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Pros-Uniquely attractive core -Arts and culture-Historic interest Cons-Growth and sprawl-Cost of living-Summer heatWhat Bert Has To Say About Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metro AreaIt would be an understatement to say that the nation’s capital is a unique place.
The super-suburbs (especially west) include such names Reston, Herndon, Ashburn and extend to Leesburg, all very large and mostly new residential suburbs, some well-planned and some not. The outlying northern Virginia suburbs in most ways meet the definition of “exurbs,” where people benefit economically from the city and may use its airport, but have little daily connection with it. Washington lies at the western edge of the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, about 50 miles east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and 35 miles west of Chesapeake Bay.
BeaAnnapolis, MDQuality of LifeLive outside of Washington DC, in an area referred to as "rural tier". The centrally located National Mall is an urban planning gem, with excellent open spaces, walking paths, and major monuments in a classic architectural style.
Extensive commercial and corporate developments lie along the corridor with new-economy names like AOL, Nextel, Siebel, Oracle, IBM and Accenture mixed with numerous other businesses and government contractors. Areas east of the city are more industrial and generally uninspiring, while the Maryland suburbs along I-270 northwest through Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, and Gaithersburg have been split off into another metro area.
The immediate area is flat with rolling hills starting just outside the city to the northwest and southwest. Lining the mall is the Smithsonian museum complex, probably the best set of museums in the world in a single location. Just south across the Potomac in Virginia lies Fairfax County, a built-up area including the satellite city of Arlington and the larger suburbs of Alexandria, McLean, and the more upscale Fairfax.
Employment in the greater DC area is strong in general and particularly strong in this zone. In reality, the whole mall setup is a museum in and of itself and a major destination for locals and visitors alike. But a significant number of educationally and economically disadvantaged people are also within its borders. It does have downsides, and they are becoming strong enough even in the suburbs to negatively impact the ranking. To the northwest of the mall, but still within the city limits, lies the upscale residential and commercial enclave of Georgetown, home to Georgetown University, George Washington Hospital, and a variety of entertainment and nightlife amenities.
Housing options and costs have escalated in recent years, but there are signs of softening. Growth and sprawl is a major concern, with development and business activity flung farther out into the countryside and even across venerated Civil War historic sites. Potomac floods can result from heavy rains, sometimes augmented by snowmelt and high tides.
Public transportation works well as far out as Dulles Airport and northwest into Maryland, but whether it relieves traffic issues further out is yet unclear. Normal winter snowfall is 18 inches, but occasional heavy snows of 25 inches or more do occur.
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