Editors' pick

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial photo
(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Editorial Review

The Basics: Prominent on both the Washington skyline and the back of U.S. currency, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The striking marble monument is grand in stature, but its effect is quite humbling.

Background: Designed by architect Harry Bacon, the classical structure is lined with 36 Doric columns, and the facade is etched with the names of the 36 states in the union during Lincoln's presidency. The upper level frieze contains the names of the 48 states at the time the memorial was dedicated in 1922.

Visitor Experience: In the atrium at the top of the steps sits a 19-foot marble statue of Lincoln, designed by Daniel Chester French. Lincoln sits on a throne-like structure with a contemplative expression, his arms at his sides.

The east and west walls are engraved with passages from Lincoln's second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address. On the north and south walls are two massive murals by Jules Guerin, one an allegory of Truth and Justice, the other depicting the Angel of Truth freeing a slave.

Vital Details: The monument is open 24 hours a day, but rangers are only on hand to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Call 202-747-3420 for an audio tour that offers many programs on Lincoln, such as "The Life and Times of Lincoln the Man" and "The Gettysburg Address."

By Metro: From Foggy Bottom (Blue and Orange lines), walk southbound on 23rd Street to memorial.
By car: The memorial is on 23rd Street next to the Memorial Bridge. Parking is scarce. Ohio Drive may be your best bet.

(Updated March 9, 2012)