1 at 116th St.-Columbia University; 1 at 125th St.
This imposing neoclassical monument was cleaned up and rededicated in 1997, 100 years after it originally opened on what would have been Ulysses S. Grant’s 75th birthday. Civil War aficionados, veterans and other patriotic types pay their respects at the tomb, which remains the largest mausoleum in the United States. Contrary to what the popular “Who’s buried at Grant’s Tomb?” riddle implies, Grant and his wife, Julia Dent, do lie here; they’re just not “buried.” The identical marble coffins rest above the ground. The sarcophagi can be admired from the balcony in the ground floor rotunda, but visitors can get a closer look downstairs by joining one of the free hourly tours or by asking a staff member for an escort. On the first floor rotunda, a series of illustrated panels offers an introduction to Grant’s life, his role in the Civil War and his presidency, courtesy of the National Park Service. Two small reliquary rooms feature painted walls that mark major Civil War battles; in the center of each room, a bronze case houses replicas of flags flown by regiments who fought in the war. Perhaps due to residual bitterness about the Civil War, some Southern tourists refuse to visit the monument, but the building still welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors annually. Travelers with kids should keep in mind that there are no public restrooms in the building, which wasn’t originally intended as a tourist attraction. However, a full-fledged visitor’s center, which will also house a gift shop, is currently in the works.Outdoor Plaza
The Outdoor Plaza was constructed by Pedro Silva in 1972 for the centennial of Yellowstone National Park, which Grant signed into law during his presidency. On Sundays, bring a picnic brunch and listen to the chiming bells at Riverside Church.
On the lower level, busts of five lieutenants who fought with Grant were added in 1938 as one of the art projects of the Works Progress Administration.
Tours of the tomb led by National Park Service Rangers are offered hourly from noon—2 p.m. Pre-registration is not required.