A Guide to the Newly Reopened Washington Monument!

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May 21, 2014 by toursbybecca

After two and a half long years of scaffolding and construction and fencing, the Washington Monument has finally reopened to the public!  You can’t imagine the joy in this tour guide’s heart when she was able to walk up to the plaza again and take in the perfect view of the National Mall.  Of course, you’re not interested in just walking around the thing – you want to go inside of it!

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Washington Monument experience:

  • Tickets are required:  Tickets are required for every person over the age of two years old to enter the Monument.  Advanced tickets can be acquired for $1.50/ticket fee from this ticketing website or free tickets can be picked up in person at the Washington Monument the day of your visit.  Because of the excitement surrounding the Monument’s reopening and the number of tourists that visit DC in the summer months, keep in mind that ticket demand is high.  Currently, all advanced tickets are sold out through July 8th and expect that trend to continue through the summer.  If you know when you will be visiting, BOOK NOW!  If you aren’t able to book tickets in advance, be sure to arrive at the Monument early on the morning of your visit to get in line for tickets.  Each person in line can acquire 6 tickets, if available.

To get in line for tickets, head to the Washington Monument Lodge and bookstore (this is also where restrooms are located!) – it can be found on the east side of the Washington Monument, facing 15th Street NW, between Independence and Constitution Avenues.

  • You have to go through – surprise, surprise – security:  Like many of the sites and museums around Washington, DC, there is strict security to enter the Monument.  No suitcases or oversized bags are allowed, so keep this in mind if you’re trying to visit the Monument on your first or last day in town.  Additionally, no food, drinks, aerosol cans (watch out for spray sunscreen!) or strollers are allowed.
  • You’ll spend more time outside than inside:  You’ll line up on the plaza outside the Washington Monument prior to your ticket time.  The waiting area is entirely outdoors and visitors are exposed to the sun, rain, and any other weather that might be going on.  The nearest bathrooms are located at the Washington Monument Lodge, a few minute walk away from the Monument itself.  Plan ahead and be prepared to spend some time outside before going inside!
  • The view is incredible – and not just in the way you think:  Of course, the highlight of this experience is seeing the 30-mile-radius view from the top of the Monument – there are viewing platforms on the north, west, south, and east sides of the obelisks and the vistas have to be seen to be believed.  That’s not all that there is though – there’s an exhibit level just below the viewing deck that provides insight into the construction of the Monument, explains the materials, and even shows you how the Monument functions as a lighting rod!
  • Weather matters:  The Monument does occasionally close when there are thunderstorms or high winds for safety.  Tickets are voided for any tours that are canceled due to weather.
  • This may not be for everyone in your group:  A trip to the top of the Washington Monument is one of my D.C.-must-see-attractions but that won’t be true for everyone.  If you have someone traveling with you who has difficulties with heights, elevators, enclosed spaces, crowds, etc, this may not be an ideal activity!  While I have personally escorted several guests in the past week who expressed fears of all of the above and they all felt it was worth it when it was over, it is wise to consider whether this is an experience you can handle.  The view on the ground is just as lovely!

 

View from the Washington Monument to the west – can you spot the famous landmarks?

 

Feel free to drop me an email at toursbybecca [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions or leave me a comment!

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