Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC

Modeled on English medieval-style churches, Washington National Cathedral represents one of the largest cathedrals in the United States and the world. Originally begun in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the final piece was finally placed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, and accents and decorative work continued for even longer. Of particular note in the church is the organ, constructed of more than 8,000 pipes. Look for the grave of President Woodrow Wilson. Consult the cathedral's schedule if you'd like to attend an Episcopal religious service. To visit Washington National Cathedral and get the most from your holiday in Washington DC, create itinerary details personal to you using our Washington DC travel route planner .
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Washington National Cathedral Reviews
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  • In one of the upscale suburbs of Washington State this strong Cathedral who for a good amount of access is open to the public. The Church itself is not very particular but a combination with a visit to the neighborhood is advisable.
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  • We went here for a trip in eighth grade to Washington DC with my whole grade (about 90 students, total.) I expected it to be chaos with so many people, but the staff were very nice, and the cathedral ...  more »
  • The National Cathedral (Episcopal, not Catholic - that's a different one) was almost a century in the making (and is still undergoing some restoration after storm damage) and shows the design elements...  more »
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  • I'm not religious, but this is a gorgeous building. I've traveled a bunch in Europe and this is one of the only churches in America that had my jaw on the ground admiring the architecture. While it may not be that old (built in the 1900's) the Gothic style taken from churches in the UK is extremely classic and beautiful. My family took me to the Evensong here which was nice, and I was very impressed with the wooden seating area that looks like Westminster Abbey. The service was nice with a very impressive organ, and a nice choir. This place is definitely worth a stop in if you have religious people in your life, or even if you just like beautiful buildings. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes, and also free during services.
  • Beautiful cathedral with both modern and classic touches (flying buttresses and gargoyles, overall design reflects classic European cathedrals, but then there is the Darth Vader gargoyle and large Outer Space themed stained glass window). We paid ~$20pp for entry and did the self tour - I loved the way that you could really explore the entire place on your own, very little is closed to the public - you can go right up to the main alter, choir area, side chapels; up to the 7 floor observation deck which has nice photos with labels detailing what you are seeing in the distance. Wish we had signed up for the tour & tea - the selection of teas and pastries looked yummy! Also has a nice gift shop and the walk around the grounds is very pleasant.
  • Excellent place to visit for its architecture, history, national significance and spiritual contemplation. It's the finest place of worship I've visited thus far in north America. Instills a sense of peace.
  • The National Cathedral is one of the most amazing buildings period. Take a tour. Data mine the names on the walls. We got an informal private tour and the docent was great. It is the 20th century's time capsule.
  • Beautiful cathedral. Looks old but compared to European cathedrals it is very young. Great gardens. Very relaxing. We always sit on my parents favorite bench; even though I am an atheist I still love this place.

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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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