If you’re looking for some interesting facts about the United States’ capital city, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a longtime resident of the city or you’re new to the area, this list of fun facts about Washington DC is sure to educate and entertain you. From the city’s founding to its iconic landmarks, there’s plenty to learn about this fascinating city.
1. The gorgeous cherry blossoms were a gift of friendship from the People of Japan
In 1912, around 3,000 cherry trees arrived in Washington DC from Japan. Now each spring, beautiful pink cherry blossoms lining the Tidal Basin bloom and draw in both locals and tourists to appreciate the gorgeous scenery. The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over four weekends and brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors.
2. The first President to live in the White House wasn’t George Washington
The second President of the United States, John Adams, was actually the first to live in the White House. This is because construction of the White House wasn’t finished until a year after George Washington passed.
3. DC is home to the largest library in the world
The Library of Congress may only consist of three buildings, but it has the most shelf space and number of volumes than any other library. If English isn’t your native language, don’t worry – around half of the books in the Library are in another language. It also holds the largest rare-book collection in North America, with more than 700,000 volumes. So if you’re a bookworm or a history buff, there’s bound to be something of interest for you here.
4. Washington, DC is smaller than the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island
DC is approximately 68 square miles and could actually fit into the state of Rhode Island 22.6 times.
5. There was a “typo” carved into the Lincoln Memorial
Instead of carving “FUTURE,” it was misspelled and instead “EUTURE” was chiseled into the monument. Although it has now been corrected, if you look closely, you can see where the mistake was covered up.
6. DC actually gets more rain than Seattle
On average, Washington DC gets about 40 inches of rainfall each year, while Seattle averages 38 inches a year.
7. One of the oldest operating open air fish markets is located at The Wharf
The Municipal Fish Market opened in 1805 and remains an iconic destination for both tourists and those living in DC. Open daily, the market features a range of seafood vendors offering freshly caught fish, oysters, shrimp, and more. There are nearby plazas and parks, restaurants, and bars at The Wharf to enjoy after shopping around the market.
8. There are over 70 museums in DC
Whether you’re intrigued by American history, an arts lover, or both – there’s bound to be a handful of museums that are up your alley in Washington DC. Some of the most visited museums include the National Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery of Art, the National Air and Space Museum, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. You’ll also find interesting museums with unique exhibits and collections, like the International Spy Museum and the National Post Museum.
9. Although it may look small from afar, the Statue of Freedom is over 19 feet tall and weighs a whopping 15,000 pounds
On the top of the U.S. Capitol building, you’ll find a bronze statue of a woman wearing a helmet with an eagle head and feathers. While it may look like your average-sized statue, don’t be fooled.
10. The Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world from 1884 to 1889
When it was first constructed, it became the tallest structure in the world, but that title only lasted about five years until the Eiffel Tower was built. Another interesting fact about the Washington Monument is that it’s actually two colors. It was constructed in two phases and once they began the second phase, nearly two decades later, they weren’t able to match the quarry stone. So, you’ll notice that the monument is a lighter shade at the bottom and darker at the top.