The best way to the heart of America is through going to the US capital of Washington, DC. Some people refer to the city-state as District of Columbia, while others simply call it the District, DC or simply Washington. The state is supremely ruled by the US Congress, making residents of the Washington DC take less self-governance compared to other US residents. Here is found the country’s seat of power, the mightiest in the world.
Washington, DC is in many ways the epitome of the American dream. Its slogan appropriately describes what it has become: ‘Life, liberty…the pursuit of chicken in every pothole’. Thus, it is safe to assert that the city has contrasting features. It is powerful and at the same time dysfunctional, shabby and chic, rich and poor. The bitter and realistic lesson of the superpower is embodied in Washington DC lifestyle: The American dream is not always living up to its promises. Perhaps, tourists and visitors could just enjoy what the city has to offer for them aside from the harsh realization of bitter-sweet life.
As mentioned, Washington DC is more like the major political parties that have been shaping the society. It is a place of split personalities: it is lighthearted and at the same time of dark character. The state is like a sexy vixen, with all its marble curves, grassy green parks, inky pools and Potomac vistas, laughing dangerously with the handsome politicians at the cosmopolitan Georgetown bars. Aside from being the daughter of democracy and purveyor of justice and liberty, Washington DC is a heartbreaker, heady with glitz and power.
Despite its orderliness and success, the sexy vixen in the state contains a gritty core. There are boarded up buildings, crack pipes and graffiti filled walls. In the shanties of the city could be found another face of the vixen, where political power becomes just a mere backdrop to life. Thus, Washington DC is a state where ordinary and extraordinary people, live, work and even play, to the amazement of bystanders and visitors.
The mix of people is as interesting as the mix of power and ordinary lifestyle in the city. About 60% of locals are African-Americans, the highest percentage nationwide. Thus, in Washington DC, the minorities are oddly the majority. With the emergence of president-elect Barack Obama in power, expect the global focus to concentrate some more in the city. Washington DC is also the most segregated town in America. The 39% White locals live exclusively in the ritziest and smallest quadrant.
Washington DC was originally an independent municipality in the Territory of Columbia. The US Congress act of 1871 merged the territory and city, giving birth to the District of Columbia. Thus, the city has been called the District of Columbia or DC. Geographically, the site is situated north of the Potomac River. The borders are the state of Virginia in the southwest and Maryland on the other side. The metropolitan area has a vast 5.3 million population, the 8th biggest metropolitan area in the US.
Washington DC could not in any way have been built within a reclaimed swampland, contrary to urban legend. Most of the district comprises of tree-covered hills and farmland. Wetlands indeed cover areas along rivers Potomac and Anacostia and some other streams. About 20% of the city is parkland, similar to New York City.
The site of Washington DC was originally inhabited by the Algonquian people along the Anacostia River in the 17th century. In the 18th century, Georgetown was a chartered province of Maryland, Only Virginia and Alexandria were included in a new district. The federal district was established in 1788. In the Organic Act of 1871, the US Congress formed a new federal territory government, combining Washington City, Washington County and Georgetown into a municipality called the District of Columbia. Governance was turned over to the federal government.
In 1973, the US Congress upheld the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. The legislation required the election of a mayor and district city council. In 1995, the District of Columbia Financial Control Board was established in an effort to oversee municipal spending. The district was a mess in the 1980s to 1990s due to mismanagement and waste.
With Obama in power, being the first ever Black President of the US, current culture and historic moments are once again turned into prime spots for exploration of the African-American culture. Tourists can visit the African American Heritage Trail, the African American Civil War Memorial, the Washington Monument and other structures at the Freedom Plaza.
Vacationers who aim to experience family-fun could go to the National Zoo, the Rock Creek Park and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The National Mall comes with a DC by Foot, so that tourists could tour the company by walking, facilitating for a kid-friendly and free tour complete with fun facts, trivia and games. The National Museum of American History is a good place to teach children the US history. Enjoy the most popular playground in the city, the Friendship Park.
Do you intend to enjoy different cultural and contemporary performances? Washington DC has some of the most happening places on earth. The National Theater stages free performances, ranging from magic shows, ballet, music concerts and puppets, developed for the whole family. Experience lively musical treats at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage all evening, starting at 6 pm.
Other outdoor activities could offer tourists more treat. Washington DC is a good place to jog during sunrise of each morning. Every Sunday, experience market the Washington way at the FreshFarm Market located at the Dupont Circle. The fresh market offers a great feast for the human senses.
When to go
The most recommended time to visit Washington DC is spring (months of April and May) and autumn (months of September and October). That is because summers are busy tourist season despite the humid and hot weather. January is not for outdoor fun as the winter season in the city could get really freezing.