Some memorials in Washington, D.C., are best seen at night. There's just something magical that happens when the moonlight reflects just right off the Lincoln Memorial or the way the water glistens in the Tidal Basin.
All of these memorials are part of the National Park Service
and therefore are free and open to the public year-round. Here are four memorials worth visiting in the dark!
The Lincoln Memorial is arguably the most iconic and most beautiful memorial to witness at nighttime. It’s also much less-crowded, which allows you to actually experience the grandeur without massive amounts of tourists trying to snap a selfie.
The monument is lit up at night and perhaps even more greatly than during the day expresses what President Abraham Lincoln has done for the people of the United States and the legacy he left behind. The statue of the former president sitting in his chair, tall as ever, has a powerful, yet also calming effect on the mind and body.
Walk up the steps and say hello to Lincoln. Then find a space to sit off the ledge of the platform. Favorite peaceful spots are right in front of the reflecting pool (but there may still be a few people milling around) and on the other side facing Virginia. The side facing Virginia is especially quiet and the perfect spot to ponder your existence and purpose in this world.
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Courtesy of Washingtonian.org[/caption]
While the Lincoln Memorial watches over the reflecting pool and peers out to the National Mall and the Capitol, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial looks out onto the Tidal Basin and the rest of the memorials, focusing specifically on the recently constructed Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. The monument itself features a statue of Thomas Jefferson holding the Declaration of Independence and peering out into the water. At night, with the memorial all lit up and the white marble stone reflected in the water, this memorial is almost majestic.
Because this memorial is on the water and is really a stand-alone piece, it takes slightly more effort to get to it. The National Park Service has outlined the best driving, parking, and public transportation directions here
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Courtesy of nps.org[/caption]
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a fairly new addition to the Washington, D.C., memorial circuit, with construction on the project finishing in 2011. The memorial consists of the statue of Martin Luther King himself, as well as a wall lined with quotes, both from him and social justice leaders in American history. It tends to get very crowded during the day, so nighttime will allow you more peace, quiet, and time with the memorial, as well as another look at the sparking Tidal Basin. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
, when observed without distraction is incredibly inspirational.
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Courtesy of washington.org[/caption]
The Vietnam War Memorial is perhaps the most poignant and thoughtful memorial on the National Mall. The monument is a descending wall with the names of all those who died fighting in the Vietnam War. It’s quiet -- no flashiness -- but so incredibly powerful. You'll immediately be moved by the sheer number of names that line the wall. At night, you’re able to slowly stroll through each part of the wall and read the names without interruption. During the day people also place flowers or trace some names onto a sheet of paper. While all of that is lovely, it may also take away from feeling the moment as it was intended. Night gives you the freedom and peace to really experience it.
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Courtesy of outsidethebeltway.com[/caption]
All four of these memorials (with the exception of the Jefferson, which is just a tad bit challenging to get to) are close to each other so you can make a night of it. Bring a friend, your significant other, or a family member for company and long conversations about life.
Have you visited any of these memorials at night? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!