Washington DC, A to Z: Iwo Jima Memorial and Other Monuments at Night

Iwo Jima Memorial ( Official Title – Marine Corps War Memorial )
With the Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in the Background

The title today really should be “Monuments by Moonlight Tour of DC” but I needed something for the letter I.

Seeing the monuments at night was another top priority for our vacation.  My original plan was for us to take the Metro to Smithsonian and follow the route described here. (I don’t like following set schedules.)  But on Saturday, when we were finally going to have a clear night warm enough not to need mittens, I had absolutely no desire to take a long walk after sunset.

After doing some research online, we chose the Monuments by Moonlight tour by Old Time Trolleys. The cost is $35.10 per adult and $26.10 for children age 4-12 if you book it here. Children under 4 are free. The only reviews I saw online that weren’t 4 or 5 stars were about the company’s daytime tours. Tours leave at 7:30 and last 2 1/2 hours.

I couldn’t find a map of the route the tour followed so I made one up. It’s probably 80%-90% correct. The map is accurate. It’s the National Park Service map of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.  It’s only  my the route (highlighted in yellow) and trolley stops (smudged blue spots) that’s guestimated.


The only information shown on the Monuments by Moonlight map is the location of Union Station. People line up for trolleys starting at 7:00. The picture below was taken at 7:22.

Leaving Union Station 

After leaving Union Station we drove around the Capitol building for at about 15 minutes turning around in parking lots and stopping at many traffic lights. Our driver / tour guide explained that he was making sure that everyone would have a couple of chances to take a good picture of the Capitol from both sides.
The United States Capitol – Western and Eastern Views

The top picture is the view from the National Mall side. The small figure on horseback in front of the Capitol is the Ulysses S. Grant. The bottom picture is the view from the opposite side. The Capitol Visitor Center is located beneath the plaza on this side of the building. In both pictures a lantern at the top of the south side of the building is lit.  The corresponding lantern on the north side of the building is not lit. According to our tour guide this means that at the time these photos were taken, the House was in session but the Senate was not. (Unless I have my directions completely mixed up, then the opposite is true.)

The Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial

I took this picture close to where the trolley stopped to let us out for our first stop. Although the website lists 6 stops, our trolley only stopped to let us out 3 times. The first stop was for a combined visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

I had read about how beautiful the FDR Memorial was at night with all the fountains and  was very excited to see it. I had completely forgotten that, so far in our vacation, the water was turned off at every outside fountain we encountered. It was very dark and I didn’t get any pictures worth sharing. And the FDR Memorial is huge! (There is a separate section for each of his presidential terms.) I found this information on the website:

Did You Know? At seven and a half acres, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is the largest presidential memorial on the National Mall.

We then hurried over to the MLK National Memorial and I quickly took this next picture with my phone before heading back to the trolley to make our designated departure time.

Small Children Standing in Front of a Very Large Statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I took the next picture while riding on the trolley while our tour guide / driver talked about how lucky we were to be seeing DC on a evening with perfect reflections..

Washington Monument and the DC Skyline – Tidal Basin  Reflection

We drove past the Lincoln Memorial, over the bridge in Virginia, part Arlington National Cemetery and then  stopped for a few minutes at the Iwo Jima Memorial (where I got mud all over my shoes and the knees of my jeans trying to get a better shot than I managed ).

We drove back to DC on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and the tour guide pointed out the Kennedy Center and the Watergate Complex. Our next stop was once again a combined monument stop. This time we got 30 minutes to visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial.

Donna and Jimmy in Washington, DC

Jimmy and I  are standing at the entrance to the Lincoln Memorial where I spent most of my allocated time for that stop.  It’s a very fascinating memorial and the first one for which  I’ve found a virtual tour.

The tour concluded with a very entertaining narrated tour past these sites: the Organization of American States, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Blair House, the White House, and many more. I don’t have any pictures from that part of the tour. The battery for my camera died and the battery for my phone was close. A couple more pictures from our final stop on the tour will show up under a letter further along in the alphabet.

This tour ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip.Although it did get a bit chilly having the window open on the trolley. I could have closed it but I preferred a clear view.


8 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Iwo Jima Memorial and Other Monuments at Night

  1. Hey, I'd accept the title even as “I Monuments by Moonlight Tour of DC” 😉

    …And Seven and a half acres? Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial is just WOW! Someday I'll visit, someday!


  2. Great pictures and so beautiful at night. I was there for a class trip in 1982. We were there when they gave the inauguration of the Vietnam War memorial. I wanted to get closer and stay there and so did one other person, the rest of the schmuks wanted to go shopping-acchhhhhh. Oh well-I want to go back and take more in


  3. Isn't it strange how quickly time passes. You're experience sounds typical for a class trip. We saw so many school groups and so many kids seemed like they would rather be anyplace but there.


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