Washington, D.C. is rich in history and culture, and home to people from around the globe. It is the political center of the country, and, indeed, the world, and that energy carries over to all aspects of the city.
Though the government, with its related businesses and organizations, is one of the main employers in Washington, the District’s economy is very diverse. It boasts many growing industry sectors not related to government, including education, finance, public policy, scientific research, and technology. Historically, the Washington Metropolitan Area has had relatively low unemployment as compared with the rest of the country. In November 2008, the unemployment rate was 4.4%, as compared with the national average of 6.5%.
Washington’s historical significance means it is the home of a wealth of national treasures and monuments. There is, of course, the White House, and The National Mall showcases some of the most important events and figures in the country’s history, with the Washington Monument, the Korean Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Lincoln Memorial. Other memorial parks such as the Jefferson Memorial and the recently opened FDR Memorial dot the scenic landscape. Just across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial is Arlington National Cemetery, our nation's most sacred shrine and home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
For those interested in museums and art galleries, Washington offers many to choose from. The Smithsonian Institution itself operates fourteen museums and galleries, including the National Museum of American History, the Museum of Natural History, and the National Air & Space Museum. Other museums and galleries include the National Gallery of Art, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Building Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. Other interesting attractions include the Supreme Court Building, the Library of Congress, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Washington, DC is also known as a great sports town. As home to the NFL's Washington Redskins, the NBA's Washington Wizards, and the NHL's Washington Capitals, the city has something for just about every sports fan.
What you may not know about Washington:
- D.C. residents could not vote in presidential elections until the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.
- The United States Congress has supreme authority over Washington, D.C.
- Contrary to the urban legend, Washington was not built on reclaimed swampland. While wetlands did cover areas along the two rivers and other natural streams, the majority of the District's territory consisted of farmland and tree-covered hills.
- 2012 marked the second consecutive year that Washington D.C. has been ranked "The Most Literate City in the U.S." by USA Today.
- In 2011, according to the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) American Fitness Index, Washington D.C. was ranked the United States 2nd "Fittest City."