Why you might roll your eyes:
Getting in line early for tickets to look out a few windows at a city you know may seem like a waste of time.
Why you’ll love it:
At 555 feet tall, the monument offers panoramic views. After a short ride up in the elevator, you can peer out the eight windows and see landmarks the nation’s capital is known for. Maps at each window show what you’re looking at, and views reach all the way to Maryland and Virginia. Afterward, in the exhibit below the observation deck, you can learn about the monument’s construction. (Fun fact: When it was completed in 1884, it was the world’s tallest building.) On the ride back down, the elevator’s frosted glass will suddenly turn clear to let you see some of the commemorative stones lining the monument’s interior.
The Mall between 15th and 17th sts., NW; 202-426-6841. Free, timed same-day tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 am at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street adjacent to the monument. Tickets are also available online or by phone for a $1.50 fee; see recreation.gov.