The Washington Monument dominates the United States Capital skyline as a symbolic tribute to George Washington's military leadership, humble statesmanship, and Presidential fortitude and wisdom. Constructed from marble, granite and gneiss, the Monument is the world's tallest free-standing stone structure, towering more than 555 feet (169 meters).
Plans for a national monument began as early as 1783 when the Congress passed a resolution to erect an equestrian statue to honor George Washington. Construction started in 1848 and faced continuing construction challenges due to political turmoil and a lack of funds. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the Monument’s construction in 1884, and along with the Washington National Monument Society, opened it to the public in 1888.
Visitors enter the Monument and then ascend via elevator to the 500-foot level to behold sweeping views of the city. Captivating exhibits on the 500- and 490-foot levels illuminate the contrast between historic photographs and modern views, while inviting you to learn more about Washington — the man, the engineering marvel of the Monument, and the design of the city named in his honor. On descent, visitors have the unique experience of viewing selected commemorative stones expressing the sentiments of generations past awed by Washington’s impressive leadership.
Know Before You Go:
- Operating Hours: The Washington Monument is open year-round 7 days per week from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (last available tour ticket at 4:00 p.m.) except for part of July 3rd, as well as all day July 4th and December 25th. The National Park Service will extend summer operating hours this year. Beginning May 12, the Memorial will open from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. through Labor Day (last available tour ticket at 9:00 p.m.).
- Unexpected Closure: The National Park Service may close or suspend access to the Monument due to inclement weather, safety concerns, or other unforeseen events. Recreation.gov will do its best to reschedule your visit. Remember, there are no refunds for the service fee charged by Recreation.gov.
- Wait Area: Ticketholders awaiting Monument entry gather at the plaza bench lines near the Monument entrance. Ticketholders should prepare themselves for potential exposure to the sun, wind, ambient temperatures, and storm precipitation. No restrooms, drinking water, food, or other amenities exist within the Washington Monument. The Washington Monument Lodge holds the nearest restroom facilities just east of the Monument on 15th Street.
- Accessibility: Washington Monument is accessible to all. Wheelchairs are available for loan within the Monument.
- Restricted Items: The National Park Service provides no storage facilities at the Monument and prohibits the entry of the following items: animals (except certified guide dogs for the disabled); purses and bags whose size exceeds of 18x16x8 inches; suitcases and large backpacks; firearms, knives, and explosive or highly flammable substances; strollers; food and drink (except bottled water and baby formula in clear plastic containers); mace, pepper spray, and other aerosol cans; and additional items as directed by the United States Park Police.
- Tickets: Entry tickets are required for all visitors over the age of two. The visit takes approximately 1 hour, including wait time.
- Reserved Tickets: Though Washington Monument tickets are free; reservation and mailing services are available through Recreation.gov for a fee; these fees are NON-REFUNDABLE. All Recreation.gov orders are final. Tickets reserved within 10 days of the visit must be picked up at the Washington Monument Lodge Will Call window. Unclaimed will call tickets are not redistributed.
- First-Come/First-Served Tickets: Daily tickets are issued on a first-come/first-served basis every morning starting at 8:30 a.m. During spring and summer months, tickets traditionally go very quickly for the entire day and the line can begin forming before the ticket window opens. First-come/first-served daily tickets are picked up at the ticket window of Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street NW between Constitution and Independence Avenues.
- Arrival Time: Visitors must arrive at the specified time listed on their ticket. If ticket holders are late, NAMA staff has discretion to limit or deny Monument entry should such entry deny timely access to the succeeding time block ticket holders or interfere with Monument closure.
- Number of Tickets: Individuals may request a maximum of 6 tickets. Groups may request a maximum of 60 tickets. Tour guides must present a valid tour guide license. Schools and organizations must present a written request on their letterhead.
The Washington Monument is most easily accessed by Metrorail or bus. Visitors utilizing Metrorail should exit at the Smithsonian station and walk a short distance west to the monument (www.wamata.com
). Paid parking garages can be found around the downtown area outside of National Mall and Memorial Parks. Street parking is extremely limited. Parking and towing rules are strictly enforced.
Three major airports serve Washington: Ronald Reagan National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Airport. Reagan and Baltimore-Washington airports are served by rail and bus.
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