The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk-shaped monument located in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the first President of the United States, George Washington. Standing at a height of 555 feet and 5 inches (169.294 meters), it is the tallest freestanding stone structure in the world and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States. The monument was designed by Robert Mills, a prominent architect of the 19th century, and construction began in 1848. However, due to various reasons, such as lack of funding and the Civil War, it was not completed until 1884.

The Washington Monument is made of marble with granite backing and is adorned with several inscriptions, including "Laus Deo" (Latin for "Praise be to God"), on the aluminum cap at its very top. Visitors can take an elevator to the observation deck at the 500-foot level, which offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas. There is also a small museum located on the 490-foot level.

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Why visit the Washington Monument?

  1. Enjoy stunning views. The observation deck at the top of the Washington Monument offers panoramic views of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Potomac River, and many more. It is a great spot for taking photos and admiring the beauty of the city.
  2. Learn about the history of the United States. The Washington Monument is a tribute to one of the most iconic figures in American history. You can learn about George Washington, the city of Washington, D.S., and the monument itself through historic photographs and other exhibits in the museum.
  3. Experience a unique architectural wonder. The Washington Monument is an impressive piece of engineering and architecture. Its sleek design and grand size make it a must-see attraction for anyone interested in these fields.
  4. Save your money. Unlike many other popular tourist destinations, admission to the Washington Monument is free, and you can take advantage of this opportunity to learn and explore without breaking the bank. There is only a $1.00 fee per person to cover reservation service if you book your free ticket in advance.
  5. Combine with other attractions. The Washington Monument is located on the National Mall, which is home to several other attractions, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian museums. You can combine your visit to the monument with other activities in the area to make the most of your trip to Washington, D.C.

Best places to visit near the Washington Monument

  • Lincoln Memorial. Located on the National Mall, this memorial is a must-visit attraction. It's a large monument dedicated to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and features a statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation.

  • National World War II Memorial. Situated just west of the Washington Monument, this memorial honors the millions of people who served in the armed forces during World War II, including the more than 400,000 who died.

  • National Museum of American History. Located just a short walk from the Washington Monument, this museum is one of the Smithsonian museums and features exhibits on American history and culture, including the Star-Spangled Banner, the First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns, and the original Kermit the Frog puppet.

  • Tidal Basin. Situated just south of the Washington Monument, the Tidal Basin is a man-made reservoir surrounded by cherry blossom trees that bloom in the spring. It's a great spot for a picnic or a relaxing stroll.

  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Located just a short walk from the Washington Monument, this museum is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust and its implications for today’s world. It's a sobering but important visit.

  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Located on the National Mall, this museum features exhibits on the history of aviation and space exploration, including the Wright brothers' plane and the Apollo 11 command module.

  • National Gallery of Art. Located about a mile from the Washington Monument, this gallery is one of the world's premier art museums. It features works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Vincent van Gogh.
  • 1
    Why is the Washington Monument 555 feet?

    This height was chosen for several reasons.

    Firstly, the monument was originally designed to be a tribute to George Washington, the first President of the United States, and it was felt that a monument of such grand proportions would be a fitting tribute to his legacy.

    Secondly, the height of 555 feet was the tallest height that could be achieved at the time of its construction without compromising the stability of the structure. The original design called for a 600-foot height, but the engineers were concerned that the existing foundations wouldn’t support such a grand obelisk. They trimmed the monument’s height to 555 feet, making it ten times the width of the base.

    Finally, the height of 555 feet was also chosen to make the monument the tallest structure in the world at the time, surpassing the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, which was previously the world's tallest structure at 515 feet (157 meters) tall.
  • 2
    What is the Washington Monument made of?
    The Washington Monument is made of marble, granite, and blue gneiss. The lower portion of the monument's exterior is constructed of white marble from Maryland, while the upper two-thirds of the structure was completed using marble from another quarry. That's why, looking at the monument, you can distinguish slightly different colors.
  • 3
    Why are there 50 flags around the Washington Monument?
    The tradition of displaying flags around the base of the monument began in 1920 when 48 American flags (one for each state that existed at the time) were raised on flag poles on Washington's birthday. Initially, the flags were flown only on special occasions, such as Independence Day, but now you can see the flags all year round, 24 hours a day.