Monuments & Memorials in Washington DC (Visitor's Guide)

Explore DC's National Landmarks Dedicated to America's Most Famous Leaders

Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC, America
••• Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images

Washington, DC is a city of monuments and memorials. We honor the generals, politicians, poets and statesmen who helped shape our great nation. Although the most famous monuments and memorials are on the National Mall, you will find statues and plaques on many street corners around the city. Since Washington, DC's monuments are spread out, it is hard to visit all of them on foot. At busy times, traffic and parking makes it difficult to visit the monuments by car.

The best way to see the major monuments is to take a sightseeing tour. Many of the memorials are open late at night and their illumination makes nighttime a prime time to visit. See photos of the Major National Memorials

See a Map of the Memorials

National Memorials on the Mall and West Potomac Park

DC War Memorial - 1900 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC. This circular, open-air memorial commemorates the 26,000 citizens of Washington, DC who served in World War I.  The structure is made of Vermont marble and is large enough to accommodate the entire U.S. Marine Band.

Eisenhower Memorial - Between 4th and 6th Streets SW Washington DC. Plans are underway to build a national memorial to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a four-acre site near the National Mall. The memorial will feature a grove of oak trees, huge limestone columns, and a semicircular space made monolithic stone blocks and carvings and inscriptions that depict images of Eisenhower’s life.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial - West Potomac Park near Lincoln Memorial on Ohio Drive, SW Washington DC. The unique site is divided into four outdoor galleries, one for each of FDR's terms in office from 1933 to 1945. It is set on a beautiful spot along the Tidal Basin and is handicap accessible.

Several sculptures depict the 32nd President. There is a bookstore and public restrooms onsite.

Jefferson Memorial - 15th Street, SW Washington DC. The dome-shaped rotunda honors the nation's third president with a 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson surrounded by passages from the Declaration of Independence. The memorial is located on the Tidal Basin, surrounded by a grove of trees making it especially beautiful during Cherry Blossom season in the spring. There is a museum, a bookstore and restrooms onsite.

Korean War Veterans Memorial - Daniel French Drive and Independence Avenue, SW Washington DC. Our nation honors those who were killed, captured, wounded or remain missing in action during the Korean War (1950 -1953) with 19 figures that represent every ethnic background. The statues are supported by a granite wall with 2,400 faces of land, sea and air support troops. A Pool of Remembrance lists the names of the lost Allied Forces.

Lincoln Memorial - 23rd Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues, NW Washington DC. The memorial is one of the most visited attractions in the nation’s capital. It was dedicated in 1922 to honor President Abraham Lincoln. Thirty-eight Grecian columns surround a statue of Lincoln seated on a ten-foot high marble base.

This impressive statue is surrounded by engraved readings of the Gettysburg address, his Second Inaugural address and murals by French painter Jules Guerin. The reflecting pool is lined by walking paths and shady trees and frames the structure providing outstanding views.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial - 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC. The memorial, set on the corner of the Tidal Basin in the heart of Washington DC, honors Dr. King’s national and international contributions and vision for all to enjoy a life of freedom, opportunity, and justice. The centerpiece is the “Stone of Hope”, a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, with a wall that is inscribed with excerpts of his sermons and public addresses.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive, NW Washington DC.

A V-shaped granite wall is inscribed with the names of the 58,286 Americans missing or killed in the Vietnam War. Across the lawn is a life size bronze sculpture of three young servicemen. A Vietnam Memorial Visitors Center has been planned to provide a space for educational exhibits and programs.

Washington Monument - Constitution Avenue and 15th Street, NW Washington DC. The memorial to George Washington, our nation's first president, has recently been refurbished to its original splendor. Take the elevator to the top and see a wonderful view of the city. The monument is one the most popular attractions in the nation's capital. Free tickets are required and should be reserved in advance.

Women in Vietnam Memorial - Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive, NW Washington DC. This sculpture depicts three women in the military with a wounded soldier to honor the women who served in the Vietnam War. The sculpture was dedicated in 1993 as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

World War II Memorial - 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues, Washington DC. The memorial combines granite, bronze, and water elements with beautiful landscaping to create a peaceful place to remember those who served our country during World War II. The National Park Service offers daily tours of the memorial every hour on the hour.

Monuments and Memorials in Northern Virginia

The major monuments and memorials in Northern Virginia are located just over the Potomac River and are major attractions that visitors should be sure to see when visiting Washington DC.

