Discover why Washington D.C. is  a great place for a family vacation.
  • Monuments and Memorials
Some of the city’s best attractions are the numerous monuments and memorials and they are free – even better! Keep in mind many of the monuments and memorials are open 24 hours a day and are beautiful at night.

Click here for a map showing the location of all of the monuments along the mall and a suggested walking tour. Remember a lot of the tour buses will visit these locations and you can jump on and off in order to spend as much time as you like exploring.

Click Here for a link to the Junior Park Ranger activity book. Print it our for the kids before you tour. It is full of maps and activities that will help the sightseeing become an interactive activity! The U.S. Park Rangers will be glad to help you answer the trivia questions.

Click here for a link to the companies that offer daytime and evening tours.


Jefferson Memorial

Quick Facts:

Built to honor our third President, the Jefferson Memorial sits at the Tidal Basin surrounded by Washington’s famous cherry trees. It is a great spot to view the cherry blossoms in the Spring or take a spin on a paddle boat in the Spring or Summer (be aware those boats are not as easy to paddle as they look and you may find children tire quickly!)

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, however U.S. Park Rangers are on duty to answer questions daily from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

Lincoln Memorial

Quick Facts:

The Lincoln Memorial is a powerful place that has played an important role in our nation’s history.

The huge statue of President Abraham Lincoln is something your children will never forget so run them up all those steps.

  • There is an elevator, look for a park ranger and they can guide you there so you don’t have to haul that stroller up all of those stairs.
  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, but U.S. Park Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian – The walk is about half a mile past the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. If you are worried about little walkers be on the look out for a rickshaw for a fun way to get there!

Remember not only do you get a great view along the mall to the Capitol, but you can go around to the back of the memorial for a great view into Virginia too.

Scavenger Hunt opportunity – see if you can find the plaque on the ground commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech from the memorial steps.


National Archives

Quick Facts:

It is amazing to think the foundation of our country is housed in this building – can you even imagine the sprinkler system! This is where you’ll find the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights and The Magna Carta. 4th and 5th graders usual study U.S. History so this age and up will get the most out of the visit. (The importance of these pieces of paper was lost on our 6 year old.)

  • Hours: Fall & Winter Seasons (Day after Labor Day through March 14) Daily 10:00 am – 5:30 pm Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25
  • Guided Tours Daily at 9:45 am for a $1.50 fee. Click here for more information.
  • Spring & Summer Season (March 15 – Labor Day) Daily 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Metro Stop: Archives

Roosevelt Memorial

Quick Facts:

The Roosevelt Memorial is made up of a series of statues depicting significant periods of both President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life and our country’s history during his Presidency. The memorial lies along the southwest shore of the Tidal Basin, near the intersection of Independence Avenue, West Basin Drive, and Ohio Drive, SW.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day with park rangers available to answer questions from 9:30am – 11:30pm. Informational programs are also offered by the park rangers every hour on the hour from 10:00am – 11:00pm.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian. This is a long walk from the Smithsonian stop. The memorial is an easy addition to a walk to the Lincoln Memorial, but there are also rickshaws (pedicabs) and cabs available if you need a break from walking.

Washington Monument

UPDATE: The Washington Monument is currently closed due to damage that occurred during the earthquake in the Fall of 2011. For an aerial view of the city visit the Old Post Office Pavilion Clock Tower


Old Post Office Pavilion Clock Tower

Quick Facts:

Built in 1899, The Old Post Office Pavilion is home to the Clock Tower and U.S. Bells of Congress. Now that the Washington Monument is closed for tours the 315 foot Clock Tower is a great alternative if you are looking for an aerial view of the city. You can’t make a reservation to go up the tower but the line moves quickly and usually isn’t very long.

  • The Old Post Office Pavillion Clock Tower is accessible by elevator and is open 7 days a week.
  • Summer Schedule
    (Memorial Day to Labor Day) Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 8:00pm, Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Winter Schedule
    (Labor Day to Memorial Day) Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Metro stop: Metro Center
  • Strollers are permitted
  • There is a food court on the ground floor of the building.

The clock tour is also home to the official Bells of Congress which are rung every Thursday evening and used on special occasions.


