Transept and tower of the National Cathedral. Photo Dave Amundsen.
Standing at one of the city's highest points, this soaring Gothic cathedral rivals the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Built as it would have been in the 14th century, this imposing structure extends almost the length of two football fields and pierces the city's skyline.
Formally named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the Washington National Cathedral is the second largest cathedral in the country and the sixth largest in the world.
Theodore Roosevelt attended the laying of the foundation stone in 1907, and every president of the United States since has attended services or visited the cathedral. The church's grandeur is evidenced in its stunning features: soaring vaulting, sparkling stained glass windows, and intricate carvings.
The Space Window contains a piece of lunar rock presented to the cathedral by the astronauts of Apollo XI. Fanciful gargoyles and dramatic sculpture adorn the exterior. There are more than 10,650 pipes in the great organ.
Although a Christian church, the Cathedral is open to persons of all faiths and denominations and is frequently the site of interfaith and ecumenical services. Services of celebration for the swearing in of a president, thanksgiving for the release of hostages, and mourning for the death of a leader are examples of the Cathedral's “national purpose.”
The Cathedral offers programs on spirituality, occasional special exhibits, specialty tours, lectures, monthly labyrinth, organ demonstrations, and musical events. Highlights tours are offered daily. Groups require reservations. Services in the Episcopal tradition are open to all daily.
And don't forget to take a leisurely stroll through the Bishop's Garden. This medieval walled garden boasts 12th- and 13th-century artifacts, ancient boxwoods, herbs, roses, and paths of stone from George Washington's quarries. The Pilgrim Way winds through the five-acre Olmsted Woods.
The beautiful west facade of Washington National Cathedral by night. Photo Shawn Duffy.
Monday - Friday 10am - 5:30pm
Saturday 10am - 4:30pm
Sunday 8am - 6:30pm
The Bishop's Garden and Olmsted Woods are open daily until dusk.
No touring during worship services or special events. Check for information on visiting and for tour interruptions, or call 202-537-6200 for recorded information.
1.5 miles south of Tenleytown/AU Metro (Red line)
31,31,36, or 37 departing south from Tenleytown/AU Metro
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