Although I grew up in the DC area, I’m sorry to say that Arlington National Cemetery was one place I never visited. My boyfriend, a Navy veteran, had never been there either.
As we approached on the motorcycle, an American flag flying proudly on the back of the bike, I thought to myself, “This visit is LONG overdue!” It was a humbling and moving experience, to say the least.
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WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Open: 365 days a year
Hours: Currently Open Daily from 8 am – 5 pm
⭐ By Car – Paid parking available for $2/hour
⭐ By Metro – Arlington National Cemetery Station (Blue line)
COVID-19 Rules & Regulations: Visit this page to read the latest changes.
Finding Your Way Around:
⭐ Maps are available in the Welcome Center or you can view this map PDF
⭐ App – Arlington National Cemetery has a free app you can download – ANC Explorer (available for Apple & Android phones). It will help you find your way around as well as to locate gravesites, events or points of interest. The ANC Explorer App also offers self-guided tours.
⭐ Tours – Arlington National Cemetery offers tours via bus. Tickets are available online, at the Welcome Center, and at shuttle stops.
The cemetery has a lot of hills! If you (or anyone coming with you) have a physical disability that makes it difficult to walk, you may want to consider taking a tour instead of walking. You’ll also want to bring water or something else to drink on hot days to keep hydrated.
Sitting down to rest is only allowed on one of the few benches found throughout the cemetery. There are a lot of walls near various memorials, but you are not allowed to sit on them. If you’re seen sitting on a wall, expect to be singled out by an ANC employee and asked to move.
Notable Gravesites & Memorials:
⭐ Memorial Amphitheater (by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) (
⭐ JFK Gravesite with the eternal flame; other Kennedy family members (including Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy & Teddy Kennedy) are buried nearby (Section 45)
⭐ William Howard Taft Memorial – one of only 2 U.S. Presidents buried here (the other is JFK) (Section 30)
Robert Todd Lincoln – the 1st son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln (Section 31)
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony
This is a must-see and one of the highlights of visiting Arlington National Cemetery. The soldiers or “Sentinels” who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier exhibit ultimate military precision during each and every ceremony.
Do NOT speak during the ceremony, or the soldiers will stop the ceremony and call you out. Please don’t be THAT person.
The schedule is as follows:
⭐ April – September: the ceremony occurs every half hour
⭐ October – March: the ceremony occurs every hour on the hour
Below is a preview of what you’ll see during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, but it is nothing compared to seeing it in person.
Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery?
What were your thoughts or experiences?
Please share them in the comments below.