At 555 ft (170 m) the Washington Monument is not only the tallest building in Washington D.C., it is also the tallest masonry structure in the world. Strangely, this pale obelisk needling the sky near the Mall's west end was originally conceived as an equestrian statue to honor George Washington, the country's first president.
Inside, a glass-walled elevator quickly whisks you to an observation landing with spectacular 360-degree views. Most agree the panoramic green and marble vista of Washington D.C. and her rivers is well worth any wait to get up. On your way down, the elevator descends slowly, allowing passengers to see some of the 192 carved stones inserted into the interior walls that are gifts from foreign countries, all 50 states, organizations, and individuals.
In the days before September 11, 2001, it was possible to descend the 897 steps. Believe it or not, when the monument first opened the elevator was not considered safe for women so, while men got to ride in style to the top, women had to make the trek on foot! Security concerns today mean no one takes the stairs.
Review by LC, October 2010
The Washington Monument is directly south of the White House, in the center of the National Mall. Same-day tickets for a timed entrance to the monument are available at the ticket kiosk on the monument grounds. Distribution starts at 8am; arrive early, as tickets are limited. Alternatively, you can reserve your tickets in advance.