The Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin


Visiting the Jefferson Memorial requires a bit of an extra hike around the Tidal Basin and for this reason, I’ve never been there. After a long day of taking visitors all over the city to see other monuments and museums, we’ve usually ended it with a stroll near the water and catching a faraway glimpse of  the memorial. Even from a distance, the memorial’s best feature — those magnificent, towering Ionic pillars made of white marble — stand out proudly.

Up close, it might feel like you’re visiting a smaller version of the Lincoln memorial. At first. Jefferson’s tribute structure however, with its marvelous pillars standing tall, is much more exposed all around. Modeled after Rome’s Pantheon and features classical architecture that Jefferson himself apparently favoured, the dome is closed but has two lofty openings that enable both visitors and plenty of natural light to enter. His bronze statue stands in the middle of the floor under the dome structure, and he has no lack of visitors who want their pictures taken with him throughout the day. On the dome’s interior walls, parts of the Declaration of Independence are etched, almost as if to reinforce ties between Jefferson and those excerpts.

Last time I was down in the Mall area, I made it a point to finally go say hello to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers who played a pivotal role in crafting the country’s Declaration of Independence. It was well worth the extra walk! The circular colonnade is wide enough for eight people to stand abreast, and because the open air design favours light, there is almost always golden glow that hovers about the memorial. I love this about the place. Warm rays reach in and hit the colonnade’s marble floors, but you can get a cool reprieve in the shadows cast by the pillars. Out front, there’s a lot of open space facing the water for people to sit and watch paddle boats float by as you work on your tan. It’s located directly south of the White House, which you can glimpse from here. You also have a great view of the Monument, and the recently erected memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. The Jefferson Memorial is a Washington D.C. must visit.

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