Sights & Activities

A Tribute to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson

September 25, 2013

Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC

Photo Credit: David Jones on Flickr Creative Commons

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – Located in a quiet corner of the National Mall resides one of the capital’s most contemplative spots, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Built in honor of inventor-cum-diplomat-cum-US President Thomas Jefferson, this neoclassic monument offers incredible views of nearby White House and the Washington Monument (not to mention the slightly out-of-the-way location makes this spot a relatively quiet refuge among the otherwise bustling Mall).

Completed in 1943 by John Russell Pope (architect of the National Gallery of Art and National Archives), this historic chunk of marble showcases inscriptions of some of the president’s most famous words, including excerpts from the Declaration of Independence (coincidentally on display at the nearby National Archives) and various letters to American diplomats. Each inscription epitomizes the larger egalitarian ideals of Jefferson and similar democratic thinkers (which, as you might’ve guessed, is why this memorial resides along the axis of the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lincoln memorials—how fitting!).

Though the nearest metro is a 15- to 20-minute walk away, the Jefferson Memorial is well worth the visit. History buffs and galavanting tourists alike will enjoy the pensive ambiance this historic monument provides. Plus, rangers are on duty to answer any of our questions from 9:30am-11:30pm daily (a definite plus for any inquiring visitor!).

After walking up the marble steps, patrons come face-to-face with a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson himself (though the original was a plaster cast painted to look like bronze, the current version is the real thing). And if you’re wondering when the best time to visit is—other than the Cherry Blossom festival in the spring, of course—this monument is equally striking by day and night. Its position along the glistening banks of the Potomac makes it perfect by day while the gleaming lights by night provide an ethereal feel.

Akin to much of the rest of DC, visiting this historic monument is free any day of the week. And as an added bonus, there’s no need for reservations either, so patrons can wander down toward this side of the Mall whenever they’re seeking a little quiet time. Plus, its convenient location makes it extremely easy to visit any of the Mall’s other nearby memorials (you are in the heart of DC, after all!).

Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC

Photo Credit: Rambling Traveler on Flickr Creative Commons

In all its glory, it comes as no surprise that no trip to DC is complete without a trip to this ancient Greek and Roman-inspired masterpiece. It’s got all the makings of an incredible edifice: a compelling backstory, thriving history, and unparalleled views; of course, this is the city where many of America’s ideals came to pass (and you can’t beat the up-close-and-personal views of that!).

Read more about the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in our Washington, DC guide.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial
701 E. Basin Dr., SW
Washington, DC
(1) 202-426-6841

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