Washington DC 20006
Built as a tribute to George Washington, the nation's first president, the Washington Monument is one of the most recognized and visited buildings in the world. Constructed of marble, granite and gneiss, the monument is 555 feet (169 meters) tall and was the tallest structure in the world when it opened in 1888. It remains the tallest building in Washington, D.C. and visitors can ride an elevator to the top to take in views of the district as well as visit an exhibit dedicated to the construction of the monument.
Parking and public transportation at Washington Monument
Visitors to the monument are advised to take Metrorail or bike. Street parking is extremely limited and parking restrictions are strictly enforced. Pay parking garages can be found just off the National Mall. The nearest Metrorail station is Smithsonian (orange/blue/silver line) and the nearest Capital Bikeshare location is at Jefferson Drive and 14th Street NW.
Best and worst times to go to Washington Monument
Spring and fall offer the best combination of natural beauty and warm weather. Cherry blossoms typically bloom in late March to early April and provide a spectacular backdrop. Or, come in September and October when the crowds are thinner. Avoid the summer months when the region often experiences high humidity and temperatures that can hit 100 degrees.
Admission to Washington Monument
Tours of the Washington Monument are offered every day (except July 4 and December 25) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Between mid-May and Labor Day there are extended summer hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The last available tour to the top of the monument is one hour before closing. Entrance is free but tickets are required. The grounds of the monument are open 24 hours.
Must see/do at Washington Monument
Take the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument for the best views of the district as well as an exhibit about the making of the monument. Tickets can be reserved in advance for up to six per individual or 60 for groups. A limited number of day-of tickets are available each morning starting at 8:30 a.m. from the ticket window of Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street NW between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Tickets sell out quickly so get in line early.
Other places to visit near Washington Monument
The monument stands at the center of the National Mall and is a good starting point for visiting the numerous monuments and the Smithsonian museums. Just to the north and west, visit the World War II, Lincoln and Vietnam memorials. To the east is the United States Capitol and the museums of the Smithsonian Institution.
Insider tip for visitors to Washington Monument
To avoid the crowds during the peak tourist seasons in spring and summer visit the Washington Monument at night. The monument, along with the other memorials on the Mall, is illuminated at night and offers fabulous views that are one of the district's best-kept secrets.
Author's bio: Jennifer E. Cooper is a writer and sometimes artist who has lived in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade. She is currently writing a book about her 3,000-mile walk across the United States.