Must-see national monuments
in Washington, DC
A nod to our nation’s forefathers, armed services and American leaders, here’s a look at White House tours, Historic Hotels of America and national monuments in Washington, DC, that commemorate American history:
The Washington Monument
Built to honor George Washington, the nation’s first president and one of America’s Founding Fathers, this memorial, made of marble, granite and gneiss, is the world’s tallest obelisk at 555 feet tall. Visitors can take the tour to the top.
To honor another one of our nation’s founding fathers, book a historic hotel stay at The Henley Park Hotel, a splendid Tudor-style accommodation just blocks away from Franklin Square, a park maintained by the National Park Service to honor politician, inventor and author Benjamin Franklin.
The Lincoln Memorial
Featuring 36 stone columns and a solitary statue of Abraham Lincoln, The Lincoln Memorial memorializes the nation’s 16th president. The statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons — a favorite among national monuments in Washington, DC.
The Churchill, located on Embassy Row, is a resplendent stay for anyone who wants to enjoy views of Potomac River, nicknamed “The Nation’s River.” This river was instrumental in dividing the Union from the Confederacy during the Civil War and gave name to Lincoln’s largest Union army — the Army of the Potomac.
The Jefferson Memorial
The domed-shape Jefferson Memorial honors Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the third president of the United States. The memorial contains excerpts of the Declaration of Independence, which Jefferson authored.
If you want to further pay homage to Jefferson, stay at The Jefferson, Washington DC, a historic hotel that boasts tributes to this great president. The hotel library, The Book Room, is filled with books on his favorite subjects, while his passion for wine and agriculture influenced the Private Cellar’s wine collection and the Petite Spa’s vinotherapy treatments.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
A 30-foot statue of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is carved into the Stone of Hope, along with excerpts from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The memorial honors King, one of the most prominent leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
For those particularly moved by his immortal speech, consider checking into The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC, a historic hotel just a block away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was here, surrounded by elegance, where Dr. King put his finishing touches on his most moving speech.
World War II Memorial
The National World War II Memorial, containing 56 granite columns symbolizing American unity, honors 16 million people who served as part of the American armed forces in the war and more than 400,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Among Washington, DC hotels, one in particular — The Morrison-Clark Inn — played a significant role in aiding America’s enlisted. In 1864, two twin townhouses merged to form the Morrison-Clark mansion, and in 1923, it opened its Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen’s Club, offering affordable lodging for its members. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, the club provided beds for more than 45,000 visitors and served nearly 85,000 meals before becoming a public hotel in 1987.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
This three-section memorial features the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, honoring the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War.
Just half a mile away from the Vietnam Memorial, visitors can stay at Hotel Lombardy, where history is evident in this almost-hundred-year-old hotel, featuring Washington’s only manually operating elevator. Most of Washington’s memorials are within walking distance, and the White House is just two blocks away.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
This monument, made of South Dakota granite, is divided into four outdoor rooms, signifying the four terms the 32nd president served in office. FDR once joked if Congress ever made a national monument for him, he would like it to be no larger than the size of his desk.
For a historic hotel experience, consider a stay at The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel, where FDR wrote his 1933 inaugural address. The “Great Dame of Washington, DC,” the hotel has hosted every U.S. presidential inaugural ball since Calvin Coolidge’s and flaunts more gold than any other building in the country, except for the Library of Congress, making this an extraordinary stay.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial
Dedicated to the armed forces who served and perished in the Korean War, this memorial has 164-feet-long, 8-inch-thick walls that look like an isosceles triangle from a bird’s eye view. A squadron of stainless steel soldiers sits inside the memorial.
For more Korean War history, visitors might consider staying at Capital Hilton, a historic hotel where General Douglas MacArthur crafted his notable “Old Soldiers Never Die” speech in disagreement over the conducting of the Korean War.
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial honors the 184 men, women and children who died in the attack on the Pentagon during the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. The Age Wall, showing the varying ages of the victims, puts this horrific loss of life into perspective at this national monument in Washington, DC.
The best hotel to stay at if you want convenient access to the Pentagon Memorial is the Phoenix Park Hotel with its “touch of Ireland.” The hotel sits diagonal from the historic Union Station, the main intercity railway in Washington that feeds visitors across the Washington Channel and Lower Potomac River to the Pentagon.
White House Tours
Although not a memorial, Washington, DC visitors can go on a self-guided White House tours. These tours must be arranged in advance through a member of Congress and for groups of ten or more. Families can request to join a tour.
Both The Willard and Hotel Lombardy are perfect hotel stays for anyone who wants to be a block or two away from this American institution.