A lasting tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation, Arlington National Cemetery is visited by millions of people each year. These hallowed grounds are where more than 400,000 service men and women and their family members are laid to rest. There are nearly 30 funerals held each day, honoring those who have given their life to defend the values and ideals of America. If you’re planning a vacation to Washington DC, a visit to Arlington is something you must do.
As you tour through more than 600 acres of Arlington National Cemetery, you’ll walk amongst the headstones of the brave men and women who have served in the American military. You may witness a funeral and hear the firing of the three rifle volleys in the distance or the sound of taps being played. The sights and sounds of an Arlington funeral are a moving experience and an indelible reminder of the sacrifice and valor of those who have defended our freedom.
As you walk amongst the gravestones of heroes, you’ll discover that every one tells a story. Each name upon each headstone offers a chance for you to reflect on what that individual did for our country. The magnificent, rolling green hills of the cemetery are framed with trees that are hundreds of years old. And the many monuments and memorials are a constant reminder of the unselfish acts of those buried here. One of the most significant sites to see is the Tomb on the Unknown Soldier, where the remains of unknown service members from World War I, II and the Korean War are laid to rest. Soldiers from the 3rd US Infantry Regiment keep guard of the tomb 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and their vigil is something you shouldn’t miss, a ritual that includes the changing of the guard every hour.
Other important memorials to see are the Arlington House (Robert E. Lee Memorial), the US Coast Guard Memorial, the Spanish American War Memorial, the Civil War Unknowns Monument, the Vietnam War, the World War I and World War II Memorial Tree, the Confederate Memorial, the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia Memorials, the Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial and many more.
The first military burial took place at Arlington National Cemetery in 1864, with the funeral of Private William Christman. Since then, hundreds of thousands of service members have been laid to rest. Among them, some of our nation’s most honored, distinguished leaders. While here, be sure to stop and take a moment to pay tribute to these remarkable Americans. Notable graves include Abner Doubleday, Thurgood Marshall, George Washington, Parke Curtis, William Christman, President William Taft, Alexander Haig, Jr., President John F. Kennedy and family, Omar Nelson Bradley and many more. Maps of the cemetery provide grave numbers and directions to each of the sites.
*Please note that The Arlington National Cemetery Shuttle included with your trolley ticket drops you off at the Cemetery only. If you would like to enjoy a tour of the Arlington National Cemetery grounds aboard one of our vehicles, a separate ticket is required. There is no admission fee to tour grounds by foot. Go to Arlington National Cemetery Tours for more information.
Things to Do and See Nearby
Honoring the men and women in the United States Air Force, this striking memorial is located in Arlington, just minutes from Arlington National Cemetery. Designed to symbolize flight and the flying spirit, three stainless steel spires soar 270 feet into the air and represent the Air Force Thunderbirds as they disperse in a bomb burst maneuver. The memorial has a paved Runway to Glory, an 8 foot tall bronze Honor Guard Statue, two granite inscription walls and a glass contemplation wall for visitors to pay tribute to fallen airmen.
Located in Alexandria, the Pentagon is the headquarters for the United States Military and a must see while in Washington DC. The five-sided building is known around the world for its unique pentagon shape and for being the largest office building in the world with more than 23,000 employees and 6.5 million square feet of floor space. Tours are available if you book in advance and it’s well worth it – the Pentagon is one of the most unforgettable sights you can see while in the area.
A memorial to commemorate the lives of the 184 people who were lost in the Pentagon and on Flight 77 during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Pentagon Memorial is located on the western side of the Pentagon. Spanning nearly 2 acres, the memorial includes 184 separate units, each dedicated to one of the victims. Benches that hover over a shallow pool of water are engraved with the victim’s name and are illuminated at night. The memorial is a somber sight offering visitors a chance to sit, reflect, and always remember the tragedy that took the lives of so many Americans.
Also nearby to Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial honors Marines who have lost their lives defending the United States since 1775. The memorial is a 32-foot sculpture depicting the scene of the flag being raised by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman. It symbolizes the successful takeover of the island of Iwo Jima, the last territory the US troops recaptured from the Japanese during World War II.
The Netherlands Carillon is a beautiful gift to the United States of America from the people of the Netherlands for our nation’s aid during and after World War II. The carillon, housed inside an open steel frame, is made up of 50 bells, each representing one group of society. It is located next to the United States Marine Corps War Memorial.
A farm to table bistro, Green Pig offers a variety of rustic entrees including burgers, chicken dishes, fresh seafood, salads and more. It is located a little over one mile from Arlington National Cemetery.
Vietnamese cuisine served up in a relaxed, elegant setting. Choose from a variety of delicious choices including the northern Vietnam classic cha ca, shrimp sour soup, salad rolls and much more.
For robust, authentic Mexican fare, Fuego is the place to go and less than two miles from Arlington National Cemetery. The ambiance, with its old-world Mexico décor, is a great place to relax and enjoy an array of flavorful food.
Asian Fusion, Japanese and Sushi are all here, less than one mile from the cemetery. Sushi rolls and noodle bowls are just the beginning of this palatable adventure.
Crabs, burgers, sandwiches, pizza and more are served up in this casual American eatery. Located a half a mile from Arlington National Cemetery.