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Jefferson Memorial

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Jefferson Memorial facade at night
Jefferson Memorial Facade

History: Memorial to Jefferson

This open-air monument in the United States Capital honors former President Thomas Jefferson. Completed in 1943, This monument is located across the Tidal Basin from the Washington Monument. It features a twenty-eight column front facade and a statue of Jefferson in the center. Located directly south of the White House, the Jefferson Memorial completes the original L'Enfant plan for the district. The plan called for four points of the National Mall area, the others being the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Lincoln Memorial. Japanese Cherry trees granted by Japan in 1912 dot the area surrounding the monument.

Columns of the Jefferson Memorial at night
Interior Columns

The Destination: Thomas Jefferson Memorial

As with many surrounding monuments of the Capitol, this building is primarily constructed from Indiana Limestone which creates a glowing effect at night. Inside the memorial is a rotunda with a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson placed in the center. Four inscriptions of his writing, including the Declaration of Independence, are located on the walls of the rotunda. The other inscriptions are exerpts from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a letter to Samuel Kercheval, with the four being a collage of Jefferson quotes from various sources. A gorgeous view of the Washington Monument and White House can be seen from the steps of the Monument. At night, the monument is lit up and exhibits all of its' beauty.

Statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial
Statue of Thomas Jefferson

Travel Recommendations

As opposed to the tourist-filled steps during the day. A nighttime tour of the area is serene with far fewer tourists. The calming sounds of water movement from the tidal basin, and perfectly manicured views of the Washington Monument create the perfect atmosphere. Additionally, around the monument are various pathways around the tidal basin that connect with the surrounding national monuments. It can be relaxing and self-reflective to just sit on the steps of the monument and lookout over the tidal basin and surrounding monuments.


16 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242


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