Easily, this is the monument that you'll see when you get onto the Mall in DC. If you have the patience, this will offer you the best view around. Otherwise, it is a landmark, that works for a focus of going East, West, North South, to see the entire Mall for its Museums, Monuments and other landmarks. Many things are within walking distance from here.
The Washington Monument is an obelisk that stands 555 ft. (169 m.) over the Mall. A lift takes you up to the top in 1 minute and 10 seconds where you can observe the city from all 4 sides. On 23 August 2011, a 5.8 earthquake damaged the Monument and it was closed to the public for a long time after that.
Located on the National Mall is this tall obelisk, a monument dedicated to the first President of the United States.
Viewed from all directions around D.C. the Washington Monument truly is a magnificent sight. The obelisk reaches a height of 550 feet and is surrounded by 50 American flags.
I didn't get a chance to visit inside the monument as you need to arrive very early to snag one of the few entrance tickets given out.
Because of an unexpected earthquake August 23, 2011, when we visited in 2013, the Washington Monument was enclosed completely in scaffolding.
The monument is now open to visitors
Free Tickets - The Washington Monument Lodge, located along 15th Street, opens at 8:30 a.m. for distribution of free, same day, timed tickets on a first-come first-served basis. One person may obtain up to six tickets as well as request their preferred ticket time. All visitors (including children ages 2+) must have a ticket to enter the Washington Monument.During peak season, tickets run out quickly. Be advised that many visitors form a line to wait for the ticket window to open long before the ticket window opens
You must go to the top of the Washington Monument . Tickets are required and can be purchased in advance. Free tickets can be obtained for the same day from the kiosk at the bottom of the hill from the monument at 15th Street and Jefferson Drive. We had no problems or no waiting to go up the monument but it was in February so not too many visitors at this time of the year. The kiosk is open from 8:30am - 4:30pm and distributed on the first come, first serve basis. The monument itself is open from 9am - 4:45pm.
There's a few websites with info:
For online reservations (cost US$1.50 per ticket) will call only:
The Washington Monument probably would have rated as my favorite had our view from the top not been fogged in (be aware of sky conditions before you ride the elevator up). Before I met my wife she took a trip with her family to D.C. and was able to go up to the top at dusk, just as the city was aglow with lights!
UPDATE: May, 2014 ~ The Washington Monument repair and restoration work has been completed and the Monument is now open to the public.
Shortly after arriving in the Washington, D.C., our bus driver let us off on Independence Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets. Nearby stands one of the most widely recognized monuments in the country -- the towering obelisk known as the "Washington Monument."
The initial inspiration to honor the country's first president, George Washington, was proposed by Congress in 1783 but it wasn't until Washington's death in 1799, that momentum for its construction in earnest took hold. As is the case with many important works, a monument design competition decided the eventual architect which was Robert Mills. His successor for the project was Lt. Col. Thomas L. Casey who altered Mill's original vision for the monument. The advancement of the construction faltered at times because of lack of funds, and most assuredly by the Civil War between the states.
Constructed largely of white marble and granite quarried from states from Maryland to Maine, the monument's height is recorded as 555, 5 1/8ft. When it was built between 1848 and 1884, it was considered the tallest structure in the world. There are 896 steps leading to the observation level with a magnificent view. Also worth seeing are the 193 memorial stones in the interior walls which were gifts of states, cities, individuals, societies and countries from around the world!
On August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia approximately 85 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. severely damaged the monument. Recently surfaced video shows what was happening in the Monument stairwell as the earthquake was occurring, and shows visitors scrambling down the stairs. The monument was thereafter closed to the public at that time as damage assessments were made and repairs were planned. Ironically, a restoration project had only just been completed in 2000. As you can see in the accompanying photo, the monument was surrounded by scaffolding once again.
It is important for visitors to know that they will still be required to obtain FREE but timed tickets for admission. These tickets can be obtained at the "Washington Monument Lodge" on 15th Street. Lodge hours are 9:00am to 10:00pm with the last tour time at 9:45pm ( May to September); 9:00am to 5:00pm with the last tour time 4:45pm the rest of the year. Center entry restrictions apply. Reserved tickets can be obtained online but a service charge per ticket will apply. At the Washington Monument Lodge, you'll also find an interesting bookstore selling books on history, gifts, toys and collectibles.
Rounding the walkway southwest you will find the "Survey Lodge" which serves as a Park Ranger Station. There's you'll find a friendly Park Ranger who will answer all your questions, give you maps, directions and other information of surrounding attractions and there are free, clean restrooms.
