The Eternal Flame.
The Eternal Flame

JFK's Eternal Flame and Grave

Field review by the editors.

Arlington, Virginia

The eternal flame at the burial site of John F. Kennedy was First Lady Jackie's idea, supposedly inspired by a similar grave flame that she'd seen in fashionable Paris. She lit the flame herself, with a gas-soaked rag on a stick, at the conclusion of JFK's burial. It was engineered literally overnight from a tiki torch, and for years it remained a relatively crude mound disguising a gas pipe. Millions of mourners and tourists paid their respects at what became a focal point of Arlington National Cemetery.

The grave site was finally upgraded in 1967, and that eternal flame burned until 1998, when it was retired to the National Museum of Funeral History, where it's displayed with a flickering candle bulb. The replacement flame was itself replaced in 2013.

Despite its "eternal" reputation the flame has gone out from time to time, but never for very long.

Roadside Presidents
Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

JFK's Eternal Flame and Grave

Arlington National Cemetery

Address:
Sheridan Drive, Arlington, VA
Directions:
I-395 exit 8-B (Arlington National Cemetery) to Hwy 27. Stay in the left lane until reaching the traffic circle (on the Virginia side of the Memorial Bridge). Bear right in the left lane around the traffic the circle to Memorial Drive. You will see the Arlington House at the cemetery on the hill ahead. Follow signs to visitor parking. Go to the Welcome Center and get walking directions to JFK's grave.
Hours:
Summer daily 8-7, off-season 8-5. (Call to verify)
Phone:
877-907-8585
Admission:
Free
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Unheralded Grave of Robert KennedyUnheralded Grave of Robert Kennedy, Arlington, VA - < 1 mi.
Grave of Black Jack, the Riderless HorseGrave of Black Jack, the Riderless Horse, Fort Myer, VA - < 1 mi.
Dark Star ParkDark Star Park, Arlington, VA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Ugliest Public Sculpture in DC, Washington, DC - 1 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Virginia

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Virginia.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

May 19, 2019

My Sights

My Sights

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Virginia Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Big Idaho Potato Hotel, Orchard, Idaho (May 13-19, 2019)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now