Visiting Washington, DCWashington DC Beltway
(Capital Beltway, I-495) Map
Beltway" is a 64-mile Interstate Highway loop
(I-495) around Washington, DC (WDC). Capitol Hill is
approximately in the middle of the loop formed by the
According to the
Beltway is a
metonym meaning "A politician, lobbyist, or other person who is politically isolated from the rest of the country, due to the royal court type environment of Washington, DC"
inside the Beltway. Being inside the Beltway
often leads to Potomac fever, another
according to the
Urban Dictionary meaning "A disease peculiar to the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area that presents chiefly as an intense desire in the infected to be associated with the power and prestige of the United States Federal Government, particularly the Executive Branch. Associated symptoms include acts of extreme obsequiousness to those in power or likely to be in power; asserting as fact things one knows or suspects not to be true; and a burning desire to do more work for less pay."
The Capitol is at the center of the Beltway, although some claim that the
Zero Milestone is the center.
Congress, which meets at the Capitol, was
established as the first branch of government by
Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
The inner suburbs of Virginia (Arlington, Alexandria,
Falls Church, Bailey's Crossroads, McLean, parts of Fairfax County) and
Maryland (Chevy Chase, Suitland, Bladensburg,
Hyattsville, Takoma Park, College Park,
Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Bethesda, and part of Silver Spring) are located inside the Beltway.
(Also see these items from the
Congressional Glossary: A Note About Usage;
The major north-south highway in WDC is Interstate 95 (I-95). Other major highways into the area are Interstate 270 (connecting to I-76/I-70 to the north) and Interstate 66 (I-66) from the west.
The Beltway, Interstate 495, surrounds the Washington DC area. If you are unfamiliar with the Beltway, you should be familiar with the names of your entry point and your exit point. The Beltway has on outer ring (counterclockwise) and an inner ring (clockwise), and connects to Interstate 66 on the west (Port Royal), Interstate 95/395 on the south (Richmond), Interstate 95 on the north (Baltimore/New York), and Interstate 270 on the northwest (Gaithersburg).
The two Beltway bridges crossing the Potomac River are the American Legion Memorial Bridge (between McLean, VA and Cabin John, MD) and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (between Alexandria, VA, and Oxon Hill, MD).Interstate 95 is contiguous with Interstate 495 on the east side of the Beltway between approximately Springfield, VA on the south (Exit 170) (Alexandria, VA, crossing from VA into MD across the Potomac River via the Wilson Bridge, Andrews Air Force Base, and College Park, MD) and Hillendale, MD on the north (Exit 25).Also see
How to Get Into, Around And Out Of Washington, DC
Bridges in Washington, DC
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Inside the Beltway - Wikipedia
Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) - Wikipedia
Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway
^ NORTHClick map for an interactive map from Google
Click here for a schematic map of the beltway on Wikipedia
Scale: Each side of the Washington, DC "diamond" is 10 miles.Back to How to Get Into, Around, and Out Of Washington, DC