The Jefferson Memorial is inspired Thomas Jefferson and his love for classic architecture. Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia are the basis for the design. Thomas Jefferson passed away in 1826 and probably never imagined a place like this would exist in his honor. These days, visitors marvel at his 19-foot statue and the quotes and writings that surround him.

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial location

The Jefferson Memorial is on the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. It is one mile directly south of the White House. From the inside the White House, the President (or any visitors) gets an amazing view of the memorial. Also, visitors of the Jefferson Memorial get a cool view of the White House off in the distance!

Getting to the Jefferson Memorial

There are several transportation options to get to the Jefferson Memorial. 

  • Metro: Take the orange, blue or silver line to the Smithsonian station and walk toward 15th Street NW and then turn south and walk around the Tidal Basin. 
  • DC Circulator: Take the National Mall Circulator bus from anywhere on the National Mall. This bus route starts at Union Station and then makes a big loop past the Capitol, museums and monuments and memorials.
  • Capital Bikeshare: You can ride a Capital Bikeshare bike from anywhere into the city to the Jefferson Memorial station located on East Basin Drive SW, behind the memorial and directly across the street from the Jefferson Memorial refreshment stand.

TIP: The best and easiest way to see the Jefferson Memorial is on a guided tour. Our walking tours cover all of the major monuments and memorials on the National Mall. We use an efficient route that allows you to see all of them in three hours or less.

A few interesting facts

  • The statue inside the memorial is not the original. President Franklin Roosevelt held a ceremony for the opening of the Memorial in 1943. Of course, because this was during the middle of World War II, our country bronze and other metals for the war effort, not statues. So, the bronze statue that you see today was installed later in 1947.
  • Speaking of Franklin Roosevelt, the president was a huge fan of Thomas Jefferson. He insisted that the location of the memorial on its current spot as it was a spot with a clear view from the White House. As a result, when you stand on the top step of the Jefferson Memorial you can see the White House clearly off in the distance.
  • However, the location was not without controversy. The Tidal Basin is the site of the world famous Washington, DC cherry blossoms. In order to build the Jefferson Memorial, construction workers needed to remove some trees. About 50 local women, protested on these grounds in what has become known as the Cherry Tree Rebellion.

Coming to Washington, DC and want to learn a whole lot more about the Jefferson Memorial?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites, including the monuments and memorials. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.