Washington D.C. Monuments at Night

Posted By Katie on Jul 22, 2013

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The monuments are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington D.C. In summer months when the city is warm and crowded, spend your days indoors and take a relaxing evening walk to see the monuments at night.

Monuments at Night Tips

Wear good walking shoes because the best way to see the monuments at night is to get out and walk through each one. Plan to take time to read the inscriptions, pause and reflect, and appreciate the sacrifices being memorialized at each site.

Washington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Martin Luther King Memorial

You can see most of the memorials in about 3 hours. Plan to walk at least 3 miles if you see all of these memorials by foot. If you park on Ohio Dr. near the Jefferson Memorial and start there, you can see the monuments in the following order and then walk around the Tidal Basin to return to your car.

  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II Memorial
  • Martin Luther King MemorialWashington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com


1.  By Metro

If you use the metro, take the orange line to the Smithsonian stop. You will have fairly easy access to the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Plan to walk about three miles roundtrip from the Smithsonian metro stop to these monuments and back. If you want to see the FDR Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, you will walk at least one mile further.

2.  By car

If you are feeling really ambitious and want to see all the monuments, park on the south end of Ohio Dr. and see the Jefferson Memorial before heading up to FDR and then to the main monuments. Street parking in the evening is free and fairly easy to find.  If you are short on time or energy, you can park on Ohio Dr. across from the FDR Memorial and start there. Make sure to walk out to the Tidal Basin for a nice evening view of the Jefferson Memorial if you don’t have time to see it up close.

Washington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Lincoln Memorial

3.  By bike

Biking around the monuments at night is a very efficient way to see everything without walking several miles. You may choose to do a bike tour through a company such as Bike and Roll. You can rent a bike through Capital Bikeshare and guide yourself around the monuments. Through Capital Bikeshare, you may pick up a bike with the swipe of your credit card near the Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, or the Lincoln Memorial and return it at any number of locations in the city.

4.  By tour bus

Many tour companies in Washington D.C. offer tours of the monuments at night, such as Old Town Trolley. One benefit of a tour company is that you may find a tour that will also take you to Iwo Jima or other locations throughout the city.

Washington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Word of Caution

I have visited the monuments at night many times and never felt unsafe, but you should be aware that you may pass homeless people sleeping on park benches in the area. Most paths and walkways are lit, but it is dark around the Tidal Basin, which is the shortest route if you are trying to get to the FDR Memorial or the Jefferson Memorial. Be aware of your surroundings if you choose to walk along the Tidal Basin after dark.

Whether you see the monuments at night or during the day, these beautiful memorials are a must-see in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com

The Washington Monument is under repair so the scaffolding is lit at night.

Good to Know

The monuments and memorials are run by the National Park Service.

Hours:  Open 24 hours a day, every day. Park rangers are on duty from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily to answer questions. Interpretive programs are available at some sites every hour on the hour.

Amenities:  Bathrooms are available at the Lincoln Memorial, the FDR Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. At least one more public restroom is available along the walking path between the memorials. Food carts can be found on street corners in the area.

Parking:  Parking is at a premium in Washington D.C. and towing and ticketing are strictly enforced. Make sure to obey posted parking regulations, or choose to use the Metro or another form of transportation.

How else can we help?

Need a place to stay? Allison has stayed at Kimpton Hotel Madera and Hotel Harrington, which are both within a short walk or Metro ride from most of these attractions. Read her review of Hotel Madera HERE. Check rates and read reviews atTripAdvisor or Booking.com.

Do you know about Explorer Pass? Save up to 40% on admission to the International Spy Museum and Mount Vernon, plus other attractions of your choice. Learn moreHERE.

Need new walking shoes? The best way to see the monuments and other top attractions in Washington D.C. is on foot. Find comfortable walking shoes for your family at The Walking Company or Amazon.com.

Save money on your Washington D.C. trip! Learn more about our FREE Travel Deals Email Club HERE.

Get more ideas for your Washington D.C. trip on our Washington D.C. page or ourWashington D.C. for Families Pinterest board!


Washington D.C. Monuments at Night | tipsforfamilytrips.com

The inscriptions at the MLK Memorial are inspiring.

Katie is a busy mom living in Northern Virginia with her husband and five children ranging in age from toddlers to teens. When she isn't traveling, she is planning her next trip. Katie loves all types of travel, but she especially loves beach vacations. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a favorite family destination.


  1. Katie – I completely agree with your comments here. I actually prefer to see the monuments at night. So picturesque with the backlighting, often cool breeze, and much smaller crowds. Great suggestion and great post.

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  2. Fantastic pictures and great overview.

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  3. Makes me want to go TONIGHT!

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  4. Love it! Great info for a future trip. Some of those I have never even heard of.

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  5. Thank you so much for your insights into seeing DC with kids! I was feeling a little overwhelmed with it all, but your information is very helpful!!

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    • We are so happy to help! DC is a great city and I hope your family has a wonderful trip!

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      • Hi, Allison, I’m a writer working on a blog item about the monuments at night. How can I talk directly with you or Katie (is she the one who wrote this?) about it. Many thanks, Ed

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