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Washington DC embodies both the monumental power of the USA and the grassroots influence of its citizens. No other city is as burdened by the weight of being the capital of the free world, nation's soapbox, and at the same time a municipality faced with the challenges of any major modern city. Like the political parties continually shaping her, DC is a city with a dual persona: one optimistic, the other gloomy. The city exhibits a spectacular beauty unparalleled across the nation, and this is what visitors come to see: the drama of the monuments; the masterful marble architecture of its world-class museums; the magnitude of the National ...

Washington DC embodies both the monumental power of the USA and the grassroots influence of its citizens. No other city is as burdened by the weight of being the capital of the free world, nation's soapbox, and at the same time a municipality faced with the challenges of any major modern city. Like the political parties continually shaping her, DC is a city with a dual persona: one optimistic, the other gloomy. The city exhibits a spectacular beauty unparalleled across the nation, and this is what visitors come to see: the drama of the monuments; the masterful marble architecture of its world-class museums; the magnitude of the National Mall, a dazzling expanse of emerald green.

DC is seductive, internationally chaotic, ethnically diverse, enigmatic, diplomatic, philanthropic, restless, helpless, poor, wealthy, hungry, and opinionated. Political strategies and their supporting casts change daily in the capital, and like the national debt, there's not much veto power when it comes to what can and does happen here. Where else would it be more appropriate than the streets of the capital city to lay a finger on the national pulse, glimpse its moral fiber, and taste its gritty sauce?

Aaron Anderson
About the Expert

Aaron Anderson is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Washington, D.C. City Guide, a contributor on western states to Lonely Planet USA, and he wrote the Austria chapters for Lonely Planet's Western Europe and Europe on a Shoestring.

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Aaron Anderson for Triporati

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Now Happening in Washington DC

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Capital of the United States. Washington, D.C., is located in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. East Coast and is bordered by Maryland and Virginia.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall and spring — summers are hot.