Best Local Trivia About Washington, D.C.

February 8, 2014 8:00 AM

Alexandra O’Rourke pulls her daughter, Catalina O’Rourke, 6, on a sled across a dusting of snow on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on December 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. A winter storm that closed many federal government operations is expected to leave 3-5 inches of snow across the region. (Credit: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital, has taxation without representation and is in the business of government. Everyone knows those facts, but there are things about the little big city that many don’t know. You can live here all your life and never know everything about the city. Be the hero of your trivia team with these little known facts about the District.

Adams Morgan

On a weekend night, especially on holidays, 18th Street in Adams Morgan can be packed with people looking to have fun. The neighborhood is known for the raucous the strip has seen. But it is also home to families, quaint coffee and book shops and an historic community. And even the name is historic. The combination of the two names, Adams and Morgan, comes from two schools in the 50s; Morgan was the name of a school for black children and Adams the school for white. In working to remake the image of the neighborhood, a group of citizens gave the neighborhood the name to reflect the diverse community.

The DC Flag

The Washington, D.C. flag has three red stars and two horizontal bars, familiar to all that live in the District. You can see people with tattoos of the flag, bumper stickers and reinterpretations all around the city. Although the meaning behind the stars and bars has not be definitively confirmed, the origin of design has. George Washington’s family coat of arms was the inspiration for designer Charles Dunn’s flag. The original 1924 design featured blue stars instead of red and was changed to red in 1938.

Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 537-6200

The Washington National Cathedral is a stable beacon for many in the District; acting as a place of worship, education and entertainment. A hard-to-miss landmark on Wisconsin Avenue, the beautiful building has been a part of DC for over 20 years. Really, it has been for over two centuries. Construction started in 1907, but it was first designed in 1791 by Major Pierre L’Enfant, the famous architect who designed the streets of DC.

Related: Best Lesser-Known Historical Sites In DC

The Name Washington, DC 

Washington, DC is unique for several reasons, including the fact that it is not an official state. Most people know that DC is short for District of Columbia. But what they may not know is that Washington and DC were two different cities. The District of Columbia, named after Christopher Columbus, surrounded Washington, named after George Washington. In 1801, the two names were combined to describe the area because the two were no longer separate cities.

J Street

You have probably noticed that there are no “J” rows in most theaters and that there is no “J Street” in DC. Most people think it is because the letters “I” and “J” look too similar. That is true, but that is not the reason there is no “J Street.” The reason is far more interesting. It was simply because the alphabet was not finished when the streets were being planned. It was probably too much of a hassle for them to go back and add it.

Related: Best Ways To Learn About Presidential And American History In Washington DC

Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on

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