The Byzantine workings of the federal government; the sound-bite-ready oratory of the well-groomed politician; the murky foreign policy pronouncements issued from Foggy Bottom: they all cause many Americans to cast a skeptical eye on anything that happens “inside the Beltway.” Washingtonians take it all in stride, though, reminding themselves that, after all, those responsible for political hijinks don’t come from Washington, they come to Washington.
Besides, such ribbing is a small price to pay for living in a city whose charms extend far beyond the bureaucratic. Travel to Washington DC and find world-class museums and art galleries (nearly all of them free), tree-shaded and flower-filled parks and gardens, sophisticated hotels ideal for trips and holidays, bars and restaurants that benefit from a large and creative immigrant community, and nightlife that seems to get better with every passing year are as much a part of Washington DC as floor debates or filibusters.
There’s no denying that Washington DC, the world’s first planned capital, is also one of its most beautiful. And although the federal government dominates many of the city’s activities and buildings, there are always places where you can leave politics behind. Washington DC is a city of vistas — pleasant views that shift and change from block to block, – a marriage of geometry and art. Unlike other large cities, Washington DC isn’t dominated by skyscrapers, largely because in 1910, Congress passed a height-restrictions act to prevent federal monuments from being overshadowed by commercial construction.
The city’s buildings stretch out gracefully and are never far from expanses of green. Like its main industry, politics, Washington’s design is a constantly changing kaleidoscope that invites inspection from all angles and travelers from the world over.