There is never a dull moment in Washington, D.C. People who have never been to D.C. might think that everyone here is either a politician or a tourist, but there are so many other sides to D.C. The District of Columbia has a street named after each of the fifty states, and even if you visit all of them, you will find that there is always more to explore in this diverse and vibrant city!
1. Washington, D.C. has a mild climate, except when it doesn't.
Sometimes, the winters in D.C. are very mild, with little more than flurries, but once or twice a decade, we get a winter where more than a foot of snow piles up on the ground and stays there for weeks. In 2016, D.C. got hit by Snowzilla, but that was mild compared to the winter of 2010, when Snowmageddon was followed a week later by Snowpocalypse.
2. Washington, D.C.'s layout is a grid pattern, except when it isn't.
Some of Washington, D.C.'s streets are laid out in a neat grid, with lettered streets going east to west and numbered streets going north to south. But then it is as if someone played a game of pick up sticks, dropping one stick for each of the 50 states at random on the map of D.C. And then there are the circles!
3. The nation's biggest 4th of July firework display.
When you first move to D.C., you really look forward to watching the fireworks from the National Mall, but once is enough for most people. Later on, you realize how peaceful the National Mall is when there isn't a major event going on, and then you usually watch the Fourth of July firework display on TV the next year.
4. You see two identical black limos, one of them carrying the the POTUS.
You are walking in downtown, D.C., and you hear sirens. Traffic stops, and some police cars and motorcycles zoom by, along with two identical black limousines. One of them is transporting the President, but you can't be sure which one. Soon, the presidential motorcade passes by, and traffic goes back to normal.
5. The National Cherry Blossom Festival
The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates a 1912 gift of cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to the people of Washington, D.C. For three weeks every spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, celebrations take place throughout the city, and people visit from all over the world to see the cherry blossoms.
6. The National Museum of Natural History
The dinosaur skeletons in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History are really a sight to see. The museum also houses the Hope Diamond and an impressive collection of live insects. Something for everyone!
7. Tiny Giant Pandas at the National Zoo
The birth of Tai Shan, a giant panda at the National Zoo, was a major media event in D.C. in the summer of 2005. SO. FRICKEN. CUTE.
8. The Washington Monument
New York and Chicago are famous for their towering skyscrapers, but D.C. has the Washington Monument, the tallest stone structure in the world. Fans of the musical Hamilton will remember that Eliza Hamilton raised money to have the monument built.
9. Being so close to the White House
If you work in downtown Washington, D.C., you have probably bought coffee from the closest Starbucks to the White House or a burger from the closest McDonald's to the White House. Eventually, it just becomes normal how close your workplace is to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
10. The Capitol Building
The Capitol Building is special. It is what separates the four quadrants of Washington, D.C. from one another, it has its own spelling, and its rotunda makes it compete with the White House and the Washington Monument as D.C.'s most recognizable landmark.
11. The Lincoln Memorial
The walls of the Lincoln Memorial bear the words of two of Lincoln's speeches, but the speech with which people most closely associate the Lincoln Memorial is Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which he delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
12. Watergate is a place.
When people outside of D.C. hear the word "Watergate," they tend to think of it as the political scandal that led ultimately to President Nixon's resignation, but Watergate is the name of a building in Washington, D.C. To people who live and work in D.C., it is just another building.
13. The Kennedy Center
There is nothing quite like seeing the Kennedy Center lit up at night as you drive across the bridge to or from D.C. Perhaps you are driving into the city to see an evening performance, or perhaps you are going home to the Virginia suburbs after a busy workday in D.C.
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