The location of the United State's national military cemetery was chosen during the Civil War. Arlington was the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee, who happened to be Martha Washington's great-grand-daughter. It's across the Potomac River in Virginia with a view of the Lincoln Memorial. The cemetery is active with burials-about 3,000 each year. It's also a tourist attraction, drawing visitors who want to pay respects at the graves of famous and important American's including President Kennedy.
Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., April through September; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., October through March. Parking garage close 1 hour after the cemetery's closing hour.
Parking is $1.75/hour for the first 3 hours, and $2.50/hour after that. Bus tours by Martz Gray Line are $8.75 for adults, $4.50 for children (ages 3 to 11), $7.75 for seniors.
Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Amphitheater, 11 a.m.
Changing of the Guard Ritual
Get oriented at the Welcome Center
Visit the Tomb of the Unknowns
Watch the Changing of the Guard
Explore the 32 monuments and memorials
Make a purchase at the Welcome Center Bookstore
Calendar of Events and How do I find a gravesite
It is an active cemetery, with private burials occurring alongside tourists visiting notable graves and the Visitors Center. There are special and annual events throughout the year, including everything from horticultural tours to the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Amphitheater in May. This ceremony is usually attended by the President. Arlington National Cemetery has developed ANC Explorer, an application that is available across common web browsers and on mobile smart phones. This app enables veterans, family members and the public to locate gravesites; generate front and back photos of a headstone or monument; and receive directions to those locations.
Changing of the Guard Ritual
During the fall and winter months, the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns occurs every hour. During the spring and summer, it takes place every half-hour. The changing of the guard is an elaborate ritual, with guards in white gloves and dress uniforms, a formal announcement made by the relief commander, and an inspection of weapons. Finally, one sentinel guard is relieved by another.
What famous individuals rest here?
President John F Kennedy is buried at Arlington Cemetery. His is a popular gravesite of visitors, and also the site of the Eternal Flame. His wife, Jackie, and brother Robert are buried nearby. Justice Thurgood Marshall is also buried at Arlington, as is Anita Newcomb McGee, the first female Army surgeon and founder of the Army Nurse Corps in 1900.
What is the Tomb of the Unknowns?
Also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Tomb of the Unknowns is the burial place of an unidentified American soldier from World War I. The memorial sits on a hilltop with a view of Washington, DC. It has the inscription: “Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God.” West of the tomb are the crypts of unknowns from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.