Washington and other popular cities of the USA

Washington is a monumental city. The tallest structure of the city - the Washington Monument. The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The monuments dedicated to the US presidents.

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«Washington and other popular cities of the USA»

I. Introduction

The 1990 census showed that there were some dempgraphic changes in the USA. The ranking of the big cities were the following: New -York took the 1st place, los-Angeles- the 2nd, Chicago is on the 3d.

washington monumental united state

The table below lists the largest 15 cities in the United States based on population and rank for the years 1990, 2000, and 2005.

7/1/2005
population
estimate

4/1/2000
census
population

4/1/1990
census
population

Numeric
population
change
1990-2000

Percent
population
change
1990-2000

Size rank
1990

Size rank
2000

Size rank
2005

New York, N.Y.

8,143,197

8,008,278

7,322,564

685,714

9.4

1

1

1

Los Angeles, Calif.

3,844,829

3,694,820

3,485,398

209,422

6.0

2

2

2

Chicago, Ill.

2,842,518

2,896,016

2,783,726

112,290

4.0

3

3

3

Houston, Tex.

2,016,582

1,953,631

1,630,553

323,078

19.8

4

4

4

Philadelphia, Pa.

1,463,281

1,517,550

1,585,577

-68,027

-4.3

5

5

5

Phoenix, Ariz.

1,461,575

1,321,045

983,403

337,642

34.3

10

6

6

San Antonio, Tex.

1,256,509

1,144,646

935,933

208,713

22.3

9

9

7

San Diego, Calif.

1,255,540

1,223,400

1,110,549

112,851

10.2

6

7

8

Dallas, Tex.

1,213,825

1,188,580

1,006,877

181,703

18.0

8

8

9

San Jose, Calif.

912,332

894,943

782,248

112,695

14.4

11

11

10

Detroit, Mich.

886,671

951,270

1,027,974

-76,704

-7.5

7

10

11

Indianapolis, Ind.

784,118

781,870

741,952

49,974

6.7

13

12

12

Jacksonville, Fla.

782,623

735,617

635,230

100,387

15.8

15

14

13

San Francisco, Calif.

739,426

776,733

723,959

52,774

7.3

14

13

14

Columbus, Ohio

730,657

711,470

632,910

78,560

12.4

16

15

15

The trend is clear. New-York remained the nation's largest city. Los-Angeles and Chicago are still the second and the third largest cities in the country.

II. Washington

Washington is the 27th largest city in the USA. But it's important political centre in the country.

Until 1800 the USA had 5 capitals or meeting places of the Congress- Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, New-York and Philadelphia. For various reasons none of these cities offered an ideal seat of government for the new nation. Southern states protested that they were all too far north. Certain state laws hampered the Congress, business interests in these states harassed the Congress with their special demands. After the Constitution was developed the establishment of a new city was considered. President Washington chose the exact site and the Congress passed a bill for a federal city and capital on July 17, 1790. It happened so that the place for the capital was chosen for geographical position, there was no consideration for climate- the place appeared to be one of the dampest and hottest places in the USA. The best season of the year is spring. In April days thousands of people come to this city to participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival. (Cherry trees were brought to the Potomac River from Japan as a present in 1912). Washington was founded in 1791 and from the start was planned as the capital. The planning of the city folows two patterns: one of them is square (streets) and another net laid over it is diagonal (avenues).

The man who designed the city was Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant. His great geometrical plan envisioned stately buildings as the city's care and grassy park like mall with uninterrupted vistas west from the Capitol Building to the Potomac River. In 1901, as citizens sought to beautify urban areas throughout the USA, the Senate Park Commission (known as McMillian Commission) developed an influencial new plan for Washington. This plan aimes to return the city to the formality envisioned in the late 18 century. The McMillian Commission had anticipated the need for a complex of government office buildings, and with the government's growth the need was urgent by 1920. it was the financier and art collector Andrew Mellow (1855-1937) who became envolved in the city architecture. He was a secretary of Treasure nd responsible for realization of the so-called Federal Triangular Project. The core of this project was to reconstruct the large triangular area north of the Mall between the Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues, to built offices for the government. One of the consultants of this project was John Rusel Pope. His contribution was enormous. Thanks to Pope Washington is one of the most beautifull cities in the USA.

