13 Best Things to Do in Brookland Washington DC

Nestled in the northeastern quadrant of Washington, D.C., lies the vibrant and historic neighborhood of Brookland. Bursting with a rich cultural heritage and many attractions, Brookland is a hidden gem that should be on every traveler’s must-visit list in the nation’s capital. From its stunning architectural wonders to its thriving arts scene, this neighborhood offers a unique blend of history, culture, and community. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Washington, D.C., here are the best things to do in Brookland Washington DC.

Franciscan Monastery

Step into a world of serenity and spirituality at the Franciscan Monastery. This architectural masterpiece, modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, transports visitors to a tranquil oasis. Explore the stunning gardens adorned with vibrant flowers and tranquil fountains, and take a guided tour of the monastery’s exquisite interiors. Marvel at the intricate mosaics, stunning stained glass windows, and breathtaking shrines. The Franciscan Monastery is not just a place of worship but also a testament to the rich history and devotion of the Franciscan order.

Virgin Mary at the National Shrine

A short distance from the Franciscan Monastery lies the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the largest Catholic churches in the United States. The shrine’s centerpiece is the breathtaking mosaic of the Virgin Mary, known as the “Salus Populi Romani.” Standing at an awe-inspiring 30 feet tall, this mosaic attracts visitors from all over the world. Take a moment to admire this masterpiece’s intricate details and vibrant colors, and feel a sense of peace and reverence wash over you.

Arts Walk

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Brookland at the Arts Walk. This dynamic community arts space features a collection of artist studios, galleries, and creative businesses housed in repurposed shipping containers. Stroll through the colorful walkways, browse unique artworks, and even catch a glimpse of artists at work. The Arts Walk is a testament to Brookland’s commitment to fostering creativity and supporting local artists. Don’t forget to check out the regular art events and exhibitions here throughout the year.

Local beer

For beer enthusiasts, visiting the Brookland neighborhood wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the local brews. The area is home to several breweries and taprooms that offer a wide selection of craft beers. Whether you prefer a hoppy IPA or a smooth stout, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds. Take a brewery tour to learn about brewing and indulge in a tasting session. Raise a glass with fellow beer lovers and savor the flavors of Brookland’s unique brews.

Dance Place

Experience the rhythm and energy of the performing arts at Dance Place. This renowned dance center showcases diverse performances and offers classes for all ages and skill levels. From contemporary dance to traditional African drumming, Dance Place celebrates the power of movement and expression. 

Catch a mesmerizing performance by local and international artists, or join a class to unleash your creativity. Dance Place is a true cultural hub that brings the community together through the universal language of dance.

Metropolitan Branch Trail

The Metropolitan Branch Trail is a must-visit destination in Brookland for those seeking outdoor adventure. This scenic trail stretches for 8 miles, connecting several neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.. Perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling, the trail offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding greenery, pass through charming neighborhoods, and discover hidden gems. Whether you’re a nature lover or a fitness enthusiast, the Metropolitan Branch Trail provides a refreshing outdoor experience.

Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Pay homage to the legacy of Saint John Paul II at his namesake shrine in Brookland. This stunning architectural masterpiece is dedicated to the life and teachings of the beloved Pope. Explore the exhibits showcasing his remarkable journey, from his childhood in Poland to his papacy. Marvel at the breathtaking mosaics, statues, and artwork that adorn the shrine, and reflect in the serene Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The Saint John Paul II National Shrine is a place of reverence and inspiration for people of all faiths.

Franciscan Friars

Brookland is home to a vibrant community of Franciscan Friars who have been a part of the neighborhood for over a century. These dedicated individuals live a life of service, devotion, and compassion, embodying the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. Step into the Franciscan Monastery and converse with the friars to learn about their way of life and their impact on the community. Their presence adds a unique and spiritual dimension to the neighborhood, making Brookland special.

Catholic University of America

Located in the heart of Brookland, the Catholic University of America is a prestigious institution that boasts a beautiful campus and a rich academic tradition. Take a stroll through the university grounds, admire the stunning architecture, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. 

If you’re interested in the arts, catch a performance at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art. The Catholic University of America is not only an educational institution but also a cultural hub that contributes to Brookland’s intellectual and artistic fabric.

Lincoln’s Cottage

Step back in time and visit the historic site where President Abraham Lincoln sought solace and made critical decisions during his presidency. Lincoln’s Cottage, located in the heart of Brookland, offers a glimpse into the life and legacy of one of America’s greatest leaders. 

Take a guided tour of the Cottage and learn about Lincoln’s thoughts on emancipation, civil rights, and the nation’s future. Explore the surrounding grounds and gardens, which provide a serene setting for reflection and contemplation. Lincoln’s Cottage is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the enduring legacy of President Lincoln.

Monroe Street Market

Experience the vibrant energy of Brookland at the Monroe Street Market. This mixed-use development is a bustling hub of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Explore the diverse range of eateries, from international cuisine to local delicacies. Browse the boutique stores and discover unique treasures crafted by local artisans. 

The Monroe Street Market is also home to a vibrant farmers market, where you can sample fresh produce and artisanal goods. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and soak in the creative spirit of Brookland.

National Arboretum

Escape the urban jungle and discover a serene oasis at the National Arboretum. This expansive botanical garden spans over 400 acres and is home to a diverse collection of plant species. Take a stroll along the picturesque pathways, marvel at the stunning bonsai collection, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the iconic Capitol Columns. 

The National Arboretum also offers educational programs and events throughout the year, allowing visitors to deepen their understanding of nature and conservation. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the National Arboretum is a must-visit destination in Brookland.

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center

The Turkey Thicket Recreation Center provides a wide range of recreational activities and facilities for families and outdoor enthusiasts. From swimming pools and basketball courts to playgrounds and picnic areas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

Take a dip in the pool, challenge your friends to a basketball game, or simply relax and soak up the sun in the beautiful outdoor spaces. The Turkey Thicket Recreation Center is a testament to the community spirit of Brookland, where families and friends come together to have fun and create lasting memories.

With its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and diverse range of attractions, Brookland is a neighborhood that should not be missed when exploring Washington, D.C. From the serene beauty of the Franciscan Monastery and the National Shrine to the dynamic energy of the Arts Walk and local breweries, Brookland offers a unique and unforgettable experience for every visitor. Whether you’re seeking cultural enrichment, outdoor adventure, or a place to unwind, Brookland has something to offer. So, make sure to add this hidden gem to your must-visit list and discover the wonders of Brookland in Washington, D.C.

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