Although D.C. gets all the recognition for its place in the nation's history, visitors to the region might be surprised by the richness of Northern Virginia. This border region—which originally contributed some of the land to create D.C.—is chockablock with historical references and diverse cultural experiences. Some of the greatest presidents used D.C.'s southern neighbor for their own plantation homes. (George Washington's grand home Mount Vernon is a star attraction.) An influx of immigration has also brought an exciting variety of cuisines to satisfy anyone's palate.
Traffic between the District and Northern Virginia goes both ways (each way slowly). Nearby areas have grown significantly in the recent past and have modern housing, government, and office buildings. Tysons Corner in Fairfax County has major retail outlets clustered close to the I-495 Beltway and has office buildings sprawling across 25.8 million square feet. The area employs about 128,000 people, many of them commuters. Expansion toward Dulles International Airport has been particularly massive, especially along the toll road to the airport. Because of their proximity to D.C., many residents consider themselves Washingtonians, though some Washingtonians think otherwise.