Visit the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land!


Discover a different D.C.! The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America has been named one of the Top 5 places most tourists miss when sightseeing in Washington, D.C. We invite you to take a break from the museums, monuments, and memorials and make a “pilgrimage” to the Franciscan Monastery to take in the beauty of our gardens, find peace in the Monastery church and among the replicas of Holy Land shrines, attend a concert or event, or learn about the Franciscans’ work in the Holy Land. This is a free attraction that is easily seen by foot, and it’s one of the best natural views in the district!

We offer “pilgrimages” of the church and seasonal tours of our beautiful gardens.

Enjoy the outdoors and God’s creation by walking the recreation trail through our century-old gardens with replicas of sacred shrines, roses and many native plants; you can also volunteer in our vegetable garden.

If you cannot visit the Monastery, we encourage you to take our virtual tour. Use our interactive map to see photos and videos from the inside of the church.

Take time away to hear God speaking to you during a personal retreat in one of our two hermitages.

Plan a Local Pilgrimage
(Temporarily Suspended)

We welcome schools, parishes and other groups for tours, stations of the cross, retreats and other family-friendly activities.

The Franciscan Monastery has a range of meeting spaces with wifi and videoconferencing, as well as the beautiful event space, St. Francis Hall, which accommodates up to 250 people.

Church and Catacomb Guided Tour

Currently, we are able to offer limited guided tours of the Upper Church and its Mount Calvary and Holy Sepulchre shrines, plus the catacombs, Purgatory Chapel and Annunciation and Nativity grottoes in the lower level of the church.

All tours are based on docent availability and must be booked in advance via the Reservation link below. Tours are limited to a maximum of 30 people and registration closes 48 hours prior to each tour. Walk-ins are welcome to join a scheduled tour if space is available however please note that a scheduled tour will not take place if there are no advance registrations.

  • Face masks are required inside the Monastery building
  • Tours last approximately 50 minutes
  • A minimum of two or more visitors are required for tours of the lower church/catacombs
  • The lower church is only accessible by stairs and is inaccessible by wheel-chair
  • Currently, we are unable to provide ad-hoc tours or tours in Spanish
  • Tours are free but donations are greatly appreciated to help support the work of the Franciscan Friars

Sign up for tours by clicking the link below and selecting an available date and time.


Self-Guided Tours

Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Upper Church and Gardens between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Mondays thru Saturdays. Brochures are available in the Tour Lobby or at the Concierge Desk. Please note that the catacombs and lower church are only accessible on the Guided tours.


Special Guided Tours

Marian Tours

This tour is called the Franciscan Crown Tour with Lourdes and is offered on Marian Feast days. The tour includes the Marian Chapel, Marian artwork and images in the Monastery Church and ends with a visit to the replica of Lourdes in the lower garden. (Marian Tours are not offered if the feast day falls on a Sunday and the Monastery is closed on December 8th,  the Feast of the Immaculate Conception).

These Special Tours are by reservation only (maximum of 20 people) and will be held at 1 p.m. on the following dates:

  • December 10, 2021 (Friday) – Our Lady of Loreto

2022 (Tours will be available to book online in January of 2022)

  • February 2 (Wednesday) – Presentation of the Lord
  • February 11 (Friday) –  Our Lady of Lourdes
  • March 25 (Friday) – Annunciation
  • May 13 (Friday) – Our Lady of Fatima
  • May 31 (Tuesday) – Visitation
  • June 6th (Monday) – The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
  • June 25th (Saturday) – The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • July 16 (Saturday) – Our Lady of Mount Carmel
  • August 15 (Monday) – Assumption
  • August 22 (Monday) – Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • September 8 (Thursday) – Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • September 12 (Monday) – The Most Holy Name of Mary
  • September 15 (Thursday) – Our Lady of Sorrows – Seven Sorrows Tour
  • October 7 (Friday) –  Our Lady of the Rosary
  • November 21 (Monday) – Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Stained Glass Tour

This specialized tour is given at 12:00 noon on November 1, the feast of All Saints, to honor the saints of the Franciscan Order and others who are depicted in the church’s stained-glass windows.  Among the saints are St. Francis, St. Bonaventure, St. Clare, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Explanations are given of the symbols in the windows as well as a short synopsis of the life of the saints.



Make a Reservation


For questions regarding tours, call 202-526-6800 or email tours@myfranciscan.com Please do not call or email to register for tours that are already sold out online.

At all times, regardless of where you are in the Monastery, please be respectful of others who might be praying and/or in confession. Eating and drinking are not allowed in church. Cell phones must be silenced, put on vibrate or turned off. Photography for personal use is allowed. Commercial/Professional photography and videography are prohibited in the Monastery and the Gardens. Personal belongings must remain with visitors at all times. The Monastery is not responsible for lost or stolen belongings.


The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

John Paul II Cultural Center

Garden Tours

Docents from our volunteer Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild offer free tours of the gardens on Saturdays from April to September.

You will learn about the history, architecture, plants and friars as you explore the formal upper garden, more natural lower garden and the vegetable garden and bee apiaries behind the monastery.

Tour Times

Guided Garden Tours are every Saturday during the summer.
11 a.m. & 12 p.m.

Viewing Hours

Gardens are open daily to the public.
9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

We would love for you to visit, but go ahead and start with our virtual tour!

The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is one of Washington, D.C.’s hidden treasures. It stands as an Oasis of Peace in the middle of bustling Washington. It is at once a house of worship, an architectural marvel and a sprawling expanse of gardens.

