Washington DC, the capital of United States of America

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Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as “Washington”, “the District”, or simply “D.C. is the U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. It’s defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings – including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court – but also its museums and performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Center, National Gallery Art Museums and Jewish Holocaust Memorial.

I had been here a plenty of times. Mostly, I come here during winter but very rare to visit during summer. I used to live in Fort Washington, Maryland which is 5 minutes away from D.C., 15 minutes away from Alexandria, Virginia and 1 hour away from Baltimore, Maryland. I’d lived here for about 2-3 months, then I moved to Orlando, Florida.

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I normally comes home during holiday season such as 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmases. I love being in DC. So much things to do! I love the nature, the breeze of the air, enjoying the crowd, exploring places and mostly, I have family and relatives. Washington DC is one of my second home too.

Let me tell you about Washington, DC history before we start the fun parts…

Since its official founding in 1790, the nation’s capital has been home to high-profile historic events. Founded on July 16, 1790, Washington DC is unique among American cities because it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital. From its beginning, it has been embroiled in political maneuvering, sectional conflicts and issues of race, national identity, compromise and, of course, power.

The choice of Washington’s site along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers resulted from a compromise between Alexander Hamilton and northern states who wanted the new federal government to assume Revolutionary War debts, and Thomas Jefferson and southern states who wanted the capital placed in a location friendly to slave-holding agricultural interests.

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George Washington, the first president and namesake of the city, chose the site and appointed three commissioners to help prepare for the arrival of the new government in 1800. Pierre Charles L’Enfant designed the city as a bold new capital with sweeping boulevards and ceremonial spaces reminiscent of Paris in his native France. Benjamin Banneker, a self-taught African American mathematical genius, provided the astronomical calculations for surveying and laying out the city. The full development of Washington as a monumental city, however, did not come until a hundred years later when the McMillan Commission updated its plan to establish the National Mall and monuments that most visitors to Washington now know.

During the War of 1812, most of the city was burned to the ground. British forces invaded the city and burned public and government buildings, including the White House, in response to American forces invading York, now known as Toronto, and burning most of it to the ground. However, the British left the residential areas untouched and also spared the home of the Commandant of the Marines, located on Marine Barracks, as a sign of respect. It is now the oldest government building in continuous use in the nation’s capital. The Patent Office and the Post Office were also spared because of Dr. William Thornton, Superintendent of Patents, pleading with British officers that the knowledge lost therein would be a disservice to mankind.

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As a southern city, Washington has always had a significant African American population. Before the Civil War, the city was home to a growing number of free blacks who worked as skilled craftsmen, hack drivers, businessmen and laborers. It also included enslaved African Americans and was the site of slave auctions before they were outlawed in the city in 1850. Slaves owned in Washington were emancipated on April 16, 1862, nine months before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863. Washington remained home to a large African American population who created vibrant communities and championed civil rights despite racial segregation and prejudice. Duke Ellington was born and raised in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood and played in his first band here.

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Washington, DC was envisioned by its founders as a commercial center as well as the seat of government. The location on the Potomac River was chosen, in part, because it already included two existing port towns of Georgetown, Md., and Alexandria, Va., which served as regional shipping centers for tobacco and wheat. When Alexandria returned to Virginia in 1846, residents argued that inclusion within the Federal District of Columbia hurt business and the city of Washington would never need that much room to grow.

But after the Civil War, Washington did grow, eventually absorbing Georgetown and the surrounding farms and rural areas beyond L’Enfant’s original plans for the city. The initial boundary of Washington City was Florida Avenue, originally called Boundary Street. The first neighborhoods were those that grew up around the Capitol (Capitol Hill), the Center Market (Downtown), and the White House (Lafayette Square). The expansion of streetcar lines in the mid-19th century spurred creation of new suburbs. Two early suburbs, LeDroit Park and Anacostia, both began as developments that excluded African Americans and later became predominantly African American communities.

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Wars and national events have always resulted in the growth of the federal government and increases in population. During the Civil War, Washington was an armed encampment with soldiers bivouacked everywhere and public buildings serving as hospitals. Bread for soldiers was baked in ovens located on the White House grounds. During World War II, “government girls” were recruited to fill office jobs to replace men who had gone to war.

Washington is also a cosmopolitan city. While it has always had foreign delegations from the countries of the world, it also boasts an increasingly diverse ethnic population. A growing Latino population represents every Central and South American country with a particularly large community of Salvadorans. A large Ethiopian population has resulted from the political turmoil there. New ethnic groups have brought new restaurants, as well as new residents. While DC lost residents to surrounding suburbs in the 1990’s, new housing and urban revitalization is now attracting people back to the city for a downtown renaissance of housing, offices, entertainment and nightlife.

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As the capital of the world’s most powerful democracy, it is ironic that residents of Washington lack full self-government and limited self-government was only restored in 1974 after nearly 100 years with an appointed commissioner system. Representation in Congress is limited to a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and a shadow senator. 1964 was the first Presidential election in which Washington residents were able to vote.

