5 Places to Visit to View the Best Skylines in DC

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The best skylines in DC differ from most other major cities in the United States. It isn’t full of skyscrapers and other commercial buildings like New York City and Chicago, and it doesn’t have massive hotels accommodating thousands of guests like Miami.

The D.C. skyline is historic and iconic, and you’ll want to check it out when living there. You’ll encounter various spots offering beautiful views of the city’s best-known structures as you explore Washington, D.C., helping you see its landmarks from another perspective.

There’s something special about enjoying D.C.’s most prominent buildings from afar. This guide covers some buildings that make up the best skylines in DC and lets you know where to enjoy them.

Buildings the DC Skyline Includes

The main reason D.C.’s skyline doesn’t have skyscrapers is the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, which limits buildings to heights of 90 feet on residential streets and 130 feet on commercial streets, with other restrictions in certain areas. This law ensures Washington’s historic structures stand above the rest and that the current skyline remains visible from various surrounding areas. Buildings you’ll see when taking in views of the skyline include the following:

United States Capitol

Few images are more synonymous with Washington, D.C. than the Capitol Building, and its domed roof is visible in many parts of the city. The structure is 288 feet tall at the top of the Statue of Freedom, making it one of the city’s tallest buildings and ensuring it towers over newer construction. There’s no mistaking The Capitol when you see it as part of the D.C. skyline. 

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is D.C.’s tallest building and was the world’s tallest structure between its completion in 1884 and the finalization of the Eiffel Tower in 1889. It stands at 555 feet, ensuring it’s a visible part of the D.C. skyline from pretty much anywhere.

The White House

No viewing of the D.C. skyline is complete without seeing the White House. This structure is only 70 feet tall at its highest point, so picking it out from a distance is a little more challenging. It remains visible from many parts of the city, though, as long as you can find an unobstructed vantage point.

The D.C. skyline is surreal as you take it in because its structures are so recognizable. Finding a spot to view these buildings and enjoy them from a distance is a great way to spend an evening as you get to know Washington, D.C.

Five Sites With Beautiful Views of the Best Skylines in DC

Experiencing the best skylines in D.C. starts with finding the ideal location to view them. The city has various spots offering unobstructed sightlines of its most iconic structures, and some of them even permit you to enjoy a drink or meal while you’re there. A few buildings you’ll want to check out for beautiful views of the city include the following:

1. The Old Post Office Clock Tower

The Old Post Office Building is part of the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and features a clock tower with an observation level. This deck offers panoramic views of the National Mall, including the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Entrance to the building is free and doesn’t require a reservation or ticket, so you can head down whenever you wish to experience the sights.

2. Hotel Washington’s VUE Rooftop

Hotel Washington is directly across from the White House, and its 11th-floor VUE Rooftop restaurant features vistas of the Washington Monument and other National Mall buildings. Enjoying a meal or drink while taking in the sights is something you’ll have to try at least once in D.C. Some of the hotel’s rooms also have beautiful city views if you want to stay downtown for a night.

3. Top of the Gate Restaurant

The name Watergate is notorious because of its involvement in the scandal that led to President Nixon’s resignation, but the Watergate Hotel is a luxury property with a rooftop restaurant that’s worth checking out. Top of the Gate features panoramic views of the Washington skyline, and you can also see over the Potomac River and into Virginia from this position, ensuring you have a wonderful time whenever you visit.

4. Washington National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is the city’s third-tallest building, but its location on a hill in Cathedral Heights means it towers over the rest of D.C. and offers beautiful views of the entire city. You’ll have to sign up for a tower climb tour to experience these views, which require a reservation and cost $50 per person. The experience is worth the expense, though, because you’ll see Washington’s most historic sites from a truly unique perspective.

5. The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an integral part of the D.C. skyline, but it’s also a great vantage point for viewing the rest of it. You can take an elevator 500 feet up to an observation deck at the top of the monument and enjoy views of the Capitol Building, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and countless other historic buildings. Riding to the top of the Washington Monument is free, but there’s a service fee if you book your ticket before arrival.

The D.C. skyline is iconic, and by learning a few places with the best views of its historic buildings, you can experience some of the country’s best-known structures from a different vantage point. These rare sights are some of the features that make residing in Washington, D.C., a delight.

Buying a Home in D.C.

Owning real estate in Washington, D.C., is a dream for many because of the city’s history and importance to the country as a whole. It also has a hot rental market because so many people live and work in the region temporarily and require housing, so buying an investment property could be an option.

Nomadic Real Estate offers property management services in the D.C. area. We’ll care for your rental property, even if you don’t live in D.C., ensuring you have vetted tenants paying rent every month. Contact Nomadic Real Estate for more information on hiring a property manager for your investment home.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.