Washington
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Washington

Welcome to Washington D.C.

 

History of Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. was founded on July 16, 1790, by the signing of the Residence Act. This federal statute, enacted by the First United States Congress and signed by President George Washington, authorized the creation of an independent federal district to serve as the seat of the federal government. Prior to the founding of Washington, D.C, the federal government made its home in New York City, New York. The states of Maryland and Virginia donated the land upon which the District was built — this donation originally included the established cities of Georgetown and Alexandria.

Washington, D.C. was explicitly designed to remain independent from any singular state’s control. To maintain this, the District is under the direct authority of the federal government, unreliant on any state government for protection. The District of Columbia was founded in its current location — on the border of the northern and southern states, as part of a congressional compromise. The Residence Act simply provided for the creation of a capital district along the Potomac River; the exact location of Washington, D.C. was chosen by President George Washington.

In 1846, on the eve of the American Civil War, the residents of Alexandria, Virginia petitioned to take back the land that they had donated to the District. This proposal, known as retrocession, was approved and accepted by the Virginia General Assembly, and subsequently honored by the U.S. Congress. Therefore, the current boundaries of D.C. represent only the land that was donated by Maryland.

Washington, D.C. began to see rapid growth during the early 20th century, due in large part to the increase in federal spending under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. This spending led to the creation of many new government buildings, museums, and memorials in D.C., and the hiring of many new federal employees.

Architecturally, D.C. is designed to emulate European-style city plans. A federal height restriction limits the size of commercial and residential buildings in the District, preventing the skyscraper skylines that are common in other American cities. The skyline remains dominated by several key landmarks, including the Washington Monument and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Geography and Finance

Washington, D.C. is a federal district and the capital of the United States of America. Washington, D.C. is unique in that it is not a part of any state in the union — rather, it is a capital district that is directly governed by the federal government. Because the district was created from land sourced from the surrounding states, D.C. lies in close proximity to both Maryland and Virginia. D.C. is bordered by Montgomery County, Maryland, Prince George’s County, Maryland, Arlington County, Virginia, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia.

As of the most recent census estimate, Washington, D.C. has a population of 702,455. The population of the District is growing, having risen by 16.70% between April, 2010 and July, 2018. There is an active real estate market in the District of Columbia — in the last 12 months, there have been 398 homes listed or sold in D.C.

The median family income in D.C. is $77,649, as recorded by the U.S. Census between 2013 and 2017. The median home value, as recorded in those same years, is $537,400.
 
The median listing price in the District of Columbia between 2013 and 2017 was $599,900, while the median sale price was $530,200.

Popular neighborhoods in the District of Columbia

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is a historic neighborhood in the Northwest Quadrant of Washington, D.C, and it is the site of George Washington University, whose campus covers much of the neighborhood. It is also quite close to Georgetown University — because of this, many of the residents of Foggy Bottom are students of these schools. Most people in Foggy Bottom rent their homes, though there are plenty of opportunities to purchase real estate. Foggy Bottom is served by the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines via the Foggy Bottom – GWU Metro station.
 

Downtown

Downtown is a neighborhood in the northwestern quadrant of Washington, D.C. The boundaries of this area have changed over the years, but it can be generally defined by its proximity to the White House. Downtown is home to many culturally-important museums, theatres, and entertainment venues, making it a hotspot of activity in D.C. The majority of Downtown residents rent their homes, but there are many options for people interested in purchasing a home in the area. Most of the properties available for purchase are condominiums. Downtown is serviced by several Metro stops — including Farragut North, Dupont Circle, and McPherson Square — on the Red, Silver, Blue, and Orange Lines.

Edgewood

Located in Northeast D.C., Edgewood offers a slightly suburban feel compared to the other popular D.C. neighborhoods. Catholic University Theological College is a primary landmark of Edgewood, though the campus is not technically within the neighborhood. The university and surrounding religious buildings have led to Edgewood being nicknamed “Little Rome.” Most of the homes available for purchase are condominiums, and more people rent their homes than own in Edgewood. There is no Metro station within the Edgewood neighborhood, but residents can access the Red Line through the nearby Brookland-CUA Station.

Cleveland Park 

Cleveland Park, which is in Northwest Washington, D.C., is one of the most popular and highly-rated neighborhoods in the District. Although most residents rent their homes — like in most D.C. neighborhoods — Cleveland Park offers a more diverse selection of housing styles. There is a healthy mixture of condominiums, townhomes, and single family homes, in a wide variety of aesthetic styles. The area is connected to the D.C. Metro by the Cleveland Park Station, which is serviced by the Red Line.
 

Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights is a vibrant neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.Columbia Heights is home to a thriving artistic culture, as well as a healthy culinary scene and diverse populace. Most of the residents of Columbia Heights choose to rent their homes, but the properties that are available for purchase are generally condominiums. Columbia Heights is extremely walkable, due to the proximity of the D.C. Metro. The area is served by the Columbia Heights Station, on the Green and Yellow lines.

Fun & Leisure

Top 5 most popular things to do in Washington, D.C.

Visitors and residents of D.C. have recommended the following experiences and attractions in the area:

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
    The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a wildly popular attraction for visitors and residents of the District alike. The museum falls under the control of the Smithsonian Institution — like the other Smithsonian museums, it is completely free to the public. The National Museum of Natural History is the most visited natural history museum in the world, and is home to the world’s largest staff of professional natural history scientists. The primary building is 1.5 million square feet and houses over 126 million specimens and artifacts. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is open every day of the year except December 25th, and is a staple of D.C.’s cultural offerings.

  • National Gallery of Art
    Like the Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery of Art is completely free to the public. This, in combination with the expansive collection of priceless, breathtaking art, has made it a massively popular attraction for tourists and residents of Washington, D.C. The National Gallery is one of the largest museums in North America, in terms of both its vast architecture and the extensive collection. The Gallery is split into two buildings, each with its own collection of static and rotating exhibits. In addition to these two indoor spaces, the Gallery also operates the nearby Sculpture Garden, an open-air collection of contemporary sculptures.

  • Washington National Cathedral
    As the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C., it is hard to miss the massive gothic building commonly known as the Washington National Cathedral. This Episcopal cathedral is second-largest church in the United States, behind only New York City’s famous Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The National Cathedral was under construction for 83 years, from 1907 until 1990. This cathedral has been the site of several culturally significant funerals and religious services, including funerals or memorial services for nine different U.S. Presidents. Additionally, the diocese performs 3 worship services every weekday, rooted in the Episcopal doctrine.The Cathedral draws a significant number of its 270,000 annual visitors due to the breathtaking architecture. The National Cathedral is designed in the style of medieval European cathedrals, with a cross-shaped floor plan and Gothic architecture.

  • Ford’s Theatre
    Originally founded in 1863, Ford’s Theatre gained swift infamy when became the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. The building was used as a commercial site for several years, before reopening as a theatre in the late 1960s. The theatre underwent a final renovation in 2000, and opened to the public in 2009, to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Today, the theatre’s is preserved by the National Park Service, though the theatrical programming is guided by the Ford’s Theatre Society, a separate entity. Ford’s Theatre operates a curated collection of artifacts and information, while simultaneously serving as a functioning theatre with a wide variety of performances.

  • Renwick Gallery
    The Renwick Gallery was built in 1874, in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. The Gallery is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and is completely free and open to the public. This space is home to a collection of decorative art and crafts, as opposed to the more traditional media that visitors can view at other Smithsonian museums. The Renwick Gallery rotates its exhibitions regularly, and the staff hosts many events to allow visitors to get hands-on with creating DIY art and crafts.

Education in District of Columbia


The District of Columbia contains 243 primary and secondary schools, located in various neighborhoods. One popular, highly-rated school is Ross Elementary School. Ross Elementary School was assigned a rating of 10 by GreatSchools, a non-profit which specializes in providing comparative grades of primary and secondary schools. This score was assigned based on a comprehensive assessment of the school’s average test scores, as well as metrics which grade academic improvement among students. At the most recent count, 154 students attended Ross Elementary School.

Food & Drinks in Washington D.C.


  • Roy Boys
    With locations in the Shaw and Navy Yard neighborhoods, Roy Boys specializes in an eclectic menu and fun atmosphere. Diners can get Nashville-style hot chicken and local oysters, as well as DMV beer on tap and even ice cream tacos! With both locations being in hip parts of DC, Roy Boys is a perfect spot to grab a bite and a drink, whether you are ending your night or just getting started!

  • Old Ebbitt Grill
    Old Ebbitt Grill is the oldest bar and restaurant in the District, originally established in 1856. Due to its age and cultural significance, Old Ebbitt Grill has one of the highest amounts of sales of any restaurant in the United States. The restaurant has an extensive and varied menu, though it is perhaps most known for its selection of oysters.

  • Ambar
    Ambar has three locations across the world — one in D.C., one in nearby Clarendon, and one in Belgrade, Serbia. The owners of Ambar were dedicated to introducing traditional Balkan cuisine into D.C., while presenting a modern and stylish experience. Ambar specializes in unique, old world-inspired small plate dishes, as well as a vast sampling of Eastern European wines and liquors.

