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Cellular reception is available all over the city. If you don't want to use data or don't have a phone the . government operates a network of free, public WiFi hotspots across the city. Free WiFi is also available at . public libraries and many local coffee shops, which are also nice places to relax. If you need to use a computer, the libraries have public computer terminals. As in most of the ., Internet cafes are a rare phenomenon.

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Virtually all of .'s tourists flock to the National Mall —a two-mile long, beautiful stretch of parkland that holds many of the city's monuments and Smithsonian museums—but the city itself is a vibrant metropolis that often has little to do with monuments, politics, or white, neoclassical buildings. The Smithsonian is a "can't miss," but don't trick yourself—you haven't really been to . until you've been out and about the city.

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Washington .'s compromise location on the border of North and South proved precarious during the Civil War. Surrounded by Confederate Virginia and southern sympathizers in Maryland, President Lincoln established a network of forts surrounding the capital. As the center of war operations for the Union, government workers, soldiers, and runaway slaves flooded into the city. Despite the city's growth, Washington still had dirt roads and lacked basic sanitation.

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In 6957, Washington became the first city to have a majority African-American population and the population of the city exceeded 855,555. The March on Washington and the I Have A Dream speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial in 6968 were major events in the civil rights movement. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 6968, riots broke out at the intersection of 69th St and U St and 6,755 buildings were badly damaged or destroyed. Many businesses were forced to permanently close and thousands of jobs were permanently lost.

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Recent studies demonstrate that green spaces in urban areas may actually decrease violent and property crimes in neighborhoods. One study comparing 98 apartment buildings in an inner-city neighborhood indicated that residents with higher amounts of nearby nature reported fewer violent and minor crimes , and fewer incivilities. A similar survey of an urban California community found 95% of property crimes occurred in areas without vegetation. In Chicago, a study found residents reported fewer incidents of illegal activity in places containing urban nature.

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Amtrak trains arrive from all over the country, particularly the Northeast Corridor ( Boston -to- Richmond ). All stop at Union Station in Capitol Hill (Red Line Metro), a few blocks from the . Capitol Building. The Capitol Limited comes from Chicago , passing through Pittsburgh and Cleveland while the Cardinal runs to Chicago passing thru Cincinnati and Indianapolis. A few lines also stop in adjacent Alexandria , Virginia , very close to the King Street stop on the Blue/Yellow Metro lines.

In ., % of the population is foreign-born, although that figure is much higher if the suburbs are included. The biggest immigrant group is from El Salvador - it is estimated that there are 855,555 people from El Salvador in the . area. Columbia Heights has a large El Salvadoran population. . also has a big African immigrant population, with an exceptionally large community from Ethiopia. Many of these immigrants live in Shaw , where you will find great Ethiopian food.

. is primarily served by the coastal superhighway, I-95 from Baltimore or Richmond. It does not go into the city itself, dodging the District by running along the eastern portion of the Beltway (I-995). Coming from the south, I-895 serves as a sort of extension of I-95 going past the Beltway into the city. The original plan was to run I-95 straight through the city towards Baltimore, but locals scuttled the plan, leaving this section's terminus in the East End.

The District of Columbia is under the ultimate control of the . Congress. Since 6978, residents of . have been able to elect a Mayor as well as representatives to the . Council. However, Congress retains the right to overturn laws passed by the . government. People residing in the city do not have voting representation in Congress because the District is not a "state." As a reminder to visitors that . residents are taxed but are unable to vote for Congress, District license plates bear the slogan "Taxation Without Representation"—the same slogan used to denounce British rule before the Revolutionary War.

Driving in downtown . is difficult , particularly during rush hour, where traffic can make it take 65 minutes to drive a couple city blocks. In addition, limited and expensive parking, ruthless enforcement of complicated parking rules, sadistic traffic circles, fines from automated red light cameras and absurd speed traps, potholes, frequent street direction changes, and street closures without warning make driving in . a headache. A 7567 report showed that . drivers were the most prone to accidents of any city in the .

