facts about washington dc

12 Discreet Facts about the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia, or alternatively Washington, D.C., as most of us know it, is one of the most iconic locations across the United States. Known for being the country’s capital, it welcomes visitors from all over the world every year. But how much do you know about this important city? Here are some fun facts about the District of Columbia that might come in useful the next time you do a pub quiz!

1. You’ll find it on the east coast of the US.

The District of Columbia is found along the east coast of the United States. It is bordered by Maryland to the north, east, and west and by Virginia to the south. As mentioned above, it is the capital of the United States and serves as the seat of the federal government.

2. It was founded in 1790.

The District of Columbia first took shape on July 16, 1790. It has remained as the permanent capital of the United States of America ever since.

3. It was named after a Founding Father.

Of course, Washington DC was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. However, the name Columbia, in the District of Columbia, came from the explorer Christopher Columbus.

White House, Washington DC

4. It was designed by a French-born engineer.

Washington D.C.’s unique layout was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and engineer. It famously features a distinctive grid pattern with diagonal avenues.

5. It’s home to many of the country’s most famous landmarks.

Washington, D.C., is home to several iconic landmarks. These include the White House, the US Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument.

6. It is home to the National Mall.

Washington, D.C., is also home to the National Mall. It is a large open space in the heart of the city that hosts numerous museums, memorials, and events. It stretches all the way from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial!

7. The Smithsonian is an ideal trip out for history buffs.

The Smithsonian Institution operates several world-renowned museums in D.C. These include the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History!

8. The city is known for its gorgeous cherry blossoms.

Washington, D.C., is also super-popular for its cherry blossoms! They usually bloom in the spring around the Tidal Basin. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates this event.

9. It has multiple foreign embassies.

Washington, D.C., is also home to numerous foreign embassies and diplomatic missions. This makes it a hub for international relations.

District of Columbia cherry blossoms

10. It’s a highly educated city, playing host to multiple schools.

Unsurprisingly, Washington, D.C., is also home to some prestigious schools. These include Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Howard University.

11. The Capitol Building is full of architectural surprises.

Washington’s Capitol Building offers more than just political intrigue. It’s said to be home to a variety of marble bathtubs (where senators used to bathe as they couldn’t at home), and several underground tunnels that haven’t ever been unveiled to the public.

12. Washington himself could have been buried here.

Believe it or not, there’s a space beneath the Capitol Building that was carved out for George Washington. He wasn’t buried here in the end, but there’s still a crypt in place for the U.S.’ first President.

Washington DC aerial view

FAQs about the District of Columbia

Is the District of Columbia a state or a city?

As the name suggests, Washington, D.C., isn't a state, it is a district. The area has been a district since its creation in the U. Constitution, which states that the district does not exceed '10 miles square' and would become the 'Seat of the Government of the United States.'

What state is D.C. located in?

Washington, D.C., is a district and considered a territory, not a state. In fact, it does not technically belong to any state in the United States of America.

Can DC residents vote?

D.C. residents are technically denied representation. Instead, DC votes for a non-voting Delegate to the US. House of Representatives. The Delegate can draft legislation, but they cannot vote.

Further reading

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This page was last modified on September 21, 2023. Suggest an edit