Lies midway along the eastern seaboard of the United States, about
90 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, south of Maryland, north
of Virginia and 233 miles south of New York City. Situated on
the northern bank of the Potomac River. At its highest elevation
(in northwest Washington), it rises 390 ft. Lowest elevation is
sea level, at the riverbank.
SIZE: 68 square miles. Carved out of land donated
by the state of Maryland. Divided into four quadrants: Northwest,
Southwest, Northeast, Southeast. The U.S. Capitol building marks
the center where the quadrants meet.
FOUNDED: 1791. Named after President George Washington.
"Columbia" in "District of Columbia" refers
to Christopher Columbus. Washington, the District of Columbia
is not a state, nor is it part of any state. It is a unique, "Federal
district" created specifically to be the seat of government.
POPULATION: 572,000 (DC only) and 5.42 million (entire
Metro area, including DC)
METRO AREA: The "Washington Metropolitan Area"
refers to the District of Columbia plus seven Maryland counties
(Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery
and Prince George's), five Virginia counties (Arlington, Fairfax,
Loudon, Prince William and Stafford) and five Virginia cities
(Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax City, Manassas and Manassas
Generally temperate, enjoying all four seasons. Spring, early
summer and fall are the most comfortable seasons, although moderate
winters are not uncommon, with more rain than snow. During the
month of August, visitors might enjoy warm summer tempreatures
ranging from 70 - 85 degrees Farenheit (20 - 32 degrees Celcius).
Washington, DCs primary industry after the federal government
is tourism. Other important industries include trade associations,
as Washington, DC is home to more associations than any other
U.S. city; law, higher education, medicine/medical research, government-related
research, publishing and international finance. World headquarters
for such large corporations as USAirways, Marriott, AMTRAK, AOL,
Gannett News, Mobil Oil, MCI Telecommunications and International
Best known for wide array of cultural and historical attractions,
and historic monuments and memorials ... most all of which are
free to the public, and open seven days a week. Most famous are
the White House, U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, National Archives,
various Smithsonian museums, National Gallery of Art, National
Zoo, Union Station, Arlington National Cemetery. Neighborhood
areas include Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Capitol
Hill, Anacostia - all of which have a variety of attractions,
restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
TAX: Washington: Sales tax is 5.75%. Total hotel tax including
sales tax is 14.5%. Food and beverage tax is 10%. Maryland: Sales
tax is 5%. Hotel tax varies by county with most counties averaging
between 5% and 8% and Virginia:
Sales tax is 4.5%. Hotel tax varies by county with most counties
averaging between 9.5% and 10%.
EXCHANGE: Available at all three airports, at Union Station,
various downtown banks, and the downtown location of American
Express Travel Agency and Thomas Cook Currency Services.
FLOWER: American Beauty Rose
BIRD: Wood Thrush
TREE: Scarlet Oak
HERE: Airports: Served by Ronald Reagan National Airport
(DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington
International Airport (BWI), handling more than 55 million passengers
each year, providing direct service from every major U.S. airport
and 38 international cities.
The metro areas mass transportation system includes more
than 450 miles of rail line. Washington, DC's METRO subway system
links all parts of Washington with the nearby Virginia and Maryland
suburbs. MARC commuter trains connect Washington, DC and Baltimore,
MD. VIRGINIA RAILWAY EXPRESS trains connect several outlying Virginia
communities with Washington, DC. AMTRAK passenger rail service
is headquartered in Washington, DC and connects major cities throughout
the entire region with the rest of the country.
AROUND: The nations capital is one of the easiest
cities to navigate and a terrific city for touring once
you understand the basics. With one of the safest, cleanest and
most efficient public transportation systems in the country serviced
by Metrorail (subway) and Metrobus, Washington, DCs many
attractions and neighborhoods are easily accessible.
One of the
best ways to experience Washington is on foot, with wonderful
pockets including the inspiring monuments and museums found on
the National Mall as well as the intimate museums, world-class
theatres and splendid gardens, squares and circles throughout
the District. There are also great guided tours of the city to
get you oriented.
Here are a
few tips to get you started:
- The District
of Columbia is divided into 4 quadrants: Northwest, Southwest,
Northeast and Southeast. The U.S Capitol building marks the
center where the quadrants meet. Always check the quadrant indicator
(NW, NE, SW, SE) of a local address before setting out.
- Numbered streets
- Lettered streets
run east-west (there are no J, X, Y, or Z streets), alphabetically
becoming two syllable names (Adams, Bellmont), then 3-syllable
names (Allison, Buchanan) as you travel out farther from the
- Avenues named
for U.S. States run diagonally, often meeting at traffic circles
subway system and Metrobus provide the safest, cleanest and most
efficient way of getting around Washington, DC and the metropolitan
suburbs. Five rail lines and an extensive bus system connect the
District with the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Train lines are
named for colors: Red, yellow, blue, green, and orange. Station
entrances are marked by brown pylons, capped with the letter M
and colored stripes indicate which lines are available.
are posted at each station and inside each subway car. Metrorail
opens 5:30 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends. It closes at
midnight Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday nights, when
it stays open until 3 a.m. Each train displays the name of its
farthest destination. Base subway fare is $1.35 and increases
during rush hour and for longer trips. Daily passes with unlimited
riding privileges are available after 9:30 a.m. during the week
and all day on weekends for $6. Rail farecards can be purchased
at vending machines located inside the stations. Farecards are
inserted into the turnstile gates to enter and exit subway platforms.
The fare is automatically deducted each time you exit a station.
To continue your trip by Metrobus, obtain a transfer at your originating
station before boarding the train. Buses travel to Georgetown
and other areas not serviced by the subway.
schedules for connecting Metrobus service, locations of Metro
sales offices, and other public transportation information, call
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority at (202) 637-7000.
are readily available in downtown Washington and fares are reasonable.
Washington, DC cabs operate on a zone system instead of meters.
By law, basic rates must be posted in every cab. The base fare
for one zone is $5.00. There is a $1.50 charge for each additional
passenger in the party and a $1 surcharge during morning (7-9:30
a.m.) and evening (4-6:30 p.m.) rush hours. There is a radio dispatch
service charge of $1.50.
A ride for
one passenger between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
and downtown is about $12-$15. Maryland and Virginia cabs have
metered fares and may transport you in and out of the District,
but not between points within the District.