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    Lincoln Memorial Washington: how to visit the statue of the famous president

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Washington it is the symbolic city of American political power, and we like to accompany you to its most significant places. Today we want to talk to you about one of the most popular destinations among those that can be visited in the vast green area of National Mall, in the heart of downtown Washington: il Lincoln memorial, famous for being the "stage" from which Martin Luther King he pronounced the famous "I have a dream".

    When we think of the decisive importance of what is established between the walls of the White House and the Capitol, our imagination immediately flies to the most famous films in Hollywood: among the many films in which this monument appears (Forrest Gump, Independence Day, Il Planet of the Apes, Armageddon, Night at the Museum, Nixon to name a few), I'm a fan of House of Cards, the TV series with Kevin Space and Robin Wright that tells the intrigues of American political power. In addition to the emblematic poster with President Underwood / Lincoln (see photo), I love the unmistakable theme song of the series: a roundup of the most important places in the city, among which the columns, the Doric temple that houses the statue of the famous president. That's the Lincoln memorial, one of the key monuments of American political history and beyond.


    • Visiting the Lincoln Memorial: Is It Possible?
    • Where it is and how to reach it
      • Where to park the car
      • Metro
    • What to see in the Lincoln Memorial
      • The staircase
      • Interiors
    • Tips for visiting
    • Tour al Lincoln Memorial
      • VIP tour of the best monuments of the District of Columbia
      • Guided tour of Washington
      • Tour in autobus hop-on/hop-off di Washington
    • Where to sleep in the area?

    Visiting the Lincoln Memorial: Is It Possible?

    Il Lincoln memorial it does not require the purchase of a ticket: the monument is open to the public every day of the year 24 hours a day, but only from 24 to 9.30 will you find the rangers able to answer your questions. Overall, to the right of the Lincoln monument there is a bookstore open from 22am to 8.30pm.

    Where it is and how to reach it

    The exact address of the Lincoln Monument is 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, but it won't be of much use to you if your intention is to get there. in the car: there are no public parking lots in the immediate vicinity of the monument which, as we have mentioned, is located inside the National Mall. You can definitely drive around the site to the pedestrian zone but you will see little or nothing.

    Where to park the car

    In reality it is possible to find some parking along the surrounding streets, but they are often busy and the parking is limited to two hours (with ticket and possible forced removal). If you want to be on the safe side, you will have to go and park it in Ohio Drive, along the Potomac River: South of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial are some free public parking spaces for a limited period of time. From there it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the Lincoln Memorial, but you can take the opportunity to continue visiting the monuments of the National Mall: for example, the White House - at the northern end of the park - is 2 miles from the parking area. In any case, to get a clearer idea of ​​the Washington parking map, I recommend you read our article on where to park in Washington DC.


    If you use the subway to get around Washington, the closest stop is Foggy Bottom/George Washington University, at the intersection of 23rd and I Street: the stop is served by blue, orange and silver lines. Allow around 20 minutes to walk the mile from the Lincoln Memorial.

    Are you headed to Washington? You discover...
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    • What to see in 1 day
    • How to get around the city
    • I National Mall
    • How to outline an itinerary based on the days available
    • The Best Time to Visit Washington
    • Where to eat in Washington

    What to see in the Lincoln Memorial

    The imposing neoclassical building that houses the Lincoln statue was built in the Doric style starting from 1914 and it was inaugurated in 1922. The 36 columns surrounding the building are ten meters high and each bears the name of the states that made up the United States at the time of Lincoln's death. The missing states were honored with an inscription on the outside of the building and on a plaque at the base of the staircase.

    The staircase

    The image is known to all: on August 28, 1963, after the March on Washington, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Martin Luther King gave the famous speech "I have a dream" in front of a huge crowd. In perspective, the obelisk of the Washington Monument was reflected in the waters of the Reflection Pool, right in front of the memorial monument.

    Who gets on stairway of the Lincoln Memorial he knows that it was here that the Protestant pastor uttered the words that have become a symbol of the struggle for the civil rights of African Americans in America. A particular tile was also placed on the staircase with the words “I have a dream” written on it.

    When you have climbed all the steps, before entering the building, you cannot give up taking a photo of the panorama of the National Mall, particularly impressive at sunset.


    When you enter the so-called "central chamber", your attention will obviously be magnetized by the enormous statue of Abraham Lincoln seated on a throne. Sculpted by Daniel Chester French, the marble statue is 6 meters high and rests on a pedestal 3 meters high and almost 5 meters wide. Behind the president's head you can read an inscription that reads these words:

    In this temple
    As in the hearts of people
    For whom he saved the Union
    The Memory of Abraham Lincoln
    Is enshrined forever.

    Le two side chambers, separated from the central one by two rows of 4 columns, bear the text of two speeches by the president on the walls: the Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg speech, delivered to commemorate the victims of the Civil War on the occasion of the inauguration of the Gettysburg Cemetery . Above each of the two speeches there are mural paintings by Jules Guerin, depicting some key moments in the life of President Lincoln in a symbolic way.

    Tips for visiting

    As already mentioned, thesunset time it is the most suitable for visiting the monument. The reasons are easy to understand:

    • the turnout is much lower than during the peak hours of the day. You will enjoy a moment of intimacy with the austere statue of the president, in the shade of the columns;
    • the temple and the surrounding landscape are particularly suggestive at sunset.

    Going to the back of the monument you can enjoy one beautiful view on the Potomac River and on the Arlington Memorial Bridge, on which two proud equestrian statues stand.

    Tour al Lincoln Memorial

    I have made a selection of the best organized tours that have a stop at the Lincoln Memorial: in my opinion it is very interesting to take advantage of one tourist guide for the visit of the Memorial and all the other monuments of the National Mall, because land curiosities and historical notes they are an integral part of a real cultural experience.

    VIP tour of the best monuments of the District of Columbia

    The duration of this tour is 8 hours, so it is one hour full immersion in the city of Washington. The most important stops of the tour are the reserved entrance to the Capitol and the National Archives, but there is also a bus tour with various stops (10-15 minutes each): one of these is right at the Lincoln memorial. Among others, I point out the White House, the Washington Monument, other well-known memorials such as the World War II Memorial, the Veterans Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the US Navy Memorial and the Iwo Jima statue. To top it off, a lunch and a Potomac River cruise are included.

    More info on the VIP Tour

    Guided tour of Washington

    This tour is cheaper and more focused than the previous one, perhaps a little less comprehensive, but all the must sees are on the schedule. In fact, the offer includes a giro in pullman luxury towards the main attractions of the city, and the Lincoln memorial it is included between the various stops. You can choose between:

    • 3-hour morning guided tour
    • guided tour of 3 hours in the evening
    • 6-hour guided tour (starts at 10.30am)

    More info on the 3 guided tours

    Tour in autobus hop-on/hop-off di Washington

    The formula bus hop-on/hop-off  it is increasingly popular with tourists who want to visit large American cities in a flexible way, and Washington is no exception. The offer is varied and complete: those who want to see the Lincoln Memorial by open bus will have to get on Red line, which is the path that will allow you to see all the attractions along the National Mall. You can also get on the bus along the other two routes (blue and yellow). Here are the 3 types of tickets:

    • Premium ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus valid for all tours -> 24 hours (includes entrance to Madame Tussauds museum)
    • Deluxe ticket for the Hop-On Hop-off bus valid for all tours -> 48 hours (includes entrance to Madame Tussauds museum and night tour)
    • Night tour commented of 2 hours. Depart from Union Station or the Willard Hotel (includes the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and State Capitol).

    Learn more about the hop-on / hop-off bus tour

    Where to sleep in the area?

    For all advice on the overnight in Washington I refer you to our in-depth study where to sleep in Washington. Here are some recommended hotels about 15-20 minutes walk from the Lincoln Memorial, not far from the aforementioned Foggy Bottom metro stop.

    • State Plaza Hotel ****
    • Courtyard By Marriot Washington Foggy Bottom ***
    • Hotel Hive ***

    All accommodations available near the Lincoln Memorial

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