Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the grandest and most distinctive of Washington's monuments. Anchoring the western end of the National Mall and framed by the Reflecting Pool, it's an outsized tribute to an American president who played an outsized role in America's history: Abraham Lincoln.
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
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The Lincoln Memorial is one of the grandest and most distinctive of Washington’s monuments. Anchoring the western end of the National Mall and framed by the Reflecting Pool, it’s an outsized tribute to an American president who played an outsized role in America’s history: Abraham Lincoln. Its classical columns frame a large statue of a seated Lincoln gazing out towards the Capitol Building at the opposite end of the Mall.

The purpose of the impressive structure is to house a 175-ton statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln, the 16th American president, as he gazes eastward over the Reflecting Pool, past the Washington Monument, to the US Capitol Building.

Lincoln Memorial Pictures

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
For a week or two either side of the spring and fall equinoxes the sun rises more or less directly in the east. Because the National Mall runs directly east-west, and the Lincoln Memorial faces directly east, it means that on a clear morning during that time the sun shines directly in on the statue. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
This inscription marks the spot on which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood to deliver his famous “I have a dream” speech in August 1963. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
The early morning sun from an equinox sunrise catching the statue of Abraham Lincoln. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
The unusual lighting in this shot is the result of one light source turning to two. For one, the rising sun around the time of the spring equinox is shining on directly. And it’s also shining on the Reflecting Pool and bouncing off its calm surface just like a mirror. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Lincoln’s face, at left, is on a wall mural inside the museum section through the door. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial wide-angle and blue sky
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Close-up of Lincoln Memorial Statue
The inscription on the wall immediately behind the statue reads: IN THIS TEMPLE / AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE / FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION / THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN / IS ENSHRINED FOREVER”. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Washington Monuments: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and US Capitol Dome
This shot of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and US Capitol Building is taken from across the Potomac, near the Iwo Jima Memorial and just in front of the Netherlands Carillon. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Interior of the Lincoln Memorial at Night
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Statue Tourists Wide-angle
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool stretches out from the plaza of the Lincoln Memorial toward the National World War II Memorial and Washington Monument. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Interior of the Lincoln Memorial at Night
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Exhibits
Downstairs is a small area featuring exhibits about Lincoln and the memorial. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Exhibits
An exhibit on the ground floor about the building of the Lincoln Memorial. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Abraham Lincoln Statue
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gettysburg Address in the Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial with motion blur tourists
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Close-up of Lincoln Memorial Statue
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Bust of Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial in the Snow
NPS staff clarning the steps of snow and ice after a snowstorm. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Aerial View of the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
This shot is taken from the top of the Washington Monument. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Equinox Sunrise
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Crowds on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial
A fairly typical view during the summer tourist season. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Soldiers Training
If you go very early in the morning there’s a good chance you’ll catch some of the many locally stationed military personnel doing their group workouts. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial During the Equinox
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Statue Sunrise
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Tourists
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial Silhouette at Sunrise
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Statue and Columns.
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Inaugural Address.
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Scouts visiting Lincoln Memorial
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Abraham Lincoln Memorial statue at night
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
POW stand at the Lincoln Memorial
A POW stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial, next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial
Part of the Gettysburg Address. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial at night
These fountains are part of the National World War II Memorial at the other end of the Reflecting Pool. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Tilt shift of Lincoln Memorial
An experiment using a tilt-shift lens for the miniature effect. Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Exterior of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, with a clear bl
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

Getting to the Lincoln Memorial

The best way to get to the Lincoln Memorial is by Metro. The closest stops are Foggy Bottom (0.8 miles) (Orange and Blue lines), Smithsonian (1.1. miles) (Orange line), Arlington National Cemetery (0.9 miles) (Blue line), or Federal Triangle (1.4 miles) (Orange line). Metro has a handy Trip Planner and here’s a map of the Metro lines.

There isn’t any parking immediately next to the Lincoln Memorial (except for tourist buses). Depending on time of day and how busy it is, it might be possible to find parking along Constitution Avenue, but make careful note of the signs to make sure you don’t get towed. There’s often free parking along Hains Point, but that’s first-come-first-served, and you might end up with a long walk back to your car during the busy tourist season. And be warned that the roads around the Lincoln Memorial can be confusing; it’s very easy to end up across the river in Arlington before you know it. If you’re coming from the Arlington side, another good option is to park at Arlington National Cemetery (check hours and parking fees) and walk across Memorial Bridge.

There are no entrance fees, reservations, or tickets and no lines except very rarely for the small exhibit under the building (which is mostly because that’s where the restrooms are).

The Lincoln Memorial For Photographers

The Lincoln Memorial is one of my favorite places to take photos in DC. With the exception of restrictions on tripods within the building and on the steps, the Lincoln Memorial is very photographer-friendly. There’s no problem using flash.

The Lincoln Memorial gets a lot of tourist traffic (check out the video below to see what I what mean), so count on there being a lot of people there unless you’re going very early or very late. It’s a popular post-dinner stop for the many school groups that visit Washington, so it can be busy quite late into the evening. If you’re looking to minimize the number of people in your shots, the best time to go is before dawn.

The Lincoln Memorial is open around the clock, so you never really have to worry about it being closed. No tickets or reservations are required. The interior of the memorial isn’t especially bright, so a good off-camera flash is useful at night. The exterior lights illuminate the building all night and provide plenty of dramatic lighting for night shots.

You can use tripods in the areas surrounding the main structure, but security guards will descend on you quickly if you try to use them inside or on the steps. And truth be told, it’s an entirely sensible safety precaution–the memorial is often crowded, and someone tripping on a tripod leg could be serious with the combination of hard marble and high stairs.

Official Website

https://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

Information about the Lincoln Memorial

What does the Lincoln Memorial stand for?

The Lincoln Memorial is a monument to honor the 16th American president, Abraham Lincoln. It stands on the western end of the National Mall facing the Washington Monument and US Capitol Building.

Who made the Lincoln Memorial?

The architect Henry Bacon designed the Lincoln Memorial. The statue of President Lincoln is by sculptor Daniel Chester French.

When was the Lincoln Memorial built?

The Lincoln Memorial’s construction took eight years. Ground was broken for the foundation on February 12, 1914. It was dedicated on May 30, 1922.

How old is the Abraham Lincoln Memorial?

The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1922.

What is on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial?

The large statue of President Lincoln sits in the center of the memorial. To his right, the text of the Gettysburg Address is etched into the wall. To his left, on the northern wall, is the text of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

How many steps does the Lincoln Memorial have?

To walk from the Reflecting Pool level to the main chamber takes 87 steps. To go from the main plaza area in front of the memorial (between the Reflecting Pool and the Memorial) is 58 steps. During the day and evening there’s an elevator you can take up to the chamber (access it from a door to the left of the steps as you’re looking at the memorial’s front).

Is there parking at the Lincoln Memorial?

There’s no parking immediately next to the Lincoln Memorial, but there is metered on-street parking close by along Constitution Avenue (check signs–restricted parking during rush hours) and along Ohio Drive SW running along the Potomac towards the Jefferson Memorial. There are also three small metered parking lots behind the Jefferson Memorial (Lots A, B, and C) that are accessed from Ohio Drive SW.

What is the closest Metro station to the Lincoln Memorial?

The closest Metro stations to the Lincoln Memorial are Foggy Bottom, Arlington Cemetery, and Smithsonian.

What hours are the Lincoln Memorial open?

The main chamber of the Lincoln Memorial is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is no entry fee. The small museum, restrooms, elevator, and bookshop are open during standard hours during the day and evening but close overnight.

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