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After more than 200 years as the nation’s capital, Washington is brimming with a unique history of its own. It has developed as a complex and layered city with multiple personalities. As home to the federal government, it has attracted a diverse mix of government workers, members of Congress from every state, foreign emissaries, lobbyists, petitioners and protestors. While elected and appointed officials come and go giving the city its reputation as a transient community, many of the city’s residents have called Washington home for multiple generations. Their stories give Washington its distinctive character as both a national and local city.

So, here’s the fun parts:

+ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Located between 14th St. and Raoul Wallenberg Pl., SW (formerly 15th St.), this internationally acclaimed museum tells the story of the Jewish Holocaust through artifacts, films, photos, and oral histories. Free, open daily 10 am – 5:30 pm. Timed passes required to view the permanent exhibition: Mar. – Aug. Passes are not required for entering the museum, “Remembering the Children: Daniel’s Story”, or special exhibitions.

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+ The National Building Museum. America’s leading cultural institution devoted to the history and impact of the built environment. We do this by telling the stories of architecture, engineering, and design. As one of the most family-friendly, awe-inspiring spots in Washington, D.C., we welcome visitors from around the world to our exhibitions, public programs, and festivals. Located just four blocks from the National Mall, the Museum occupies a magnificent building with a soaring Great Hall, colossal 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns, and a 1,200-foot terra cotta frieze.

+ National Geographic Museum. Explore the world. Great for all ages, the museum features a variety of changing exhibitions, from interactive experiences to stunning photography.

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+ Emancipation Statue. Built almost entirely with funds donated by former slaves, this bronze statue of Lincoln shows him with the Emancipation Proclamation in his right hand and holding his left hand over the head of a liberated slave kneeling at his feet. Park open daily. Free.

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+ The Heurich House Museum. Preserves the legacy of Christian Heurich and enriches the cultural life of Washington, DC. The mansion was built from 1892-4 by German immigrant, local brewer, and philanthropist Christian Heurich (1842-1945). Recognized as Washington, DC’s most successful brewer, he ran the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co. until his death at 102. The mansion is notable for its technological innovations, original interiors, and rich archival collection of one of the most important local families. The museum, located at 1307 New Hampshire Avenue in DuPont Circle, is open for regular public events and public tours Thursday through Saturday at 11:30am, 1:00pm, and 2:30pm. Private tours and event rentals are also available.

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+ Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden. One of the premier art collector museums in the United States, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is dedicated to enlightening and engaging visitors with an experience inspired by founder Marjorie Merriweather Post passion for excellence, gracious hospitality and intent to preserve and share the beauty and history of her collections, garden and estate. Hillwood is set upon 25 acres of gardens and surrounding woodlands in northwest Washington, D.C. Twelve acres of enchanting formal gardens include a Japanese-style garden, a Rose Garden, and a French parterre.

+ National Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian’s museum of aviation and space history is one of the world’s most visited museums.

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+ Lincoln Park. This historic park celebrates the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. The park features the Emancipation statue and the Mary McLeod Bethune statue.

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+ Lincoln Memorial. This grand monument overlooks the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Inside, the 19-foot marble statue of the 16th president is flanked by inscriptions of his Second Inaugural Address and the famous Gettysburg Address. Open daily except December 25. Free.

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+ National Museum. A splendid green park area extending approximately two miles from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Lining either side of the park near the Capitol are 200-year-old American elm trees, several of the Smithsonian Institution museums, National Archives, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Gardens.

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+ U.S. Capitol Historical Society. Organization established to educate the public of the U.S. Capitol & Congress.

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+ Jefferson Memorial. Beneath the marble rotunda, the 19-foot statue of the third U.S. president is surrounded by passages from the Declaration of Independence and other famous Jefferson writings. Open daily except Dec. 25. Free.

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+ National World War II Memorial. Located between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, this memorial honors the 16 million who served during WWII and those who supported the war effort from home. The memorial features two 43-foot arches, a 17-foot pillar for each state and territory from that period and a field of 4,000 gold stars honoring the more than 400,000 who died. A series of bronze sculpture panels depict Americans at war, at home and overseas. Open daily except Christmas. Free.

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+ Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The black granite walls of this moving V-shaped memorial are inscribed with the names of more than 58,209 Americans missing or killed in the Vietnam conflict. Frederick Hart’s life-size bronze sculpture depicts three young servicemen. Open 24-hours; park ranger on site 8 am – midnight.

+ Washington Monument. There is a $1.50 service charge and $.50 shipping fee. Free same day timed tickets are available beginning at 8:30 am at the 15th St. kiosk. The Monument is open daily 9 am – 5 pm.

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+ Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The history-making civil rights leader and serves as a lasting tribute to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood. Adjacent to the FDR Memorial, the MLK Memorial stands between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Open daily except Dec. 25. Free.

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If you are adventurous like me, who loves to do all the exploration from historic to modern places, going to a nice bar,  and going to animated parks and museums. Then, this is the place to be. Best time to come and visit- fall season. It’s not too hot and not too cold, the weather is just nice and chilly.

One of my favorite thing to do in DC is doing a cross-country. Because, Washington DC is closest to everything! Closest to Virginia and Maryland.

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I hope everyone enjoy my photographs. Thank you for stopping by and have a lovely day 🙂

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