From the Monument, it was a short walk to our next stop, so follow me to The United States Holocaust Museum.
Somehow it looked huge when you saw it. When "Lady Liberty" was smaller than we thought, this one was bigger than we thought.
In many photos just some months ago it has been covered with scaffoldings after some earth shake, but now there was only few smaller ones left. I don´t know if you would have got in allready, since I´m not so keen to high places, and we didn´t check.
For some reason this place allways brings the movie "Forrest Gump" to my mind, and I was hoping to see the pool full of water and have nice photos by the water to the obelisk. But the pool was empty! I don´t know if it is allways empty at winter, but it was quite a suprise! Too bad, but couln´t help that. There was tankers with hosepipes next to it, so maybe they were strating to fill those again. This was at the first whole week at march.
It took a long time but it got there in the end. For twenty years after the first stone was laid in 1848 it was merely a stump. Twenty years after that it was finally built - becoming the tallest building in the world. For a year. After that it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower. If only it could have been built sooner.
The problem was always money. They started building the monument with just $87,000 dollars hoping the construction itself would attract more donations. But they dried up. In desperation the planners called on the people of America to donate stone - to save costs and generate interest. This pulled in stones from states all over the US, even the Ryukyu kingdom, an island chain now part of modern day Japan, donated stone.
These stones were useless for the outside of the tower, because they were all made of different shades. So instead they were placed on the inside. Some bore inscriptions, like one sent all the way from Wales: "Fy iaith, fy ngwlad, fy nghenedl Cymru – Cymru am byth" (my language, my land, my nation of Wales). Even the external stones today are not uniformly white - the lower third, the original stump, is a different shade to the rest. That's because they could never find again, after a twenty year break, the exact same stone they had originally used.
Maybe waiting would have been a better idea after all.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Washington, this is the tallest pure stone structure and the largest obelisk in the world. (169.294 meters, 555 feet). It honors the first President of the Republic, George Washington.
Visiting the monument-
You can get tickets by reserving online, though this carries a non-refundable fee.
Otherwise, you can get tickets at the lodge adjoining the Monument. These are free on a first-come first served basis. Lines are usually pretty long, so start early!
***there is a security screening****
There are no bathrooms in the Monument. Use the lodge on 15th street.
You will ride the elevator up. Then once you are done you will have to go down a few sets of stairs until the 490 foot level. arrangements are available for people with limited mobility.
***great place to take pictures****
I don't know if they will let you go down the stairs all the way anymore, I remember doing that when i was a teenager. I know they have limited that in recent years because too many out of shape people tried to go down the stairs and had to have the rangers or emergency personnel come and get them.
Washington Monument National Park. A structure on the Washington Mall. It is over five hundred feet tall, built in the nineteenth century in honor of our first president, George Washington. In shape it is an obelisk — a four-sided shaft with a pyramid at the top.
Dedicated in 1885 and opened to the public in 1888 the 555-foot marble obelisk was built in starts and stops due to lack of funding and one time because of Civil War.
There appears to be a “water mark/line” about a third of the way up, actually, they ran out of the first type of granite and had to use another.
Take the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument for a spectacular view of the city's most famous sites.
Due to damage from a nearby 5.8 earthquake on August 23, 2011, the Washington Monument is closed. You can still see it, just can't go up the elevator yet. Before you go to D.C. chech with the Washington Monument's News Release page.
At the opposite end of the monumental core stood the Washington Monument, anchoring the two axes of power--the Capitol and the White House. However, the Monument had been built a few hundred yards off the White House's sight lines.
Update- July 10,2012
Local news stations reported that the Washington Monument will remain closed to visitors through 2014. Apparently the damage from the earthquake was far more substantial than originally thought.
The Washington Monument remains closed to visitors until further notice. Recently, TV news showed engineers rappelling down the monument, checking the stones in detail with small hammers. No further information has been released about structural damage. Because of the large number of visitors this monument receives the authorities are being as careful as possible before deciding to reopen the monument.
Engineers found at least 4 "significant" cracks in the Washington Monument. The Monument remains closed and no word has been given about how long it will be closed or when the repairs might take place.
The Washington Monument is closed indefinitely as a result of the August 23, 2011 earthquake that affected this area. New organizations report that structural engineers found a crack in the monument and have closed it in the interests of public safety.
an outside engineering firm will further study the crack and implement solutions.
at this point nobody knows how long the monument will be closed