The Washington National Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, is an Episcopal cathedral located in the U.S. capital. The building's foundation stone was placed in 1907 at a ceremony attended by President Theodore Roosevelt, while its final piece was placed in 1990 with President George H. W. Bush in attendance.
This breathtaking Gothic building is the second-largest cathedral in the United States and the sixth-largest cathedral in the world. In addition to being known for its fascinating architecture, it has also been used as the site of important events such as the state funerals of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford.
Things to Do
- Go on the 30-minute guided Highlights Tour that is included in the admission price to learn about the Cathedral's most important architectural and artistic features.
- Attend a carillon or peal bell recital! The central tower of the Cathedral is the only location in North America to feature both types of bells, which were created in England. Children will be fascinated by the carillon, which is played using a keyboard and pedals, and the peal bells, which play mathematical patterns. Check the Cathedral website to view their performance schedules.
- Use the "Explore the Cathedral with Children" brochure to enjoy a family-friendly tour that includes a fun scavenger hunt. You can pick it up at the Information Table or print it from the Cathedral's Families page.
Washington National Cathedral Insider Tips
- Climb all 333 steps to reach the bell ringing chamber of the Cathedral's central tower. Tower climbs provide visitors with spectacular views of Washington D.C. as well as a bell demonstration. Check online to view the tower climb schedule.
- If you're planning on driving to the Washington National Cathedral, you can find parking spaces in its underground garage, which is free between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Sundays.
- Visit the Cathedral on Monday or Wednesday between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to learn about the Great Organ and listen to a short recital.