Crowning a bluff on DC’s west side, the Washington National Cathedral rises 701 feet above the city, its highest point the tip of the Gloria in Excelsis bell tower.
The Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church that has welcomed people of all faiths throughout its history, serves as the country’s gathering place in times of national celebration and mourning. The funerals of presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan have been held here, President Woodrow Wilson is buried here, world leaders have spoken from the cathedral’s pulpit, and Leonard Bernstein, Judy Collins and Yo-Yo Ma have performed here. Check the cathedral’s schedule for ticketed performances.
The Cathedral has 231 stained glass windows, 112 gargoyles, and 288 angels; sits on 59 acres; and took 83 years to build, begun in 1907 and completed in 1990.
Tours include a behind-the-scenes tour, close-up tours (in-depth focus on a particular aspect), special photography access or Tour and Tea, a guided walk that culminates with English tea with scones and sandwiches.
The Cathedral is also known for its excellent choir and bell ringing (it’s the only place in North America to house both peal and carillon bells). Also be sure to visit the lovely gardens, which, by the way, are the recommended location for best enjoyment of the carillon and peal bell chimes.
Metro: Tenleytown on the Red Line, with a 20 minute walk south on Wisconsin Ave. Or take any 30-series Metrobus along Wisconsin Ave.