According to answermba, Washington, DC is unique in a global comparison: Founded only two centuries ago as the capital of the United States of America, Washington is one of the youngest and most powerful capitals in the world.
Located on the Potomac River halfway on the US East Coast, the District of Columbia surprises with its compact planning: With its carefully planned avenues and boulevards that converge in a star shape, its wonderfully green parks and gardens and the diverse architecture. The reasons many millions of visitors come to Washington DC each year are the attractions that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. By the way, most of them are freely accessible. Incidentally, the lively mixture of history and culture, of sports and culinary delights, scene and nightlife motivates guests to return to the capital.
The most fun and easiest way to get to know the city is on a tour – on foot, by bike, trolley bus or boat. Many of the sights are within walking distance of each other or can be reached directly by metro and sightseeing buses. These buses run daily and connect downtown Washington DC with Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, the National Mall and Union Station.
The heart of the city is the sprawling green expanse of the National Mall, beginning at the US Capitol and dotted with numerous monuments to presidents, lined with museums with their vast collections and memorials to multiple wars. Not far from the Mall is the White House, the residence of the US President.
The city is dotted with world-renowned museums and theaters, pretty parks like Rock Creek – twice the size of New York’s Central Park, by the way – and lovely neighborhoods with restaurants, cafes and shops.
The palette ranges from chic, colonial Georgetown to multicultural Adams Morgan, from colorful Chinatown to the lively African-American district around U Street, formerly known as Black Broadway. The neighborhood was once home to jazz legend Duke Ellington.
The weighty image that big politics bestows on this city is balanced by diverse urban trends: New small boutique hotels, trend-setting theaters, and a culinary diversity that reflects cuisines from around the world. The day can also be filled with a boat trip on the Potomac River, a bike ride along the Mall and window shopping in Georgetown, followed by an extended visit to the leading modern art museum, the Philips Collection. And in the evening you can visit one of the 200 theaters or an exclusive restaurant where the best chefs celebrate their art.
Location and size
The city of Washington, DC (District of Columbia) is located on the east coast of the USA, about 35 km west of the Chesapeake Bay, a bay in the Atlantic Ocean. The city lies between 0 and 125 meters above sea level and is spread over an area of 177 km².
Approximately 8.1 million people live in the metropolitan area, and the city of Washington DC has around 632,300 inhabitants.
Washington DC Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located 27 miles northwest of Washington, DC. The second major international airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), is located 32 miles north of Washington, DC. Both national and international flights depart from both airports. Located just 4.5 miles south of Washington, DC, Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) is domestic-only.
In the city of Washington, DC, the weather varies greatly between summer and winter. Washington’s weather is often described as unpredictable. Summers are typically very hot and humid, with the concrete and steel buildings in the city center intensifying the heat. Autumn and spring are the best seasons with cool but bright and perfect days. However, sudden rain or snowfall is possible. Snowfalls are possible in winter, which can average 43 cm per year, as well as cold winds and freezing rain.
|Average temperatures in Washington, DC in °C|
VUSA tips for Washington visitors
Take an Old Town Trolley Tour that takes in 24 major sights explained by the guide. The tour lasts two hours, you can hop on and off the bus at various stops as you please. Are you looking for a slightly different tour? Then Seg’s in the City should be your choice. With DC Ducks amphibious vehicles you drive through the city and finally directly into the Potomac River.
Go celebrity hunting! Many celebrities frequent Georgetown’s Cafe Milano. Or, learn more about Washington, DC as a film set on an informative On Location Tours tour, led by costumed actors.
Visit the memorials to the greatest US Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are the most famous memorials, while the Franklin D. Roosevelt and World War II memorials are also extremely interesting with their interactive elements. Visitors love Roosevelt’s dog Fala, which has been faithfully recreated at the feet of the memorial. A film about the life and work of Roosevelt is shown in the Visitor Center.
Delve into the history of Native Americans—not just that of the United States—on display at the new National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall. Incidentally, the cafeteria on the ground floor offers dishes based on traditional Indian recipes.
Stroll among the arts and crafts stalls – you’re sure to find something worth taking back home.
Enjoy a performance by the Arena Stage Theatre, at the JF Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, or a play by the avant-garde Woolly Mammoth and Shakespeare Theatres. Or how about outdoor performances? For example, at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, located on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.
As an interested visitor, take part in one of the many art, music or wine events offered by museums and galleries throughout the city. Common hosts include The Philips Collection, the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which often host free jazz concerts and gospel brunches.
Play spy at the International Spy Museum in the current hot spot, the Penn Quarter. Discover bygone, unknown sides of the capital on a two-hour tour of the hot spots of global espionage. Afterwards, head to the Penn Quarter for award-winning restaurants.
Art lovers will appreciate the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Both contain an exceptional collection of contemporary and traditional works. Aviation history comes alive at the National Air & Space Museum on the Mall and the Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, with exhibits ranging from the Wright Brothers’ 1903 flying machine to the Apollo 11 capsule and Concorde.
Come for the festival, like the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the summer, or the winter ceremony when the National Christmas Tree is planted and lit on the Mall. And if you’re in Washington on July 4th, don’t miss the big fireworks display that illuminates the city on Independence Day.
Georgetown – the trendy district
To the west of the city is Georgetown, established as a separate town in 1751, before Washington, DC was founded. Georgetown’s architecture is listed, the district is characterized by elegant old townhouses, chic shops, trendy restaurants and nightclubs, many influential Washington residents have their homes here.
The Kennedy family lived here before moving into the White House, as did Bill Clinton, who lived in Georgetown when he was a student. Hollywood glamor also brought Elizabeth Taylor to Georgetown after she married Virginia Senator John Warner. Other prominent residents include Washington Post’s Benjamin Bradlee and star reporter Bob Woodward, both of whom are well known for exposing the Watergate scandal. The area was also often used as a backdrop for film shoots, for example “The Exorcist” was filmed here, with Prospect Street in focus.
Georgetown is blessed with attractions. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University was the first Catholic college in the United States. The Old Stone House, dating from 1765, is Washington’s oldest residential building. Georgetown Park, built in the 1800s as a shed for horse-drawn buses, has been restored and is lined with quaint shops at its best.
Georgetown Park is accessible by boat and can be cycled along the nearby C&O Canal. Visitors to the area also admire the timelessly beautiful mansions of Dumbarton Oaks, Dumbarton House and Tudor Place.
The nearest metro stop is Foggy Bottom-GWU, a 20 minute walk. However, DC Circulator sightseeing buses make direct stops.