Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

#16 in Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial picture
Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Key Info

1964 Independence Ave. SW

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Located beside the Tidal Basin, this 30-foot-high granite memorial pays homage to civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Everything from its address at 1964 Independence Ave. (a reference to the year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by Congress) to its design (which shows King emerging from the "Mountain of Despair"), are meant to reflect King's significant contribution to American history. What's more, this towering sculpture opened to the public in 2011, making it one of the newest memorials to open in the District. It is also the National Mall's first memorial dedicated to an African American.

Previous visitors raved about this memorial, adding that its powerful symbolism and beautiful design will give you the chills. Plus, the sculpture's close proximity to other memorials and monuments like the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the National World War II Memorial make it convenient to reach. However, some reviewers wished there was more information on King's life and legacy.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is free to visit 24 hours a day, but National Park Service rangers are only available to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It is located next to West Potomac Park at the western end of the National Mall and can be reached by taking the DC Circulator's National Mall bus or walking from the Smithsonian Metro station. It can also be reached by taking one of the city's best bus tours. More information about the monument can be found on the National Park Service's official Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial page.

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More Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial1 of 25
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials2 of 25
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Lincoln Memorial

Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District's many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among travelers' favorites. History buffs might enjoy the man of few (albeit powerful) words' two famous speeches, the second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, which are both etched into the memorial's opposing walls. Meanwhile, art history and architecture aficionados will enjoy admiring the building's striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away.

Though most agree the Lincoln Memorial is worth checking out during the day or at night, many recent travelers say the most captivating time to visit is after dark when the attraction is lit and less crowded. Plus, evening temps will make peak summer visits more comfortable.

Read more
Kevin Voelker Photography/Getty Images
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