A Guide To Basilica Of The National Shrine, Washington DC

Basilica Of The National Shrine
| 4 min read

One of the largest and most visited catholic churches in Washington D.C., the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Concepcion is a sacred national shrine. Its beauty is beyond comparison with its Byzantine-Romanesque architectural design that attracts not only locals but tourists around the world as well. On record, it is known to be the biggest Catholic church in the whole of the United States and the northern side of America. Here, devotees can attend a mass, participate in catholic events, can enjoy scheduled guided tours, and even see the church’s fascinating art collection. If you plan to visit Washington D.C. any time soon, don’t forget to swing by this holy and historical place. For your convenience, here is a guide to Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion.

Things to do / highlights

Basilica National Shrine Immaculate Conception DC 32
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gryffindor used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Indeed, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion is not just a holy place for catholic devotees, but it is an architectural wonder that is worth seeing, regardless of religion. When you enter the place, you will be overwhelmed by its magnificent beauty, detailed aesthetics, and immense sight. Not only that, but the church also offers guided tours for tourists who want to see more of it. For your guidance, remember these highlights for reference when you visit Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion.

Attend a mass

Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion is a holy place of worship for Catholics. It is open every day of the year, and it has scheduled mass and confessions for people who want to perform these rites. On Sundays, masses are held as early as 7:30 in the morning.


If you wish to go to for a confession, they are available every day of the week, just like liturgical masses. From Mondays to Saturdays, it is scheduled from 7:45am - 8:15am, 10am - 12pm, so on and so forth.

Join a tour

The Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Washington. If you want to explore this holy site and marvel at its beauty, the Church offers guided tours that only takes about an hour. Some of the things you’ll get to see are on-site chapels. Through the tour, you will be able to learn about the history of the shrine, know about its architecture, and see its hidden artwork collection, as well as Jesus Christ, Mary the Mother of God, and the apostles’ sculptures that have survived the test of time.

What to eat

basilica of the national shrine | what to eat
Source: instagram

Although there are no on-site restaurants in the Basilica of National Shrine of the Immaculate Concepcion, there are lots of exceptional dining options within walking distance from it. To name a few, here is a list of excellent restaurants that you might want to try when you visit the national shrine.

Kellari Taverna

If you are someone with Greek ancestry or a plain Jane who just happens to love Greek food, Kellari Taverna is a fantastic restaurant that you should try before or after you visit the National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion. The place exudes elegance at every corner that will surely excite guests with meticulous taste. Aside from delicious grilled seafood specialties, it has an extensive menu of premium bottles of wine to pair with your eats.

Brookland Pint

Located less than a kilometer away from the Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion, Brookland Pint is your go-to if you’re craving for some classic American fares. It has a cozy and casual ambiance with a rustic accent, and lots of natural light flooding in through its expansive windows. Whether you are in the mood for an American breakfast platter or a fried chicken paired with fresh mimosas, Brookland Pint got you covered.

City Kabob & Curry House

A dining spot for people with an acquired taste for Middle Eastern cuisine, City Kabob & Curry House is your one-stop no-frills counter-serve restaurant that offers mouthwatering Pakistani specialties. Whether you crave seafood dishes, lamb or chicken, there is a meal for you at this superb restaurant. Plus, it offers vegetarian eats, as well.


A chic restaurant that showcases Parisian aesthetics and exudes chill vibes, Primrose is a fantastic restaurant that offers a delightful dining experience to its guests. Its cool and airy ambiance and vintage charm are other reasons to love this place. Aside from those, the food here is guaranteed flavorful, made from the freshest ingredients, and served in an Instagram-worthy presentation. Plus, you might want to check out its superb wine menu.

Travelers tips

Casual dress code
Source: Pxfuel

Dress modestly

Whenever you go to sacred places of worship, it is only customary that you wear appropriate clothing. Unlike other religions, Catholic churches do not require you to wear all-out formal attire but at least, wear clothes that are reasonably modest. Shorts and yoga pants are definitely a no-no. Additionally, tops that show too much skin, such as back and cleavage, are also considered inappropriate. If you have tattoos, you might consider covering them when you enter the church. Also, pieces of jewelry that make noise as you move might attract parish-goers attention. For footwear, you might want to ditch the slippers as they are too casual.

Seasonal mass schedules

Surely, the Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion has a fixed schedule on their masses and confessions, but during special Catholic celebrations, they have a separate schedule. Some of these celebrations include Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

How to get there

Washington DC Metro Station
Source: Photo by user peter french used under CC BY 2.0
By bus

If you prefer an affordable mode of transportation on your way to the Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion, you can always take the bus. Head to North Capitol Street NE and hop on a bus to Michigan Ave Ne. From there, it is only a four-minute walk to the shrine.

Take the subway

Head to Metro Center Station and hop on a train that stops at Brookland-Cua Metro. From there, you will only have to walk six minutes to arrive at your destination.

Hail a cab

Being the capital city of the United States, it is not shocking that the city is heavily trafficked with taxis. You can take advantage of them and hail one to drive you the Basilica of National Shrine.

Book an Uber

If you want hassle-free transport, you can book an Uber. This way, within a few clicks of your finger, a driver will pick you up and drive you to your destination in no time.

Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion information

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion

Address: 400 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017, United States

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Official Website: Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Concepcion

Department of Tourism: Washington

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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