Washington is fundementally a monumental city. The cenral point is Jennkine Hill or Capitol Hill. The highest building is the Capitol (edifice). It stands 88 feet (27 m) above the level of the Potomac River, covers 4 acres. Its length from north to south is 751 feet (229 m), it's 350 feet (107 m) wide. Construction of this building began in 1793. the plan was designed by Dr. Wiiliam Thornton. All interiors of the building were burned by the British in 1814. and it ws reoccupied in 1819.

Stretching from the Capitol is a wide Avenue - the Mall, which leads to the tallest structure of the city- the Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument is a large, tall, sand-colored obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is a United States Presidential Memorial constructed to commemorate the first U.S. president, George Washington. The monument, made of marble, granite, and sandstone, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5.5 inches (169.3 m) in height. It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C. It was designed by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s. The actual construction of the monument began in 1848 but was not completed until 1884, almost 30 years after the architect's death. This hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know-Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) up, clearly delineates the initial construction from its resumption in 1876.

Its cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885. It officially opened October 9, 1888. Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title it inherited from the Cologne Cathedral and held until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was finished in Paris, France.

The Washington Monument reflection can be seen in the aptly named Reflecting Pool, a rectangular pool extending to the west toward the Lincoln Memorial.

The magnificent shaft has an observation platform and visitors can see the entire District of Columbia from its windows.

On a long diagonal from the Capitol , Pennsylvania Avenue leads off to the right and ends with a lawn and 2-story house in the middle- the White House.

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. It was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian style and has been the executive residence of every U.S. President since John Adams. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the home in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) expanded the building outward, creating two colonnades which were meant to conceal stables and storage.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in the Burning of Washington, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior walls. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and President James Monroe moved into the partially reconstructed house in October 1817. Construction continued with the addition of the South Portico in 1824 and the North in 1829. Due to crowding within the executive mansion itself, President Theodore Roosevelt had nearly all work offices relocated to the newly-constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office which was eventually moved as the section was expanded. The third-floor attic was converted to living quarters in 1927 by augmenting the existing hip roof with long shed dormers. Under Harry S. Truman, the interior rooms were completely dismantled, resulting in the construction of a new internal load-bearing steel framework and the reassembly of the interior rooms.

Today, the White House Complex includes 106 rooms: the Executive Residence (in which the First Family resides), the West Wing (the location of the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Roosevelt Room), and the East Wing (the location of the office of the First Lady and White House Social Secretary), as well as the Old Executive Office Building, which houses the executive offices of the President and Vice President. 11 rooms are open to public.

The White House is made up of six stories--the Ground Floor, State Floor, Second Floor, and Third Floor, as well as a two-story basement. The term White House is regularly used as a metonym for the Executive Office of the President of the United States and for the president's administration and advisors in general. The property is owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President's Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects's List of America's Favorite Architecture.

There are several monuments in Washington dedicated to the US presidents. The Lincoln Memorial (built by Henry Bacon in 1914). Daniel Chester French sculptured the great marble statue of Lincoln.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was designed by Russel Pope in the simple classical style. Inside the memorial is a 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson, sculptured by Rulph Evans.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the polish black granite walls with the names of more than 58.000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missingin Vietnam War. Across the Potomac is Arlington Cemetry where many nation's honored dead are buried, including John and Robert Kennedy. Prominent among many memorials in this national cemetry is the Tomb of Unknown soldiers who died in the Civil War.

The City of New York, most often called New York City, is the most populous city in the United States, in a metropolitan area that ranks among the world's most-populous urban areas. It is a leading global city, exerting a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, and entertainment. The city is also an important center for international affairs, hosting the United Nations headquarters.

Located on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five distinct boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. It is the most densely populated major city in the United States, with an estimated 8,274,527 people occupying just under 305 square miles (790 km2). The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's highest, estimated at 19,750,000 people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2) in three states.

New York is largely unique among American cities for its high use of mass transit, and the overall density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States. The city is sometimes referred to as "The City That Never Sleeps" due to its extensive 24-hour subway system and constant bustling of traffic and people, while other nicknames include Gotham and the Big Apple.

Founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624, it served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, and has been the nation's largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a dominant global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange. Today, the city has many renowned landmarks and neighborhoods that are world famous. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.

New York is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art, abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting, and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco and Tin Pan Alley in music. It is also the home of Broadway Theater.

The building form most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, that saw New York buildings shift from the low-scale European tradition to the vertical rise of business districts. As of August 2008, New York City has 5,538 highrise buildings, with 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). This is more than any other city in United States, and second in the world behind Hong Kong. Surrounded mostly by water, the city's residential density and high real estate values in commercial districts saw the city amass the largest collection of individual, free-standing office and residential towers in the world.

New York City has over 28,000 acres (11,000 ha) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (22 km) of public beaches. This parkland is augmented by thousands of acres of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park system, that lie within city boundaries. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System, alone is over 9,000 acres (3,600 ha) of marsh islands and water taking up most of Jamaica Bay. Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States with 30 million visitors each year -- 10 million more than Lincoln Park in Chicago, which is 2nd. Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90 acre (36 hectare) meadow. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and 1964 World's Fair.

New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government. Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

· The Bronx (Bronx County: Pop. 1,373,659) is New York City's northernmost borough, the site of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City. Except for a small piece of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (107.2 ha) and is home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.

· Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,528,050) is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a unique architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown area. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.

· Manhattan (New York County: Pop. 1,620,867) is the most densely populated borough and home to most of the city's skyscrapers, as well as Central Park. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, as well as a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions, including numerous museums, the Broadway theatre district, Greenwich Village, and Madison Square Garden. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.

· Queens (Queens County: Pop. 2,270,338) is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, and may overtake Brooklyn as the city's most populous borough due to its growth. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is largely residential and middle class. It is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to New York City's two major airports, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

· Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 481,613) is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan via the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 25 kmІ Greenbelt has some 35 miles (56 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt encompasses seven city parks. The F.D.R. Boardwalk along South Beach is two and one-half miles long, which is the fourth largest in the world.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, making it the largest performing arts complex in the United States.

The city is also important in the American film industry. Manhatta (1920), an early avant-garde film, was filmed in the city. Today, New York City is the second largest center for the film industry in the United States. The city has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts. Wealthy industrialists in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established. The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theatre productions, and in the 1880s New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began showcasing a new stage form that came to be known as the Broadway musical.

Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition. Today these productions are a mainstay of the New York theatre scene. The city's 39 largest theatres (with more than 500 seats) are collectively known as "Broadway," after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square theatre district. This area is sometimes referred to as The Main Stem, The Great White Way or The Realto.

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Juilliard School and Alice Tully Hall, is the largest performing arts center in the United States. Central Park SummerStage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park and 1,200 free concerts, dance, and theater events across all five boroughs in the summer months.

New York City is considered by many to be the heart of stand-up comedy in the United States.

The city of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, has many nicknames due to historical context. They include:

· The City on a Hill came from original Massachusetts Bay Colony's governor John Winthrop's goal to create the biblical "City on a Hill." It also refers to the original three hills of Boston.

· The Hub is a shortened form of a phrase recorded by writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Hub of the Solar System. This has since developed into The Hub of the Universe.

· The Athens of America is a title given by William Tudor, co-founder of the North American Review for Boston's great cultural and intellectual influence.

· The Puritan City nickname references the religion of the city's founders.

· The Cradle of Liberty derives from Boston's role in instigating the American Revolution.

· City of Notions in the nineteenth century.

· America's Walking City, because Boston's compact and high density nature has made walking an effective and popular mode of transit in the city. In fact, it has the seventh-highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any city in the United States, while neighboring Cambridge is the highest.

· Bean Town refers to the regional dish of baked beans.

· Titletown refers to Boston's historic dominance in the world of sports, specifically the Boston Celtics, having 17 NBA Championships.

· City of Champions, much like Titletown, refers to Boston's recent streak of dominance in sports, with the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, and New England Patriots each winning World Championships in the 00s.

