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The only way to reach the Super Mutant-occupied D.C. ruins is by traveling underground, usually through the abandoned Metro tunnels.Fallout 3 loading screen

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia, also known as just D.C. or Washington, was the former capital city and federal district of the United States of America. In the aftermath of the Great War, Washington's radioactive ruins and surrounding areas came to be known as the Capital Wasteland.


Located on the eastern shore of the Potomac River, bordering the states of Virginia and Maryland, Washington, D.C. was the capital city of the United States and the seat of the United States government. Founded after the American Revolutionary War, the city was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father.

Some time after the Great War, Paige - a former head of the Construction Workers Union in Washington, D.C. - and a number of other survivors took the last train out of Union Station. As they left the Capital, they saw the toxic green air lingering above the city.[1]

Around twenty years after the War, a large community of ghouls were living somewhere in the city ruins, growing with each passing day with ghouls from areas outside the Capital Wasteland such as Appalachia.[2]

In 2255, the Brotherhood of Steel arrived at the ruins of D.C., settling in the abandoned building of the Pentagon.


The Mall[]

Main article: The Mall

The Mall is the location between the Museum of Technology, Museum of History, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Building. The Capitol Building and Lincoln Memorial are on the far ends, the Washington Monument near the center, and the Museums are on the sides. When going straight down the middle of the Mall, expect to be attacked by dozens of super mutants, and by the Capitol Building expect more super mutants, Talon Company mercs, and an Enclave camp if one is far enough into the game.

Washington Monument[]

Main article: Washington Monument

The obelisk that is the Washington Monument now has a wall made of concrete surrounding it and is occupied by the Brotherhood of Steel. The monument's sandstone and marble have fallen off at many places and reveal its internal metal structure. The bronze statue of George Washington has disappeared from the lobby, nowhere to be found. It also houses the Galaxy News Radio dish at the building's top.

The Capitol Building[]

Main article: The Capitol Building

Before the Great War, the United States Capitol Building housed the legislative branch of the government of the United States. It is located in Washington, D.C., on top of Capitol Hill at the east end of the Mall. The other side of the Capitol opens onto Seward Square. When discovered by the Lone Wanderer, it is a battle site between super mutants, Talon Company, and later, the Enclave.

Lincoln Memorial[]

Main article: Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial stands in ruins at the heart of D.C.; the seated statue of Lincoln is missing its head (it is located in the Temple of the Union). Sandbags are scattered around the memorial, which is used as cover by slavers and possibly runaway slaves if a quest is completed. The head may be restored after completing a quest given by Hannibal Hamlin who leads a small unit of escaped slaves that are trying to create a haven for other runaway slaves.

National Archives[]

Main article: National Archives

The National Archives is a pre-War building that housed an agency that was charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. The building is relatively undamaged, but the documents and records have mostly been destroyed or ruined. It has also become home to super mutants, centaurs, and robots; one of which has a personality. The super mutants have placed many traps around to keep out unwanted visitors.

Museum of History[]

Main article: Museum of History

The Museum of History seems to have largely escaped most pillaging other than the structural damage of general decay and trash can fires. Old posters for the space exhibit at the Museum of Technology still hang. A woolly mammoth statue sits in the center untouched by time or the Great War. Due to the decaying ruins, three of the four exhibits entryways are blocked, including WWII, the Anchorage Reclamation and the Resource Wars, leaving only the Abraham Lincoln exhibit fully intact. Further, inside the museum, the player character can find the Underworld museum exhibit, which has been converted into a city of non-feral ghouls. However, if the player explores any other parts of the Museum, they will find Lincoln's artifacts, such as the Lincoln Memorial poster, Lincoln's repeater and dozens of feral ghouls.

Museum of Technology[]

Main article: Museum of Technology

A dilapidated shell of its former glory, the Museum of Technology lies in ruin. The Wright brothers' Flier has fallen, its wings are broken, and a faded old Vault-Tec banner hangs nearby. A monument to man's pride and achievement, set amid the result that is currently occupied by super mutants. The Virgo II Lander remains, containing the needed communications relay dish, several Stealth Boys, and plaques about several artifacts. There is also an exhibit featuring a Vault-Tec vault, labeled Vault 106.


Main article: The Citadel

The Pentagon, as feared, was largely destroyed. However, its sub-levels remained intact and contained enough pre-War technology and weaponry to keep Brotherhood of Steel forces going indefinitely. But there was something else as well, Liberty Prime - a technological marvel that, if restored, could help the Brotherhood rebuild strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.

Jefferson Memorial[]

Main article: Jefferson Memorial
Memorial m

The Jefferson Memorial sketch.

