Arlington House, The Robert  E. Lee Memorial

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Planning Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

Arlington House was the home of Robert E. Lee and it was here, in his second floor bedchamber, that he made his decision to resign from the United States Army at the start of the Civil War. Two days after writing his resignation letter Lee left and never returned.

Be prepared to spend an hour touring the house, walking through the flower garden and visiting the Robert E. Lee Museum. Of course you may spend as much time as you like. The view of Washington DC from Arlington House is the best, with the possible exception of what can be seen from the top of the Washington Monument or the Old Post Office Tower. George Washington Parke Custis built his home on this hill so that it could be easily seen by anyone in the city named for his 'father'.

Guided tours of Arlington House are now provided by park rangers. The tours run every 20 minutes, with the first tour starting at 9:30 am. The last tour of the day will begin at 4:10 pm and the house will remain open until 4:30 pm. Tours will be given on a first come, first served basis and there are no advance tickets. Visitors may still tour the Center Hall, White Parlor and Morning Room, the North Wing, museum and exhibits independent of the guided tours. The second floor is available only to those taking the guided tour.

Arlington House is currently empty of furnishings in preparation for a major restoration and rehabilitation project due to start in 2008. The house will continue to be open to the public while much of the work is conducted with some possible exceptions. Please call ahead to be sure the house is open on the day of your visit. The work should be finished in 2010 at which time the furnishings will return.

Just down the hill from Arlington House is the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy. And on the next hill to the south is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the changing of the guard takes place every hour on the hour. From April 1st to September 30th the changing of the guard occurs every thirty minutes.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Arlington House is open to visitors every day from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, with the exception of January 1st and December 25th when Arlington National Cemetery is also closed.

Guided tours of Arlington House are now provided by park rangers. The tours run every 20 minutes, with the first tour starting at 9:30 am. The last tour of the day will begin at 4:10 pm and the house will remain open until 4:30 pm. Tours will be given on a first come, first served basis and there are no advance tickets. Visitors may still tour the Center Hall, White Parlor and Morning Room, the North Wing, museum and exhibits independent of the guided tours. The second floor is available only to those taking the guided tour.

Please note that Arlington House is currently empty of furnishings in preparation for a major restoration and rehabilitation project due to start in 2008. The house will continue to be open to the public while much of the work is conducted with some possible exceptions. Please call ahead to ensure the house will be open on the day of your visit. The restoration work should be completed in 2010 at which time the furnishings will return.

Fees & Reservations

There are no fees associated with this site. Entry to Arlington House is free, as is the Robert E. Lee Museum.

Visits are first-come, first-serve. Reservations are not required to tour the house. There may be a delay to enter the house on busier days. Groups are limited to 25 at one time due to second floor weight limitations and to avoid overcrowding.

Guided tours of Arlington House are now provided by park rangers. The tours run every 20 minutes, with the first tour starting at 9:30 am. The last tour of the day will begin at 4:10 pm and the house will remain open until 4:30 pm. Tours will be given on a first come, first served basis and there are no advance tickets. Visitors may still tour the Center Hall, White Parlor and Morning Room, the North Wing, museum and exhibits independent of the guided tours. The second floor is available only to those taking the guided tour.

Photography is permitted inside the house. Please, no eating, drinking or gum chewing during your visit.

Directions

Car

Additional driving directions can be found in the Carpooling/ Vanpooling section.

Public Transportation Getting Around

Public Transportation

The Memorial is accessible by the Blue Line of the Metro subway system. The Arlington Cemetery subway station is near the Visitor Center for the cemetery.

Contact Us

Write to:

Visitor Information Phone: (703) 235-1530

Fax: (703) 235-1530

Carpooling / Vanpooling

From points South (Richmond, VA area)

Take I-95 NORTH towards Washington, D.C. Take exit number 170A, I-395 NORTH toward Washington. Take exit number 8A, VA-27/Washington Blvd. towards VA-244/Columbia Pike. Follow signs to Arlington National Cemetery. Go 3/4 of the way around traffic circle and exit. Park in visitor's lot next to Visitor's Center on the left.

From points East (Annapolis, MD area)

Take US-50 WEST towards Washington, D.C. Take I-395 SOUTH. Take exit number 11B, George Washington Memorial Parkway NORTH, towards Arlington National Cemetery. Stay to the left at the fork in the road. Go 3/4 of the way around traffic circle and exit. Park in visitor's lot next to Visitor's Center on the left.

From points North (Baltimore, MD area)

Take I-95 SOUTH towards Washington, D.C. I-95 SOUTH becomes Capital Beltway, I-495. Cross Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge. Take US-1 North through Alexandria, VA. US-1 becomes Jefferson Davis Highway. At fork stay to the left and merge onto VA-110. Go approximately 1.5 miles. Take Arlington National Cemetery exit. At stop sign, turn left. Park in visitor's lot next to the Visitor's Center on the left.

From points Northwest (Frederick, MD area)

Take I-70 EAST to I-270 SOUTH. Merge onto Capital Beltway, I-495 SOUTH towards Northern Virginia. Take exit 43 & 44, VA-193/Georgetown Pike and George Washington Memorial Parkway. Keep right on ramp and take George Washington Memorial Parkway SOUTH approximately 10 miles. Take Arlington National Cemetery exit. At Stop sign, turn left. Park in visitor's lot next to Visitor's Center on the left.

From points West (Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Shenandoah Valley, VA area)

Take I-66 EAST to towards Washington, D.C. Take exit 64, Capital Beltway, I-495 SOUTH towards Richmond. Go one exit and merge onto US-50/Arlington Blvd EAST. Follow US-50 approximately 12 miles. Exit onto George Washington Memorial Parkway SOUTH. Take Arlington National Cemetery exit. At Stop sign, turn left. Park in visitor's lot next to Visitor's Center on the left.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the park's hours?

Arlington House is open daily from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. year round. The park is closed Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Arlington National Cemetery is open April- September from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. October- March.

Is there a fee to visit the park?

There are no admission charges to enter the Cemetery or Arlington House.

What is the closest Metro Station?

Arlington Cemetery, a stop on Metro's blue line, is the closest station to the park. For more information, visit Metro's website.

Recommended Reading

Below is a list of secondary sources which address topics, issues and themes relevant to the history of the Arlington estate.

Arlington House Handbook

Old Arlington: The Story of the Robert E. Lee Memorial

Robert E. Lee

Wartime Papers of R .E. Lee Lee, The Last Years R. E. Lee Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee: By His Son Lee Considered: General Robert E. Lee and Civil War History Robert E. Lee: A Biography

Lee Family History

Coulling, Mary P. The Lee Girls. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1987.

Craven, Avery. "To Markie," The Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934.

Growing Up in the 1850s: The Journal of Agnes Lee The American Revolution in the South Mrs. Robert E. Lee Colonel Parke of Virginia The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

Torbert, Alice Coyle. Eleanor Calvert and Her Circle. New York: The William-Frederick Press, 1950.

The Robert E. Lee Family Cooking and Housekeeping Book

Slavery

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2000.

Clinton, Catherine. The Plantation Mistress: Woman's World in the Old South. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.

Perdue, Charles L., Thomas E. Barden and Robert K. Phillips eds. Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-Slaves. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1976.

The Impending Crisis: 1848-1861 Ar'n't I A Woman? : Female Slaves in the Plantation South

Antebellum Styles

Leisch, Juanita. Who Wore What: Women's Wear 1861-1865. Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 1995.

Arlington National Cemetery History

Peters, James Edward. Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2000.