Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC

4.8
#5 of 25 in Historic Sites in Washington DC
Religious Site Church
The largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and the eighth largest church building in the world, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception houses over 70 chapels and oratories. Over a million pilgrims travel to this large Neo-Byzantine building every year to admire its dome filled with mosaics. Colored marble shrines and altars throughout pay homage to saints. The baldacchino altar takes particular prominence under a green mosaic dome. Be sure to view the statuary depicting the pope and Pope Benedict XVI's gift of a golden rose displayed in the chapel. Six masses are held daily. To visit Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and get the most from your holiday in Washington DC, create itinerary details personal to you using our Washington DC travel itinerary maker.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,584 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Arriving at this beautiful site of Washington, was a most unexpected attraction. Stunning view, moments of AWE despite the difficulty in the arrival, a resplendent afternoon and monument to the Catholic faith in this country, leaves you knees. We didn't Wow, rarely you arrive at a set of buildings so spectacular, so large, so iconic. It was not Gothic, it was simply explendorosa. the dome a visual poem. And the University of the Americas incredible.
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  • The Basilica was something you would expect to see in Italy. Magnificent beautiful awe inspiring. Makes you feel inspired.  more »
  • This stunning Catholic church is located on the campus of Catholic University. Of America. It is about 1/2 mile from the Red line on the Metro up a long hill. Quite a hike, but well worth it. The ceil...  more »
Google
  • So amazing, so spiritual, I must return. Look up for stained glass light inspiration. Don't forget to go to the lower level. The inclusive international representation is astounding. The gift shop can't be missed, with a pricing rage that is affordable for all. A wonderful experience for family, friends and self care. Praise.
  • +JMJ For me, a premier house of worship and prayer! Was introduced to this, America's Church, when I was stationed in Norfolk VA, 1987-1989. A diocesan pilgrimage was scheduled and that was the commencement of my over two decade association with this visually and spiritually beautiful Church dedicated to the memory of the greatest disciple of Jesus Christ, God/Man: Mary, His Mother, whom many call, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Traveled from Richmond, VA (2 hour commute,) almost monthly just to spend time in the solitude of the many side altars dedicated to the memory of Blessed Mother Mary as honored by many citizens world-wide throughout the history of mankind. The Basilica, formerly called the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is not a parish Church, but many participate in Holy Mass scheduled daily through the week. I have attended many conferences here always coming away with the resolve to be more Christ-like during my earthly pilgrimage. The gift shop is a must visit for anyone desiring to financially support the Shrine and to take away a faith-related article: book, Rosary, Saints' lives depicted via DVD movies, paintings, and so on, to those who can't travel to the Shrine. The cafeteria serves reasonably priced breakfast and lunch foods and is a place where one can sit at leisure until the Shrine closes. The grounds of the Shrine are beautiful and very inviting to anyone seeking just to "take the air", walk around trying to identify the many Saints depicted in stone carvings on the exterior of the Shrine or to lounge around in the usually lush grass between the Shrine and the Catholic University. There is so much to see and so much to just be present to. Make a pilgrimage!
  • This is a great place to sit and be still. Mass daily in the crypt church and confessions every day. The web site has more information. The staff is super friendly and helpful and I really like the book store. Lots of titles that are good to see in person and skim (and decide to buy or not buy), rather than get online and then realize you don't like them. Love this place
  • Must see for Catholic Christians. Dedicated to Mary and her various titles. The impossibly magnificent mosaics and collection of in situ modern Christian art inspires prayer add a sense of pride in American Catholicism.
  • A beautiful church, with fantastic side chapels. A great place to spend a few hours looking at the art, architecture and praying. Masses there are very efficiently run.

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Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
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