Washington, DC is a good architectural intention gone awry. I am not against planned cities in principal. St Petersburg is a planned city and so is Upper New York. In Washington, unfortunately, the city planners went overboard trying to be grand and lost the sense of proportion en route. The streets are too wide, too straight, and too long. They are basically all avenues. They needed to be broken up by smaller, shorter, or narrower streets and parkways. On top of it, there are some randomly placed buildings positioned with total disregard to their neighbors. On close inspection, some of the buildings present majestic facades, but they are flanked by utterly nondescript edifices that completely obscure the architecturally appealing singles. To add insult upon injury, nothing has been done to liven up the dull and impersonal character of the city with happy window displays, awnings, lovely shops and restaurants. The people in the streets and in the restaurants match their surroundings. This city comes off as a soulless monolith, home to lawyers and bureaucrats, no artists could create here – nothing could feed their imagination. Even the Kennedy Center, the center for the performing arts, looks and feels like it was laid out by a bureaucrat, not by an artist. All the venues are fit inside a way-too-big for its own good building. You walk in and you feel like you are entering a governmental buildings designed to hold official ceremonies. For comparison, when you enter the Lincoln Center Plaza and from there the Metropolitan Opera, your heart skips a beat in anticipation of things to come. The Kennedy Center is like an oversized provincial clubhouse doubling up as a theater.
There are some oases in the city, like Georgetown and such, but overall DC has no character, no spirit, it is one big municipal compund. The layout serves its purpose, I guess, but this is not a place to make an impact on anybody out of the uniformed business suit.