Visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington: tickets, prices, opening hours

A must-see on any trip to Washington, the Lincoln Memorial is just waiting for you!

Located in West Potomac Park, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington is a monument that has become almost symbolic not only for the city, but for all the states of America. An important place where some of the speeches that changed America took place, this monument is one of the most popular attractions for tourists from all over the world.

So that you can fully appreciate the splendour of this place, we’ve prepared this guide with all the essential information you need to know before you go!

History of the Lincoln Memorial

Histoire du Lincoln Memorial à Washington

Construction of the Lincoln Memorial in West Potomac Park began in 1914, and it was inaugurated in 1992. As its name suggests, this monument was built in memory of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America, and a gigantic statue of him, measuring almost six meters in height, sits with dignity in the middle of the memorial.

The following inscription can be read next to the statue:  » In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever  » .

The monument has also been the site of many speeches, particularly political ones, and one of the most famous will forever remain Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 at the March for Jobs and Freedom held in Washington DC.

Today, the monument sees thousands of visitors every day, as well as numerous groups of students of all ages who come to spend an educational day discovering this exceptional place. The monument is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is also a national memorial.

What to see and do at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington?

Que faire et que voir au Lincoln Memorial à Washington ?

The building itself is a must-see. Its imposing stature, with the air of a Greek Doric temple built almost entirely of white marble, gives it a special atmosphere, but its interior is the main point of interest, and you can see :

The statue of Abraham Lincoln

In the central hall, you can see the statue of Abraham Lincoln, his pensive gaze seemingly lost in the direction of the Washington Monument, across the Lincoln Reflection Pool. If you look closely, you can also see Roman beams carved into the seat where the statue sits, these being symbols of the authority of the Republic.

There are several beliefs surrounding the Lincoln statue. The first is that Abraham Lincoln’s hands represent his own initials in American Sign Language. The second, even more popular, is that it is possible to see General Robert Lee’s face in the 16th President’s hair when looking across the Potomac to Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery.

Both of these beliefs are refuted by the National Park Service, but there’s nothing to stop you from trying to verify their veracity for yourself while you’re visiting the Lincoln Memorial.

The two appendices

The central room, which houses the Abraham statue, has two adjoining rooms. In the first, you can read the Gettysburg Address, delivered by Lincoln on November 19, 1863 at the dedication ceremony of the battlefield where 51,000 people lost their lives.

The second room contains, on its north wall, the former president’s speech at his second inauguration. This is surmounted by various murals, the first representing an angel symbolizing Truth, the second the liberation of the slaves, and the last visible is the unity between North and South America.

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

When you visit the Lincoln Memorial, don’t forget to take a photo of the Reflecting Pool, Washington’s largest water mirror, in which the Washington National Monument, the famous 170-meter-high obelisk, is permanently reflected. Once at the top of the memorial steps, turn around and admire the prestigious view of the pond and surrounding park.

How do I get to the Lincoln Memorial?

There are several ways to get to West Potomac Park to visit the Lincoln Memorial, the first of which is by car. Simply enter the monument’s address in your GPS: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.

However, to get around Washington, it’s best to take public transport, so as not to lose time in traffic jams or to find a parking space. You can get to the memorial by bus, metro or even on foot.

By bus

It’s possible to take the National Mall bus and stop at Lincoln Memorial Circle SW, giving you the closest possible stop to visit the Lincoln Memorial. The bus departs from Union Station and also passes by the various museums on the National Mall.

By metro

If you want to take the subway, you can take the Blue, Orange or Silver line to Smithsonian Station, near the Washington National Museum of Natural History. You’ll need to stop there, as the subways don’t pass near the memorial.

You’ll need to take the National Mall bus in addition to your subway and stop at Lincoln Memorial Circle SW. Alternatively, if you prefer to enjoy the park and its magnificent scenery, you can walk to the monument from the metro station.

On foot

If you’re already in the vicinity of West Potomac Park or the National Mall, then you can easily make your way to the Lincoln Memorial, which is signposted throughout the park along the trails.

Read more on the Washington guide:

Lincoln Memorial hours & rates

Horaires et tarifs du Lincoln Memorial à Washington

SCHEDULES

You can visit the Lincoln Memorial at any time, as it’s open around the clock. Rangers are on hand to answer your questions, from 9am to 10pm.

RATES

Visiting the Memorial is free of charge, but if you’d like to learn more about this place and Abraham Lincoln, then it’s advisable to take part in one of the many guided tours taking place at the monument. For example, you can opt for a tour of Washington’s main monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, for around €40.

GOOD TO KNOW

– It is possible, with the agreement of the relevant authorities, to visit the area beneath the Lincoln Memorial. However, this type of authorization is very rarely granted without a special and valid reason, which you should include in your visit request.

– If you wish to avoid the crowds so that you can fully enjoy the monument and its splendor, then you should visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington early in the morning, or in the late evening, when most tourists are still at or returning to their hotels.

– After your visit, enjoy a stroll in West Potomac Park, the natural extension of the National Mall where Washington’s National Museum of Natural History is located. You can walk along the river and its artificial basin, which is particularly pleasant in the evening, with a distant view of the Lincoln Memorial.