If you’re planning a visit to the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, this article will help you to prepare for a great visit.
The Marine Corps War Memorial is dedicated to the Marines and their comrades who died in defense of the United States.
The tips below will help you to prepare for a great visit to the Marine Corps War Memorial.
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GPS is your friend…Metro escalators are not
The Marine Corps War Memorial is located in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. It’s directly north of Arlington National Cemetery.
If you’re driving to the memorial, there is parking available on-site. There aren’t a lot of spaces, but I’ve never had any issues finding parking.
You’ll need GPS to find the parking entrance at the memorial. It’s a very indirect route to get to the parking lot from the surrounding roads.
If you’re taking the Metro, the Marine Corps War Memorial is a 15-20 walk from the Rosslyn Metro Station and a 20-25 minute walk from the Arlington Metro Station. (GPS walking directions estimate that it’s faster in both cases, but that doesn’t consider traffic lights by Rosslyn and hills by Arlington.)
Pro Tip: The escalator at the Rosslyn Metro is one of the longest in North America. The escalator can be pretty intimidating for those scared of heights.
There are no admission or parking fees
There are no fees to enter or park at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
Visitors are asked to be respectful
The Marines Corp War Memorial honors the sacrifices of the Marines and their comrades who died in defense of the United States.
For this reason, visitors are asked to not play ball games or fly kites and to keep their pets on a leash.
At the memorial, you’ll see people kicking around soccer balls or throwing footballs. But I encourage you not to do this, as it distracts from the solemnness of the memorial.
The nearby Netherlands Carillon, which is a bell tower honoring the friendship between the United States and the Netherlands, is a more appropriate place to play games. The bell tower is less than a two-minute walk from the Iwo Jima Memorial and is surrounded by an enormous grassy area.
The memorial honors Marines and their comrades from all wars
The iconic statue at the Marine Corps War Memorial recreates a photograph of the second flag-raising at Iwo Jima in 1945. However, the memorial honors fallen Marines and their comrades from all wars.
Around the base of the Iwo Jima statue, you’ll see gold lettering. This lettering lists every major battle involving the Marine Corps since it was founded in 1775.
At the top of the Iwo Jima statue, you’ll see an American flag flying. The American flag flies at the Marine Corps War Memorial 24 hours a day by presidential decree.
You can learn more about the memorial and its history here.
Sunrise and sunset are great times to visit
The memorial park is open from 6 am to midnight year-round. That makes it a great place to see both sunrise and sunset.
Although you won’t catch me there for sunrise (I will never be a morning person), I love experiencing sunset from both the Marines Corps War Memorial and the nearby Netherlands Carillon.
Because the memorial and the Netherlands Carillon are located on a hill, you have a clear view of Washington, D.C. as the sun casts its final rays of the day.
Sunset Parades celebrate the U.S. Marine Corps
On Tuesday evenings during the summer, the U.S. Marine Corps band plays hour-long concerts at the memorial. These concerts are called Sunset Parades.
The events are free to the public. There is no reserved seating, but there is plenty of space at the memorial for everyone to see. Just bring along a picnic blanket or short lawn chair.
To get to the memorial on these nights, Metro or Uber/Lyft are probably your best bets.
You can find out more about the Sunset Parades here.
The Netherlands Carillon is perfect for a picnic
The Netherlands Carillon is a bell tower that is less than a two-minute walk from the Iwo Jima statue.
The bell tower was a gift from the people of Netherlands to the people of the United States for aid provided during and after World War II.
The bell tower is surrounding by an enormous grassy area that is a great place for a picnic and playing catch.
I recommend visiting the Marine Corps War Memorial first and then making the short walk over to the Netherlands Carillon for a picnic.
From the Netherlands Carillon, you’ll have an unobscured view of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on having a picnic, be sure to bring bug spray. The bugs aren’t bad but can be a nuisance if you are spending time on the grass.
Restroom facilities are available
Unfortunately, there are no permanent restroom facilities at the memorial.
However, several portable toilets are available. They’re located on the walkway between the memorial and the Netherlands Carillon.
Food is not readily available in the area
You’ll have a hard time finding food immediately around the Marine Corps War Memorial, Netherlands Carillon, and Arlington Cemetery.
If you’re planning on making a day of visiting these locations, I recommend bringing some snacks (if not a full meal).
You’re welcome to bring food to the Marine Corps War Memorial and Netherlands Carillon. No food is allowed in Arlington National Cemetery, so I recommend eating anything you bring with you at Netherlands Carillon before proceeding to Arlington National Cemetery.
I hope these tips help you to plan a great visit to the Marines Corp War Memorial. Enjoy your visit!