Things to Do

Washington National Cathedral Tower

The cathedral boasts the highest views in the whole city.
Photograph by Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Why you might roll your eyes:

You’ve been to cathedrals in Europeand compared with them, Washington’s century-old cathedral may not seem like a big deal.

Why you’ll love it:

At 333 steps to the top, the cathedral’s central tower is worth every step. Because it starts out at 676 feet above sea level, it’s the highest viewpoint in the Districta perch that affords sweeping vistas of the entire city and far into Maryland and Virginia. The 45-minute climb is a chance to see defining architectural features such as the cathedral’s gargoyles, not to mention some of its better-kept secrets, like a collection of empty Champagne bottles left between 1959 and 2000 by stonemasons celebrating New Year’s. But here’s the rub: The tour has been offered only sporadically since the August 2011 earthquake, and tickets always go quickly.

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-537-6200.

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