Simple but profoundly moving, the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Dallas comprises a granite slab bearing the assassinated president’s name etched in gold. The slab is surrounded by soaring concrete walls that appear to be free-floating, capturing the feeling of loss felt around the world following Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963.
As a prominent city landmark, the John F. Kennedy Memorial is included in many Dallas sightseeing tours. Those with a particular interest in the JFK assassination can opt for a themed tour that includes visits to Dealey Plaza, where the president was killed; the memorial; Grassy Knoll; the home of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald; the historic Texas Movie Theater in Oak Cliff; and the Sixth Floor Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The JFK Memorial is a must-see for first-time visitors and JFK history buffs.
- Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
- The JFK Memorial Plaza is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The JFK Memorial is situated in downtown Dallas, a block away from Dealey Plaza in John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. Union Station and West End Station are close by.
When to Get There
To fully appreciate the memorial and its symbolism, plan to visit after a trip to the nearby Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Don’t miss seeing the memorial at night, when light fixtures in the ground create the illusion that the light itself is supporting the cenotaph.
The Man Behind the Memorial
American architect Philip Johnson was chosen to design the memorial, and he opted for an open tomb design to symbolize the freedom of JFK’s spirit. The walls of the roofless room were built from 72 white concrete columns that seemingly float 29 inches (74 centimeters) above the ground. This invisible force that seems to hold the memorial together was inspired by the magnetic charisma of John F. Kennedy.