Tulips in the gardens at the Franciscan Monastery

Hidden Catacombs and Gardens in Brookland

The neighborhood of Brookland is an interesting spot because it’s a beautiful place to play tourist while still maintaining that “off the beaten path” feel. Brookland is home to the Franciscan Monastery, a gorgeous place to explore a piece of early American history. Built in the late 1800’s, the Franciscan Monastery served as a place for Americans to go when travel to the Holy Land was difficult. To be honest, travel to the Holy Land is still relatively difficult so this is a perfect spot to relax is beautiful gardens and learn a little history.

Tulips in the gardens at the Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan Monastery feels like an escape from the city as soon as you step on the beautiful grounds but the best part is arguably the underground catacombs. Underneath the monastery, guests can tour the catacomb replicas. Exploring the catacombs makes a visit to the monastery feel like a unique adventure unlike a typical trip to a museum. The designers of the monastery even traveled to the Holy Land and consulted travelers to capture every detail. They wanted a visit to the Franciscan Monastery to feel as authentic as possible.

The best way to experience the monastery is to join one of their tours. Tours are free and open to the public Monday to Saturday at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm as well as Sunday at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.  Reservations are only required for groups over 5. Tours will take you through the monastery and through the catacombs.

Brookland: While You’re in the Neighborhood

Before or after you visit the Franciscan Monastery, there are several local spots to grab drinks or a bite to eat:

Brookland’s Finest: Brookland’s Finest is about a 10-minute walk from the metro. They have all your favorite brunch classics plus several variations of Bloody Marys – vodka, whiskey, or tequila!

Brookland Pint: Brookland Pint is also a great place for brunch but I prefer them as a dinner spot. They have a pretty extensive beer menu and lots of great burgers to top off an afternoon in Brookland.

Busboys and Poets: Busboys and Poets is well known for their 14th Street location but you can also catch them in Brookland. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner but we’re big fans of their weekend brunch.

At a Glance

  • History and gardens
  • 1400 Quincy Street NE
  • Free
  • Closest Metro: Brookland (red)