomfort. Summer’s mix of heat and humidity results in an abundance of thunderstorms, some of which spawn tornadoes in the region.

Washington is affected by blizzards on average about every four to six years. The most intense storms are referred to as “nor’easters,” and they often strike vast swaths of the United States’ East Coast. Hurricanes (or their remnants) pass through the region on occasion in late summer and early autumn, but are often ineffective by the time they reach Washington, owing in part to the city’s inland position. However, flooding of the Potomac River caused by a combination of high tide, storm surge, and runoff has been known to result in significant property damage in Georgetown.

The highest temperature recorded was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) on July 20, 1930, and August 6, 1918, while the lowest temperature recorded was 15 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) on February 11, 1899, during the Great Blizzard of 1899. During a normal year, the city averages around 37 days with temperatures above or near 90 °F (32.2 °C) and 64 nights with temperatures below or near freezing.

Geography of Washington, D.C

Washington, D.C. is situated on the United States’ East Coast in the mid-Atlantic area. The city has a total area of 68.34 square miles (177.0 km2), of which 61.05 square miles (158.1 km2) is land and 7.29 square miles (18.9 km2) is water (10.67 percent). The District is bounded on the northwest by Montgomery County, Maryland; on the east by Prince George’s County, Maryland; and on the south and west by Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.

The District’s boundary with Virginia is formed by the Potomac River, which has two significant tributaries: the Anacostia River and Rock Creek. During the 1870s, Tiber Creek, a natural stream that originally ran through the National Mall, was completely confined beneath. Additionally, the stream constituted a component of the now-filled Washington City Canal, which provided access to the Anacostia River from 1815 until the 1850s. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal begins at Georgetown and was built in the nineteenth century to circumvent the Potomac River’s Great Falls, which are located upstream (northwest) of Washington at the Atlantic Ocean’s fall line.

The District’s highest natural elevation is 409 feet (125 meters) above sea level in upper northwest Washington’s Fort Reno Park. At the Potomac River, the lowest point is sea level. Washington’s geographic center is located around the junction of Fourth and L Streets NW. Contrary to popular belief, Washington was not constructed on recovered swampland; nonetheless, marshes did cover sections near the water.

Economy of Washington, D.C

Washington’s economy is expanding and diversifying, with a rising share of professional and commercial service occupations. The District’s gross state product was $103.3 billion in 2010, placing it 34th out of 50 states in the United States.

As of June 2011, the Washington Metropolitan Area has a 6.2 percent unemployment rate, the second-lowest percentage among the nation’s 49 major metro regions.

In 2012, the federal government employed around 29% of Washington, D.C. residents. This is believed to protect Washington from national economic downturns, since the federal government operates throughout recessions. Numerous organizations, including legal firms, independent contractors (military and civilian), non-profit organizations, lobbying companies, trade unions, industry trade associations, and professional associations, establish their headquarters in or around Washington, D.C. to be close to the federal government.

Tourism is the second biggest sector in Washington. In 2012, an estimated 18.9 million tourists contributed $4.8 billion to the local economy. Additionally, the District is home to approximately 200 foreign embassies and international institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). In 2008, Washington’s foreign diplomatic corps employed around 10,000 people and contributed an estimated $400 million to the local economy each year.

The District’s non-government businesses are thriving, particularly in education, finance, public policy, and scientific research. As of 2009, the city’s top five non-government employers are Georgetown University, George Washington University, Washington Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center, and Howard University. According to 2011 figures, the District was home to four of the country’s top 500 enterprises.

Internet, Communication in Washington, D.C

ACCESS TO THE INTERNET

The District of Columbia government maintains a network of free public WiFi hotspots across the city. Additionally, free WiFi is provided in all public libraries in Washington, D.C., as well as several local coffee shops, which are also pleasant locations to relax. If you need computer access, libraries have public computer terminals. As is the case in the majority of the United States, Internet cafés are a rather uncommon occurrence.

TELEPHONE

The District of Columbia has a single area code, 202, but you’ll also find a number of Maryland (301 and 240) and Virginia (703 and 571) area codes. There are no pay phones.

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