(The Washington Post)

Political candidates use election season to talk about changing Washington. But we’ll leave all discussion of gridlock, the fiscal cliff and military spending to our colleagues who cover politics. Instead, we’re looking at how the city in which we live, work and play has changed since the nation’s last presidential election on Nov. 4, 2008.

It’s fair to ask questions about what the past four years have meant for smart growth, gentrification and the evolving populace’s understanding of the city’s history, but to borrow a line from a typical stump speech: Are we more entertained than we were four years ago? More discerning with our palates? More mobile? More cultured? Our unscientific survey of notable additions to the cultural landscape says the answer is an unequivocal yes.

My fellow Washingtonians, here are the city’s 10 most significant arrivals and openings since Election Day 2008.

Since 2008, a winning ticket in Washington

Vote for D.C.’s most notable newcomer

View photos of the “candidates”