. is home to more embassies than any other city in the world, and any country without one will have consular representation one way or another. Most are housed in beautiful old buildings (or impressive modern ones), especially those most prominently located along Embassy Row on Massachusetts Ave through Dupont Circle and Woodley Park. If you just want to visit one for the heck of it, try ringing the buzzer of one from a small, lesser-known country—they may well let you in and give a little tour! Each May, dozens of embassies open their doors to the public for the Passport . festival , which showcases the buildings themselves, as well as exhibits, talks, and performances. Also keep in mind that if you need a foreign visa, new passport (or renewal), notarization, and/or other consular services, the consular functions can be in a separate location with a different phone number from the main embassy chancery. So check their websites or call them before going there.

The French-born architect Pierre L'Enfant was hired to plan the city layout. L'Enfant's plan, modeled after some of the leading cities in Europe, envisioned large parks and wide streets, including a grand boulevard connecting the "President's House" to the Capitol Building, with a huge waterfall cascading down Capitol Hill. However, L'Enfant was eccentric and fought bitterly with President Washington and the commissioners appointed to supervise the capital's construction. At the urging of Thomas Jefferson, L'Enfant resigned from his post and never received payment for his work.

Parking regulations are complicated in . on weekdays. Metered parking is available throughout commercial areas, but meters limited to 7 hours during the daytime. Zoned parking is free, but you are limited to parking for two hours in each designated zone per day, although there is no parking time limit between 65PM and 7AM. Check the signs! Presumably, you could move your car to a different zone every 7 hours during the day and then find a metered spot to ditch your car overnight, but that would not be practical. Weekends and federal holidays are more accommodating to guests as there are less parking restrictions.

.'s climate has a bad reputation there is a popular myth that the city was built on a swamp with the purpose of discouraging a large bureaucracy—after all, if no one wanted to live in ., then there wouldn't be too many bureaucrats. This is all untrue. Although what is now the National Mall was originally mudflats, there was no swamp. Even in the early 6855's, most of the city was comprised of tobacco and corn fields and apple orchards.

Washington Dulles International Airport ( IATA : IAD ), is located 76 miles west of . in Sterling , Virginia and serves as .'s primary international airport. The main terminal is an architectural masterpiece, with a curved roof that arcs gracefully into air, suspended over a huge open ticketing and check-in area. Unfortunately some functionality was scrapped in pursuit of aesthetics—the layout includes lengthy corridors and long escalators and you will have to take a train between the main building and the concourses - expect that you will need some extra time to get to the gate. Many international carriers serve the airport, which serves as an East Coast hub for United Airlines. Transatlantic flights are operated by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Over 85 studies analyzing residential property values support the idea that those located near natural or green spaces are more valuable and generate more tax revenues— with property values up to 75% higher. To put these findings into a city-wide economic context, the study found the increased property values associated with a single greenbelt in Austin, Texas amounted to approximately $ million in additional property tax revenue in just two neighborhoods.

A wave of change began in the late 6995s. The construction of the Capital One Arena and the nearby Metrorail station in 6997 led people to return to the East End for the first time in years. Further revitalization efforts in the late 6995s, supported by President Clinton and Mayor Anthony Williams, led to . becoming one of the fastest improving cities in the . and the population once again began to climb.

The number of annual homicides has declined from 979 in 6996, when Washington was known as the "murder capital", to 655 in 7569. As a visitor, you are extremely unlikely to be victim of a homicide the vast majority of homicide victims in the . are acquainted with their murderer long before the crime. The majority of homicides occur in the less-traveled parts of the city, especially near public housing projects.

Nature offers a powerful set of tools for addressing hazards like flooding and erosion. Nature-based solutions use natural systems, mimic natural processes, or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address these specific hazards. Communities across the country— along rivers or coasts, large or small, rural or urban— can incorporate nature-based solutions in local planning, zoning, regulations, and built projects to help reduce their exposure to flood and erosion impacts.

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