Frequently Asked Questions

Washington Monument construction phases.

Can I go inside the Washington Monument?
Yes, but the number of people allowed per day is limited. Plan Your Visit to learn how to obtain tickets.

How do I get tickets to go inside the Washington Monument?
Plan Your Visit to learn how to obtain tickets.

What is inside the Washington Monument?
Inside the ground floor lobby, there is a statue of George Washington. An elevator provides transportation to the top floor, the 500' observation deck at the base of the pyramidion. The observation deck provides views out two windows on the north, south, east, and west sides of the pyramidion. A small museum is located on the 490' level. Stairs connect the observation deck with the ground floor, but they are closed to the public. The interior walls are lined with commemorative stones from individuals, civic groups, cities, states, and countries that wanted to honor the memory of George Washington; some of these stones are visible on the elevator descent trip.

How tall is the Monument?
555 feet and 5 1/8 inches tall. It is 55 feet wide at the base.

Why does the color change on the outside of the monument?
When the monument was under construction in 1854, the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money and the project ground to a halt. Twenty-five years later, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by 1884 using marble from a different quarry. The two sections closely resembled each other at first, but time, wind, rain, and erosion have caused the marble sections to weather differently, thereby producing the difference in color. A third type of marble is also visible at the dividing line between the two main phases of construction.

Does the Washington Monument sway in the wind?
Not really. Because it is an all-stone structure, the building cannot bend and move the way a steel skyscraper can. Most of the movement visitors detect is from the floor shaking from other people walking around and the elevator vibrations.

Is there an elevator in the Washington Monument?

How many stones are in the Washington Monument?
Over 36,000.

How many steps are there in the Washington Monument?
There are 896 steps from the ground level to the observation level at 500 feet. The stairs have been closed to the public since 1976.

Is there any steel or rebar in the Washington Monument?
Steel beams were used to support the elevator shaft, but the structural elements of the Washington Monument are entirely stone.

What can you see from the top of the Washington Monument?
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are visible from the top of the Washington Monument. To the east, the U.S. Capitol, R.F.K. Stadium, the Anacostia River, Nationals Park, and the National Arboretum; to the north, the White House, National Cathedral, and Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; to the west, the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Potomac River, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt Island; to the south, the Tidal Basin, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the Pentagon, the Washington Channel, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

Who designed the Washington Monument?
Robert Mills was the architect.

How much does the Washington Monument weigh?
The above-ground portion is estimated at more than 80,000 tons. Including the foundation, the structure weighs an estimated 100,000 tons.

When was George Washington president?
George Washington took the oath of office as First President of the United States on April 30, 1789. Washington was reelected in 1792 and served his second term from March 4, 1793 until March 4, 1797 when his successor, John Adams, was inaugurated.

Where was George Washington inaugurated?
George Washington was sworn into office in an outdoor ceremony on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789. President Washington was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1793 inside Congress Hall in Philadelphia.

Did George Washington live in the White House?
No. Although George Washington did not live in the White House, he chose its architect, Irishman James Hoban, and helped to determine its design, location, and development. John Adams was the first President to live in the White House, then known as the President's House; he moved into the new residence in November 1800.

Last updated: May 20, 2024

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