Thanks to local zoning laws, Washington lacks a dramatic skyline, which gives the modern metropolis a small-town, if sprawling, feel with no buildings higher than 12 stories. The streets are an architectural textbook, with picturesque buildings in the Gothic, Chateauesque, Romanesque and Queen Anne styles from the 19th century much in evidence. The 20th century brought dictates to construct all federal buildings in the monumental Beaux Arts style.
Washington’s most famous landmarks are America’s landmarks – the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. The National Mall is America’s park, anchored by the United States Capitol and lined with many of the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 buildings. In a survey of America’s favorite architecture by the American Institute of Architects, the Neoclassical-styled White House finished second and the Gothic Revival Washington National Cathedral came in third. The city’s Japanese cherry trees around the tidal basin might also rank highly in a survey of real estate landmarks.
Median sale prices in Washington, D.C., are some of the nation’s highest, partly due to the height restrictions that limit construction of affordable housing. The city therefore contains 98,584 single family homes. Recent trends in condo conversions have resulted in 59,225 apartments for sale and 506 co-op opportunities. The nation’s capital offers 18,558 apartments and 265 multi-family properties with another 12,824 residential configurations in the mix.
Commercial properties number 10,855 and another 1,359 are mixed use. There are 682 industrial properties in the city. Washington has a whopping 15,793 vacant lots, but there’s a catch – many belong to federal agencies or are tied into national parks and monuments.
The Washington Metro is the nation’s second busiest subway system and Union Station handles the second-highest amount of rail traffic in the United States. Metrobus sends 300 routes across the city and into neighboring Maryland and Virginia. The DC Circulator shuttle buses connect many of the city’s biggest attractions for a $1 fare.
The District of Columbia Public Schools oversees 123 schools, while almost a third of city students study in one of the 92 private schools. American University and Georgetown University are sought-after post-graduate institutions.
The President of the United States uses the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but there are plenty of civilian facilities for Washingtonians to turn to. They include the non-profit MedStar Washington Hospital Center, affiliated with Georgetown University, and the Children’s National Medical Center, the region’s exclusive purveyor of pediatric care.
The chances of encountering violent crime are 1 in 179 in Washington and 1 in 21 for property crime.
Locals and tourists alike take advantage of The District’s astounding array of free-access museums. But private museums, like the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Newseum, The Phillips Collection, and the International Spy Museum to name a few, are equally as worthy. You can catch the ballet or a symphony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts or check out one of the country’s most vital indie music scenes in clubs on the U Street Corridor.
Next to the Lincoln Theatre on U Street, the smokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl are so iconic that presidents have been known to show up here with a full entourage in tow. Fans can cheer for hometown teams in all four major professional sports and politics is the only topic that eclipses the NFL’s Washington Redskins in local conversations.
When it is time to get outside, Rock Creek Park is a cherished urban forest that helps Washington boast the second highest percentage of park real estate of any big American city.