How to Go Inside the Washington Monument

Updated July 7, 2020.

This year is all about unique and iconic experiences in my home country, the United States of America. I hope you’ve subscribed to the newsletter so you never miss out!

The Washington Monument is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the world, and it’s once again open for one and all to go inside and take a peek from the top! It recently re-opened after some major restorations, but the views are still the same, and they’re worth taking in on your trip to D.C. Take a look and put it on your list!

Up we go!

Know Before You Go

As always, you’ll have a better experience if you’re prepared and know how to “right size” your expectations!

  • You will need a ticket, and you will need to get in line early. More on this in a moment.
  • You will have to go through security. You’ll have to do a lot of this in D.C., so come prepared and pack your patience… sometimes there’s quite a line!
  • You can bring your purse. Ladies, rejoice! However, any bags larger than 18x16x8 inches are not allowed. Most standard backpacks are not too large.
  • For a list of prohibited items, check the Monument’s Restricted Items Page.
  • Plan to spend about 20-45 minutes here, depending on how crowded the museum and viewing area are during your visit.
  • The Monument is open 7 days a week.
  • The monument stands at 555 feet and 5/8 inches tall, and it’s held together only with gravity! No mortar, no framework, just marble and gravity.
Just waiting for the elevator up!

For all the most accurate information, check out the Washington Monument’s National Park Service Page!

Getting Tickets

As I mentioned above, you will need tickets, and you will need to get them early! Everyone over the age of 2 will need a ticket. You’ll get your ticket at the gift shop on the 15th street side of the Washington Monument (the side facing the Capitol Building).

The little white building is the place to get your tickets!

Daily Walk-up Tickets

FREE daily tickets are distributed starting at 8:30am, and they often run out of tickets by 9:00am. People start to line up two hours early during the spring and summer. If you’re visiting in winter, you will have no problem getting a ticket and you will not need to line up hours in advance.

Advance Tickets

If you don’t want to wake up early and stand in line, you could spend just $1 per ticket to reserve them online! Ticket reservations open up 90 days in advance, and if you want to visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival, spring time, or summer time, you will definitely want to consider advance tickets. You can reserve up to 6 tickets online.

Tickets are always up for grabs in the winter time!


Once you get through security, don’t miss the best parts!

The Statue of George Washington

George is the whole reason this monument is here, so don’t miss him while you wait for the elevator! He’s standing in an alcove facing the elevator, so don’t forget to turn around while you wait!

Me and my pal George!

The Views from the Top

This is the whole reason you’ll want to visit! The views from the top are unparalleled in every direction. The most beautiful times to go are definitely spring and fall, but summer is absolutely stunning with all the D.C. water features going and lush greenery, and winter can be truly beautiful, especially those random times when we get a beautiful blanket of snow! These photos were taken on a clear, cold winter’s day!

View to the north: The White House is just left of center!
East-facing view: That’s the Capitol all the way down the National Mall’s green space!
South-facing view: This is particularly beautiful during cherry blossom season because this faces the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial! It’s also fun to watch the airplanes take off from DCA in the distance!
View from toward the West: That’s the World War II Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, and across the Potomac River is Virginia!

The Museum

When you’re finished ogling the views at the 500-foot viewing area, walk down just a few steps to the museum at 490-foot level. Displays and artifacts tell the story of the monument’s construction, the restorations that have happened since the 2011 earthquake (unfortunately I was in Turkey when that happened—bummer!), and the 193 commemorative stones that were donated from various states, countries, cities, and civic groups that are part of the interior of the monument!

You can see a few of them on the elevator ride down, too!

What if I Can’t Get a Ticket?

Good news! If tickets are all gone for the day, you do have another incredible view option. The Old Post Office Tower is also run by the National Park Service and is FREE to visit! It’s open from 9:00am-5:00pm daily. For more information, check out their website.

The Old Post Office Tower at the Trump International Hotel!
The view from the Old Post Office Tower!

Need more D.C. insight, recommendations, and how-tos? Check out my Washington, D.C. Page for where to eat, what to see, and how to fit it all in!

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