Washington National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA

The Washington National Cathedral stands high over D.C. as a beacon of faith for the nation. The impressive Gothic architecture evokes comparisons to Notre-Dame (despite being built more than half a millennium later). Flying buttresses, spires, and stained glass windows inspire heavenly awe, while statues of modern missionary and civil rights figures such as Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, and Martin Luther King, Jr., ground us in earthly good works. The stained glass Space Window includes a lunar rock donated by the crew of Apollo 11, reminding us of our small place in the universe. Bring binoculars to scan the gargoyles for a Star Wars surprise, and climb the steps to the towers for panoramic city views. While overseen by the Episcopalian church, the cathedral welcomes all people.

More Recommendations

The Washington National Cathedral

Most people travel to D.C. to see the noted government buildings we grew up learning about in school. Yet this cathedral and its garden are gems no one should miss. From the outside, it appears to be a classic Gothic church from France, but look closely and you’ll see a wild mixture of spiritual symbolism intertwined with American iconic imagery.

The Bishop's Garden at the Washington National Cathedral

I have many photos from my visit to the Bishop’s Garden, but I love this one, simply because upon first glance you’d think I wandered into some European land, despite the fact that it is, in reality, merely a doorway to the parking lot. The garden itself is absolutely beautiful, and well worth seeing.

The Rose Window

The National Cathedral in Washington DC is the 6th largest gothic cathedral in the world. Tours are free.

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at notification@afar.com.

Nearby highlights
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR