2010: 601,723, #24 in U.S.

1950: 802,178, #9 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 5,582,170, #7 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 1,464,089, #11 in U.S.


Washington, D.C., was founded in 1791 on the north bank of the Potomac River.


Tallest buildings: Washington Monument (1884), 555 feet, and the Old Post Office (1899), 315 feet. Both have public observation decks.

List of tallest buildings

Washington has strict height limits on buildings. In 1899, Congress ruled that new buildings could not be taller than the 1863 Capitol building (288 feet). A 1910 law said that a new building could be no more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street in front of it.


Downtown Washington has a Macy’s (in the former Hecht’s department store building) and a Walmart, which opened in 2013.


Washington is on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, with trains from Union Station (1908) north to Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Other Amtrak trains include the Silver Star and Silver Meteor to Florida, Palmetto to Savannah (Ga.), Carolinian to Charlotte, Crescent to Atlanta and New Orleans, Capitol Limited to Cleveland and Chicago, and Cardinal to Cincinnati and Chicago.

Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) has three commuter lines serving Maryland and West Virginia from Union Station. Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has two commuter lines serving northern Virginia.

The Washington Metro (1976) has six rapid-transit lines in Washington and the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, with service to Reagan National Airport. About half of the system is underground.

The new DC Streetcar (2016) currently has one two-mile segment.

U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.


The Smithsonian Institution has 11 museums on the National Mall. The city has a wide variety of other museums, including the National Gallery of Art.


Downtown movie theaters include the Gallery Place Stadium 14 and the Landmark E Street Cinema, which shows independent films. The Warner Theater (1924), a restored movie palace, is now a performing arts center.

The Kennedy Center (1971) has a variety of events in its theaters. The National Symphony Orchestra plays in the Concert Hall, and the Washington National Opera and touring Broadway shows are in the Opera House. The National Theatre has Broadway musicals and a variety of other events.


The Washington Nationals of the National League play at Nationals Park (2008) in southeast Washington. The NBA Washington Wizards and the NHL Washington Capitals play at the Capital One Arena (1997). The NFL Washington Redskins play at FedEx Field (1997), located in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Map of Downtown D.C.

Destination D.C.