District of Columbia, United States


About District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the other sides. The District has a resident population of 599,657; because of commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country.


District of Columbia Tourism and Recreation

As the nation's capital, the District of Columbia is one of the world's leading tourist centers. The most popular sites are The National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, Museum of American History, the National Zoo, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian Castle, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Library of Congress, White House, and US Capitol tours.

Across the Potomac, in Virginia, are Arlington National Cemetery, site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the grave of John F. Kennedy, and George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon.


District of Columbia Climate

Washington, DC weather is mild compared to many parts of the United States. The capital region has four distinct seasons, although the weather can be unpredictable and varies from year to year. Fortunately, the nastiest weather in the Washington, DC area is usually fairly short in duration.

In the winter, the Washington, DC area gets an occasional snowstorm. The temperatures often fluctuate above freezing in the winter so we can get lots of rain or freezing rain during the colder months. Springtime is beautiful when the flowers blossom. The weather is wonderful in the spring and this is the busiest time of year for the tourist attractions. During the summer months, Washington, DC can get hot, humid and uncomfortable. Late July and most of August are a good time to stay indoors in the air conditioning. Fall is my favorite season of the year. The vibrant colors of the fall foliage and the cool temperatures make this a great time to enjoy lots of outdoor recreation.


District of Columbia Transportaion

The Washington Metropolitan Area is often cited as having some of the nation's worst traffic and congestion. In 2007, Washington commuters spent 60 hours a year in traffic delays, which tied for having the worst traffic in the country after Los Angeles.

Union Station is the second-busiest train station in the United States, after Penn Station in New York, and serves as the southern terminus of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Acela Express service. Maryland's MARC and Virginia's VRE commuter trains and the Metrorail Red Line also provide service into Union Station.

Three major airports, one in Maryland and two in Virginia, serve Washington, D.C. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, located just across the Potomac River from downtown D.C. in Arlington County, Virginia, is the only Washington-area airport that has its own Metrorail station. Reagan National does not have U.S. Customs and Border Protection and therefore can only provide international service to airports that permit United States border preclearance, which includes destinations in Canada and the Caribbean.