One of the most often overlooked historic spots in Washington, DC is the Franciscan Monastery located in Brookland away from most of the museums. The Franciscan Monastery serves as a holy place in America mirroring the architecture and beauty of the Holy Land for those who cannot make the trip overseas. While they hold daily Mass, the monastery is open to the public and is a beautiful wonder to be appreciated by any architecture or history lover.
While guests can explore most of the church and the gardens on their own, joining a 60-minute guided tour will take visitors to the catacombs in the lower level of the church. This, in my opinion, is the most exciting part of the monastery and a very unique experience in DC. Tours are multiple times daily and are free but donations are always appreciated.
The gardens are also a beautiful place to escape the busy city life. It is a perfect spot for a walk, meditation, and interesting photography. The landscape changes with the seasons and is best on a nice day.
Walk-ins are welcome but call ahead for tours of 5+ and check the site for any planned special events that might impact operating hours. Please also be of mindful dress in the church – shorts are discouraged.