How To Visit the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is a major tourist attraction in the United States capital.  Finished in 1884, the Egyptian-like obelisk towers over the federal lands of Washington, D.C.  On a clear day, you can see thirty miles in each direction.  Most visitors snap aerial photographs of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

A state-of-the-art elevator takes visitors to the top from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.  Hours may shorten during the fall and winter months.  For tickets, you can call the U.S. Park Service main reservations line at 1.877.444.6777. Specify the Washington Memorial and the date of your visit.  Make sure to include children in the ticket count. A $1.50 per ticket handling fee is the only charge.  Tickets may be picked up the day of your visit from the will-call desk of the U.S. Park Service booth on the Memorial grounds.  For free tickets, you may visit the booth daily from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  However, during the busy season, tickets run out fast.  Lines may form as early as 7 a.m. in the summer.

Parking is limited in the area.  The Metro system is the best and cheapest way to see the federal monuments.  You can pick up the trains in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs as well as the city itself. Take the blue line to the main Smithsonian stop, and take the mall exit escalator.

You will come out facing the U.S. Capitol building. Turn around and you are several hundred feet from the Washington Memorial.

While visiting the Washington Monument, you will want to take time to walk over to the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial, all of which are on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial.  You can also stroll over to the President Roosevelt Memorial or the Jefferson Memorial.  If you have time, visit the many Smithsonian Museums, the National Art Museum, the National Botanical Gardens and two outdoor art parks.  Everything is free and no tickets are needed.  Museums generally close at 5 p.m.

Due to security and health reasons, the staircase of the Washington Memorial is basically off-limits. However, tourists may arrange to see the interior of the Memorial.  To do so, contact the Park Service at least a month in advance.  Then you'll have the chance to walk down the Monument's 897 stairs just as people did before the elevator was installed.


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