Sitting on the southern axis of the National Mall, opposite the White House and Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial sits on the bank of Tidal Basin on reclaimed land on was once part of the Potomac.
A classical domed structure of the kind that Jefferson made famous in the United States after his stay in France, the structure anchored at its center by an oversized statue of Thomas Jefferson. It’s an open air memorial and, like the Lincoln Memorial, open 24 hours.
The Jefferson Memorial is at its photogenic best during late-March through early-April during the blooming of the cherry blossoms that ring the Tidal Pool.
And you might have noticed that the dome of the Jefferson Memorial is mostly dark and tarnished but there’s a wide strip that’s clean. That’s due to a test that the NPS was conducting of a laser treatment to remove the biofilm that creates that tarnished look (otherwise known as a colony of microscopic organisms that adheres to stone surfaces). The test was successful and will presumably lead to some as-yet-announced treatment program of the rest of the dome.
Photos of the Jefferson Memorial
360° Virtual Tours
There is a small parking lot on the eastern side of the Tidal Pool near the Jefferson Memorial. (This parking lot is closed off during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.) There’s more parking on the opposite side of the Tidal Pool along the Potomac, extending all the way along Hains Point, including some convenient parking lots at the foot of the 14th Street Bridge.
Tripods are allowed around the memorial grounds and around the Tidal Pool but not inside the memorial itself. There’s no problem using a flash. No reservations or tickets are required–you can wander around at will.
The Jefferson Memorial never closes and does not require tickets or reservations–you can just wander in and around the Memorial any time of the day or night.
Washington DC Visitor Guides
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some of the most popular guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit.
- Elise Hartman Ford
- Publisher: FrommerMedia
- Lonely Planet, Karla Zimmerman, Virginia Maxwell, Amy C Balfour
- Publisher: Lonely Planet
- Van Dam Stephan
- Publisher: VanDam, Inc.
- Fodor's Travel Guides
- Fodor's Travel
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's rich history.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
- Barbara Noe Kennedy