The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial lies on the National Mall in Washington DC, on the edge of the Tidal Basin. The sprawling site comprises four distinct parts, portraying each of the 32nd president’s terms in office. Bronze sculptures and quotes engraved into the stone walls take visitors on a journey through FDR’s presidency and era.
The 7.5-acre (3-hectare) memorial, opened to the public in 1997, is a fitting tribute to a man who stressed the importance of the National Park Service, saying that the “country belongs to the people.” The memorial is one of the capital’s most popular and inviting, with waterfalls; engravings of 21 famous FDR quotes; sculptures of the president, the first lady, and their beloved dog; and depictions of the difficult days of the Great Depression.
Many Washington DC city and monuments tours take in the FDR Memorial. National Park Service Rangers offer various tours as well; check the NPS website for details.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The FDR Memorial is a must-see for those with a keen interest in presidential history.
- Entrance to the memorial is free.
- The statues are part of the memorial’s interactive nature. You may touch the statues but please do not climb or sit on them.
- Distances between locations on the National Mall can be a lot farther than anticipated, so wear comfortable shoes and carry water with you.
- Washington DC can have unpredictable weather. Dress appropriately for the climate and tote an umbrella.
- The FDR Memorial is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The former can be borrowed from the bookstore.
How to Get There
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is located along the National Mall’s Tidal Basin and easily reached by bus, on foot, or by Metrorail. The two nearest stops are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian (on the blue, orange, and silver lines), a few blocks from the memorial. Street parking is very limited, but there is designated visitor parking on Ohio Drive, between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. There is also handicapped parking available in front of the memorial on West Basin Drive.
When to Get There
The FDR Memorial is open to the public year-round. The best times to visit DC are in the spring and fall, when temperatures are generally mild and the summer crowds are not in full swing. Washington DC can experience extreme or unpredictable weather, so check the forecast and dress accordingly.
Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms
Every spring, DC celebrates the National Cherry Blossom Festival to commemorate the gift of cherry trees given to the nation’s capital in 1947 by Tokyo’s then-mayor Yukio Ozaki. The stunning pink blossoms reflected in the Tidal Basin are a sight to behold. Peak bloom is without a doubt the most beautiful time to visit the National Mall and the FDR Memorial, though this window varies from year to year and is quite fleeting. The buds generally open between the end of March and the first few days of April, but if possible check in advance to plan your visit.