The Washington DC Memorials and Monuments are a destination all by themselves. What’s even better is that you can walk easily and comfortably between them.
To walk the loop of memorials below, you can easily walk for 2-3 miles. From the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol is 2 miles (straight line). Much of the paths are lined with trees which provide welcome shade in the summer months.
If you time your trip during the Spring months (March/April), you might be lucky enough to witness the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms. In 1912, the people of Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees to Washington, DC as a gift of friendship. Today they are a National attraction and sight to behold if you’re lucky enough to get here in that 2 week window that they bloom!
The tallest and most prominent feature of the Washington, DC skyline, the Washington Monument is also the tallest stone structure and obelisk in the world. In fact, it was the tallest structure anywhere on the globe from its completion in 1849 to 1889 (when Eiffel Tower was completed). Tickets are free for tours and entrance into the monument itself, but you’ll want to reserve them early due to their popularity.
This memorial is a beautiful tribute honoring the 16th President of the United States and architect of the Nation we’ve become. President Lincoln sits in his chair facing the Capitol – 2 miles away across the reflecting pool and National Mall. The walls are inscribed with his 2nd inaugural address and critical Gettysburg speech.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial:
Dedicated to the 3rd President of the United States and one of our founding fathers, the Jefferson Memorial has been in its prominent location along the tidal basin since 1943. This is one of our favorite Washington DC Memorials, partly because of the tidal basin and its natural attraction. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the cherry blossoms, you’ll definitely want to schedule some time to walk around the basin and take it all in.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial:
Dedicated to our 32nd President and the 12 years of our history over which he presided, this memorial has 4 outdoor rooms, a waterfall, tributes to the First Lady (& even first dog), The Great Depression, Fireside chats, and more.
Korean War Veterans Memorial:
Dedicated to the more than 62,000 dead and missing Korean War Veterans, this memorial was completed in 1992 and consists of a squad of soldiers on patrol. These 7-foot-high soldiers represent all 4 branches of services.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial:
Completed in 1982, this memorial is visited by more than 3 million people each year. Many, many visitors have been personally scarred by the Vietnam War and come to pay their respects to the 58,195 killed and missing soldiers whose names are written on the wall. It represents a tough period of American history and helps us to never forget that “Freedom Is Not Free”.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial:
One of the newest Washington DC Memorials, the martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated in August 2011. This 4-acre tribute is the only one dedicated to a a National hero that was neither a president nor war hero. It has many of his quotes and speeches, reminders of a tough civil rights movement time and a critical period of our Nation’s growth.
World War II Memorial:
Completed in 2004, this memorial is dedicated to the 404,800 men and women that died serving our nation and protection of our freedom in the 2nd World War. The 56 pillars represent their States and Territories of origin and serve as a reminder of the heavy price paid by our Nation to be free.
The Washington DC Memorials and the National Mall are free, open to everyone, and very much worth spending time to appreciate. They represent so much of where America has been, what we’ve become as a Nation, and the future of what we hope to be.