The good news is that the Washington Monument emerged from its post-earthquake face-lift with a splashy reopening ceremony Monday. The not-so-good news: Reserve tickets for the Washington, D.C., icon are sold out through late June and around Fourth of July weekend.
The Washington Monument closed after a 5.8 earthquake shook the nation's capital on Aug. 23, 2011. Since then, crack-filling, stone replacement and other repairs have cost $15 million. Thousands of people gathered Monday to mark the reopening of the landmark built in 1886.
So how do you get to the top if you're going? Tickets for the 70-second elevator ride up to check out the panoramic views of the National Mall are available at one-hour intervals. Now through Labor Day, the monument is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
You can line up in person to try and get same-day tickets starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Washington Monument Lodge, a small stone building adjacent to the monument on 15th Street. "Be advised that many visitors form a line to wait for the ticket window to open long before the ticket window opens," the National Park Service website says.
Those who want advance tickets can call or go online to Recreation.gov (and you have to create an account at this website to access ticket reservations). As of Monday, the next available tickets for the monument tour start at 9 a.m. June 24.
Also, for those planning a trip around July 4, tickets are available for July 3 and 6; it's closed for Independence Day, and July 5 is sold out.
Note too that when you make advance reservations, you pay $1.50 each in service fees for the "free" tickets and and $2.85 per order for shipping and handling. Also, six is the limit on the number of tickets.