On a trip to Maryland in October 2000, we decided to spend a few days and explore our National Capitol. It was an incredible experience. The city was so alive and you could feel it in the air. There were quite a few things that impressed me, especially the National Archives. However, we also had a great time exploring the magnificent Washington Monument.
Made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, and standing over 554 feet tall, it is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk. Standing almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, it is a site to see. On a historical note, the Monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885 and officially opened on October 9, 1888.
What I really enjoyed was seeing the fifty American flags (not state flags), one for each state, that are flown 24 hours a day around a large circle centered on the monument. There was something tranquil about being located so close to the reflecting pool. It just seemed like a perfect location.
We didn’t have tickets for the monument, although you can reserve them online in advance, so we got in line and were lucky enough to be able to get a couple of tickets. It is a first-come first-serve thing and we were afraid we might not be able to go up. Once we had our tickets, we were ushered to another section where we were treated like criminals at security and then FINALLY let inside the actual building.
Once we were inside the building, we got in line with a small group and took the elevator to the top floor. The ride was pretty quick and would have never guessed it only took 70 seconds to get to the top which is 500 feet above the ground. Maybe it went fast, because there was a Ranger sharing information about the history of the Washington Monument. It was pretty interesting if I recall.
After we reached the top we were able to step out on the observation deck and check out the amazing views of the city. It was breathtaking to be up on top of the world in the most powerful city in the world. After exploring and walking all around for a while, we headed down a level to their museum. It was interesting and informative, but I still enjoyed the views more, lol. It’s definitely something you should do if in D.C.
We had a great time, but I want to share a warning, there are no bathrooms in the monument. Make sure you go before heading up, especially with kids. I saw a frustrated family up there because their son had to go almost as soon as they got to the top . I’d also like to share that the Washington Monument is open daily except July 4 and December 25. Regular Hours 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last tour begins by 4:00 p.m. Might want to keep that in mind as well, but it’s a great place to visit. Here is a link to their website if you'd like more information.