World War II Memorial

Quick Facts:

The World War II Memorial is an easy stop on your way from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It’s located on 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues. There is a lot of symbolism woven through the memorial so be sure to ask the Veterans who serve as guides in addition to the US. Park Rangers. Both will be able to fill you in on the meaning of all of the stars and the significance of the panels lining the entrance. In addition to the official government website you can also visit the World War II Memorial website and click on the fact sheets for even more information.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with park rangers available to answer questions from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm. Tours are given every hour on the hour between 10:00 am – 11:00 pm.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Quick Facts:

All ages will be impacted by the seemingly never ending list of names etched on a black wall that represent the fallen veterans who served during the Vietnam War. The memorial is located right next to the Lincoln Memorial so it is easy to visit both during the same trip. In addition to the official government website, be sure to visit The Wall-USA for additional information about the memorial and the soldiers.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with park rangers available to answer questions from 9:30am – 11:30pm. Tours are given every hour on the hour between 10:00am – 11:00pm.
  • Call 202-595-0093 while you are at the wall for an audio tour.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Quick Facts:

From the statues of the 19 ground troops to the faces of the soldiers reflected in the granite wall, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is a reminder that, “Freedom is not free.” The memorial is located next to the Lincoln Memorial and across the reflecting pool from the Vietnam Memorial.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with U.S. Park Rangers available to answer questions from 9:30am – 11:30pm.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

World War I Memorial

Quick Facts:

Blink and you may miss it. Compared to the recently built memorials, the World War I Memorial is very modest. It is located in a grove of trees beside the reflecting pool. If you are looking at the Lincoln Memorial it will be on your left.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The memorial was paid for by private funds and is not part of the National Park Service so there are no park rangers on staff.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

Martin Luther King Memorial

Quick Facts:

The Martin Luther King Memorial is Washington’s newest memorial and is the first memorial along the mall not dedicated to a president or war hero. The memorial is located along Independence Avenue on the Tidal Basin between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. This would be another great spot to view the cherry blossoms. Click here for a map.

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • There is an information center and gift shop at the site which is open from 9:00am – 10:00pm.
  • Metro Stop: Smithsonian

The Albert Einstein Memorial

The Albert Einstein Memorial is currently closed as it undergoes renovations.

Quick Facts:

Located at the National Academy of Sciences this larger than life statue of Albert Einstein is a great photo op. Climb into his lap and snap a great family photo. The statue is located 2100 Constitution Ave., NW. If you are at the Lincoln Memorial it would be a short walk north (if you are looking at the Lincoln Memorial walk to your right).

  • Hours: The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The memorial is not part of the National Park Services so no park rangers will be on duty.
  • Metro Stop: Foggy Bottom

**All of the monuments and memorials listed above could be visited in one large, very large, loop. It would take the better part of a day to visit them all.**


Arlington National Cemetery

Quick Facts:

I still remember my first trip to Arlington National Cemetery as a child. The rows and rows of white headstones are something that will stay with you for a lifetime. Be sure to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Kennedy’s burial site with the eternal flame. The cemetery is also home to Arlington House or the Custis Lee Mansion. Click here for a history of the home which is not open for tours.

  • Hours: The cemetery is open 7 days a week and 365 days a year. From April – September hours are from 8:00 am-7:00 pm and from October – March hours are 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
  • The changing of the guardsat the Tomb of the Unknown soldier occurs every hour on the hour.
  • Narrated bus tours of the cemetery leave continuously  between 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
  • Paid parking is available.
  • Metro Stop: Arlington Cemetery

The Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider occurs every hour on the hour and is a moving ceremony that must be viewed in silence. If you have young children it is best to stand at the back or risk mean stares from the other tourists. p.s. Don’t forget to silence your phone.

There is a narrated bus tour of the cemetery that visits the Kennedy Grave site, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Arlington House. The tours leave continuously between 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Tickets are $8.75 for adults and children 3-11 are $4.50. There is space to store strollers on the bus.


Iwo Jima Memorial

Quick Facts:

The memorial is also know as the U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial and memorializes the famous photograph depicting marines raising the American Flag after capturing the South Pacific Island of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Every summer beginning the first Tuesday after Memorial Day and running through the end of August  the Marines host a Sunset Parade on the Parade Deck of the memorial on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm. The performance lasts for one hour and features the U.S. Drum and Bugle Corp and the Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon. It is open to the public with no charge so grab a blanket and a picnic!

  • Hours: 6:00 am – midnight, 365 days a year.
  • Metro Stop: Rosslyn – it is about a mile walk to the memorial.
  • Summer Concerts: There is free shuttle from Arlington National Cemetery Visitor’s Center to accommodate those wanting to attend the free summer concerts. It runs from 5:30 pm-6:30 pm to Iwo Jima and back to the Arlington Cemetery Visitor’s Center from 7:30 pm-8:30 pm.

The iconic Iwo Jima Memorial is not only beautiful, but its location in Arlington, VA gives you great views of the Washington skyline, especially the postcard shot of the Capitol, Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.