City Cast

Your Guide to DC's Franciscan Monastery

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on September 14
Outside the Franciscan Monastery.

Outside the Franciscan Monastery. (Kaela Cote-Stemmermann/City Cast DC)

The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America was built in 1898 as a U.S. home of Franciscans who have historically cared for the shrines in current-day Israel and Palestine. The result is a stunning church and gardens filled with historic replicas right in the middle of D.C.

How To Get There:

The monastery is an 18-minute walk from the Brookland Metro stop, or a five-minute walk from G8 and 80 bus stops. There is also ample parking. The church is open from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. with the surrounding gardens open until 4:45 p.m.

The Church:

The immense ceilings, stained-glass, and ornate carvings inside this church are a must-see. Mass is open to the public every Sunday at 11 a.m. I also recommend taking the free tour which allows you to see the web of catacombs and crypts underneath!

A replica of the accession pavilion in the gardens beside the church.

A replica of the accession pavilion in the gardens beside the church. (Kaela Cote-Stemmermann/City Cast DC)

The Gardens:

Beside the church is a sprawling garden that holds replicas of numerous altars, chapels, and grottos from the Old World. Meant to serve as a place of pilgrimage for those who could not go overseas, visitors can complete a veritable world tour of Roman and Middle Eastern religious shrines in a few hours.  There is also a vegetable garden and apiaries behind the monastery.

The Surrounding Area:

After taking your pilgrimage, you’ll probably be hungry. If you walk a few minutes west towards the Brookland Metro, you will find Taco City DC, a small taco shop with great guac and margaritas. Just a few blocks south of that is the dive bar/diner The Runaway, perfect for burgers or breakfast sandwiches, and Masala Story, Brookland’s best Indian spot.

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