The Cathedral Close and Gardens

The Cathedral Close

Gardens, Olmsted Woods, and Landscaping

Gardens

The fifty-nine acre Cathedral Close (the grounds of the Cathedral) awaits exploration and delight. The close was planned by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., in the early twentieth century. His plan was modeled on the walled grounds of medieval cathedrals. The overall impression was to be that of an urban oasis. Gardens open dawn to dusk.

Garden Tours

Self-guided Garden Tours are available to our visitors in the Herb Cottage. A brochure, What to Look For in the Olmsted Woods, is also available. Guild docent-led group tours can be arranged by calling (202) 537-2304. Groups also meet at the Herb Cottage. Olmsted Woods and Bird Walks are offered throughout the year; for information, call: (202) 537-2319.

The Bishop’s Garden

The Bishop’s Garden on the south side of the Cathedral was planned by Olmsted with Florence Brown Bratenahl, wife of the second Dean of the Cathedral. Inside its stone walls are two herb gardens, a rose garden, two perennial borders, a Shadow House and winding stone paths. One enters the garden by a twelfth century Norman arch. Heinz Warneke’s sculpture, The Prodigal Son, is found east of the rose garden.
Learn more at the All Hallows Guild website »

The Olmsted Woods

The five-acre Olmsted Woods is one of the few old growth forests still standing in the nation’s capital. Olmsted envisioned the Pilgrim Path through the woods as the way to approach the Cathedral.

The woods have recently been restored by All Hallows Guild, a volunteer organization which supports the care and preservation of the grounds. Pilgrim Path begins at Garfield Street.
Learn more at the All Hallows Guild website »

Learn more about All Hallows Guild, which supports the maintenance of the gardens and the Olmsted Woods and runs the Herb Cottage.

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services and organ recitals; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.