The Olde Towne comes from the fact that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is often used in reference to the Boston Red Sox (The Olde Towne Team)

Boston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is considered the economic and cultural center of the entire region, and is sometimes regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England." Boston city proper had a 2008 estimated population of 616,535, making it the twenty-third largest in the county. Boston is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.4 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the county. Greater Boston as a commuting region includes parts of Rhode Island and New Hampshire and includes 7.4 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the country.

In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late eighteenth century Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston, occurred within the city and surrounding areas. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the peninsula. After American independence was attained Boston became a major shipping port and manufacturing center, and its rich history now attracts 16.3 million visitors annually. The city was the site of several firsts, including America's first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and first college, Harvard College (1636), in neighboring Cambridge. Boston was also home to the first subway system in the United States.

With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city's economy is also based on research, finance, and technology - principally biotechnology. Boston has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though remains high on world livability rankings.

Chicago is the largest city by population in the state of Illinois and the American Midwest of the United States. Adjacent to Lake Michigan, the Chicago metropolitan area (commonly referred to as Chicagoland) has a population of over 9.7 million people in three U.S. states, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and was the third largest metropolitan area in 2000. One of the largest cities in North America, Chicago is among the world's twenty-five largest urban areas by population, and rated an alpha world city by the World Cities Study Group at Loughborough University. It is the third-most populous city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles, with a population of nearly 3 million people.

Chicago incorporated as a city in 1837 after being founded in 1833 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. The city soon became a major transportation hub in North America and the transportation, financial and industrial center of the Midwest. Today the city's attractions bring 44.2 million visitors annually. Chicago became notorious worldwide for its violent gangsters in the 1920s, most notably Al Capone, and for its political corruption in one of the longest tenures of political machinery in the United States. Chicago was once the capital of the railroad industry and until the 1960s the world's largest meatpacking facilities were at the Union Stock Yards. O'Hare International is one of the world's busiest airports and the second busiest in the nation. The city has long been a stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to numerous influential politicians, including the first black president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama.Chicago is called the "Windy City", "Chi-Town", and the "City of Big Shoulders".Navy Pier, 3,000 feet (900 m) long, houses retail, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls, and auditoriums. Its 150-foot (46 m) tall Ferris wheel is north of Grant Park on the lakefront and is one of the most visited landmarks in the Midwest, attracting about 8 million people annually.

Chicago attracted a combined 44.2 million people in 2006 from around the nation and abroad. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field. The historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897), originally serving as the Chicago Public Library, now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries, and exhibit halls. The ceiling of Preston Bradley Hall includes a 38-foot (11 m) Tiffany glass dome. Millennium Park, initially slated to be unveiled at the turn of the 21st century, and delayed for several years, sits on a deck built over a portion of the former Illinois Central rail yard. The park includes the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture (known locally as "The Bean"). A Millennium Park restaurant outdoor transforms into an ice rink in the winter. Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain's two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans' faces, with water spouting from their lips. Frank Gehry's detailed stainless steel band shell Pritzker Pavilion, hosts the classical Grant Park Music Festival concert series. Behind the pavilion's stage is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts companies, including Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque.

In 1998, the city officially opened the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4-ha) lakefront park surrounding three of the city's main museums: the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus joins the southern section of Grant Park which includes the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Buckingham Fountain anchors the downtown park along the lakefront. The Oriental Institute, part of the University of Chicago, has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Other museums and galleries in Chicago are the Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African-American History, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a 2007 estimated population of 764,976. Among the most densely populated cities in the country, San Francisco is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to more than 7.1 million people. The city is located at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate to the north.

In 1776, the Spanish settled the tip of the peninsula, establishing a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time. After being devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the send-off point for many soldiers to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors gave rise to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a liberal bastion in the United States.

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination famous for its landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the cable cars, Coit Tower, and Chinatown, its steep rolling hills, and its eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. The city is also known for its diverse, cosmopolitan population, including large and long-established Asian American and LGBT communities.

The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its iconic building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. The Palace of the Legion of Honor holds primarily classic European works of art, while the city's De Young Museum and Asian Art Museum have significant anthropological and non-European holdings.

The Palace of Fine Arts, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, today houses the Exploratorium, a popular science museum dedicated to teaching through hands-on interaction. The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum which also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. The San Francisco Zoo maintains more than 250 animal species, many of which are designated as endangered.

