A Historic Treasure Amongst Cemeteries in Arlington County, VA

We provide traditional burial, green burial, in-ground inurnment, cremation bench sites, and columbarium niches in Arlington County, VA and the surrounding area. Since 1807, Congressional Cemetery has been the burial ground of choice for many individuals who were instrumental in the founding of the nation and its new capital city. Notable burials include John Philip Sousa, the March King, Mathew Brady, civil war photographer, and Elbridge Gerry, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Aside from traditional casket burials, we also offer eco-friendly green burials. Veterans from every American war can be found here. The cemetery is open from dawn to dusk daily. Give us a call at 202-543-0539 to know more about your burial options that meet your family’s needs.

In 1807, the origins of Congressional Cemetery began with a 10-acre plot that was purchased and set aside to serve the eastern side of the newly formed federal District of Washington. Before this, city plans had selected an unsuitable property prone to flooding. Concerned citizens worked together to find a more agreeable solution. A prominent religious influence on the residents and area was the Christ Church Washington Parish. Once the land was fully paid for, the cemetery ground was donated to that Parish. It has become a jewel amongst Cemeteries in Arlington County, VA, and the nearby areas more than two centuries later.

Once in the care of the church, the cemetery was named Washington Parish Burial Ground, but almost immediately, it started being referred to as the Congressional Cemetery. With its proximity to Capitol Hill, it seems it was only natural that public figures and servants would eventually be buried here. Soon it became the first national cemetery—designated as such 50 years before Arlington became a national cemetery.

Unfortunately, the cemetery fell into a state of disuse and neglect over time. By 1997 it was listed as an endangered historic site and had become an eyesore with overgrown foliage and vandalized markings blighting the establishment. Like its original founders, concerned citizens stepped in to save the day and restored the establishment to glory. Once again, Congressional Cemetery is an active burial ground and is now distinguished as a nationally recognized historical landmark.

Arlington County, VA cemeteries

“I know of no other cemetery in this country superior to it in beauty of site.”
– George Watterson, 1842 –

Solutions for Burial of Humans and Pets at Cemeteries in Arlington County, VA

There are many possible solutions for burial sites for humans at Congressional Cemetery. Burial can occur for full-sized and cremated remains. Each site is three feet by eight feet. With double depth, two sets of full remains and up to eight sets of cremated remains can receive burial in one traditional plot space. Each segment of the cemetery still has room to receive additional burials.

Traditional Earth Burial: Ground burial for full-sized remains is a conventional method of final disposition. Costs are impacted by your unique selections, such as grave depth and the optional use of a burial vault. Memorials and monuments can be installed at a traditional burial site, with a lot of latitude in design. Verify your piece before ordering, of course, but the guideline only requires that the memorial does not extend past the edges of your plot.

Recognized Green Burial: With increasing environmental concerns, green burial is a powerful way to impact a lessening of the final footprint. The Green Burial Council recognizes Congressional Cemetery for the efforts made to invite a more natural return to the earth. There are no requirements for embalmed bodies, and grave liners and outer burial containers are entirely optional. If you seek a green burial, you will want to source a fully biodegradable casket or shroud.

Ground Burial for Inurned Remains: Burying cremated bodies in the ground creates a place of a permanent memorial for your loved one. It is a good solution for many families. It is also a fantastic way to maximize space and bury several loved ones close when one plot receives multiple inurned remains over time.

Memorialize with a Cremation Bench: Benches with niche spaces for cremated remains offer an impressive monument that entombs the above ground remains.

Lockwood Columbarium Niches: The Lockwood Columbarium structure has the capacity for large and smaller niches that can hold single or double urns as needed. Columbaria houses offer a beautiful, weather-proof place to visit when you need to feel close to your departed.

Congressional Cemetery is one of few cemeteries in Arlington County, VA, and nearby areas offering pet burial sites. This “Kingdom of Animals” was added to the cemetery after several years of planning, budgeting, and research made clear this was a welcome addition to the site. The animals are buried in their own section with a clear fenced differentiation from the rest of the cemetery.

See Our Beautiful Establishment Through Membership or at One of Our Unique Events

Non-profit establishments sometimes need creative ways to raise capital and keep things running well. For example, our K9 memberships and day passes account for approximately one-fourth of the total operating budget for Congressional Cemetery. This program allows dogs to visit (with their owners) and roam the 35+ acre establishment off-leash. Other seasonal events come with membership as well.

The cemetery chapel and other portions of the burial park can be obtained for private event rentals. Publicly hosted events such as our “Cinematery” series (movie night in the cemetery) and Plot Twist Yoga invite you to experience the cemetery uniquely. Seasonal guided tours are listed on our calendar. Event tickets are required to attend organized events.

Visit Today

Congressional Cemetery is open daily from dawn to dusk. Visit anytime and give yourself one of the many self-guided walking tours available on our website. There is nothing like this place in all the cemeteries in Arlington County, VA, and the nearby areas. Call (202) 543-0539 with questions or stop by and experience this place of tranquility at 1801 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Burial & Cemeteries FAQs

  • What is a burial service?
    • A burial service is a religious or secular ceremony that is held after someone has died and before they are buried. The purpose of a burial service is to give friends and family members a chance to say goodbye to the deceased, as well as to offer comfort to those who are grieving.
  • How can I find out about upcoming cemetery events?
    • The best way to find out about upcoming cemetery events is to check with the cemetery itself or their website. They will usually have a list of events on their website or at the office. You can also ask friends or family members if they know of any upcoming events.
  • Is it considered disrespectful to take photographs in a cemetery?
    • There is no definitive answer to this question since cultural norms and personal preferences vary widely. In general, however, it is advisable to be respectful and considerate when taking pictures in a cemetery. This means avoiding taking photos of graves that are clearly marked as private or off-limits and being mindful of funeral ceremonies or other visitors who may not appreciate having their photos taken. If in doubt, always ask permission before taking pictures. Learn more about cemetery rules and regulations.