Washington National Cathedral

#10 in Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.
Washington National Cathedral picture1 of 4
Washington National Cathedral2 of 4
Westend61/Getty Images

Key Info

2101 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Price & Hours

Free
Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | ...

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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 cathedral and peer at its high vaults and flying buttresses, or step inside to admire its intricate glass-stained windows. Another highlight is the cathedral's Gargoyle Tour. This tour – offered between May and September – gives you a chance to gaze up at the building's stony grotesques and gargoyles. (There's even a Darth Vader gargoyle that was appointed in the 1980s along the right-hand side of the northwest tower.)

Recent visitors were wowed by this cathedral's grand architecture and colorful stained-glass windows. If you're religious, consider attending one of the free worship services, which are offered every Sunday at 8, 9 and 11:15 a.m. Evening prayers led by the choir are also available on Sundays at 4 p.m.

Visitors are welcome to join tours of the Washington National Cathedral daily. Standard Highlights tours are offered Monday through Saturday starting at 10:15 a.m. and on Sundays at 1 p.m. These tours are included with cathedral entrance fees, which cost $12 per adult and $8 for children between 5 and 17. Kids 4 and younger visit for free. Other tour tickets are $5 to $75 each.

The closest Metro stop to the Washington National Cathedral – Cleveland Park station – sits about a mile away near the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. Several buses also stop in the area, and fee-based parking is available in the cathedral's underground parking garage. A gift shop and cafe are also located on-site. Check out the cathedral's official website for more information.

See all Hotels in Washington, D.C. »

More Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial1 of 24
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials2 of 24
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Lincoln Memorial

Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District's many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among travelers' favorites. History buffs might enjoy the man of few (albeit powerful) words' two famous speeches, the second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, which are both etched into the memorial's opposing walls. Meanwhile, art history and architecture aficionados will enjoy admiring the building's striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away.

Though most agree the Lincoln Memorial is worth checking out during the day or at night, many recent travelers say the most captivating time to visit is after dark when the attraction is lit and less crowded. Plus, evening temps will make peak summer visits more comfortable.

Read more
Kevin Voelker Photography/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C. »

Explore More of Washington, D.C.

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.

5 Travel-Themed Activities to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Use these suggestions to fill the travel void amid the pandemic.

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know

If you are rescheduling a vacation or booking a future trip, consider purchasing an insurance policy with the CFAR benefit.

The 21 Best Costa Rica Tours

Dive into this natural paradise on these exceptional excursions.

Social Distancing Outside: 8 Safe Places to Go and Things to Do

Here are some creative ways to enjoy the outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed

Know your options when flight delays or cancellations threaten to ruin your vacation.

What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

Can You Cancel Your Flight Because of the Coronavirus?

Tips, info and more on cancellations due to the pandemic.

Virtual Tours: 35 Destinations, Museums and Attractions You Can Experience Online

Stuck at home amid the coronavirus outbreak? Enjoy museums, performances and nature from the comfort of your couch.

The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico 2020

Reserve a room at one of these all-inclusive resorts for a fun, hassle-free vacation.