"Washington, D.C." Washington D.C. by traveldave

Washington D.C. Travel Guide: 5,653 reviews and 15,102 photos

Like Brasilia and Canberra, Washington, D.C. is a planned city whose site was specifically chosen for the new nation's capital. Philadelphia, and even New York City, had served as the capital for short periods, but a site had to be chosen that would satisfy interests in both the North and the South. Neither side wanted the capital to be situated in the other's territory.

Both sides were in agreement to set aside 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) of territory, to be called the District of Columbia, that would be a federal district, independent of state influence.

The location of the new capital was determined at a dinner party. Thomas Jefferson persuaded Alexander Hamilton to deliver enough Northern votes to approve the site, which was recommended by George Washington, in exchange for Jefferson's support of a bill sponsored by Hamilton.

The site chosen for the new capital was surveyed, and one of the assistants was a Frenchman, Pierre L'Enfant. He eventually took over the project and drew up a plan for the city involving diagonal avenues crossing a gridiron of rectangular blocks. Where the diagonal streets intersect the gridiron, circles were created which provide vistas in three directions. The streets of today's Washington, D.C. still follow L'Enfant's original plan.

Nowadays, Washington, D.C. is the center of a metropolitan area that has 4,680,000 inhabitants and spreads out into neighboring Virginia and Maryland. It is also part of the Baltimore-Washington urban conurbation that has a population of about 8,930,000.


  • Last visit to Washington D.C.: Aug 1987
  • Intro Updated Jun 29, 2012
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Reviews (12)

Comments (30)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    Excellent tips and photos on Washington's various attractions! I was very impressed during my one stop-over in 1979. Sorry about burning down the White House, but it was only payback for your earlier burning of Canada's capital :(

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2007 at 1:19 PM

    Ah USA Top City & the famous address!! Enjoyed the virtual tour with your good information!!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2007 at 9:37 AM

    A helpful page about Washington D.C. You've touched on some of the most important sites to see. Although I've been twice, I want to return to see all the new monuments since then. Thanks for always presenting worthwhile tips.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    If I ever happen to visit the USA I would certainly prefer W D.C. for observe! The White House and the Capitol are really worth to have a look. Thanks David for virtual travel!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2007 at 4:50 AM

    Great page on Wahington D.C. Dave. Hans and I had the pleasure of visiting here a few years ago. Lot's to see and do here that's for sure.

  • moiraistyx's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 6:16 PM

    I was in DC this past June, I had an excellant time.

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Jun 11, 2006 at 2:30 PM

    Been many years since I was in Washington DC, so long ago in fact I was able to visit the Whie House, I don't think it is possible any more :-( Nice page on your capitol. Nice tp get a reminder of what's there.

  • tessy's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2006 at 2:21 PM

    Very informative page! Happy new Year, Dave! And lots of interesting travels!

  • e7forever's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2005 at 3:34 PM

    Great Page. Can't wait to visit our capital city. Matt

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2004 at 3:29 PM

    Very good info and suggestions! A must see for me including Arlington Cemetery. Update: I did it! I planned to do all in 2 days, haha 4 days was too short time...

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