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Washington National Cathedral free

Massachusetts and Wisconsin Aves. NW | Washington DC, DC | Official website
Washington National Cathedral Photo info
Orhan Cam/Shutterstock
  • Type: Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.5)
Value: 5.0 (5.0)
Facilities: 0.0 (N/A)
Atmosphere: 4.0 (4.0)
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Construction first began on this massive cathedral — the sixth largest in the world —  in 1907, but it wasn't actually completed until 1990. Designed in the Gothic style, the Washington National Cathedral sits surrounded by gardens, creating a pleasant atmosphere for visitors. Take a stroll around the National Cathedral and peer at its high vaults and flying buttresses, or step inside to admire its intricate glass-stained windows. "Even if you're not a religious person, you have to appreciate the beauty of this place," described one TripAdvisor user.

Another highlight is the cathedral's Gargoyle Tour. Plan a visit between April and October, and you can gaze up at stony grotesques and gargoyles decking the cathedral's facade. (There's even a Darth Vader gargoyle that was appointed in the 1980s along the right-hand side of the northwest tower.) You can pick up a tour ticket at the welcome desk inside the cathedral's main entrance; tours are priced at $15 per adult (kids 12 and younger can join for $6).

The cathedral welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tours are offered daily, and are available from 10 to 11:15 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 to 11:15 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Arrive at 8, 9 or 11:15 a.m. on Sunday to participate in worship services, or come at 4 p.m. to listen to the Cathedral Choir's Choral Evensong. To reach the cathedral, take the Red Line and hop off at the Cleveland Park Metro stop. You'll find the Cathedral located approximately a mile southwest of the Cleveland Park Metro station. You can also take Metrobus Nos. 31, 32 and 36, which run along Wisconsin Avenue and stop directly in front of the cathedral. Admission costs $10 for adults and $6 for children between ages 5 and 12; children ages 4 and younger can enter for free; and on Sundays, visitors can enter for free. For more information, check out the Washington National Cathedral website.

Note: The cathedral is still undergoing renovations to repair the damage caused by an earthquake in 2011; all restorations are estimated to be complete in 2016; however, the cathedral will stay open while work is completed.

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