Tips for Visiting Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

Time lapse of people walking by the Jefferson Memorial

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy 

The Lincoln Memorial, an iconic landmark on the National Mall in Washington, DC, is a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln, who fought to preserve our nation during the Civil War, from 1861-1865. The Memorial has been the site of many famous speeches and events since its dedication in 1922, most notably Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

A beautiful structure with seven-foot diameter columns that stretch 44 feet high, architect Henry Bacon designed the Lincoln Memorial in a style similar to a Greek temple. The structure’s 36 columns represent the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. A 19-foot larger than life-size marble statue of Lincoln sits in the center of the Memorial and the words of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address are inscribed on the walls.

Getting There

The Memorial is located at 23rd St. NW, Washington, DC at the West End of the National Mall. Parking is very limited in this area of Washington, DC. The best way to get to the Lincoln Memorial is on foot or by taking a tour. The following Metro stations are walkable: Farragut North, Metro Center, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza, and Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter.

Visiting Tips

  • Take your time and marvel over the inspiring inscriptions and remarkable architectural details. Attend a Ranger program and learn about Abraham Lincoln's history and legacy.
  • Be sure to stand at the top of the steps of the Memorial and enjoy the view looking across the Reflecting Pool and the National Mall.
  • Visit early in the morning or after dark when the Memorial is less crowded. At night, the impressive structure is beautiful when it is illuminated.
Closeup of the larger than life-size statue of President Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial
Pgiam / Getty Images

About the Statue and the Murals

The statue of Lincoln in the center of the memorial was carved by the Piccirilli brothers under the supervision of sculptor Daniel Chester French. It is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons. Above the engraved speeches on the interior walls of the Memorial are 60-by-12-foot murals painted by Jules Guérin.

The mural on the south wall above the Gettysburg Address is titled Emancipation and represents Freedom and Liberty. The central panel shows the Angel of Truth releasing slaves from the shackles of bondage. On the left side of the mural, Justice, and Law is represented. On the right side, Immortality is the central figure surrounded by Faith, Hope, and Charity. Above the Second Inaugural Address on the north wall, the mural titled Unity features the Angel of Truth joining the hands of two figures representing the north and south. Her protective wings cradle figures representing the arts of Painting, Philosophy, Music, Architecture, Chemistry, Literature, and Sculpture. Emerging from behind the Music figure is the veiled image of the future.

Jogger passes the reflecting pool at sunrise, Washington D.C.
Sam Antonio Photography / Getty Images

Reflecting Pool

The Reflecting Pool was renovated and re-opened at the end of August 2012. The project replaced leaking concrete and installed systems for drawing water from the Potomac River. Improved accessibility and installed sidewalks and new lights. Located at the base of the Lincoln Memorial steps, the reflecting pool provides dramatic images that reflect the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the National Mall.


The National Park Service announced in February 2016 that the Lincoln Memorial will undergo a major renovation over the next four years. An $18.5 million donation by billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein will fund much of the work. The Memorial will remain open during most of the renovations. Repairs will be made to the site and the exhibit space, bookstore, and restrooms will be upgraded and expanded. Visit the ​National Park Service's website for current updates on renovations and more.