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National World War II Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
WWII Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
Pillars picture in Washington, D.C.
National World War II Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
WWII Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
Pillars picture in Washington, D.C.

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 24/7 daily

Details

  • Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
  • Less than 1 hour Time to Spend

Local Experts Scorecard
Based on 9 interviews

  • Must-see
  • Recommended
  • If You Have Time

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

A popular memorial, the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the 400,000-plus Americans who died during the war. A circle of 56 pilings (representing the then 56 U.S. states and territories) looks over the Rainbow Pool. At night, with lights shining, this memorial can be quite ethereal.

Past visitors said they felt inspired after visiting the National World War II Memorial. Though you'll rub elbows with other tourists in the spring and summer, previous travelers suggest timing your visit during one of these seasons so you can enjoy the memorial's fountains and waterfalls.

The National World War II Memorial is located on the National Mall's main drag, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and can be reached by taking the DC Circulator's National Mall bus or the Metro's Blue, Silver or Orange line to Smithsonian station. The sight is free to explore 24 hours a day, but it is only staffed by National Park Service rangers every day from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For further details, consult the National Park Service's official National WWII Memorial page.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
State Plaza Hotel

State Plaza Hotel ...

  • 0.6 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
JW Marriott Washington, DC

JW Marriott Washington, DC ...

  • 0.7 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
W Washington D.C.

W Washington D.C. ...

  • 0.6 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
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#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 ... Read more » Kevin Voelker Photography / Getty Images

#2 The White House and the Washington Monument Even if you're only in town for a short trip, visiting the Washington Monument and the White House – two marbleized symbols of the free world – is a must for ... Read more » www.stefanbock.de / Getty Images

#3 National World War II Memorial A popular memorial, the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the 400,000-plus Americans who died during the war. A circle of 56 pilings (representing the ... Read more » OGphoto / Getty Images

#4 U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress Arguably the most magnificent building in Washington, the U.S. Capitol is where visitors go to witness politics in action. Inside, members of both houses of Congress debate and create ... Read more » Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

#5 Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials One of the most moving war memorials, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – or "the Wall," as it's commonly referred to – is a long black granite wall with the names of ... Read more » Peter Gridley / Getty Images

#6 National Gallery of Art If you're any kind of art connoisseur, you should make a stop at the National Gallery of Art. Composed of the East Building, which houses the gallery's more ... Read more » James P. Blair / Getty Images

#7 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Attracting millions of people each year, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum contains a trove of celebrated aircraft, including Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega 5B, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of ... Read more » PictureNet / Getty Images

#8 The Tidal Basin If you've never been to D.C. before, plan to spend some time along the Tidal Basin, a 2-mile-long pond that was once attached to the Potomac River and ... Read more » SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

#9 National Archives Museum A treasure trove of the United States' founding documents, the National Archives Museum is high on travelers' to-do lists and almost always has long entrance lines. But once you do ... Read more » uschools / Getty Images

#10 Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History With more than 126 million artifacts on display, this robust Smithsonian museum on the National Mall attracts millions of visitors each year. Some of the museum's highlights include tarantula ... Read more » Alex Proimos / Flickr

#11 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum You need to be in the right frame of mind to visit this sobering museum that focuses on the atrocities of the Holocaust during World War II. Upon entering the ... Read more » Mr.TinDC / Flickr

#12 Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute More than 1,500 animals call the Smithsonian's 163-acre National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute home, from Asian elephants to great apes to sea lions. While here, don't ... Read more » KentWeakley / Getty Images

#13 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Many travelers highly recommend a visit to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, built and named for America's beloved Camelot president. The Kennedy Center houses the ... Read more » ccahill / Getty Images

#14 Washington National Cathedral Construction first began on this massive cathedral – the sixth largest in the world –  in 1907, but it wasn't actually completed until 1990. Designed in the Gothic style, the Washington ... Read more » Westend61 / Getty Images

# Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial 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 ... Read more » Anthony Quintano / Flickr

# Newseum This sleek attraction is one of the District's most popular museums. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue and accessible via the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro stop on the Green and Yellow ... Read more » NCinDC / Flickr

# Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture Designed to replicate the three-tiered crowns found in Yoruban art from West Africa, with bronze-colored latticework accents that honor the United States' slave roots, the Smithsonian National Museum of African ... Read more » Open minded in Alabama / Flickr

Lincoln Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
The White House and Washington Monument picture in Washington, D.C.
National World War II Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress picture in Washington, D.C.
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials picture in Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Art picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
The Tidal Basin picture in Washington, D.C.
National Archives Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History picture in Washington, D.C.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute picture in Washington, D.C.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts picture in Washington, D.C.
Washington National Cathedral picture in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
Newseum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture picture in Washington, D.C.
Lincoln Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
The White House and Washington Monument picture in Washington, D.C.
National World War II Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress picture in Washington, D.C.
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials picture in Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Art picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
The Tidal Basin picture in Washington, D.C.
National Archives Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History picture in Washington, D.C.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute picture in Washington, D.C.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts picture in Washington, D.C.
Washington National Cathedral picture in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial picture in Washington, D.C.
Newseum picture in Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture picture in Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day, but for jaw-dropping photos, arrive late in the afternoon as the sun sets. Kevin Voelker Photography / Getty Images

Some of the District's most iconic attractions – the White House and Washington Monument – sit less than a mile away from each other in the city center. www.stefanbock.de / Getty Images

Find your state to pay your respects for those lost during World War II at the National World War II Memorial. OGphoto / Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol is stunning to look at year-round, but for an extra pop of color in your photos, visit in the spring. Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

Though D.C. is home to a plethora of moving memorials, two of its most beautiful – the Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials – reside at the western end of the National Mall.  Peter Gridley / Getty Images

Art enthusiasts will love visiting the National Gallery of Art, which features about 70,000 prints, nearly 4,000 paintings and approximately 3,000 sculptures by European and American artists. James P. Blair / Getty Images

Inside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, you'll find prized objects like the Wright Brothers' 1903 Wright Flyer and Amelia Earheart's Lockheed Vega 5B. PictureNet / Getty Images

During D.C.'s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, travelers can spot hundreds of blooms by the Tidal Basin. SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Inside the free National Archives Museum, you can view important American documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. uschools / Getty Images

World-famous gems, massive dinosaur fossils and a plethora of live insects can be found at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Alex Proimos / Flickr

At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, you'll discover moving exhibits that vividly showcase Hitler's ascension to power, as well as the oral histories and pieces of clothing of those who perished during the Holocaust. Mr.TinDC / Flickr

Some of the most popular animals to view at the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute are its three pandas: Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bei Bei. KentWeakley / Getty Images

Sitting pretty along the Potomac River, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts puts on shows spanning all styles, from dance and ballet to jazz and musicals. ccahill / Getty Images

The Washington National Cathedral is the second largest in the country and is known for its Gothic architecture. Westend61 / Getty Images

Nestled alongside the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial stands 30 feet high and features a replica of its namesake. Anthony Quintano / Flickr

News buffs and current events enthusiasts will appreciate the exhibits found inside the Newseum. NCinDC / Flickr

Housed inside a building with symbolic ties to Africans and African-Americans, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture is one of the city's newest and most popular museums. Open minded in Alabama / Flickr

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