Washington National Cathedral was built in 14th-century Gothic style, stone upon stone, without structural steel, an exercise that took most of the 20th century and was only finished in 1990. Its medievalism has been somewhat updated: there’s a gargoyle of Darth Vader in the north-west corner, while the much-admired stained-glass Space Window contains a piece of lunar rock. The top of the tower is the highest point in DC; there are great views from the observation gallery.
The cathedral offers self-paced CD-based audio tours ($10); alternatively, join one of various guided tours, which are held at regular intervals. Special events can often mean that certain parts of the cathedral are closed at short notice, so it’s best to phone first to check (the same applies if you have a specific tour in mind).
The Episcopalian cathedral holds some 1,200 services a year, yet has no congregation of its own. It is meant to be a church for all. Every president since Theodore Roosevelt has visited, as have Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama. Funeral services of various distinguished national figures have been held here. Medieval gardens adorn the cathedral’s spacious grounds, supporting a popular herb shop.
|Venue name:||Washington National Cathedral|
3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
|Cross street:||Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues, NW|
|Opening hours:||10am–5.30pm Mon–Fri; 10am–4.30pm Sat; 1–4pm Sun (opens for worship 8am)|
|Transport:||Bus 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 90, 92, 93, N2, N3, N4, N6 bus|
|Price:||Requested contribution $10|