Readers’ pick: The back of the Lincoln Memorial
Location: 2 Lincoln Memorial Circle NW
Millions of people walk up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial every year to come face to face with the 19-foot-tall statue of the 16th president. But you can find another awe-inspiring scene if you venture to the back of the monument: a sunset across the Potomac River.
District residents have plenty of options for locations to watch the sun set, including the Capital Wheel at the National Harbor or the Washington Monument, but many require you to face crowds, listen to honking cars or pay money. But by taking just a few steps away from the top of the Lincoln Memorial stairs, you can see new sights of the western side of the National Mall, including a stunning sunset.
The two-tiered ledge that lines the back of the memorial is an easy spot to set down a blanket, hang your legs and chill out for a while while you watch the sun fade into the horizon. Plus, the elevated platform of the memorial provides some height and quiet over the nearby roads connecting the District to Arlington, Virginia.
With a spectacular view of the Potomac River, you can watch the sunset as you look out at the skyscrapers in Rosslyn, Virginia, or even the Arlington Memorial Bridge with the faint sound of commuters traveling back into Virginia after their day’s work.
If you’re not ready for your night to end after the sun moves beyond the horizon, the Reflecting Pool is just a few steps away to begin a nighttime monument walk through the rest of the National Mall.
The next time you’re looking to catch a sunset, ditch the rooftop and head to the nation’s most iconic memorials for an unforgettable view.