San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center hosts some of the most enduring performing-arts companies in the U.S. The War Memorial Opera House houses the San Francisco Opera, the second largest opera company on the North American continent as well as the San Francisco Ballet, while the San Francisco Symphony plays in Davies Symphony Hall. The Herbst Theatre stages an eclectic mix of music performances, as well as public radio's City Arts & Lectures.

The Fillmore is a music venue located in the Western Addition. It is the second incarnation of the historic venue which gained fame in the 1960s under the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, housing the stage where now-famous musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane first performed, fostering the San Francisco Sound. Beach Blanket Babylon is a zany musical revue and a civic institution that has performed to sold-out crowds in North Beach since 1974.

The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has been a leading force in Bay Area performing arts since its arrival in San Francisco in 1967, regularly staging original productions. San Francisco frequently hosts national touring productions of Broadway theatre shows in a number of vintage 1920s-era venues in the Theater District including the Curran, Orpheum, and Golden Gate Theatres.

Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California and the American West as well as second largest in the United States. Often abbreviated as L.A. and nicknamed The City of Angels, Los Angeles is rated an alpha world city, has an estimated population of 3.8 million and spans over 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2) in Southern California. Additionally, the Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to nearly 12.9 million residents, who hail from all over the globe and speak 224 different languages. Los Angeles is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most diverse counties in the United States. Its inhabitants are known as "Angelenos".

Los Angeles was founded September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve as El Pueblo de Nuestra Seсora la Reina de los Бngeles de la Porciъncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola). It became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its independence from Spain. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, Los Angeles and California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States; Mexico retained the territory of Baja California. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

Los Angeles is one of the world's centers of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. Los Angeles leads the world in producing popular entertainment -- such as motion picture, television, and recorded music -- which forms the base of its international fame and global status.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth most populous city in the United States. It is the fifth largest metropolitan area and fourth largest urban area by population in the United States, the nation's fourth largest consumer media market as ranked by the Nielsen Media Research, and the 49th most populous city in the world. It is the county seat of Philadelphia County (with which it is coterminous). A popular nickname for Philadelphia is The City of Brotherly Love, "brotherly love" from philos, "love", and adelphos "brother"). The city is recognized as a strong candidate global city.

In 2005, the population of the city proper was estimated to be over 1.4 million, while the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, with a population of 5.8 million, was the fifth-largest in the United States. A commercial, educational, and cultural center, the city was once the second-largest in the British Empire (after London), and the social and geographical center of the original 13 American colonies. During the 18th century, it eclipsed New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin taking a large role in Philadelphia's early rise to prominence. It was in this city that some of the ideas, and subsequent actions, gave birth to the American Revolution and American Independence, making Philadelphia a centerpiece of early American history. It was the most populous city of the young United States and served as the the nation's second capital in 1774.

Philadelphia contains many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence National Historical Park is the center of these historical landmarks. Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city's most famous attractions. Other historic sites include homes for Edgar Allan Poe, Betsy Ross, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, early government buildings like the First and Second Banks of the United States, and the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church National Historic Site.

Philadelphia's major science museums include the Franklin Institute, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. History museums include the National Constitution Center, the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia History, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the state of Pennsylvania and The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania and Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia is home to the United States' first zoo and hospital.

Philadelphia has more public art than any other American city. In 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association was created, the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. In 1959, lobbying by the Artists Equity Association helped create the Percent for Art ordinance, the first for a U.S. city. The program, which has funded more than 200 pieces of public art, is administered by the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture, the city's art agency.

In particular, Philadelphia has more murals than any other U.S. city, thanks in part to the 1984 creation of the Department of Recreation's Mural Arts Program, which seeks to beautify neighborhoods and provide an outlet for graffiti artists. The program has funded more than 2,700 murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists.

Philadelphia has had a prominent role in music. In the 1970s, Philadelphia soul influenced the music of that and later eras. On July 13, 1985, Philadelphia hosted the American end of the Live Aid concert at John F. Kennedy Stadium. The city reprised this role for the Live 8 concert, bringing some 700,000 people to the Ben Franklin Parkway on July 2, 2005.

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