Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Set in the “Little Rome” neighborhood of Washington DC, the expansive church invites visitors to take a tour or join in a mass. Guided tours lead visitors through the story of the National Shrine’s origins, from its construction to the artwork that lines the walls. The 1-hour tour includes both the upper and lower level chapels as well as views of the mosaic-lined domes.
A series of evening and morning masses are held daily and visitors (Catholic and otherwise) are welcome to take part in the services. You can visit the National Shrine’s website for full mass and tour details.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Shrine draws in religious worshipers and architecture enthusiasts.
- You can enjoy a meal and pick up souvenirs at the on-site cafeteria and gift shop.
- Guided and audio tours are free and no reservations are needed.
- The site is wheelchair and stroller accessible and wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
How to Get There
Located in Northeast Washington DC, the National Shrine can be easily reached by car or public transportation. To avoid driving in the city’s traffic and finding parking, take the bus or Metrorail. Bus routes with stops close to the church include bus 80, H2, and H4. If traveling by Metro, take the red line and get off at the Brookland-CUA stop.
When to Get There
The National Shrine is open every day of the year and offers daily tours and masses—a schedule is available on the church’s website. The church also hosts special events such as free concerts, religious events, and ceremonies.
Catholic Attractions in Little Rome
The National Shrine is located in Washington DC’s Brookland neighborhood (nicknamed Little Rome for its many Roman Catholic churches, schools, and chapels). On a trip to the National Shrine, you can also visit the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America—the historic site is lined with flower gardens. Additionally, explore the campus of the Catholic University of America. Across the street from the university, you can visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
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