Capitol Hill, aside from being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues. It is one of the oldest residential communities in Washington, and, with roughly 35,000 people in just under 2 square miles (5 km2), it is also one of the most densely populated.
As a geographic feature, Capitol Hill rises near the center of the District of Columbia and extends eastward. Pierre L'Enfant, as he began to develop his plan for the new Federal City in 1791, chose to locate the "Congress House" on the crest of the hill, facing the city, a site that L'Enfant characterized as a "pedestal waiting for a monument".
The Capitol Hill neighborhood today straddles two quadrants of the city, Southeast and Northeast, and a large portion is now designated as the Capitol Hill historic district. The name Capitol Hill is often used to refer to both the historic district and to the larger neighborhood around it. To the east of Capitol Hill lies the Anacostia River, to the north is the H Street corridor, to the south are the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Washington Navy Yard, and to the west are the National Mall and the city's central business district.