The Jefferson Memorial was converted to a water filtering facility with very large water pipes obstructing the main entrance. A smaller side entrance to the gift shop is open toward the west. This is used as a base for Project Purity, which seeks to provide clean water to the entire Capital Wasteland. It is the focal point of many of the main quests, particularly Take it Back!.

White House[]

Main article: White House

The White House is also a location on the map, though it is nothing more than a massive irradiated crater at this point. It appears to have been hit directly by a nuclear bomb. A Fat Man and three mini-nukes are located in it, and there are several level-dependent ghouls that inhabit the crater.

Arlington Cemetery[]

Main article: Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is most of what remains of the Arlington district, including Arlington National Cemetery. To the south is Mama Dolce's food industry and in the center, there is the Arlington House. Before the bombs fell, many of the country's war heroes were buried beneath this soil. Now, it is an empty spot on the map, mostly devoid of life. The Arlington Wasteland Metro located south of Wilhelm's Wharf, opens to Arlington Cemetery.

Anchorage War Memorial[]

Main article: Anchorage Memorial

The Anchorage War Memorial is a war memorial commemorating the battle of Anchorage, Alaska.


Note: Unmarked locations are denoted in italics.

Suburban locations[]


Main article: Andale

Andale is a location in the southern area of the Capital Wasteland. It is located northwest of the Nuka-Cola plant, south of Fairfax ruins, and southeast of Fort Independence.

Andale is touted by its residents as "the greatest town in Virginia." However, the town holds a very dark secret. Four families survived the nuclear war and remained in Andale, but eventually took to cannibalism after their food supplies ran out. Since then, the murder and consumption of outsiders, along with inbreeding between the Andale families, have become a tradition passed down from generation to generation. It is most likely because of this tradition, that Bill Wilson says that the Home Owners Association does not let random people move into the town, due to the dark nature of its current citizens.

Bethesda Ruins[]

Main article: Bethesda ruins

The Bethesda Ruins are located northwest of Washington, D.C. It is inhabited by raiders and ghouls, and is divided into three sections: Bethesda offices west, Bethesda offices east and Bethesda underworks.

Prior to the Great War of 2077, Bethesda was a major town in the DC area. There was Metro and City Liner service to this city. As the west-east highway ends in the city, another highway traveling north passes through the area. The city has a local park, named after the largest employer in this city, where baseball was played.

Canterbury Commons[]

Main article: Canterbury Commons

Canterbury Commons is a trading post and a small town located on the eastern edge of the Capital Wasteland, which in the year 2277, is currently suffering from a full-blown battle between two "superhumans." It is inhabited by five wastelanders and can be found north of Washington, D.C., north of Vault 108, and southeast of the Temple of the Union.

Canterbury Commons was initially founded by Uncle Roe and his sister Daisy as a trading center for caravan merchants in the Capital Wasteland.

Fairfax ruins[]

Main article: Fairfax ruins

Fairfax ruins is a small town in the Capital Wasteland, located south of Vault 101, east of Fort Independence, and north of Andale.

The ruins consist of the main street, several alleys, and destroyed houses. There are upwards of twelve well-armed raiders in the vicinity, on the street, and in the tunnels beneath. North of the main road running through the center of the town east to west, is the entrance to the Fairfax Metro station.

Friendship Heights[]

Main article: Friendship Heights

Friendship Heights is a large apartment complex/metro station located on the northern outskirts of Washington, D.C. It grants access to Tenleytown/Friendship station (and via the metro, to Galaxy News Radio).


Main article: Springvale

The ruins of Springvale town are located west of Washington, D.C. in the Capital Wasteland. Springvale school, Megaton and Vault 101 are nearby to the ruins. Raiders have established themselves in the nearby Springvale School where they prey on caravans and wastelanders, and attempt to dig an underground entrance into the Vault in order to raid it. After the battle between forces of the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel at the Jefferson Memorial, the Apostles of the Holy Light establish the Holy Light Monastery in the town.

Metro system[]

Main article: Metro

An extensive transit network, providing service to Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. Complemented by an above-ground network of City Liner buses, the network of stations and rail lines were advertised as a faster, more convenient, cleaner commuter option.[4]

After the war, the metro network tunnels provide the means for traveling between the districts of D.C. and its neighboring communities even if above ground routes are unavailable. The stations also serve to shelter both raiders and wastelanders alike, alongside dangers such as super mutants, feral ghouls, and pre-War protectrons that still actively patrol, attacking anyone that does not have a valid metro ticket.[5]



Washington, D.C. appears in Fallout 3, and is mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas, in Fallout 4,[17] its add-ons Automatron,[18] Far Harbor, and Nuka-World,[19] in Fallout 76, and its updates Wild Appalachia, Nuclear Winter, and Wastelanders.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Washington, D.C. is based on the real world location of the same name, bearing many similar locations and landmarks.
  • The city was planned for mention in the canceled Van Buren.[20]




  1. Paige's journal, entry 1
  2. Ghoul's note 1; Ghoul's note 2
  3. After the quest The Waters of Life, this location is removed from the Fallout 3 map once the Enclave takes over Project Purity.
  4. "Ride the metro today, and avoid the city's growing pollution and congestion. Our extensive lines will get you anywhere you want to go, with half the holdups."
    (DCTA advertisement)
  5. Fallout 3 loading screen: "The only way to reach the Super Mutant-occupied D.C. ruins is by traveling underground, usually through the abandoned Metro tunnels."
  6. The Courier: "Wasn't Mexico City basically annihilated in the Great War?"
    Raul Tejada: "I don't think it was as hard hit as DC or Bakersfield, but it was bad enough. By the time we got there, the city was a radioactive ruin. Still, the city was full of looters, already forming into the beginnings of raider tribes. Crime was bad before the War, but now it was a nightmare. We were living like scavengers, scraping by on what little food we could find, always looking for medicine for my burns. And then, of course, the radiation started to kick in, turning me into this handsome devil you see before you."
    (Raul Tejada's dialogue)
  7. The 197 from DC
  8. Whitespring surveillance recording 5.2.4
  9. Paige's journal, entry 1
  10. Pioneer Scout terminal entries; pioneer badge exam terminal, Tadpole Exams, Codebreaker
  11. Pioneer Scout terminal entries; pioneer badge exam terminal, Tadpole Exams, Entomologist
  12. Edward Grath: "We finally reestablished comms with Mount Desert today and now you XO tells me you haven't checked in in a week. To boot, he says the sub's launch key is missing. I should've thrown you in a cell when I had the chance. The East Coast is gone and if the Democracy was out there, maybe we could've saved New York. Or Washington. Or Boston."
    (The Nucleus terminal entries; Captain Wabash's terminal, SUBJ: Where are you)
  13. Edward Grath: "I wouldn't concern yourself with it too much, Arnold. Virtual Strategic Systems is a vetted contractor. They already put together a fancy little set-up for the boys down in DC."
    (The Nucleus terminal entries; Captain Wabash's terminal, SUBJ: VR System)
  14. Elizabeth Chambers - 20771019
  15. Survey markers
  16. Stanley's note
  17. Neighbor: "It's gone... our home... Everything we had..."
    Neighbor: "My mother and father down in D.C... Oh god, honey, what if they didn't make it?"
    Vault-Tec staff: "I know this is a difficult time, but Vault-Tec will be with you every step of the way. You'll thrive here."
    (male neighbor's, female neighbor's, female Vault-Tec staff's, female Vault-Tec doctor's dialogue) Note: This conversation can be overheard during the quest War Never Changes.
  18. RobCo Sales & Service Center terminal entries; chief engineer's terminal; Maintenance Issue 09008112-AB
  19. Bradberton's office terminal entries; Bradberton's terminal, Nuka-World Mail System, Incoming Mail KL332NWC
  20. Maxson Bunker design documents; Page 3: "In the year 2067, Senator Todd Peterson decided to build a secret bunker to house himself and his family should war break out. Senator Peterson was a wealthy man in his own right, but lacked the funds necessary for such a project. Through secret dealings with Poseidon Oil and a covert branch of the government known as the Enclave, the final funding for the project was attained. A construction sight was chosen in southern Colorado and work began. Ten years after the construction was completed, war did indeed break out. Senator Peterson was in Washington DC at the time and, much to his chagrin, was taken completely by surprise. The senator made a desperate attempt to gather his family and reach the bunker, but his small plane never arrived. The bunker might have remained lost were it not for a surviving member of the senator's family, Ben Schilling."


  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide p. 432: "18.06 REILLY'S RANGERS COMPOUND":
    "Growing up in the ruins of Washington D.C. without parents, Reilly encountered a military man who took her in and taught her everything there was to know about combat, tactics and survival . When he died 12 years later, she carried his body all the way to Arlington Cemetery, and gave him the best military burial she could. Four years ago at 26, she founded Reilly's Rangers, and began a massive mapping exercise. Currently, she has suffered severe wounds, and is in a coma, somewhere near the Ghoul stronghold of Underworld. Before she meets the Lone Wanderer, her team was held up near Vernon Square by a large pack of super mutants where she was injured and nearly killed when she attempted to escape. The Lone Wanderer can assist her in her recovery, as well as finding and rescuing her team."
    (Tour of the Capital Wasteland)