  • Bad Saint
    Bad Saint is a popular spot for Filipino food in D.C., offering a full menu of unique, mouthwatering dishes. Diners frequently praise Bad Saint’s exquisite seafood dishes, which blend traditional Filipino ingredients with other culture’s flavors. Bad Saint has a reputation as being very exclusive; the dining space is small, and the wait times can be long. They do take online reservations, but these spots often go quickly — so prepare accordingly!

  • Amsterdam Falafelshop
    Though Amsterdam Falafelshop has opened locations outside of the District, the core three stores all lie within the bounds of D.C. The Falafelshop is a self-serve experience — once the falafel has been placed into your pita, you can load the pocket with whatever toppings strike your fancy. The restaurant is popular as a vegetarian option in D.C., and it sees plenty of traffic from people enjoying the nightlife options around Downtown D.C.

  • 9:30 Club
    The 9:30 Club is one of the most famous music venues and nightlife spots in all of Washington, D.C., serving as one end of the U Street Corridor. The club was recently named as one of the 10 best live music venues in the entire country by Rolling Stone magazine, and routinely tops lists of America’s top nightclubs.

Highlighted Attraction: National Mall

 
The National Mall is a curated park near downtown Washington, D.C., containing or bordering almost all of the District’s most famous museums and memorials. Broadly defined, the National Mall stretches from the Lincoln Memorial, on the western edge, to the United States Capitol on the east. It is bisected by the Washington Monument. Due to the abundance of free museums and national attractions nearby, the National Mall receives roughly 24 million visitors each year.

Overview for Washington, DC

683,154 people live in Washington, where the median age is 34.3 and the average individual income is $63,793. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

683,154

Total Population

34.3 years

Median Age

High

Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.

$63,793

Average individual Income

Around Washington, DC

There's plenty to do around Washington, including shopping, dining, nightlife, parks, and more. Data provided by Walk Score and Yelp.

95
Walker's Paradise
Walking Score
77
Very Bikeable
Bike Score
98
Rider's Paradise
Transit Score

Points of Interest

Explore popular things to do in the area, including Sara's Market Georgetown, Box Convenience, and Round Pocket Arepas.

Name Category Distance Reviews
Ratings by Yelp
Dining 2.36 miles 6 reviews 5/5 stars
Dining 1.21 miles 5 reviews 5/5 stars
Dining 1.92 miles 5 reviews 5/5 stars
Shopping 4.85 miles 6 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 4.63 miles 5 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 2.15 miles 6 reviews 5/5 stars

Demographics and Employment Data for Washington, DC

Washington has 310,104 households, with an average household size of 2.08. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s what the people living in Washington do for work — and how long it takes them to get there. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. 683,154 people call Washington home. The population density is 11,176.13 and the largest age group is Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

683,154

Total Population

High

Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.

34.3

Median Age

47.65 / 52.35%

Men vs Women

Population by Age Group

0-9:

0-9 Years

10-17:

10-17 Years

18-24:

18-24 Years

25-64:

25-64 Years

65-74:

65-74 Years

75+:

75+ Years

Education Level

  • Less Than 9th Grade
  • High School Degree
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Graduate Degree
310,104

Total Households

2.08

Average Household Size

$63,793

Average individual Income

Households with Children

With Children:

Without Children:

Marital Status

Married
Single
Divorced
Separated

Blue vs White Collar Workers

Blue Collar:

White Collar:

