We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Not just for Catholics” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Ranked #14 of 418 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Ocean View, Delaware
Level Contributor
193 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Not just for Catholics”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2014

The architecture and art of the National Shire are breathtaking. Open 7 am-7pm most days. Tours of usually offered Mon-Fri 9,10,11, and 1,2, or 3. Free tours. Group arrangements can also be made in advance. On the fringe of the Catholic University of America campus, and located in walking distance of the Brookland Metro stop.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank msp1231
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,480 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,211
    221
    37
    7
    4
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Copperas Cove, Texas
Level Contributor
307 reviews
119 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Incredible Beauty, Quiet & Peaceful in DC~ Make the Time to Visit!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2014

I lived in the DC area for over a year before making the drive to the National Shrine to attend Sunday Mass and take a tour and I wish I would have gone sooner! What a beautiful Basilica! Each of the Marian Chapels are dedicated to a different immigrant group that came to America. The Chapels line the sides of the upper Basilica and also in the crypt area, there are about 70 in total. All include very detailed mosaics of Mary, Jesus, the immigrants or heads of state that helped propagate devotion to the Faith as well as carved statues and many stone details. The domes of the Upper Church are mosaics and all the artwork around the Basilica is so beautiful! Things are changing here all the time and I would suggest that if you wish to spend time in prayer as well as a tour, set aside a full day. The lower church includes a restaurant, book store and gift shop. There is so very much to see and take in and be inspired by! I hated to leave and can't wait to go back! The tours are Mon-Sat 9;00am - 11:00am and 1:00pm -3:00pm; Sunday1:30pm-3:30pm Confessions and Masses held daily.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank cubgirl65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Astoria oregon
Level Contributor
1,671 reviews
316 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 707 helpful votes
“Magnificent old church, reminicent of cathedrals throughout Europe.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2014 via mobile

Beautiful old architecture and grand. Respect and awesomeness overwhelm one and a holy presence encapsulates one with peace.
This is a must visit for folks of all faiths.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Journeyman644
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
114 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Magnificent church!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

The Basilica is a magnificent church. The church is, on one hand, large and impressive, and on the other hand, small and intimate (e.g., in the crypt, in all the little chapels the surround the main part of the church.) And logistics are easy - There is a large parking lot across from the church.

In addition, there is a wonderful bookshop and gift shop in the basement. In fact, it is probably the best gift shop in the DC area for Catholic themed items. If you have to buy a gift for a baptism, first communion, or confirmation gift, the Basilica is the best place to go to in DC.

Finally, if you can get to the Basilica for Xmas Eve mass, do it! I have attended the Children's Mass for several years (it's typically at 5 pm). The music is phenomenal, the flowers are impressive, and the mass is meaningful. The Basilica is very popular for Christmas masses, however, so please show up extra early if you want to guarantee you get a seat.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank VanNessVoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
157 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“A wonderful place to pray”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

The Basilica is enormous, overwhelming, complex, fascinating -- and, if you go there early before the bus tours and in between the Masses, a wonderful, quiet, warm place to pray. At around 9:30 on a recent Saturday morning, for example, there were relatively few people present, most were sitting quietly in prayer, and visitors who were walking around maintained a respectful silence. The official guide lists 43 elements of interest (chapels, oratories, niches, parts of the church, and major works of art) on the Crypt (lower) level and 97 more on the Upper Church (main) level, but that understates the riches awaiting the interested visitor. Mosaics and statues form the heart of the artistic offerings. Begun in 1920 and dedicated in 1959, the interior is not yet fully completed, but you'd only know that because the guide tells you so. Devoted to the Virgin Mary, the basilica seems like an eruption of the glory of the feminine face of God.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank WashingtonTraveler21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception also viewed

 

Been to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing