Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
5
Religious Sites • Churches & Cathedrals
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6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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About
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America, and is one of the ten largest churches in the world. The Basilica is the nation's preeminent Marian shrine, dedicated to the patroness of the United States; the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. It is oftentimes affectionately referred to as America's Catholic Church. Visited by Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Saint John Paul II, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta, among others, the Basilica, though distinctly American, rivals the great sanctuaries of Europe and the world. Byzantine-Romanesque in style, its massive, one-of-a-kind superstructure is home to over 80 chapels and oratories that relate to the peoples, cultures and traditions that are the fabric of the Catholic faith and the mosaic of our great nation. The Basilica also houses the largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art on earth.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
1,899 reviews
Excellent
1,578
Very good
264
Average
44
Poor
8
Terrible
6

DAR1660
New York73 contributions
This is one of the 10 largest churches in the world, seating 4,000 people. As such it is well worth the trip just to see it and take in its sheer size and it's fantastic mosaic art work. This is a real, functioning church.It is located right near Catholic University in Washington DC. If you wish, call in advance to find out the Mass or confession schedule. I walked past one of the side chapels as Eucharistic adoration was just ending and remained for that. The outside of the church is traditional. The interior church is done in a contemporary but not unpleasant style. Much beautiful polished beige marble is EVERYWHERE. That contemporary material is well balanced by the traditional stained glass windows and the mosaics. All the side chapels have the most magnificent detailed mosaics. Even the ceilings are full of mosaics. Everything is planned down to the most tiny detail and tasteful. Especially amazing is the large figure of Jesus on the ceiling of the dome by the main altar. I have never seen anything of such size and power. I took the almost hour long tour, which is free and begins near the gift shop. The tours are periodic throughout the day so again call in advance to see if one fits into your schedule. Depending upon the time of year you may need a reservation. The docent who took my small group was very knowledgeable. In the lower lever is what they call the "crypt" area, but unfortunately we could not venture inside as Mass was taking place there at that moment. I gathered Mass is often held there rather than the much larger formal church area. The side chapels vary in size and theme, but all are interesting and many will be familiar to Catholics like the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, or Our Lady of Guadalupe. Catholics will be especially happy they took the time to visit this place. If you are not Catholic I believe you will still be glad you came to admire the architecture and art work. Not to be missed!!
Written July 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tamara C
Hendersonville, NC78 contributions
Very very large. Outstanding art works. Most of the artwork is made from small pieces of colored tiles. Absolutely magnificant display of artwork. Spend several hours wondering around this beautiful basilica. Outstanding tour guide. He was fun and exciting with an endless knowlegde of all the wonderful teasures there.
Written June 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Raymond T
Cameron, TX36 contributions
Thanks to the Columbia magazine of the Knights of Columbus, I was inspired to visit this most magnificent complex. I attended Sunday Mass at noon and I heard the most beautiful singing from a Quintet throughout the service especially during the Lamb of God which I have never heard before as this in their soft melody chant to our Lord. Also, the Readings of the Gospel were done in a voice so emphatic that one would want to emulate. The Basilica was finished approximately 60 years ago and has around a hundred shrines in all areas which include the large Upper church, lower Crypt church and different foyers and enclosed Chapels for prayer and meditation. Pope St John Paul II visited here as it is the National Shrine in the USA dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of our Lord who we celebrate on December 8 each year to signify the beginning of the Virgin Mary's important role, then and now in the life of Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer. I want to return when restrictions are lifted to fully realize the Spiritual rewards entrusted to all the pilgrims visiting
Written December 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

IndyTraveler46236
Indianapolis, IN34 contributions
Visiting a Catholic site. Basilica was on the campus of the American Catholic University. The church/Basilica was beautiful We walked in when the choir was practicing it was amazing it was like a midnight mass going on from the way echoed throughout the church. There are many statues to visit of Saints and religious figures easy to travel to on the subway train system in DC
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

paul3776
Paramus, NJ757 contributions
Friends
Awesome place to visit. Unbelievable beauty in terms of architecture, statuary, mosaics and paintings. This is a huge church with both upper and lower churches and dozens of chapels and alcoves to pray in. Construction began in 1920 and was completed in 1959 after delays caused by death, depression, market crash and fund raising.
Written March 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

evelyn s
Texas322 contributions
A very precious gem in DC. The memorials are what attracts tourists to DC but this place is worth taking an extra day to explore. There are so many little chapels inside the shrine to marvel at each beauty. The guide was very knowledgeable and gave the history of each chapel and pointed important details that one would easily miss on your own.
Written July 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

blairkk25
New Jersey2,924 contributions
I visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in July 2021. I parked my car in the parking lot across from the Basilica. The Basilica is a beautiful building and the dome is very impressive. I entered the lower level and walked to the crypt. A mass was in progress so many of the lower level shrines were closed. I climbed the stairs to the upper church and prayed in the church. The altar is beautiful. On the way out there are a separate bookstore and a separate gift shop. I definitely will return here during my next visit to Washington DC and maybe the timing will work out so I can attend mass.
Written July 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PetertheTeslaFanMan
26 contributions
Couples
A beautiful building, well-kept, and very peaceful surrounding area. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty, and I highly suggest stopping by when visiting Washington DC. It appears it’s open for public viewing, but we did not go inside on our visit a week ago, so I am not sure what limitations are in place.
Written October 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Don H
5 contributions
We actually attended Mass on Easter for the first time here. It is a beautiful building with old time charm of years gone by. Next time in town we will go on a tour that they offer.
Written April 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MstqMI
Manistique1,135 contributions
We're not Catholic and probably wouldn't have thought of visiting the Basilica but because so many other sites in DC were closed (because of covid), my son knew this was open and we're so glad that it was. It is awesome, inside and outside. There are many side chapels with beautiful wall mosaics. It was all awesome!! I would recommend it to everyone.
Written April 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is open:
  • Sun - Sat 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

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