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Guide to Visiting the Washington Monument
Gaze up at this iconic obelisk, the defining feature of the District’s skyline and one of the nation’s most recognizable structures.
The Washington Monument is currently closed until spring 2019 for repairs that will modernize the elevator and increase long-term reliability and safety. Check the National Park Service's website for updates before you plan your visit.
Built to honor George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States, the Washington Monument was once the tallest building in the world at just over 555 feet. The monument to America’s first president still holds the title of world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk.
More on the Washington Monument
Maintained by the National Park Service, the Washington Monument is located on the center of the National Mall between the U.S. Capitol and Lincoln Memorial. The easiest way to get to the monument is by taking the Metro. The two closest Metro stops are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian, both on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. If traveling by bus, take DC Circulator’s National Mall route or ride Metrobus routes 32, 34 or 36. If driving, visitor parking is available on Ohio Drive, between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Note that street parking is often limited near the National Mall.
Why does the Washington Monument have two colors?
It wasn’t easy to build Washington Monument. The structure was originally designed by Robert Mills, with construction beginning in 1848. The combination of the Civil War, the Know Nothing Party’s rise to control of the Washington National Monument Society through an illegal election and lack of funding led to a halt in construction in 1854. When construction resumed in 1879, marble was used from a different quarry, and time and weather erosion have led to the difference in color, which begins at the 150-foot mark.
The monument was finally completed in 1884 by Thomas Casey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an elevator was added to the monument in 1889.