The Basilica of Saint Mary

The Basilica of Saint Mary, Alexandria

The Basilica of Saint Mary
4.5
6:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Monday
5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Sunday
6:00 AM - 6:30 PM
About
Founded in 1795, the Basilica of Saint Mary, located in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia and West Virginia, which were one state up until 1863. President George Washington made the first contribution in the late 1700s, equivalent to approximately $1,200 today. In 1810, the parish moved to its present location in the heart of the city at 310 South Royal Street. By 1826, Pastor Fr. Joseph Fairclough erected the Sanctuary and the major portion of the present-day Basilica, which was formally dedicated in 1827. Throughout the 1800s, the Basilica of Saint Mary played a crucial role in the growth of Catholicism in Virginia. Many mission churches that the Basilica of Saint Mary established have gone on to become independent parishes within the Diocese of Arlington.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Tours and Tickets

The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Old Town
Popular mentions

4.5
53 reviews
Excellent
37
Very good
12
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Esther S
Georgetown, Guyana429 contributions
Beautiful
Aug 2021
It was one of the few locations that was open. The statutes and art are beautiful. Even the back of the church has beautiful statute.
Written 21 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alberto13_13
Ponce, Puerto Rico325 contributions
Beautiful
Dec 2019 • Family
We went for Sunday mass. Beautifull stained glas all around. First Catholic church in Virginia, late 1700s. Now a Basilica.
Written 24 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

rsvpf
132 contributions
Beautiful place to worship
Apr 2019 • Family
We were able to attend a daily mass here. The church was almost full. The priest was traditional and very reverent. Would have liked to have more time to explore the statues, grounds and building. Seems to be a very vibrant and active parish community.
Written 20 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Prawet J
Washington DC, DC13,366 contributions
Another historic place and still function
Mar 2019 • Solo
The Basilica of Saint Mary is located just a couple blocks from S. Washington Street (the main through street of Alexandria and a few minutes walk to the heart of Old Town King Street area. I like it when the church is open for all prayers during the non mass time. The inside is simle but gives the feeling of calm and piece. The outside is also simple like an old small church. According to the history, it is the oldest Catholic Church in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you are in the area, it is worth stopping by. Unless you are tied with the church or have certain connection, it may be a little out of the way for just visiting a church.
Written 7 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

pinotgrigi0
Washington DC, DC210 contributions
It's All in the Details
Mar 2019 • Couples
So, what's a Basilica? It's a Catholic church. They can be big, and grand buildings that have beautiful artwork and stuff, but actually a Basilica is a church of historical significance that has made a contribution to ... society.
There are Major Basilica's and Minor Basilica's. The only Major Basilica's are those actually in Rome. There are 4. All the rest are Minor Basilica's. There are 3 things that will always be in a Basilica so you sometimes have to search them out. One is the Papal Yellow and Orange Umbrella. It's usually easiest to find. Then there is also a bell and keys. The Bell and keys are harder to find.
We enjoyed the stained glass windows, the various icons and statues, the historical design and traditional architecture. All in all a good visit.
Written 23 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

James W
Birmingham, AL931 contributions
very nice side trip
Mar 2019 • Business
This was a nice side trip for an hour or so. It is a beautiful structure and well appointed. it is also free.
Written 7 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Monica G
Alexandria, VA12 contributions
Beautiful historical place of worship
Nov 2018 • Couples
St. Mary’s Basilica is the oldest Catholic Church in Virginia/West Virginia. Very active parish with 7 masses on the weekend and 3 daily masses. If you are not a practicing Catholic, it’s still a beautiful place to visit for the incredible stained glass windows and traditional architecture.
Written 16 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karen K
Atlanta, GA56 contributions
Gorgeous historic Catholic church
Jan 2019 • Friends
This church has undergone a real facelift in the last few years and has become even more beautiful and inspiring. Father Hathaway is warm, welcoming, funny, thoughtful and kind. If you are in the area avail yourself of this neighborhood treasure.
Written 5 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Laurie B
Tiverton, RI109 contributions
Beautiful Church
Oct 2018 • Friends
Attended daily Mass while visiting Old Town Alexandria. Lovely community of faith with vibrant parish life. Three daily masses: 6:30; 8:00 and 12:10. Great neighborhood house of worship.
Written 30 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

RayGCincinnati_OH
Cincinnati, OH160 contributions
The Basilica of Saint Mary
Sep 2018 • Couples
An older church which is pretty but there's nothing on site which would make this a must see. The classic marble sanctuary is nice.
Written 21 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Basilica of Saint Mary

The Basilica of Saint Mary is open:
  • Sun - Sun 6:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Mon - Fri 5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 7:00 AM - 7:30 PM


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