Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
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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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  • newmexjags
    Edgewood, New Mexico394 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Indescribable! Highly Recommend!
    Plan to spend the day. The first thing to do is sign up for a free tour, then go to the gift shop and buy the tour book. It's less than $10. Then after the tour go back through the book and see what you missed. It's easy to follow. The tour is an hour, and just scratches the surface. Go to Mass, Adoration, Confession. The sacraments are available for Catholics. They have a cafeteria although we didn't go. There are many beautiful chapels for prayer and contemplation. I was reduced to tears several times by the beauty and reverence. Parking was not a problem, they have a parking lot. Bathrooms are available. Touring this Shrine is a must for Catholics, although my Uncle, who is Protestant, also enjoyed it very much. There are two levels, wheelchair accessible with ramps and elevators. There was an area behind the altar in the Upper Church that had too many stairs, I couldn't go there but my husband took a lot of pictures. Please don't miss this!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • Kittygal 🇺🇦 🌻
    Los Angeles, California8,793 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Still Stunning
    I first visited this beautiful church as a high school student when I was on a weeklong study tour. This trip, I finally got back for Sunday mass and a chance to rediscover the artistic treasures within. Much has been added I er the years, including a statuary display of American saints and new chapels that depict many different cultural deductions of the familiar Madonna and Child. It's easy to get lost in the wide variety of things to see, so allow yourself time to enjoy. Guided tours are offered during the week but need to be reserved in advance. There's also a gift shop and cafe onsite. Highly recommend.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written October 31, 2023
  • Stevic1314
    London, United Kingdom10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning
    Absolutely stunning. So beautiful its breath-taking. Holy spirit filled. The masses are beautiful too with one of the best choirs in the world. Cant wait to go back. Was there in April as a birthday treat. Came from London. Always watch on EWTN the masses here and it was a dream come true to be there in person.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 7, 2024
  • Aatira B
    32 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    So much beauty and character in this building
    There’s so much of beauty within those walls and I had so little time to explore. I’ve taken a lot of videos of the place. Unfortunately I was able to cover only the lower level of the Basilica Hope to return some day. You can’t miss this if you are a Catholic who likes to explore churches
    Visited June 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written June 11, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,917 reviews
Excellent
1,593
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266
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44
Poor
8
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6

IndyTraveler46236
Indianapolis, IN33 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

paul3776
Paramus, NJ695 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tamara C
Hendersonville, NC71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

evelyn s
Texas328 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

phvi2617
Anaheim, CA641 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Solo
This magnificent basilica is the largest Catholic church in the United States. It was built in a monumental Romanesque-Byzantine style, but it has a distinctly American feel, particularly in the chapels and sculptures dedicated to American saints.

Most stunning are the resplendent mosaics found throughout the basilica--pictures don't do them justice. Be sure to also visit the crypt level, which has even more beautiful art and artifacts, such as the papal tiara of Paul VI. This majestic church is well worth a visit!
Written July 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Traveller
New York City, NY3,245 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aatira B
32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Solo
There’s so much of beauty within those walls and I had so little time to explore. I’ve taken a lot of videos of the place.
Unfortunately I was able to cover only the lower level of the Basilica

Hope to return some day.

You can’t miss this if you are a Catholic who likes to explore churches
Written June 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

newmexjags
Edgewood, NM394 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
Plan to spend the day. The first thing to do is sign up for a free tour, then go to the gift shop and buy the tour book. It's less than $10. Then after the tour go back through the book and see what you missed. It's easy to follow. The tour is an hour, and just scratches the surface. Go to Mass, Adoration, Confession. The sacraments are available for Catholics. They have a cafeteria although we didn't go. There are many beautiful chapels for prayer and contemplation. I was reduced to tears several times by the beauty and reverence. Parking was not a problem, they have a parking lot. Bathrooms are available. Touring this Shrine is a must for Catholics, although my Uncle, who is Protestant, also enjoyed it very much. There are two levels, wheelchair accessible with ramps and elevators. There was an area behind the altar in the Upper Church that had too many stairs, I couldn't go there but my husband took a lot of pictures. Please don't miss this!
Written October 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bill L
Motley, MN56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
I spent an afternoon in and around the Basilica of the National Shrine and I could've spent another couple days and still not gotten my fill of this place. The exterior was gorgeous, nestled alongside Catholic University of America, which in itself is a very cool place. I only spent a short time around the exterior but will definitely spend more time when I go back. Inside it seemed that every turn led to new wonders and awe-inspiring beauty. I have been here before and have watched Mass online from the National Shrine, but I was still absolutely blown away by all that I saw. It reminded me of something a roommate once told me when I asked why the Church doesn't have simple churches; "beauty, along with truth and kindness, is one of the three transcendentals that lead to God. As such, Catholic churches seek to exalt God by expressing his glory through architecture."

Food is available but I am not sure exactly when (I was there around lunch time and it was closed off, possibly for a private group), and daily Mass and Confession is offered, although it took me a while to find the confessionals.

Overall, an absolutely jaw-dropping place and probably my favorite place to visit in D.C.
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PetertheTeslaFanMan
75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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

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