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4.5
386 votes

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20242 USA

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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Free
Free to Visit
Open Now
Sun 12a-12a
  • Independent
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Outdoor Seating
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“honoring one of america's greats”

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial is a presidential memorial dedicated to the memory of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to the era he represents. For the memorial's designer, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the memorial site represents the capstone of a distinguished career, partly because the landscape architect had fond memories of Roosevelt, and partly because of the sheer difficulty of the task.

Dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton, the monument, spread over 7.5 acres , traces 12 years of the history of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor rooms, one for each of FDR's terms of office. Sculptures inspired by photographs depict the 32nd president alongside his dog Fala. Other sculptures depict scenes from the Great Depression, such as listening to a fireside chat on the radio and waiting in a bread line, a bronze sculpture by George Segal. A bronze statue of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt standing before the United Nations emblem honors her dedication to the UN. It is the only presidential memorial to depict a First Lady.

Considering Roosevelt's disability, the memorial's designers intended to create a memorial that would be accessible to those with various physical impairments. Among other features, the memorial includes an area with tactile reliefs with braille writing for people who are blind. However, the memorial faced serious criticism from disabled activists. Vision-impaired visitors complained that the braille dots were improperly spaced and that some of the braille and reliefs were mounted eight feet off of the ground, placing it above the reach of most people. 

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Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 624 Helpful
July 13, 2014
Rated 3.0

This is a very unusual memorial and also very underrated. Please don't try to have your kid sit on Roosevelt's lap. If your little one gets hands, they can pet Fala, Roosevelt's pet Scottish terrier. You should plan on spending about 30 minutes, there's some great lines from his speeches at the memorial, definitely worth a read. A fun fact: This was the first memorial designed for wheelchair accessibility, and with braille on pillars for the blind.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Nick Philpott

  • Road Warrior
  • 160 Reviews
  • 118 Helpful
July 11, 2014
Rated 5.0

This is one of my favorite DC memorials because it's the most spacious. I don't dig crowds much, and some of the bigger monuments get packed. This one is built along a winding path through a quiet garden tucked into DC, and it's very peaceful. It really lets you think about what the memorial is there for, and take in some lessons.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Austin Coop

  • 487 Reviews
  • 409 Helpful
July 12, 2014
Rated 4.0

Such an interesting memorial... Well-laid out and spacious- intentionally built this way for people with limited mobility. Captures the Roosevelts really well. Not as talked about as other monuments and memorials, but actually one of the better memorials in all of DC.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Anthony Arata

  • 46 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
October 24, 2016
Rated 3.0

Plan on spending at least 15-20 minutes checking this place out. There is a lot to see here and it is fairly spread out. You see a lot of his quotes from different periods of his presidency. The part that struck me the most was a scene where you see people standing outside of a small building waiting in line, probably hoping to get some food, as this scene was taken from the time of The Great Depression.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

1850 West Basin Dr SW
Washington, District of Columbia
20242 USA

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Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 12:00 am

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  • Independent
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Street Parking

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