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FAQ: Monuments & Memorials

Jefferson and Washington Monuments at Sunset

How can I tour DC’s monuments and memorials?

Touring DC’s iconic attractions

When you come to DC, especially if you’re a first-time visitor, it’s likely that our world-famous monuments and memorials will be at the top of your must-see list. Most of these major attractions are located on the National Mall, which extends from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, with many of them running along Constitution Avenue.

Many of the monuments and memorials are open 24-hours a day, 365-days-a-year and you do not need to make advance reservations. These include the Lincoln MemorialJefferson MemorialNational World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the FDR Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

These National Park Service (NPS)-run memorials are usually staffed by NPS Rangers who can answer your questions from 9:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Rangers also conduct various tours and special programming throughout the year. Visit the National Mall calendar page for more information.

Of course, you can also take in all that the National Mall has to offer on the open-top Big Bus Tours. Enjoy 24 or 48-hour hop-on, hop-off day tours of the city's iconic landmarks.

The US Capitol Building on a Clear Summer Day

Tours that require tickets

There are several major attractions that do require advance tickets. These tickets are usually free or have a minimal charge. If you want to ride to the top of the 555-foot Washington Monument for stunning, 365-degree views of the nation’s capital, you’ll need to get tickets. There are two ways to secure tickets. Free, same-day, timed tickets are distributed every morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street. These are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and go quickly. You’ll want to get in the line early, especially in the warmer months. You can also order advance tickets online. You’ll be charged a $1.50 service fee on each ticket. Visit the NPS’s Washington Monument page for more information. However, at this time, the Monument is undergoing repairs - check this page for updates before you plan your visit.

Tours of the U.S. Capitol also need to be arranged in advance. Free reservations can be made via the website. Guided tours begin at the Capitol Visitor Center and include a 13-minute intro film, along with visits to the Crypt, the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall. Visitors can also request a staff-led tour through their Senator or Congress person.

The Front Steps of the Supreme Court

When court is not in session, visitors can take free, self-guided tours of the Supreme Court. Trained docents are on-hand to give courtroom lectures every 30-minutes from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Visitors are also invited to attend oral arguments when court is in session. These seats are extremely limited. Visitors must wait in line the morning of a courtroom session. See the Visitor’s Guide to Oral Arguments page for more information.

Admission to both the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (see where U.S. dollars are made!) and the National Archives (home of the original U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights) are free and open to the public. In busier months, you’ll need to queue in an outdoor line to get inside.

Please visit our touring the White House guide for more information on booking a tour (Note: these tours must be booked well in advance).

Looking for other tour options in Washington, DC? Find out even more ways you can explore the District.