Designed by Maya Lin to try to move beyond the political controversies of the Vietnam War era, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial memorializes Americans who served and died in the Vietnam War.
Its central design is a large, dark wall etched into the ground that is engraved with 58,267 names of those who died. It sits next to the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial sits right next to the Lincoln Memorial. The closest metro 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.
Generally speaking, there isn’t any parking immediately next to the Vietnam Memorial. 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 to contend with.
The font face used on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is Optima.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is open all day and night. Handheld photography is allowed, but tripods are not. There’s no problem using flash, although you’ll probably want to use it at an angle to the wall rather than straight on to avoid the reflection from the highly reflective marble surface.
As an outdoor memorial, you’re at the mercy of the weather and dependent mostly on the natural light. There is some lighting at night, but it’s quite dim. In the summer, and especially over the Memorial Day Weekend and Veteran’s Day, it can get crowded.
Commercial photography shoots and filming require a permit.
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.
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.