Commute Time

0 to 14 Minutes
15 to 29 Minutes
30 to 59 Minutes
60+ Minutes

Schools in Washington, DC

All ()
Primary Schools ()
Middle Schools ()
High Schools ()
Mixed Schools ()
The following schools are within or nearby Washington. The rating and statistics can serve as a starting point to make baseline comparisons on the right schools for your family. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Type
Name
Category
Grades
School rating
School Without Walls High School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
5/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
5/5
Key Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
Hearst Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
5/5
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
Washington International School
PRIVATE
PreK - 12th
No rating available
PRIVATE
K - 8th
No rating available
The Lab School Of Washington
PRIVATE
1st - 12th
No rating available
Murch Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
Stoddert Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
4/5
Hyde-Addison Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
Annunciation Catholic School
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
PRIVATE
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
PRIVATE
PreK - 12th
No rating available
Our Lady Of Victory School
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
The French Maternal School
PRIVATE
PreK - 1st
No rating available
St Johns College High School
PRIVATE
9th - 12th
No rating available
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
4/5
Mann Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
PRIVATE
K - 12th
No rating available
PRIVATE
6th - 12th
No rating available
Beauvoir The National Cathedral Elementary School
PRIVATE
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Broad Branch Children's House
PRIVATE
Undergrad - Undergrad
No rating available
Lafayette Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
Eaton Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
4/5
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
5/5
Janney Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
5/5
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
PRIVATE
9th - 12th
No rating available
British Int'l School Washington
PRIVATE
PreK - 12th
No rating available
Franklin Montessori School
PRIVATE
PreK - PreK
No rating available
Aidan Montessori School
PRIVATE
PreK - 6th
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Technology Preparatory High School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
4/5
Cedar Tree Academy PCS
PUBLIC
PreK - 1st
No rating available
Moten Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
Savoy Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
2/5
Ketcham Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
KIPP DC - Honor Academy PCS
PUBLIC
3rd - 8th
No rating available
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
4/5
Eagle Academy PCS - Congress Heights
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Lee Montessori PCS - East End
PUBLIC
PreK - K
No rating available
Rocketship PCS - Legacy Prep
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
St Francis Xavier Catholic Academyool
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
1/5
Garfield Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
KIPP DC - AIM Academy PCS
PUBLIC
5th - 8th
4/5
Center City PCS - Congress Heights
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
4/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 7th
3/5
Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys PCS
PUBLIC
4th - 6th
No rating available
PUBLIC
PreK - 2nd
No rating available
Bishop John T Walker School For Boys
PRIVATE
K - 6th
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Southeast Middle
PUBLIC
4th - 8th
2/5
Stanton Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
Randle Highlands Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
2/5
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
1/5
Kramer Middle School
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
No rating available
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
1/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
2/5
KIPP DC - Somerset College Preparatory PCS
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
No rating available
Eagle Academy PCS - Capitol Riverfront
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Rocketship PCS - Rise Academy
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
Friendship PCS - Southeast Elementary
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Malcolm X Elementary School at Green
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
Turner Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
King Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
Beers Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
Lawrence E. Boone Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
Hendley Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
Ballou STAY High School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
No rating available
KIPP DC - Discover Academy PCS
PUBLIC
PreK - K
No rating available
KIPP DC - Heights Academy PCS
PUBLIC
1st - 4th
4/5
DC Prep PCS - Anacostia Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
DC Prep PCS - Anacostia Middle School
PUBLIC
4th - 4th
No rating available
Early Childhood Academy PCS
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Achievement Preparatory Academy PCS - Wahler Place Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
PRIVATE
3rd - 8th
No rating available
Bishop John T. Walker School For Boys
PRIVATE
K - 6th
No rating available
St Thomas More Catholic
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
District of Columbia International School
PUBLIC
6th - 12th
5/5
Academia De La Recta Porta Icds
PRIVATE
K - 12th
No rating available
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
2/5
Shepherd Elementary School
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
PRIVATE
PreK - 8th
No rating available
Kingsbury Day School
PRIVATE
PreK - 12th
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Online
PUBLIC
K - 8th
4/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
No rating available
Whittier Education Campus
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
4/5
Ida B. Wells Middle School
PUBLIC
6th - 7th
No rating available
Paul PCS - Middle School
PUBLIC
6th - 8th
2/5
Hope Community PCS - Lamond
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
2/5
Center City PCS - Brightwood
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
4/5
Washington Latin PCS - Middle School
PUBLIC
5th - 8th
5/5
Washington Latin PCS - Upper School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
5/5
Truesdell Education Campus
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
1/5
Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
Capital City PCS - Lower School
PUBLIC
PreK - 4th
1/5
Capital City PCS - Middle School
PUBLIC
5th - 8th
3/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
3/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
1/5
Rocketship PCS - Infinity Community Prep
PUBLIC
PreK - 2nd
No rating available
PUBLIC
5th - 6th
No rating available
Jewish Primary Day School/Nations Capital
PRIVATE
PreK - 6th
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Ideal Middle
PUBLIC
4th - 8th
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Ideal Elementary
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
LaSalle-Backus Education Campus
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
3/5
Brightwood Education Campus
PUBLIC
PreK - 8th
4/5
Paul PCS - International High School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
4/5
PUBLIC
PreK - 5th
4/5
Capital City PCS - High School
PUBLIC
9th - 12th
3/5
Friendship PCS - Blow Pierce Elementary
PUBLIC
PreK - 3rd
No rating available
Friendship PCS - Chamberlain Middle
PUBLIC
4th - 8th
3/5