Washington MonumentWait… you’ve lived in DC for four years and still never went up the Washington Monument???

Well, as I’ve learned – it’s pretty easy to go up and tour the WaMo.  And it’s fun.

The Washington Monument is sorta at the epi-center of the mall.  As noted by Shannon, it’s not in perfect alignment with the White House and the Jefferson Memorial (due to marshy ground).  However, it’s off-centered-ness allows you to see both the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial from the Ellipse.

One of the reasons so many people in DC never go to the WaMo is due to its ticketing process.  You must have a (free) ticket in order to enter the Monument.  On 15th Street, starting at 8:30 A.M. you can pick up free, same-day tickets.

For those who only remember they want to see the Monument  while it’s tourist season, there is another option.  By paying a fee, you can reserve tickets in advance.  I went this route, and as long as you can wait 2-4 weeks, this is a good option.  In total, I paid almost $3 a ticket – and it was worth it.  It’s a game of roulette with the weather but seeing the city mid-monsoon is probably cool too…

An additional visitor tip before we get to the down and dirty on the Monument.  I went on a Wednesday evening with a 7:30pm reservation.  First, I got there 15 minutes early as instructed.  Then, I was immediately whisked inside (so don’t fret if you’re particularly early or running a little late).  Also, it was not crowded.  Peak season of tourists, but the late show doesn’t bring as many out-of-towners. 

Some interesting things about the Monument:

  • It’s shaped like an Egyptian obelisk.
  • Is 555’ 5 1/8” tall with views over thirty miles.
  • The Washington Monument is the world’s tallest free-standing structure.
  • Construction began in 1848 with the same trowel that was used by Washington to lay the first Cornerstone of the Capitol.
  • It was finished on December 6, 1884.
  • During the Civil War, they ran out of funds during the construction, so you can actually see the line where they had to stop and then start rebuilding again.  (This is visible from the first pic in the post.  Imagine that stump standing on the Mall…)

Here are some pics courtesy of Alex.  Since I lost my camera before I uploaded my own pictures…

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