on March 4, 2006
My only memories of my first trip to DC, when I was 6, was going to the top of the Washington Monument and knocking over a cardboard Bill Clinton. Since then I have been back to DC several times, but have not been able to get to the top, due to various reasons such as its renovation and not arriving early enough for tickets. The weekend my brother and Dad came to visit me while studying in DC, I decided to make sure we went to the top, as the only other time my brother had been to DC was during its renovation. They got tickets in the morning for us to go to the top after my classes on Friday.In my opinion, to truly experience DC, you must see it from above. It is also the only way to truly see the compass layout of important sites with the Washington monument at its center, and the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Capitol, and Jefferson Memorial as the four points. We were lucky enough to go on a day that was clear, and we were able to see the whole city very well.To go to the top of the Washington Monument you must get a timed entry ticket. You can get them for free by arriving early enough in the day before they run out. Tickets run out early in the day, depending on the demand. In the winter it is not as much of a problem, but in the seasons when there are more tourists, such as in the summer, they run out early. I believe you can also get timed entry tickets online for a small service charge.Being the tallest structure in DC, the Washington Monument offers the best view of the city, but if you are unable to get a ticket to enter you can get a good view from the Old Post Office Pavilion. Also, for those in wheelchairs, it can be hard to see out the windows. My brother was given a large periscope to help, but it still was hard to get it high enough to view anything but the sky. For those that can stand with support there is a bar and steps in front of the windows, which he used to get a view. It just takes some patience to wait for people to move away from the windows with stairs, of which there is one for each side. The other window just has a bar, which works fine for taller people.
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