As the capital of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., is the cradle of democracy. The District of Columbia was formed when the city of Georgetown and the city and county of Washington were merged. The district is the primary operations bases for the Army, Navy and Air Force. The executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are also centered in the District of Columbia.
Washington, D.C., is located about 7 miles east of Arlington, Virginia, 40 miles southwest of Baltimore, Maryland, and 100 miles west of Dover, Delaware. Washington, D.C., falls in the Eastern Standard Time zone and is 68 square-miles in area. On average, Washington, D.C.’s hottest month is July, its coldest month is January and the wettest month is May.
The District of Columbia is not found in any one state, nor is it located in any one county. Further, there are some who might argue that Washington, D.C., is not located in the United States, either. Instead, the city is known as a “Federal Capital,” and it was established this way under Section Eight of the United States Constitution. It is a planned city but its residents generally think of it as expanding well beyond its borders into Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Washington, D.C., makes a great location for a historical-, sociological- and political-destination visit. The city also is home to the Army Medical Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, Constitution Hall, the Lafayette Square Historical District, the Library of Congress, the White House, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name but a few. Forbes magazine ranked the Washington metropolitan area as the third-most affluent in the nation, after Bridgeport, Conn., and San Jose, Calif., with a median income of $101,590.
Lodging in the District of Columbia can be looked upon as an architectural holiday. The Grand Hyatt Washington at Metro Center has a breathtaking glass atrium that extends the full height of the building; the Helix Hotel is an adventure in modern art and gorgeous use of color; and the Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C., is located in the center of the city along the Potomac River.
Of course, there are also the usual low-key options for lodging for the budget-minded traveler.
Written by Michael Paul Maupin