Architectural Buildings in Washington DC

THE 10 BEST Washington DC Architectural Buildings

Architectural Buildings in Washington DC

Types of Attractions
Sights & Landmarks
Sights & Landmarks
Traveler rating
Neighborhoods
Good for
20 places sorted by traveler favorites
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

What travelers are saying

  • ElaineAndGreg
    Chesterland, OH2,973 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Washington National Cathedral is something like the sixth largest in the world and its tower purports to be the tallest spot in Washington DC. We've visited cathedrals in many different countries. This is certainly worth a visit, but the experience also suffers from some weaknesses.

    The cathedral was built just after the turn of the last century, so it is a little over 100 years old. Although technically part of the Episcopal Church, it seeks to appeal to individuals of all faiths. As the name suggests, it also tries to place itself as the nation's cathedral, kind of an American Westminster Abbey.

    There is a $15 fee to enter as it does not receive federal funding and it has significant upkeep costs. Parking can be a little tight in the area, but they built a large and convenient underground parking garage that we would recommend if you can't find parking on the street.

    They give you a map that is fairly helpful, but we wished for a little more in terms of detail and signage generally. For what it's worth, the high points for us were:

    -The Nave (that's the main church area). There is mostly modern stained glass here, but it's magnificent if you stand in front of the altar and look towards the back of the church and up. There is a large rosette window and the sides are lined with flags of the 50 states. It's very impressive.

    -About half way up, the "space" window was installed five years after the successful Apollo 11 moon mission and actually has moon rocks built into it.

    -The tomb of President Woodrow Wilson is on the first floor.

    There is a somewhat controversial pair of windows towards the center. In 2017, the cathedral removed windows installed in the 1950s commemorating Robert E. Lee and Thomas ("Stonewall") Jackson and replaced them with what they call "now and forever" windows, which more or less commemorate the civil rights movement. Whether you like them or not is a matter of your taste.

    -There is a memorial to Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan in the crypt in the basement. It is not well marked, but is on a pillar in the St. Joseph of Arimathea Chapel. Note that it has the memorial both in written text and in Braille.

    -It isn't listed as an attraction, but the Garth is on the map behind the cathedral, about 100 yards from the visitor entrance. You'll want to visit it. It has pillars with Native-American-themed carvings at the top and images such as cats with birds. You see a fair number of wedding/engagement photos taken in this area.

    -The Darth Vader chimera is toward the top of one of the towers. It's very hard to see without binoculars or a strong telephoto lens.

    If you are looking for a break, there is an Open City restaurant in the chapter house only about 100 feet from the Cathedral itself. The food is good and the ambience is casual.

    Enjoy your visit!
    Written May 19, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Brandon K
    Flagstaff, AZ1,914 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    I end up here every trip to DC, mainly because the conference I usually go to is nearby and Union Station is a great place to grab a quick lunch, hit the drugstore for room supplies, and just hang out in the marble halls watching thousands of people rush through. There is also a pretty good tourist gift shop on the far end of the shopping area on the top level that I often get gifts from before heading home. It is worth at least 15 minutes to wander through and think of all the history that has come through here.
    Written March 17, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jay
    Phoenix, AZ155 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The views from the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion were fantastic! It was easy to get to and easy to get up. It's a great way to see the DC Metro Area in all its glory. If you happen to be in the area, it is a quick visit and I'd recommend it doing if you have a free 30 minutes to spare.
    Written May 8, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PurpleAnkh
    Fort Washington, MD269 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    I went to see a specific exhibit highlighting crafts and sewing. I got to visit the various state rooms and learn cool history facts. I love old buildings and furnishings so getting to see rooms sponsored by different states and what the room looked like at specific times in history was very interesting. Also enjoyed visiting the library but mainly because the architecture of the building was interesting to me. Staff were very nice and helpful when asked.
    Written May 18, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • kleic
    San Antonio, TX1,070 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I actually didn't get to go on the house tour but I'm giving it five stars and taking time to write the review because of the impressive work they're doing to tell the stories of people of African decent who lived and worked here. The grounds are lovely and the history of the house is fascinating precisely because of the enslaved people who lived here and a real effort is being made to document their lives and their stories. Would that all house museums did the same!
    Written April 28, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • dkallen
    Cookeville, TN29 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Convenient food court. Has a few choices. Typical foods as found in food courts. Can sit down and eat inside. You go through typical security check. Wasn’t crowded the day we visited.
    Written January 14, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • jess290718
    Mount Pleasant, MI123 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    In a city must see attractions this is easily a skip. If you happen to be walking by while on your way to other attractions look up as you walk but don't waste precious DC time trying to see this.
    Written November 3, 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • William H
    5 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    I was hoping to see the Democratic Party headquarters broken into by the Watergate burglars but they don’t allow it. Also, the two rooms Rene’s by the burglars. Both occupied
    Written July 12, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dan_Yucaipa_CA
    Yucaipa, CA426 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dumbarton Oaks is nearby, but Dumbarton House is worth a visit. The house dates to the beginning of the federal government in Washington and was home to one of its first civil servants who worked in the Treasury Department under six presidents. How the early inhabitants of the Federal City, both free and enslaved, lived is described. Our guide did a great job during a 30 minute tour of the rooms.

    Parking is just east of the house off 27th St. Don’t let the “no outlet” sign deter you.
    Written February 3, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles
    PROS
    • Interesting historic building
    • Unique architecture
    • Located on our National Mall
    • Interesting exhibits of the future

    CONS
    • It feels crowded

    “I VISITED THIS PLACE”…
    … because it was yet shorter place to “tick” on my list of visiting everything on our National Mall.

    I enjoyed the exhibits on the future- air taxi, time travel, and the report of a monetary grant for abstaining from internet use on Saturday- hey, I’ve been doing that every week for 45 years.

    TIPS
    Is not a major place with major exhibits at all, but if tour are in front of it and you have the strength, stamina and interest to go in…. “well all right then.”
    Written August 5, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • WaterlooDad
    Waterloo, Canada596 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The lock-keeper’s house is a cute little part of history being one of the oldest homes in Washington
    Written October 18, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Nole56
    Orlando, FL81 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is the headquarters of our national prosecution as well as related matters. While you might disgree with individual decisions, the employees are well trained and educated.
    Written November 6, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Kittygal 🇺🇦 🌻
    Los Angeles, CA8,698 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    On my recent DC visit, I was staying just up the street from this beautiful old church. As I was walking past, I asked a churchgoer if I could have a quick look at the beautiful organ. They invited me in for service, even after I explained I was actually on my way to Catholic mass at the nearby parish.

    The artwork, architecture and setting were beautiful and the choir sounded delightful. After services, I was also invited for food and drink in the church hall. A very welcoming congregation to this out if area visitor. And a very inclusive ministry. All are welcome.
    Written January 23, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Rudi Rudi
    Washington DC, DC2,170 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    It is shady and quaint. You will feel like you found a secret place in the middle of a busy city. Often overlooked, it is next to out Capital building. It only takes a moment to find and a few minutes to explore.
    Written March 22, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Chris D
    Athens, GA44 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    An interesting mural artfully done on the side of the original Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant. When you finish your half smoke and chili cheese fries, take a minute in the alleyway next to the building and appreciate this art piece.
    Written May 2, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
All Washington DC HotelsWashington DC Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Washington DC
All things to do in Washington DC
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars