The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one of Washington DC’s most visited landmarks, is comprised of three parts—the Three Soldiers statue, the Women’s Memorial, and the main attraction, the Maya Lin–designed Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, engraved with the names of some 58,000 fallen and missing Vietnam War soldiers. Visitors arrive to pay their respects and leave notes and mementos at the wall.
The free-to-visit Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a stop on the circuit of most DC sightseeing tours, many of which also visit the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, Washington Monument, and the US Capitol building. Walking tours ensure an up-close look at the names engraved on the black granite memorial wall, the scene of three uniformed women helping a wounded soldier depicted in the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the bronze Three Soldiers statue from artist Frederick Hart.
Things to Know Before You Go
- National Park Service rangers are available from 9:30am to 10pm daily to help visitors find relative names and make wall rubbings, which involves transferring wall names from the stone to paper.
- The memorial is wheelchair accessible.
- Visitors can download an official Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall smartphone app to locate specific names on the wall.
How to Get There
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is centrally located on the National Mall, just a 5-minute walk east of the Lincoln Memorial. If traveling via public transit, ride the Metro to the Foggy Bottom or Federal Triangle stop, or hop on the National Mall Circulator bus. Alternatively, book a tour with round-trip transport to skip the hassle of navigating on your own.
When to Get There
Open to visitors at all hours, the memorial is busiest in summer, during the afternoon, and on weekends. While most travelers visit during the day, some opt for an evening or night sightseeing tour to see the black granite wall hauntingly illuminated under the night sky.
Women’s Vietnam War History
The Women’s Memorial was a controversial addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In 1993 after nine years of resistance from the memorials commissions, former Army combat nurse Diane Evans finally gained approval for the addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to recognize the 265,000 women who served during the Vietnam War.