National Mall Monuments: The Lincoln Memorial

Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
September 5, 2014
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Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
September 5th, 2014
Share story

Proud Abe may sit on a marble throne overlooking the National Mall, but thousands of people a year stand on their feet in the cavernous hall of his memorial. One of the most visited and easily recognizable of all the Washington monuments and memorials, the Lincoln Memorial is an enormous building at the end of the Reflecting Pool. The large stone steps leading up to the memorial is a popular place for tourists to sit, relax, and enjoy a bite to eat during long summer days and cool winter nights. It’s also one of my favorite places to visit each year.

In many ways the Lincoln Memorial is the heart of all the monuments and memorials in the United States capital. It sits at the western edge of the National Mall, but it is one of the most visited throughout the entire year. It’s easy to get to this memorial by taxi or tour bus, who often drop visitors off on nearby Daniel French Drive SW or Henry Bacon Drive NW. But most often people walk along the Reflecting Pool from the National WWII Memorial to visit this presidential memorial. It’s also a great place to visit during a day trip loop around the Reflecting Pool.

The memorial is not exactly handicap accessible. Visitors can certainly admire the entire structure from the base near the edge of the Reflecting Pool. But there are no ramps or elevators on site to take wheelchairs to the top of the platform to enter the building. A long series of stone steps provide visitors with access, and often a respite from a long walk. Visitors frequently sit on the deep stairs and admire the view of the pool and Washington Monument in the distance.

Once inside, the main attraction is the massive statues of Abraham Lincoln sitting on a throne. This view has been used many times in popular films. But while thousands of people a year will visit this memorial and stand inside this cavernous room, many will not fully explore everything this site has to offer. On either side of the building are massive walls with inscriptions from Lincoln’s life. But the most often overlooked portion of the memorial is actually underneath it: a small museum with an entrance located to the left of the last set of stairs (facing the memorial). This small museum has a lot of additional quotes, history, and photos.

This memorial is open twenty-four hours a day throughout the year, so it’s good to visit day or night. As with most of the memorials, I recommend both because of the different ambiances during daylight and night. Photography is allowed inside the memorial, but tripods are prohibited inside because they are a tripping hazard. I’ve never been stopped while using a tripod on the steps outside.

 Lincoln Memorial Photos

Hundreds of visitors at the Lincoln Memorial during dusk at the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Friday, August 16, 2013. Copyright 2013 Jason Barnette

The crowds don’t really thin out once the sun goes down at the Lincoln Memorial.

Hundreds of people walk the lawn and explore the National WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

A huge summer crowd spreads out across the WWII Monument, Reflecting Pool, and Lincoln Memorial.

If you would like to view more photos from The National Mall in Washington, D.C., please visit my website at http://photography.southeasterntraveler.com/Washington-DC/The-National-Mall/

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