Washington D. C.

Washington D. C. - description of the city:

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States of America, and it is arguably the most important city in the United States. It has played a historic and present role in American politics, culture, and government. 

Washington, D.C. was formerly known as the District of Columbia, and it is sometimes referred to as “Washington” or “The District” or “D.C.” for short. It was the singing of the Residence Act in 1790 that allowed for the development of a capital district on the Potomac River on the East Coast of the United States. The U.S. Constitution allowed for a federal district that would be under the sole jurisdiction of the Congress, and the District is not actually a part of any state in the United States. 

The states of Virginia and Maryland each gave up some land to create the federal district, and those parcels of land included the then-preexisting settlements of Alexandria and Georgetown. The district was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington. The city was built in 1791 to act as the capital for the new nation. Interestingly, in 1846, Congress gave back the land that was originally given up by Virginia and developed a municipal government for the rest of the District in 1871. 

Washington, D.C. has a population of around 650,000. It is in the top 25 most populated places in the United States. During the workweek, the population shoots up to more than one million people. Commuters from Virginia and Maryland suburbs commute into Washington, D.C. to work. The metropolitan area of Washington, of which the District is just a part, has a population of nearly six million, which makes it the seventh-biggest metropolitan area of the U.S. 

Each of the three branches of the U.S. government of the U.S. reside in the District, include the Supreme Court, President, and the Congress. Washington is also the site of several museums and national monuments., which are mostly based near the National Mall. The city has nearly 200 foreign embassies, and it is also the headquarters of several international organizations, non-profit organizations, lobbying agencies, and trade unions. Many different groups are based in Washington, D.C., so they can have more of a political influence for their causes, concerns, and organizations. 

The city has a 13-member council, as well as an elected mayor, and they have governed D.C. since 1973. However, Congress has the ultimate authority over Washington, D.C., and they can overturn any laws that are passed locally. Residents of the District elect a non-voting Congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District doesn’t have any representation in the Senate. The District gets three electoral votes in elections for the president, as allowed by the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in the early 1960s.


Washington, D.C. has a diversified, growing, and vibrant economy with a number of business and professional service jobs opening up. The Washington Metropolitan Area was over $425 billion in 2010, which made it the fourth-biggest metropolitan economy in the U.S. In 2010, the Washington Metropolitan Area had a very low unemployment rate at 6.2%. The rate for the Washington Metropolitan Area made it the second lowest among the 50 biggest metropolitan areas in the nation. However, D.C. itself had an unemployment rate of roughly 9.8% during the same span of time. 

Nearly 30% of the jobs in Washington, D.C. are government-related. Since the federal government employs so many people, it is believed that Washington can immunize itself from national downturns in the economy. The reason is that the federal government keeps operating, even during recessions. Several organizations - like law firms, non-profit organizations, industry groups, and independent contractors - have their headquarters in or close to Washington, D.C. so that they can have easier access to, and more of an influence on, the federal government. 

Tourism is the second-biggest industry in the District. There are nearly 19 million visitors that come into Washington, D.C. each year, and they spend almost $5 billion annually. The District also has almost 200 foreign embassies and international organizations like the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Washington, D.C. is a major seat of world power, even outside of the world’s only superpower having its base of operations there. The foreign diplomatic corps alone employed nearly 10,000 people and added over $400 million yearly to the economy of the District. 

The District has a number of industries that are not directly related to the federal government, especially in the areas of scientific research, public policy, and education. George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Howard University are based in the city. Four of the biggest 500 companies in the United States have their headquarters in the District.


Washington, D.C. has a number of museums and historic sites. People come from all over the United States and the world to see the sights in Washington, D.C. Remember that the second-biggest industry in Washington, D.C. is tourism. 

The National Mall is a big, open park in the downtown area of Washington between the United States Capital and the Lincoln Memorial. Because of its size, location, and area, the mall is usually the location of presidential inaugurations, festivals, and political protests. The Jefferson Pier and the Washington Monument are close to the center of the mall, just south of the White House. You can also find the Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the National World War II memorial on the National mall. 

Right to the south of the National Mall, you can find the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Basis has lines of cherry blossom trees that the nation of Japan gifted to the United States. You can also see several memorials at this location, like the Martin Luther King. Jr. Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. 

Be sure to visit the National Archives if you’re in the District. The National Archives has thousands of important historical documents like the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. The National Archives is located in a handful of buildings on Capitol Hill. The Library of Congress is the biggest library complex on the globe with nearly 150 million books, maps, manuscripts, and different materials. Washington, D.C. is also the site of the Supreme Court Building. 

The Smithsonian Institution is also based in Washington. The Smithsonian Institution is a foundation devoted to education and created by Congress in the late 1840s. It maintains some of the most important galleries and museums in the United States. The Smithsonian Institution receives some of its funds from the federal governments, and the public can tour its collections for free. All of the Smithsonian’s locations put together had a combined attendance of nearly 30 million people in 2013. The National Museum of National History is the most highly trafficked museum in Washington, DC. The National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African Art, and the National Air and Space Museum are also based there. 


Washington, DC. is a national site for the arts. The National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are based there. Each year, the Kennedy Center gives awards to people who have contributed a great deal to the cultural life of the nation. 

Washington has a strong tradition of local theater. Arena Stage was founded in 1950, and it got a lot of attention to the independent theater movement in the city that now includes such organizations like the Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. 

The District is a major center for independent culture and indie music in America. 


Washington, D.C. is one of just a dozen cities in the United States that has teams in all four major sports, and it is home to a professional women’s team, as well. The Washington Mystics, the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, and the Washington Redskins are all based in Washington, D.C. 

The current teams based in D.C. have won a combined total of ten professional championships. The Washington Redskins have won five of those championships, D.C. United has won four of those championships, and the Washington Wizards has won one of those championships.


Washington, D.C. is a major center for international and national media. The Washington Post was founded in 1877, and it is the longest running and most widely read local newspaper in Washington. The Washington Past is probably most famous for its coverage of international and national politics and for exposing the Watergate scandal. The Washington Post is sometimes referred to as just the Post

The company that owns the Washington Post sells a daily commuter newspaper, as well. The newspaper is called the Express, and it summarizes entertainment, sports, and events. 

The metropolitan area of Washington is the ninth-biggest television media market in the United States with more than two million residences, about 2% of the population of the U.S. There are many major media companies and cable TV channels based in Washington, D.C., as well. Some of the major media companies based in Washington, D.C. include National Public Radio, the National Geographic Channel, and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

You can take a look at the Human Origins exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. While you’re visiting there, you should also get a look at the Gem Gallery, where you can see the Hope Diamond up close.


You can check out the Elvis exhibit for some great fun at the Newseum. The Newseum is one of the coolest things to see in town.

Take a Segway Tour of the City by Night

You can take in all the history and aesthetic beauty of Washington, D.C., with a Segway Tour of the city by night. You’ll get a great perspective on several of the most important landmarks in the city, like the Lincoln Memorial, White House, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Library of Congress

You can see the nation’s biggest library complex, filled with millions of maps, manuscripts, recordings, photographs, and books. There are concerts, lectures, and exhibitions that are open to free to the public, as well.

Look at the Monuments by Boat

Get a look at the national monuments by boat on a nighttime cruise of the Potomac River. You can have a moonlit view of some of the most famous monuments in Washington, D.C. – a truly indelible experience.

Country United States
International title Washington D. C.
Population 601,723 people
Timezone America/New_York
State Washington, D.C.
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 38.89511 x Longitude: -77.03637

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