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After closing to tourists almost three years ago, the iconic Washington Monument is nearly ready to reopen.
The 555-foot-tall obelisk — the tallest monument in Washington, DC — has been closed since August of 2016 for renovations, but according to the National Park Service, it should finally be ready to reopen in August. A specific date has not yet been announced.
The Washington Monument originally closed in August 2011 after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the US capital and damaged the marble-and-granite obelisk, but it opened again in May 2014. Just two years later, an elevator cable mishap caused another closure. Since then, the monument has been undergoing repairs and upgrades to the elevator system. A new visitor screening center to replace the temporary facility originally opened in 2001 will also debut.
Although the National Park Service initially hoped to reopen the monument in time for cherry blossom season this year, progress was delayed when “soil contamination” around the screening center was discovered.
In the meantime, there are still plenty of things to do in DC, whether you’re in town before the monument reopens or planning a trip then. Tourists can still visit any of the free Smithsonian museums — including the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The National Harbor has plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, and if you’re still craving a sky-high view, the Capital Wheel takes you 180-feet above the Potomac River waterfront and will give you a stellar perspective of the city.
There’s also no shortage of ways to get to Washington, DC using points and miles. If you’re coming from New York City, we raced to the White House using five different forms of transportation. Not only do Delta and American Airlines both offer weekly shuttle services, but there are also buses and multiple trains, including the Amtrak Acela and Northeast Regional.
Featured image courtesy of Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images
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