lincoln memorial

A visit to the Lincoln Memorial

If you live in Washington DC, you probably have seen the Lincoln Memorial many times. But do you know the history and significance of this impressive monument? In this blog post, I will share some interesting facts and tips about the Lincoln Memorial, one of the most iconic landmarks in the nation’s capital.


The Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, who led the country through the Civil War and abolished slavery. The idea of building a memorial for Lincoln dates back to 1867, just two years after his assassination. However, it took several decades of planning, fundraising, and designing before the construction began in 1914. The memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon, who chose a neoclassical style inspired by ancient Greek temples. The sculptor Daniel Chester French created the colossal statue of Lincoln sitting on a chair, which was carved from 28 blocks of white marble by the Piccirilli brothers. The painter Jules Guerin decorated the interior walls with two murals depicting scenes from Lincoln’s life. The memorial was completed in 1922 and dedicated by President Warren G. Harding on May 30, with Lincoln’s only surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, in attendance.

Cultural significance

The Lincoln Memorial is not only a monument to honor a great president, but also a symbol of freedom, democracy, and equality for all Americans. The memorial has witnessed many historic events and speeches that shaped the nation’s history and identity. For example, in 1939, the African American singer Marian Anderson performed at the memorial after being denied access to Constitution Hall by a segregated organization. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, calling for racial justice and harmony. In 2009, Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, held a concert at the memorial on the eve of his inauguration. The memorial has also been a site of protest and activism for various causes, such as women’s rights, anti-war movements, and environmental issues.

Points of interest

The Lincoln Memorial is more than just a statue. It is a complex structure that contains many details and features that reflect Lincoln’s legacy and values. Here are some points of interest that you should not miss when you visit the memorial:

The statue of Lincoln

The statue is 19 feet tall and weighs 175 tons. It depicts Lincoln sitting on a chair with a serious and thoughtful expression as if he is contemplating the fate of the nation. His hands are slightly clenched, symbolizing his strength and determination. His left hand is relaxed, while his right hand is tense, suggesting his readiness to act. His feet are also positioned differently: his left foot is forward, while his right foot is back, indicating his willingness to move forward.

The inscriptions

The interior walls of the memorial are inscribed with two of Lincoln’s most famous speeches: the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address. These speeches express Lincoln’s vision of a united and free nation that respects human rights and dignity. They also convey his humility and compassion for the suffering caused by the war. The speeches are engraved in large letters that are easy to read from a distance. Above the statue, there is an epitaph written by Royal Cortissoz that reads: “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 columns

The exterior of the memorial is surrounded by 36 fluted Doric columns that support a frieze and a cornice. The columns represent the 36 states that were part of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Each column has the name of one state carved on it, along with its date of admission to the Union. Above the columns, there are 48 stone festoons that represent the 48 states that existed in 1922 when the memorial was dedicated. Since then, two more states have joined the Union: Alaska and Hawaii. They are commemorated by two bronze plaques on the terrace below the steps.

Advice for visitors

The Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to visit. However, there are some tips to make your visit more enjoyable and informative:

  • The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the evening, when the crowds are smaller and the lighting is more dramatic.
  • The nearest metro station is Foggy Bottom-GWU, which is about a 15-minute walk from the memorial. You can also take the Circulator bus or bike along the National Mall.
  • There are restrooms and water fountains inside the memorial, as well as a bookstore and a ranger station where you can get maps and brochures.
  • You can join a guided tour or listen to an audio tour to learn more about the history and symbolism of the memorial. You can also download the National Park Service app for more information and interactive features.

Driving directions from Lincoln Memorial to Georgetown

Via I-66 W. 2,6 miles in 8 minutes.

  1. Start by taking I-66 W and US-29 N to M St NW for 5 minutes (2.1 mi).
    1. Head west on Lincoln Memorial Cir NW towards 23rd St NW for 108 ft.
    2. Sharp right onto 23rd St NW and continue for 0.1 mi.
    3. Turn left to merge onto I-66 W and continue for 1.3 mi. You will be entering Virginia.
    4. Take exit 73 for US-29/Lee Hwy towards Key Bridge/Rosslyn and continue for 0.2 mi.
    5. Use the right 2 lanes to turn right onto US-29 N/N Lynn St and continue to follow US-29 N for 0.4 mi. You will be entering District of Columbia.
  2. Take 33rd St NW to Volta Pl NW for 4 minutes (0.5 mi).
    1. Use the right 2 lanes to turn right onto M St NW and continue for 0.2 mi.
    2. Turn left onto 33rd St NW and continue for 0.3 mi.
    3. Turn right onto Volta Pl NW and continue for 207 ft.
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Public transportation directions from Lincoln Memorial to Georgetown

Walking and public transport. 32 minutes, aprox.

  1. Start at Lincoln Memorial (2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20002, United States).
  2. Walk for about 20 minutes (0.9 mi) towards Pennsylvania Ave NW & 22nd St NW. Use caution as the route may involve errors or sections not suited for walking.
  3. Take the 33 bus towards Friendship Heights at 11:35 AM. The ride will take approximately 9 minutes and make 8 stops (Stop ID: 1001202).
  4. Arrive at Wisconsin Ave NW & P St NW at 11:44 AM.
  5. Walk for about 3 minutes (0.1 mi) towards Georgetown (Washington, DC, USA). Use caution as the route may involve errors or sections not suited for walking.
  6. Arrive at Georgetown at approximately 11:47 AM.
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Driving directions from Lincoln Memorial to SENS Psychology

Via S Arlington Blvd. 3,0 miles in 8 minutes.

  1. Take S Arlington Blvd to Fairfax Dr in Arlington. Take the 10th St N exit from S Arlington Blvd
    1. Head west on Lincoln Memorial Cir NW toward 23rd St NW
    2. Continue onto Arlington Memorial Bridge/Memorial Brg
    3. Keep right to continue toward S Arlington Blvd
    4. Continue straight onto S Arlington Blvd Entering Virginia
    5. Take the 10th St N exit
  2. Continue on Fairfax Dr to Wilson Blvd
    1. Turn right onto Fairfax Dr
    2. Turn right onto N Cleveland St
  3. Turn left onto Wilson Blvd Pass by United Bank (on the left in 0.3 mi)
    1. Destination will be on the right
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