D.C. Visitors Guide: Memorials not to miss


Grand fountains and solemn statues celebrate FDR’s legacy. (Courtesy of Charles Sabin)
March 8, 2012

No visit to Washington would be complete without a visit to some of its awe-inspiring memorials and monuments. But seeing the popular monuments needn’t be a monumental hassle. Most don’t require advance planning or tickets, and they’re open every day of the year (check Web sites for hours, which often vary depending on the season).

If you’re visiting the Mall in the hopes of seeing several monuments in one day, be sure to wear comfortable shoes; some of the monuments are a hike from the closest Metro station. Park Service rangers are generally on-site along the Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. You also can download a free NPS app to your Android, iPhone or iPad (www.nps.gov/nama/photosmultimedia/app-page.htm) that provides interesting factoids.

Air Force Memorial

The stainless steel spires honor the service members who take to the skies. You can catch U.S. Air Force Band performances Fridays at 8 p.m. from June 1 through Aug. 31.

Info: 1 Air Force Memorial Dr., Arlington. 703-979-0674. www.airforcememorial.org.

Transit: Pentagon or Pentagon City Metro stations.

Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns and the burial site of President John F. Kennedy are popular destinations, but there’s much more to explore: President William Howard Taft, Maj. Walter Reed and boxer Joe Louis are among the other historic figures interred here. You can explore a map on the cemetery’s Web site or pick one up at the visitors center on Memorial Drive.

Info: 877-907-8585. www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.

Transit: Arlington Cemetery Metro station. Paid parking available off Memorial Drive.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Grand fountains and solemn statues celebrate FDR’s legacy.

Info: Ohio Drive SW. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/frde.

Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Nineteen stainless-steel statues of servicemen, etchings and a reflecting pool commemorate those who served in the “forgotten war.”

Info: South of Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/kowa.

Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.

Lincoln Memorial

The landmark with the oversize, seated 16th president also is where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. 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.”

Info: 23rd Street and the Mall. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/linc.

Transit: Foggy Bottom Metro station.

Marine Corps War Memorial

The great bronze structure honors the Marines who raised the U.S. flag at Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Sunset Parades take place at the memorial every Tuesday at 7 p.m. from June through August.

Info: North Meade Street, Arlington. 202-433-4173. www.marines.mil/unit/barracks/pages/warmemorial.aspx.

Transit: Rosslyn Metro station.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The most recent addition to the Mall is guaranteed to be on the to-do list of thousands.

Info: 1964 Independence Ave. SW. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/mlkm.

Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.

National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

The western facade of the Pentagon features 184 benches over pools of water to honor those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. As you walk through the park, call 202-741-1004 to choose from a 12- or 24-minute audio tour, or download the tour from the Web site.

Info: At the end of North Rotary Road and the south Pentagon parking lot. 301-740-3388. www.pentagonmemorial.org.

Transit: Pentagon Metro station. Get parking info at www.pentagonmemorial.org/plan/faq/getting-there.

National World War II Memorial

Expect a steady stream of folks stopping by the stoic columns that honor the war’s more than 400,000 fallen Americans.

Info: 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/nwwm.

Transit: Federal TriangleMetro station.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

The domed structure on the Tidal Basin honors our third president

Info: 900 Ohio Dr. SW. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/thje.

Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.

U.S. Navy Memorial

This outdoor plaza features ship masts, a giant rendering of the globe and a rim of friezes depicting chapters in U.S. naval history. Adjacent to the memorial is the Naval Heritage Center, which features Navy-related exhibits and films.

Info: 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-737-2300. 800-821-8892. www.navylog.org.

Transit: Archives-Navy Memorial Metro station.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The black granite wall is inscribed with more than 58,000 names of lost and fallen Vietnam War service members.

Info: Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive NW. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/vive.

Transit: Foggy Bottom or Smithsonian Metro stations.

Washington Monument

This 555-foot landmark is temporarily closed because of damage from an August 2011 earthquake. The National Park Service hopes to have construction on repairs underway in the fall, but until then you can walk by and stare up at its iconic architecture.

Info: 15th Street and the Mall. 202-426-6841. www.nps.gov/wamo.

Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.

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