Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials

#2 in Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.
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Key Info

5 Henry Bacon Drive NW

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

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

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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 more than 58,000 Americans who perished during the Vietnam War emblazoned on its surface. Recent travelers said their visits to the site were heartbreaking but thought-provoking and powerful, adding that even the toughest of individuals will find it hard to not become emotional while reading the wall's names. If you're looking for a specific person, keep in mind that the soldiers' names are ordered by the date they died, not alphabetically. Also, reviewers recommend using the attraction's name books and visiting during the day when there's ample sunlight.

When you're wandering along the eastern side of the Mall, venture to the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Paying tribute to the 1.5 million who served in "The Forgotten War," this privately funded site contains 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers in combat. In a triangular area known as the Field of Service, soldier statues march toward an American flag. Next to the soldiers is a 164-foot-long granite wall that pays homage to the unnamed troops that fought in the Korean War. Another highlight of the memorial is the Pool of Remembrance, a tranquil place for reflection. However, some past travelers cautioned that the memorial lacks signage, so younger visitors may not understand as much as those who lived through the war.

Both memorials are free to explore 24 hours a day but are only staffed by National Park Service rangers from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans memorials are just a short walk south on 23rd Street Southwest from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro stop (on the Blue, Silver and Orange lines) by the Lincoln Memorial. You can also take the DC Circulator's National Mall bus to the sights. Visit the National Park Service's Vietnam Veterans Memorial page and its Korean War Veterans Memorial page to find out more.

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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 (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.

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