For the past three years, breathtaking views of Washington, DC required a rickety elevator ride to the top of The Old Post Office Pavilion Clock Tower (315 feet in the air), a 333-step trek to the top of The National Cathedral (~300 feet) or a cocktail at The Hay-Adams Hotel (~not all that high) that’s so expensive it requires a down payment.
That’s all thanks to an unusual 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked our nation’s capitol in 2011 and cracked our longstanding symbol of American obelisks, the Washington Monument.
Since then, the monument has dressed to the nines in scaffolding as its cracked visage was slowly repaired. The interior was deemed unfit for sightseeing, so the viewing platform towering at the top of its 555 feet was left vacant and heartbroken.
Tourists of America and 4th grade classes across the nation: rejoice! The Washington Monument has flung its doors open after three long years of waiting meaning the top view–pun obviously intended–of Washington, DC is finally (re)open to the public. The longest, most claustrophobic elevator ride of your life is rewarded with a beautiful view stretching from Arlington to Anacostia. It’s easily the best way to take in our nation’s capitol, presuming you aren’t afraid of heights. If you are afraid of heights, well …
The first public tour took place at 1 p.m. today, and tours will follow a daily schedule. We strongly advise booking tickets online, since sight-seekers will be flocking to the monument. Please note you can only request six tickets max. The monument reportedly has new exhibits up top, and the view alone is worth a ticket.
Not to mention, there’s always the enticing option of climbing 897 steps to reach the top, a great way to work off the calories gloriously gained in the new food capital of the country.