Top 10 Monuments in Washington, D.C.

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Washington is, indeed, unique among all. The brimming city holds 12 of Americans’ favorite architectural gems. You can easily ride on the voyage of America’s history from the majestic monuments surrounding the National Mall.

Most monuments include tributes to the brave soldiers who sacrificed for the nation.

The Top 10 among all are present in the list below:

Disclaimer: The provided list is purely based on the author’s perspective and does not foster manipulation of anyone’s point of view.

10. Washington Monument

Washington Monument
The Washington Monument became the tallest building in the world after its completion, but that is not the case at present.

National Mall, Central Washington

Robert Mills, Thomas Casey, U.S. Army Corps Engineer

1848-1854 and 1876-1884

The Washington Monument was built as a tribute to George Washington, the first president of America, whose greatness in founding the United States is indispensable.

It stands east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial. The foundation consists of bluestone gneiss and granite for construction. It adapts the hollow Egyptian obelisk shape and has a column surmounted by a pyramidion.

The white marble is of three different types: lower third from Baltimore County and Maryland, narrowed zone marble from Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and Cockeysville Marble for the topmost part.

The interior has iron stairs spiraling up the walls with an elevator at the center, supported by four iron columns.

The monument is surrounded by 50 American flags, representing the 50 states. It stands at a height of approximately 555 feet and is recorded as the world’s tallest stone structure.

The entry tickets are free, but they charge a non-refundable $1.00 per advance booking and follow the first-come, first-serve principle.

Further, the visiting hours are daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM except for July 4 and December 25, when the Monument remains closed.

9. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial building
Thomas Jefferson Memorial is the most famous monument in Washington, and every visitor loves it.

Ohio Drive, S.W., National Mall, Washington

John Russell Pope, Daniel Paul Higgins, Otto Reinhold Eggers

1939-1943

Influenced by neoclassical architecture, the Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial dedicated to one of the American founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who was also the third president of the United States.

The exterior of the Memorial features a circular, shallow dome, an open-air structure with 26 Ionic columns arranged in a circular colonnade.

Apart from these, 12 other columns at the north support portico and 4 columns are present in each of the 4 openings.

Reminiscent of a Roman temple, the Jefferson Memorial is entirely made of white Imperial Danby marble from Vermont and surrounded by circular granite and marble steps.

The interior has a 19-foot-tall (4,500 kg) bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson standing in the center on a black Minnesota granite pedestal. The walls are carved with quotations from Jefferson’s writing.

As for the material, the interior consists of white Georgia marble with an axed finish and the floors are made of pink Tennessee marble.

Meanwhile, the Memorial is open 24*7 days and is free for visitors.

8. Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial Statue
Korean War Veterans Memorial is a tribute to the American veterans who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

SE of Lincoln Memorial, off Independence Ave., Washington

Cooper-Lecky Architects, Frank Gaylord, Louis Nelson

1992-1995

The Korean War Veterans Memorial memorializes the U.S. Army who joined the United Nations forces in Korea for the war from 1950 to 1953. President George H.W. Bush did the groundbreaking of the Memorial.

Meanwhile, President Bill Clinton and South Korean President Kim Youn Sam inaugurated it on the 42nd anniversary of the truce and ended the war.

The exterior comprises a Mural wall, column, United Nations wall, pool of remembrance, and wall of remembrance.

The mural wall is the central memorial part in a triangle form intersecting a circle, surrounded by highly polished “Academy Black” granite walls. The column contains 19 stainless steel statues of armed forces: 14 U.S. troops, 3 Marine Corps, 1 Navy Corpsman, and 1 Air Force Forward Air Observer.

Meanwhile, the United Nations wall has the names of 22 member states, including medical support that contributed to the war. As for the pool of remembrance, the granite wall lines the 30-foot-in-diameter circle inscribed with the numbers of wounded, killed, missing in action, and prisoners.

Later, the boundary of the Memorial saw an addition of a wall of remembrance, with the names of 36,634 Americans and 7,174 South Koreans who died in the war.