If you cannot visit the Monastery, we encourage you to take our virtual tour. Use our interactive map to see photos and videos from the inside of the church.

Take the Virtual Tour

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, a tour lasts from 45-60 minutes.
The monastery church is handicapped accessible. But to visit the lower church, you must be able to use steps. There are more than 20 steps descending, several in the lower church, and at least 20 ascending.

At this time, we are unable to provide tours in Spanish.

Yes, the Monastery has ample free parking in our parking lot across the street from the Church, 1400 Quincy Street. Buses must park on the street in front of the Monastery. The Security Guard will reserve spaces for buses on the street with parking cones.
A fair amount of walking is required to see the upper and lower church. But if you do not want to walk much, you may sit in the church, which includes several replicas, and wait.
Two weeks advance notice is required.
Respectful dress is required for the church. For summer, no short shorts or other inappropriate clothing is permitted.

There are a number of restaurants nearby including the establishments listed below. Check the individual websites for menu, prices and other details:

San Antonio Bar and Grill.3908 12th Street NE, 202-832-8080.  This is the closest restaurant to the Monastery. It is located on 12th Street between Randolph St and Quincy St.  There is free parking next to the restaurant. (Go down 14th Street to Randolph Street and turn left. Follow Randolph Street two blocks to 12th Street and turn left again.  The restaurant is on the right.)   There are large private sitting areas in this restaurant for groups but you should book in advance.  http://www.sabarandgrill.com/

Smith Public Trust, 3514 12th Street NE, 202-733-5834.  Go down Quincy Street to 12th Street. Turn left and follow 12th Street for about 4 blocks.  This restaurant is on 12th Street between Newton and Monroe Streets.

Brookland’s Finest.  3126 12th Street NE, 202-633-0050. Parking is available on side streets. Go down Quincy Street to 12th Street, turn left and follow 12th Street beyond St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. http://www.brooklandsfinest.com/

Busboys and Poets. 625 Monroe St NE,  301-779-2787. Go down Quincy Street and make a left on 12th Street. Go several blocks and make a right on Monroe St. Go over the bridge and Busboys and Poets will be on your left just before Monroe ends at Michigan Avenue. https://www.busboysandpoets.com/

Cafeteria at The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Michigan Avenue and Harewood Road, NE. The Basilica cafeteria offers special menus for large groups who wish to incorporate breakfast or lunch into their visit, including boxed lunches to-go. Arrangements for these meals require prior notice. Please contact Visitor Services at visitorservices@bnsic.org. From the Monastery, go down Quincy Street past 12th Street to Michigan Avenue. Turn left on Michigan Avenue, go over the bridge, and past Catholic University Campus. You can drive up to the front of the Basilica and let people off and then park free in the big lot off Harewood Road.

The church closes about 4:45 p.m. The last tour ends about 4 p.m.
The gardens close at 4:45 p.m.
You may take photos for personal use in church. You may take photos during the tours, but without tripods. (Tripods require advance permission.) When taking photos during tours, you may not disturb the tour guide or other visitors, or you will be asked to stop taking photos. Any photos for other-than-personal use require advance permission.
No, there is no place for overnight visits.

Currently the maximum number of people allowed on a guided tour is 30.

Tours are given by Franciscan friars and by trained lay personnel, depending on the scheduling.

The Brookland Metro stop on the Red Line is several blocks away. From there, the H6 Fort Lincoln bus will take you directly in front of our building.

You can have a picnic in Angel Park which is just across the street from the Monastery and adjacent to the Visitor Parking Lot.  This is a large area with picnic tables that can seat up to 42 people. There is no charge for parking or use of the site.  Please contact tours@myfranciscan.com or 202-526-6800 ext 364 in advance if booking a group of 10 or more.  
There are no hotels near the Monastery. However, there are many hotels in the downtown area, in nearby College Park, and close to the Red Line metro stops.
Since the tour requires a certain pace to be accomplished within the time frame allowed, it is not possible to stop and pray for long periods in the lower church. However, you are encouraged to offer short prayers at each shrine along the way, and to remain in a prayerful attitude during the entire visit.
No, but a donation is greatly appreciated. Cash, or checks made payable to the Franciscan Monastery, may be deposited in the Tour Donation box. There is also a donation kiosk for credit card users next to the Tour Donation box.
The Monastery does not have a cafeteria. Groups are welcome to bring their own lunches and can eat outside in Angel Park, weather permitting. There are also meeting rooms at the Monastery that can be rented for a nominal charge for your group to eat lunch.  Contact tours@myfranciscan.com  or 202-526-6800, ext 364, for further information as to availability and cost.

Unfortunately, The Franciscan Monastery does not have guest accommodations. We encourage visitors to stay at area hotels, in College Park or, by Metro, downtown Silver Spring.

Housing for Priests/Consecrated Religious

Rooms are available in our friary for priests and male consecrated religious who are studying at CUA and other religious schools of higher learning. Please contact us at mail@myfranciscan.com for details.


Our on-site hermitage is intended solely for use a a spiritual solace and reconnecting with God. If you are seeking a personal retreat experience, you can learn more about the hermitage here or contact us at hermitage@myfranciscan.com to schedule your retreat.

Please note that the sole purpose of the Hermitage is for spiritual solace and reconnecting with God. Use of the lodgings for the sole purpose of accommodations is not in keeping with this purpose and mission.