A 19-foot-tall (5.7-meter-tall) marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln dominates the Lincoln Memorial, situated at the edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington DC. The most visited National Park Service site in the city is an homage to the 16th president of the United States, who helped to preserve the Union during the Civil War and delivered the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation.
Few travelers to DC leave without seeing the Lincoln Memorial. Whether you’d like an up-close encounter or want to see it from afar, the site can be visited as part of most Washington DC tours, including a bike tour of the mall, a morning monuments tour, a DC night tour, and a bus tour combined with a cruise on the Potomac River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Free audio guided tours are available by mobile phone or through the National Mall visitor’s app.
- National Park Service rangers are available from 9:30am to 10pm every day to answer questions.
- The Lincoln Memorial is wheelchair accessible. On the southeast corner, ramps lead from street level to the basement, where an elevator goes up to the statue chamber.
How to Get to the Lincoln Memorial
Anchoring the west end of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is easily accessible by foot or bike from many downtown Washington DC hotels and by public transportation. The nearest Metro stations are Foggy Bottom and Smithsonian.
When to Get There
The Lincoln Memorial is free and open to the public 24 hours a day throughout the year. To have the Lincoln Memorial mostly to yourself, visit early in the morning, especially during winter. The best views of the National Mall and the reflecting pool from the memorial can be seen in spring and fall, when the surrounding foliage is at its most atmospheric. Visiting at night will allow you to see the monument lit up.
What to Look for at the Lincoln Memorial
While the statue of Abraham Lincoln is the focal point of the Lincoln Memorial, there are several other features to see during your visit. Above the 36 Corinthian columns are two rows of state names. The lower row lists the 36 states within the US at the time of Lincoln’s death, while the upper row lists the 48 states within the US when the memorial was dedicated in 1922. A bronze plaque on the plaza level recognizes Alaska and Hawaii. In the center of the last landing, before the statue chamber, is an engraving marking the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Inside the statue chamber, to Lincoln’s right, is the text of the Gettysburg Address and, above it, a painting entitled “Emancipation.”