National Japanese American Memorial

One of Washington's least known monuments is the National Japanese American Memorial near Union Station. It includes a water feature in zen garden style and a magnificent monument to all those who struggle against injustice, in the form of two cranes trying to free themselves from barbed wire (photo from

Closest Metro is Union Station (Red line). The memorial itself is at D Street & New Jersey Avenue, NW, 
Washington, DC 20001. 

 Crane photo from

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St. Thomas Parish (Episcopal) labyrinth

[UPDATE BELOW] The outdoor labyrinth in the St. Thomas Parish (Episcopal) garden is barely visible from the street at 18th and Church NW, because it's elevated. (Thevideo below shows you how to find it.) It's a surprisingly peaceful place, given the vast amount of foot and car traffic passing by. The entrance is on 18th Street. 

This is the only labyrinth in Washington, DC, that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Enjoy it while you can. The parish hopes to build a new sanctuary to replace the one that was destroyed by arson in 1970, an act of violence to which the congregation responded by building the peaceful garden that today houses the labyrinth and a fragment of the original sanctuary. 

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Georgetown Waterfront Park labyrinth

There's a labyrinth in Georgetown? Overlooking the river? With fabulous views? Yes! Yes! Yes! Few people seem to know that the section of Georgetown Waterfront Park at the foot of 33rd Street has a beautiful labyrinth, funded in part by the TKF Foundation. This labyrinth is open sunrise to sunset. Its wide paths invite strollers, wheelchairs, and walkers (as well as skateboards and bicycles).

Some have called the spirit of this labyrinth exuberant, in contrast to the meditative mood of most other labyrinths. 


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Pentagon Memorial

One of the Washington area's newest memorials honors those killed on 9/11/2001 at the Pentagon. Visiting the Pentagon Memorial is a good opportunity to consider how history and design, sound and light, all contribute to the making of sacred space.  In its attention to geometry, it feels very much like a labyrinth as it carries through a theme of order emerging from violence and chaos. 

This video will give you a taste of what it's like. You can visit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's an easy walk from the Pentagon Metro station, or you can park at the Pentagon City or Pentagon Row shopping area or, in the evenings, at the Hayes Street lot. As the video shows, sunset is a particularly impressive moment, but I've also enjoyed visiting at night, when the pools under the benches are lighted. 

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Washington National Cathedral

While the cathedral does not have an outdoor labyrinth, its Cathedral Crossroads labyrinth program on the last Tuesday evening of each month is always well attended. Two 11-circuit Chartres-style labyrinths are available for walking in the transept to the accompaniment of harp and Native American flute, while a smaller labyrinth is often laid out in the Joseph of Arimathea chapel downstairs for silent walking. These evenings also include Centering Prayer (a Christian form of meditation) and a program that highlights some variety of spiritual experience. The meditation garden walks in the summer are particularly refreshing. 

The cathedral itself, of course, is worth visiting, but best during the day when light streams through the stained glass windows and you can take the elevator to the tower gallery for some of the best views in Washington. Finding a silent spot for private prayer or reflection can be tough, though, with the tour groups wandering about. The quietest place is the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage on the crypt level, and if it's not open, then try the tiny Good Shepherd chapel. 

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