Lincoln Memorial

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5 historical facts about the Lincoln Memorial

Opposite the White House on the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is one of Washington, D.C.'s most treasured landmarks – despite the stiff competition! How did it become an icon of the "American Way?" Here are a few reasons plucked from the history books!

  • It took decades to start building

    1. It took decades to start building

    Though not built until 1922, a memorial had been planned since Lincoln's death in 1867. The original's cavalcade of colossal statues was finally deemed overambitious and scrapped!

  • It utilizes materials from around the US

    2. It utilizes materials from around the US

    Henry Bacon, the architect, used Colorado marble for the exterior, Indiana limestone for the inner walls, Alabama marble for the ceiling, and pink Tennessee marble for the floor!

  • The structure was controversial in its time

    3. The structure was controversial in its time

    Many considered the Greek-doric monument too grandiose for a man as humble as Lincoln. The suggested alternative was a simple log-cabin shrine!

  • It was the site of a groundbreaking concert

    4. It was the site of a groundbreaking concert

    More than 75,000 witnessed African-American contralto Marian Anderson perform at the memorial after being refused permission to sing at the nearby DAR Constitution Hall.

  • It became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement

    5. It became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement

    Undaunted by the memorial's engravings of Lincoln's seminal speeches, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" to a crowd of 250,000 after the March on Washington.

Planning Your Visit

  • What are the opening times?

    The Lincoln Memorial is open to visit 24 hours a day, however, Rangers are on duty to answer questions and give talks from 9:30AM till 11:30PM.

  • How to get there?

    The nearest Metro station is Foggy Bottom on the Orange and Blue lines. If you're hiring a car then exit at intersection Independence Ave. SW & Daniel Chester French Dr. SW. Parking is available at Ohio Drive. (Handicapped parking can be found directly across from the memorial at Daniel Chester French Drive SW.)

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open 24 hours
  • Is it expensive?
    Free!
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not necessary, but recommended!
  • How to get there
    Take the Metro to Foggy Bottom
  • Additional information
    To avoid crowds, visit the Memorial after dark. It is quite majestic all lit up!

What people are saying about Lincoln Memorial

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,057 reviews

My family, ages 16 to 42, went on the 6 pm tour of the National Mall. All the monuments lit up at night were beautiful! Georgia was an amazing tour guide and very knowledgeable! The segways were very easy to ride and Georgia's instructions were great! I would definitely recommend this tour!

Our tour guide, Sally, was exceptional. She had a wealth of information about all the sites, and drove safely despite heavy rain. I highly recommend her to any visitors to D.C.

Dean, our tour guide was Exceptional with the knowledge of Washington DC. He went above and beyond. He had an answer to every question about the history of DC!

Excellent experience. Best part of our vacation. Dean was amazing, and full of knowledge. Highly recommend this tour!

The best tour in DC! Mr Map is a native who knows and loves his city! Will be back for his dusk tour!