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National Cathedral Tips (33)

One of the biggest churches in the world

My sister has never had the chance to travel to Europe, so what a pleasure it was for me to take her to the Washington National Cathedral! Although it was built in the 20th century, its impressive size and Gothic architecture make it easy to compare it to some of Europe's finest Medieval cathedrals. It took no less than 83 years - even with our modern means - to complete the cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. It has of course been used to hold several memorials and state funerals, including those of former American presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Several works of art are dispersed throughout the church, including over 200 stained-glass windows. Wthout a doubt, the most famous of these windows is the Space Window, which - let's face it - has more to do with mankind's achievements in science and technology than with religion per say. There is an impressive number of beautiful chapels at the crypt levelt and, as you exit the giftshop, don't miss the chance to take the elevator up to the observation gallery from where you get a fantastic view of the city. The cathedral is open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm daily, and admission costs $10 (but Sundays are free!).

Jefie's Profile Photo
Sep 09, 2014

See a European style cathedral in D.C.

One day we drove to the northwestern part of the city, where we toured the National Cathedral. Designed much like the older cathedrals of Europe, the cathedral features intricate stained-glass windows and offers a skyline view of Central Washington from its tower.

HSC123's Profile Photo
Jul 04, 2014

New charges

Please be aware that your visit to the National Cathedral is no longer free.
In response to the large expenditures that had to be made to repair the
Damage caused by the earthquake we had a few years ago,the cathedral
Has decided to start charging for tourist visits effective January 1.
Price is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors and children.

There are, however, ways around this:) I arrived a bit early for the Martin Luther King day Service. I was allowed to see the Cathedral and take all the photos I wanted before the service started.

GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
Jan 27, 2014

The National Cathedral- earthquake damage

The National Cathedral is set to reopen on November 12.

It is the second largest cathedral in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

Damage from the August earthquake centered in Virginia caused the closure of the cathedral and work has concentrated on stabilizing the two towers of the neo-gothic cathedral. Sources recently revealed that damages/repairs have cost about $25 million.

I went to see the Cathedral yesterday and honestly I found it heartbreaking how much damage there was to the structure from the earthquake.

As of January 1, 2013 the Cathedral charges $10 for tourist visits to defray the expenses of reconstruction and restoration.

The photos on this tip will give you an idea of the magnitude of damage. Is the Cathedral safe to visit, absolutely! Is it worth visiting even with the scaffolding and all? Again, absolutely! There is also an exhibition of some of the damage done and the process of reconstruction on exhibit in the observation deck

GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
Jan 21, 2014
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One of the 6 Largest Cathedrals in the World

We went on a self-guided tour of the Washington National Cathedral in the afternoon. It was a cloudy afternoon and the rain threatened to fall, it fell later after we left. Guided tours are offered but we opted not to take one, but rather go through it at our own pace. This cathedral was constructed in Gothic style, brilliant indeed. The high stained glasses are hard to miss, and highlight the entire cathedral. The architecture is pretty dramatic if you ask me, but then again, this was the Gothic style. A resemblance with the French Notre Dame, only because it has gargoyles, but not like you see at Notre Dame.

After visiting the Basilica the week before, this one seemed rather naked, if you know what I mean, but it was also the measure of Cathedrals like one sees in Europe and Asia. It is one of the largest in the world, and the second largest cathedral in the United States. When we arrived, we noticed that the top towers are under construction, or rather repair. The damage to the cathedral was caused by the 2011 earthquake centered in Virginia, so a lot of work is being done to stabilize the towers at a rather steep cost to the cathedral. The work however has not closed the cathedral entirely, visitors, tours and services are offered as usual. Outside the Cathedral right next to the garage elevator, you will see pieces of concrete that fell from the towers.

Even though we did not take a guided tour, I highly recommend the tour because it gives you more information and a systematic viewing of the important sections of the cathedral. The few people I talked too liked the guided tour. Go to the Pilgrim Observation Gallery at the top, offers great views of the city. One of the main features is the pulpit; it is known to have served prominent spiritual/ religious speakers like the Dalai Lama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

This cathedral is originally an episcopal church, but it recognizes all faiths and is considered a universal house of prayer welcoming all peoples of all faiths; apparently doing a great job of promoting interfaith too. It is a great religious attraction in Washington, a must see.

