Watergate is the popular name for the political scandal and constitutional crisis that began with the arrest (June 17, 1972) of five burglars who broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office building. It ended with the resignation (Aug. 9, 1974) of President Richard M. Nixon. The Watergate Hotel was originally built as a luxury apartment building within in the six-building Watergate complex famous for the 1972 burglary by men associated with President Nixon's re-election committee. This historical event put The Watergate on the map forever. Today the hotel, known as Swissotel Washington - The Watergate, features very generously sized rooms that were part of a $13 million renovation completed in February 2000. The Watergate complex includes the hotel, three luxury apartment buildings with over 600 apartments, penthouses and townhouses as well as two office buildings. The complex's shopping mall includes a grocery store, drug store, hair salon and upscale shops such as Saks Jandel, Valentino and Yves Saint-Laurent.
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city was built from scratch, Washington's
regular town plan is easy to grasp. Centered
on Capitol Hill and its governmental
monoliths, the District is divided into four
quadrants - northeast, northwest, southeast
and southwest. Dozens of broad avenues , all
named after states, run diagonally across a
standard grid of streets , meeting up at
monumental traffic circles like Dupont
Circle. North-south streets are numbered,
east-west ones are lettered. There's no J
Street, an intentional slight to early
Supreme Court Justice John Jay, or X, Y or Z
Street. I Street is often written Eye
Street. Be sure to note the relevant
two-letter code in any address (NW, NE, SW,
SE), which shows its quadrant; 1600
Pennsylvania Ave NW is a long way from 1600
Pennsylvania Ave SE.
Once in the
city, stop at the
DC Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center ,
Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania
Ave NW (Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; tel
202/328-4748), which can help with maps,
tours, bookings and citywide information.
Look for visitor information desks at the
airports and Union Station.
The White House Visitor Information Center
, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW (daily
7.30am-4pm; tel 202/208-1631), supplies free
maps and handy guides to museums and
attractions; the most useful is the free
Washington DC Visitors Guide .