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When you live in the nationís capital, youíre never short of options for things to do and see. The range of history, culture and entertainment offerings in the District of Columbia are as diverse as the people who live here and visit from around the world.

This special edition of the District Extra is intended as a guide to help make navigating it all a bit easier.

You will find descriptions and helpful information for the main capital attractions: the museums, monuments, historic sites, theatres and other entertainment venues. But if youíre looking for a kid-friendly park or nature center, a great bike path, or the perfect place to go fishing, kayaking or ice skating, you can find that here, too.

Thereís a more practical side to life in the city, though, including times when you need to know right away how to reach your council member, the mayorís office, or, alas, the cable company. Itís all here: names, telephone numbers (and in some cases, photos and e-mail addresses) of your new city leaders, including Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, his administration, the City Council, city agencies, the school boards, and more. That includes the cable company and Pepco.

You will find a bit of news here, too ó a real estate story, for example, about the two different housing markets on the east and west sides of the Anacostia River. Columnist John Kelly explains how Washington and other area jurisdictions got their names. And Extra food critic Nancy Lewis lets you in on 10 of her favorite places to dine in the city.

We hope you find this community guide useful and remember to keep it handy.

-- Lisa Frazier Page, Editor, District Extra

» Looking for crime, home sales and animal reports from April 26? Click here.

Whatís in a Name? A Lot of History

The capital is named after our first president, George Washington. Every schoolchild knows about him, though much of what we know is wrong. ... READ MORE

In the District, Real Estate Story Is a Tale of Two Cities

The Districtís housing market last year looked very different on the two sides of the Anacostia River. West of the river, prices conformed with an overall slowdown in housing sales and prices nationally. Prices east of the river, however, were reminiscent of the superheated regional market of the past five years. ... READ MORE

How Do I ...

From the Extras

Want to learn more about your community? Experience your neighborhood events captured in photos, through the Washington Post Community Guides.

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Archive: Previous weeks »

... contact police and fire?
Emergencies only: 911
Non-emergencies: 311

... get city services?
Citywide call center: 202-727-1000
Answered 7:30.a.m.-7.p.m. weekdays.

... get emergency food or shelter?
Answers, Please!: 211 or 202-463-6211
Round-the-clock referrals and information.

... adopt or foster a child?
Child and Family Services Love Line: 202-671-5683

... react to a possible poisoning?
Poison control: 800-222-1222 or 202-625-3333
Live operators.

... get help in Spanish
ŅComo busco ayuda en espaŮol?

Mayorís Office on Latino Affairs: 202-671-2825
Help in navigating the city government.

... get electrical service?
Pepco: 202-833-7500
Electronic menu: www.pepco.com

... get natural gas service?
Washington Gas: 202-624-6049
Electronic menu: www.washgas.com

... get local phone service?
Verizon: 800-275-2355
Electronic menu: www.verizon.com

... get water service or information about lead in water?
D.C. Water and Sewer Authority: 202-787-2000
Answered 8.a.m.-5.p.m. weekdays.
To report a water or sewer emergency, call 202-612-3400.

... get cable service?
Comcast Cable: 202-635-5100
RCN (formerly Starpower): 877-782-7769
Electronic menus.

... volunteer?
Greater DC Cares: 202-777-4440
Live operators.

... find out whether the federal government is open in bad weather?
Office of Personnel Management update line: 202-606-1900
Updates, when necessary, starting at 5.a.m.

... contact Social Security?
Electronic menu.
Local office: 2100 M St. NW.

... find out whether Iíve won the lottery?
DC Lottery Lott Line: 202-678-3333
Electronic menu.

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Getting Around the Washington Area

Slug lines are a way to form impromptu carpools and help drivers meet passenger minimums.
Slug lines are a way to form impromptu carpools and help drivers meet passenger minimums. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
Traveling on Metro
Carpool, Vanpool and Commuter Information
Commuting 101: Becoming Fluent in Traffic Talk
Major Airports
Toll Roads
Commuter Rail
Transit Information On the Web
Up-to-Date Traffic Information

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