Arlington National Cemetery - Across the Memorial Bridge from DC, Arlington, VA. America's largest burial ground is the site of the graves of more than 400,000 American servicemen, plus notable historic figures such as President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and world champion boxer Joe Louis. There are dozens of monuments and memorials onsite including the Coast Guard Memorial, the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, Spanish-American War Memorial, and the USS Maine Memorial. Major attractions include the Tomb of the Unknowns and the former home of Robert E. Lee.

George Washington Masonic National Memorial - 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA. Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, this memorial to George Washington highlights the contributions of Freemasons to the United States. The building also serves as a research center, a library, community center, performing arts center and concert hall, a banquet hall and meeting site for local and visiting Masonic lodges. Guided tours are available.

Iwo Jima Memorial (National Marine Corps War Memorial) - Marshall Drive, next to Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. This memorial, also known as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, is dedicated to the marines who gave their lives during one of the most historic battles of World War II, the battle of Iwo Jima. The statue depicts a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press as he watched the flag-raising by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman at the end of the 1945 battle.

Pentagon Memorial - 1 N Rotary Rd, Arlington, VA. The memorial, located on the grounds of the Pentagon,  honors the 184 lives lost in the headquarters for the Department of Defense and on American Airlines Flight 77 during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Memorial includes a park and gateway spanning approximately two acres.

United States Air Force Memorial - One Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, VA. One of the newest memorials in the Washington, DC area, completed in September 2006, honors the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Air Force. Three spires represent a bomb burst maneuver as well as three core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence. A gift shop and restrooms are located in the Administrative Office at the north end of the memorial.

Women in Military Service for America Memorial  - Memorial Drive, Arlington, VA. The gateway to Arlington National Cemetery houses a Visitors Center with indoor exhibits that showcase the roles women have played in America's military history. There are film presentations, a 196-seat theater, and a Hall of Honor which provides recognition to women who died in service, were prisoners of war or were recipients of awards for service and bravery.

Statues, Monuments and Historic Landmarks in Washington DC

These statues, monuments and historic landmarks are located throughout the downtown Washington DC area. They have been dedicated to famous historic figures to remind us of their influence on the  nation and its history.

African American Civil War Memorial and Museum - 1200 U Street, NW Washington DC. A Wall of Honor lists the names of 209,145 United States Colored Troops (USCT) who served in the Civil War. The museum explores the African American struggle for freedom in the United States.

Albert Einstein Memorial - National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington DC. The memorial to Albert Einstein was built in 1979 in honor of the centennial of his birth. The 12 foot bronze figure is depicted seated on a granite bench holding a paper with mathematical equations summarizing three of Einstein’s most important scientific contributions. The memorial is located just north of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and is an easy to get up close to.

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial - 150 Washington Ave. SW  Washington DC. Located near the U.S. Botanic Garden, the memorial serves to educate, inform and remind all Americans of the human cost of war, and the sacrifices our disabled veterans, their families, and caregivers, have made on behalf of American freedom.

George Mason Memorial - 900 Ohio Drive, in East Potomac Park, SW Washington DC. Monument to the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which inspired Thomas Jefferson while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Mason persuaded our forefathers to include individual rights as a part of the Bill of Rights. 

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove - George Washington Parkway, Washington DC. The grove of trees and 15 acres of gardens are a memorial to President Johnson and a part of the Lady Bird Johnson Park, which honors the former first lady's role in beautifying the country's landscape. The Memorial Grove is an ideal setting for picnics and has beautiful views of the Potomac River and the Washington, DC skyline.

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial - Judiciary Square at E Street, NW, between 4th and 5th Streets, Washington DC. This monument honors the service and sacrifice of federal, state and local law enforcers. A marble wall is inscribed with the names of more than 17,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty since the first known death in 1792. A Memorial Fund is campaigning to build the National Law Enforcement Museum underground, beneath the monument.

Theodore Roosevelt Island - George Washington Memorial Parkway, Washington, DC. A 91-acre wilderness preserve serves as a memorial to the nation's 26th president, honoring his contributions to conservation of public lands for forests, national parks, wildlife and bird refuges, and monuments. The island has 2 1/2 miles of foot trails where you can observe a variety of flora and fauna. A 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt stands in the center of the island.

U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum - 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington DC. The museum, located near the National Mall, serves as a memorial to the millions of people who were murdered during the Holocaust. Timed passes are distributed on a first–come first–served basis. The museum has two permanent exhibitions, a Hall of Remembrance an numerous rotating exhibitions.

United States Navy Memorial - 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., between 7th and 9th Streets, Washington DC. The memorial commemorates U. S. Naval history and honors all who have served in the sea services. The adjacent Naval Heritage Center displays interactive exhibits and hosts special events to recognize the past, present and future of the U.S. Navy.