But as an urban experience, I can tell you as a former resident that DC can be a wonderful place to live. And certainly to visit - as many Americans do every year. And especially now, as they begin a long holiday weekend for their Independence Day on July Fourth, those who hit the road and make a week of it – especially families – choose to make it a classic patriotic getaway to cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and of course their national capital, packed with monuments but also cultural opportunities, historic sites, and increasingly great shopping, dining, and entertainment.

For this 68-square-mile (177-square-kilometer) city is a singular bit of business indeed. DC stands for District of Columbia, and it’s an intriguing mix of monumental and intimate, rich and poor, genteel and edgy – and with few if any true high-rise buildings (for highrises – and only modest ones –head south just across the Potomac River to northern Virginia suburbs such as Roslyn and Crystal City). It’s divided into quadrants with sometimes very different feels – from monuments and museums to gentrifying hipster neighborhoods to ungentrified pockets of urban blight to elegant quarters full of handsome townhouses and even full-blown mansions.

And throughout most of it – despite the fact that world-influencing political machinations play out in DC’s corridors of government nearly weekly, and quite a few locals are understandably connected in ways both direct and tangental to said government – Washington still manages to feel like a relatively laid-back city. And believe it or not, even surprisingly courteous – the last time I was back, for example, I found  that taxis would stop at crosswalks to let me cross (unimaginable in, say, New York or my current city Miami).

Read more in my post Washington DC Is Indeed a Capital Experience.


Orhan Cam


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