Washington Monument

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by lgarcia45 on July 1, 2005

Currently, the area around the monument is undergoing renovation and construction. The only way to approach the base of the structure is to obtain a ticket at the national park kiosk (clearly marked). Do know that tickets are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at, I believe, 8:00 or 8:30am. They go fast! You are better served by logging on the NPS website and securing your ticket this way. You can select a date/time convenient to you. We secured ours about 6 weeks out. If you plan your visit during the popular summer tourist season, get your tickets ASAP. A small convenience fee may apply (well worth it).

The monument offers the best views of the city. New high-speed elevators whisk you up to the observation level, where four windows offer spectacular views in each direction. It’s about the only way to see the Pentagon in its entirety. Planes will, at that point in their approach/takeoff from Reagan National, be lower than you. The views of the Lincoln Memorial to the West, White House to the North, and Capitol/Mall to the East are picture-postcard-perfect. Look up while your here and note the way the tip is tapered. The entire structure is composed of marble, and on the way down, your elevator will pause, and the operator will point out the many memorial stones submitted by each state and territory.

Waiting in line and security takes more time than the actual visit, and the whole thing should last 1 to 1 1/2 hours start to finish. The NPS is also adamant about certain rules regarding food and drink; in a word, no food and only water is allowed in clear bottles, the rational being that years upon years of minor spills lead to problems renovation (paid for in part by Target) had to overcome. There are stairs up the 55 stories, but you will not be allowed to use them. If you cannot be denied, a once-a-week tour on Sunday led by a park ranger descends down the steps, with stops at the major commemorative stones, including the million-dollar jasper job given by Alaska and the hunk of petrified wood sent by Arizona.

Washington Monument
Near the Center of the National Mall
Washington, D.C., 20024
(202) 426-6841


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