You can visit the Memorial every day all around the year for free of cost.

7. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial with the dog
President Bill Clinton dedicated the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial to honor the greatest President of the American Century.

West Potomac Park, Washington

Lawrence Halprin (primary), Robert Marquis, Leonard Baskin, Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Tom Hardy, George Segal

May 2, 1997

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is the second memorial dedicated to the 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the first presidential memorial depicting the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

The memorial comprises basic elements like water, stone, and landscaping to tell the story of his presidency.

Four outdoor rooms represent the terms Franklin D. Roosevelt served, with waterfalls taking a complex outlook as one moves from one room to another.

A single large drop depicts the economic crash leading to the Great Depression. Multiple stairstep drops indicate the Tennessee Valley Authority dam-building project. Chaotic falls at different angles represent World War II, a still pool for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, and a wide arrangement combining all four waterfalls represents Franklin’s presidency.

The memorial is accessible to visually impaired visitors as an area covers the tactile reliefs with braille writing.

Meanwhile, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bronze sculpture with his dog Fela is photographs inspired and located on the southwest side of the Tidal Basin.

You can visit the Memorial daily throughout the year without any entrance fees.

6. Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial statue
Lincoln Memorial is reminiscent of the Greek Doric Temple, built as a tribute to the 16th President Abraham Lincoln.

West End of National Mall, Washington

Henry Bacon, Daniel Chester French, Piccirilli brothers

1914-1922

The Lincoln Memorial, a neoclassical Masterpiece, honors the 16th President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln’s presidential tenure was regarded as the most influential.

The central attraction of the memorial is the Greek-style exterior, featuring Yule marble from Colorado. A peristyle of 36 fluted Doric columns, representing the 36 states union at the time of Lincoln’s death, surrounds the Memorial.

Two columns are present at the doorways behind the arcade, giving it a representation of ancient Greek architecture.

A frieze covers the top of the arcade, inscribed with the names of 36 states separated by double wreath medallions in bas-relief, while the attic frieze inscribes the names of 48 states at the time of memorial establishment.

The interior is divided into three chambers, with two rows comprising four Ionic columns. A mural by Jules Guerin surmounts each inscription, illustrating principles from Lincoln’s life.

The central attraction is a reflecting pool on the east side, with the 19-foot-tall Lincoln statue lying between the north and south chambers in the central hall.

Meanwhile, you do not need any reservations or fees to visit the Memorial, and it is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

5. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial under the clear sky
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is in a 4-acre area adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

1964 Independence Ave. SW, Washington

Lei Yixin, ROMA Design Group

2009-2011

The newly established Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial honors the Civil Rights Movement leader and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s first President.

It has a two-decade-long planning, fund-raising, and construction history. The memorial was the fourth to be dedicated to a non-president and the first African American honored with a memorial near the National Mall.

The memorial’s centerpiece is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s image emerging from a mountain, inspired by his words during his “I Have A Dream” speech referring to his Stone of Hope line, using a shrimp pink granite, standing 30 feet tall.

The centerpiece is made of 159 granite blocks, 80% of which were sculpted by Master Lei in his studio in China and the other 20% on-site in Washington.

To reach the centerpiece symbolizing the “Stone of Hope,” one shall pass through a narrow gap shouldered by granite slabs resembling the “mountain of despair.”

Another addition to the Memorial is the 450-foot-long granite inscription wall, which includes quotes and excerpts from King’s sermons and speeches.

Meanwhile, there is no charge for the visit, and it is open all year long.

4. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial with the view of Washington monument
Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the U.S. Army, who served in the Vietnam War.

5 Henry Bacon Dr. NW, Washington

Maya Lin, David Osler

November 13, 1982

In 2007, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was ranked tenth on America’s favorite architecture list. It is an example of minimalistic architecture that entirely highlights the brave American soldiers who died or went missing during the Vietnam War.

The 2-acre area initially consisted of 246 feet 9 inches long, two black granite walls engraved with the names of soldiers at the service. It was later accustomed by three soldiers’ statues in 1984 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in 1993.