Africancrab's Profile Photo
Jul 23, 2012

National House of Prayer

This wonderful church has a lot of unique features. Although it is in fact an Episcopal Church, it sees itself as a National House of Prayer and apparently does a good job at promoting interfaith usage and activities. Its pulpit has featured such diverse and noted speakers as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and, just a few days before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King. It ranks among the 6 largest cathedrals in the world and was intentionally built in a similar fashion and style of great European cathedrals, although its Gothic design is uniquie.
We took a docent-led tour and highly recommend this manner of seeing and learning as she made the tour not only informative but interesting and entertaining. There is so much to see – wonderful and richly colored stained glass windows, marvelous carvings, brilliant mosaics all contribute to the grandeur of the cathedral.
I also highly recommend the Pilgrim Observation Gallery which is accessed via elevator and gives you great views over the city as well as Virginia and Maryland.
One interesting feature of the church is the Canterbury pulpit. It seems that some time ago the bell tower at Canterbury had to be repaired so they dismantled it and then re-assembled it. There were some stones left over which they sent to Washington. It is an exquisitely carved stone pulpit but stones left over? That sounds like one of my repair jobs.
Admission is free but contributions are requested as the Cathedral lives solely on contributions. Even though it is considered the national house of prayer, no government funds were provided for construction and none for maintenance and operation.

rexvaughan's Profile Photo
Feb 24, 2010

Washington National Cathedral

As ancient as may look, this gorgeous Gothic-style, Episcopal Cathedral has just celebrated its first centennial (1917-2007). This is a great opportunity to participate in the celebrations and admire the beautiful interiors and exteriors, gardens included.
This place not only hosts religious services, but also academic conferences regarding religion, development, human rights and others related. It is open for tourism everyday, although there are some restrictions during weekend services and ceremonies. As for the visit schedule and activities, please check on their website:

besbel's Profile Photo
Aug 14, 2009

Washington National Cathedral

Built in 1907, the cathedral has taken two centuries to complete since it humble beginning on paper since 1792. During construction both architects passed away, and Philip Hubert Frohman tackled the task. The cathedral has seen many presidential funeral passing of Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Regan. This was also that last place for Martin Luther King Jr. to speak prior to his assassination. It is also where Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, Admiral George Dewey, Bishop Satterlee and the architects Henry Vaughan and Philip Frohman have come to rest. It is a stunning design in architecture. I feel lucky to have stopped off the trolley tour to see it.

Tours Offered
(30-minute Guided Tours and Audio Tours)
10–11:30 am; 12:45–4 pm
On Mondays & Wednesdays,
when there is an organ demonstration scheduled,
afternoon tours are offered from approx. 1:15–4 pm.

The Museum Store 9:30 am–5 pm

There will be times when the Cathedral is not accessible for touring because of scheduled events or services. To avoid disappointment, please Check for Posted Touring Conflicts before your visit.

See information on the new underground Car Parking Garage: Sunday Parking is Free.

Yaqui's Profile Photo
Jul 13, 2009

Top 5 Washington D.C. Writers

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"Neither American nor European City :-)"
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"Washington DC"
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"Washington D.C."
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"Washington D.C."
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Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral, officially the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is America's second largest Gothic cathedral (behind St John's in New York) and the sixth largest Gothic cathedral in the entire world. This Episcopal church is also the fourth tallest structure in the City of Washington DC, and the church's highest point is also the highest point in the district. Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller are buried in the cathedral.

While George Washington and Pierre L'Enfant envisioned a great cathedral in the nation's capital, it was not approved by congress until 1893. The first stone was laid in 1907 with President Theodore Roosevelt present. The cathedral was not officially completed until 1990, making it the longest running construction project in Washington history. Through the years the National Cathedral has been the site of presidential funerals, visits by foreign dignitaries, and sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr.

700,000 people visit the cathedral each year to sight see or worship.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...". Furthermore, in 1994 Supreme Court Justice Justice David Souter, wrote that "government should not prefer one religion to another...". Hmmmmm.

Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
Dec 01, 2008

Gothic Glory

If you're a fan of architecture, especially Gothic architecture (like me), then you MUST visit the National Cathedral. It is absolutely stunning inside and out...quite the photographer's paradise. You probably won't have to bother booking a tour, because chances are you'll walk right into one and will be able to tag along and hear all there is to hear without a personal reservation. Don't miss any of the little chapels tucked away in the corners, and MAKE SURE you visit the crypt downstairs! Also, beware that the gift shop can get a little crowded, but they have some pretty fancy gifts in there if you're into that.

tspeegle09's Profile Photo
Jun 30, 2008

National Cathedral

Washington's National Cathedral is the nation's most famous church. An Episcopal church, it was constructed from 1907 to 1990. It's strikingly similar to the imposing Gothic cathedrals of Europe. The artwork and architecture are exquisite, making this a must-see for anyone with an interest in churches.

Tom_Fields's Profile Photo
Aug 26, 2006

Universalist National Memorial Church

Very warm and friendly liberal Christian congregation. Sunday worship is about one hour followed by a hospitality time in the church parlor. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided by the congregation. The church is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and they provide a beautifully liturgical worship, well grounded in Christianity. Pastor Lillie Henley is a warm and lovely person and a spirit-filled preacher of the Gospel.

A very nice experience and worth the visit.

Aug 09, 2006

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Getting to National Cathedral


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