The National Mall’s most prominent feature, the Washington Monument, is an unadorned marble obelisk built in memory of George Washington. At 555ft, it’s the tallest all-masonry structure in the world, towering over the city from its hilltop perch. To visit the monument pick up a ticket from the 15th Street kiosk, just south of Constitution Avenue on Madison Drive (8am–4.30pm), which allows you to turn up at a fixed time later in the day. The kiosk is first-come, first-served; tickets run out early during the peak season. You can also book a ticket in advance with the National Park Service (877 444 6777). Once you gain access, a seventy-second elevator ride whisks you past the honorary stones in the (closed) stairwell and deposits you at a level where the views are, of course, tremendous (though the windows could use some cleaning).

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