You can see the Washington Monument from one wall point and the Lincoln Memorial pointed from another wall as the walls are in a wide V shape.

The bronze statues of the three servicemen add weight to the Memorial, which executes “the bonds of love and sacrifice present in the nature of men during war.”

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial has a figurative sculpture depicting three nurses treating a wounded soldier, where a woman sits on a sandbag, and two of them look at the sky for help.

You can enjoy the outstanding meaning and sculptures free of cost all year round.

3. U.S. Navy Memorial

U.S. Navy Memorial exterior
The U.S. Navy Memorial depicts the history of the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine.

Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington

Pierre L’Enfant

1977-1991

The U.S. Navy Memorial is a century-long dream that Pierre L’Enfant envisioned while designing Washington in 1775. However, it was not until 1977 that the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation was established to begin the construction.

The Memorial is a stunning plaza containing the largest map in the world, called Granite Sea, which is around 100 feet in diameter.

You can see the Granite Sea surrounded by low stone walls with 26 bas-relief sculptures inscribed with the history of sea services and the Navy.

Another addition is an iconic “The Lone Sailor,” representing all of the soldiers who joined the Navy in the past, present, and future to fulfill their patriotic duty.

The Memorial’s additional features are its fountains, pools, and flags. It is also the center where one can enjoy Gallery Deck, which reflects the Navy’s achievements over the centuries.

You can enjoy the visitor center any day from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

2. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial horse statue monuments in Washington
Ulysses S. Grant Memorial consists of the largest equestrian statue in the United States and is one of the most important sculptures in Washington.

West side of the U.S. Capitol, Washington

Henry Merwin Shrady, Edward Pearce Casey, Edmond Amateis, Sherry Fry

1902-1924

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial commemorates the 18th President of the United States, also famous as the American Civil War General.

It consists of the central 17-foot-2-inch high equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant on a 22.5-foot high marble pedestal decorated with bronze reliefs of infantry. Meanwhile, the entire Monument comprises Vermont marble and is 252 feet long.

Another striking feature of the monument is the four shorter pedestals surrounding the central piece. Each holds a bronze lion in calmness, guarding the U.S. and Army flags.

To the south, you can see the Artillery Group, which shows a caisson carrying three horses that pull three artillerymen.

You can visit the arena for free daily except during lunchtime when the Capitol grounds remain closed for an hour.

1. World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial night view
World War II Memorial had a famous engraving that said, “Kilroy was here.”

National Mall, Washington

Friedrich St. Florian, Raymond Kaskey, Nick Benson

April 29, 2004

The World War II Memorial memorializes the 16 million people from the United States Military during the war, more than 400K victims who died during the war and supported from home.

It became an instant hit because its design consisted of 56 granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two triumphal arches (43 feet) on opposite sides.

The northern arch has inscribed “Atlantic” while the southern one has “Pacific.” Meanwhile, you can see the names of 48 U.S. States of 1945 inscribed on the pillars and eight other states added later.

Further, small fountains grace the victory pavilion. A glance over the Rainbow Pool from the balcony of the victory pavilion captures a large field with gold stars on the west corner of the memorial.

One gold star symbolized 100 dead Americans during the war, so with over 4000 stars, it represents the loss the country suffered.

You can schedule your visit to the memorial for free at any time of the year.

Muskan Ghimire
Muskan Ghimire
Muskan Ghimire is an enthusiastic writer, editor, and blogger who likes to share updates on recent political, sports, and entertainment news. She has the writing and editing experience of more than two years. Over this time, she significantly enhanced her writing skills, crafting clear and engaging content. She has also accumulated in-depth knowledge in various niches, making her subject matter expert capable of editing with precision. With time, she has achieved SEO mastery, which lets her optimize content for search engines, improving visibility and ranking. Meanwhile, she has honed her communication skills, thanks to the continuous interactions with writers, bloggers, and show biz professionals, which led to new opportunities and collaborations.

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