Driving Downtown Streets – 7th Street – Washington DC USA – Episode 52.
Starting Point: https://goo.gl/maps/mnLznztau3E2 .
Downtown is a neighborhood of Washington, D.C., as well as a colloquial name for the central business district of the city. Several important museums, theaters, and a major sports venue are located in the area.
Character, Attractions, and Services
By the 1990s and continuing into the 2010s, the core of the downtown district was almost exclusively commercial, and its primary commercial use was as office buildings. The Penn Quarter and Chinatown areas in particular are home to many bars and restaurants, and the observation deck in the tower of the Old Post Office Pavilion is known for its spectacular views of the city. 7th Street NW between H and F Streets NW—a short commercial strip known as “Gallery Place”—has become a major hub of bars, restaurants, theaters, and upscale retail shops.
In 1990, the area had about 4,000 residents, but this had increased to 8,449 by 2010. Such increases appear small, but are more significant than they seem because the city’s height restrictions limit population density.
The Verizon Center (originally named the MCI Center), a major basketball, hockey, and events venue, opened in the Chinatown neighborhood on the eastern edge of the downtown district in 1997. It proved to be a major attraction, drawing more than 20 million visitors in its first decade of operation.
Unlike other large cities in the U.S., Washington’s downtown has a low skyline. With the advent of the skyscraper and the construction of the Cairo Hotel, residents were concerned that the city’s European feel might be dwarfed by high-rise buildings. Congress therefore passed the Heights of Buildings Act in 1899, limiting any new building in Washington to a height of 110 feet (34 m). The act was amended in 1910 to allow buildings 20 feet (6.1 m) higher than the width of the adjacent street.
Museums – International Spy Museum, National Aquarium, National Archives, National Building Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, National Portrait Gallery, Newseum, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Theaters – Ford’s Theatre, National Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Warner Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
Restaurants – Fogo de Chão, Kinkead’s, Loeb’s NY Deli, Old Ebbitt Grill, and Wok ‘n’ Roll. Chinatown and Gallery Place are noted for being geographically small but also having a very large number of restaurants.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as “Washington”, “the District”, or simply “D.C.”, is the capital of the United States. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.
Washington has a growing, diversified economy with an increasing percentage of professional and business service jobs. The gross product of the Washington Metropolitan Area was $425 billion in 2010, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Tourism is Washington’s second largest industry. Approximately 18.9 million visitors contributed an estimated $4.8 billion to the local economy in 2012. The District also hosts nearly 200 foreign embassies and international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization. In 2008, the foreign diplomatic corps in Washington employed about 10,000 people and contributed an estimated $400 million annually to the local economy.
The District has growing industries not directly related to government, especially in the areas of education, finance, public policy, and scientific research. Georgetown University, George Washington University, Washington Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center and Howard University are the top five non-government-related employers in the city as of 2009. According to statistics compiled in 2011, four of the largest 500 companies in the country were headquartered in the District.