To catch the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument, you need to go to the ticket center and get ticket. They are free and really go fast. Gary and I were there before 9 and only had a choice of !2, 12:30 or 2. We chose the 2:00 time so we could go to the Natural History Museum. Once you get the top, you can spend as much time as you want. We made sure to check out all four windows.