Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle

Washington, DC

The sturdy redbrick exterior doesn’t hint at the marvelous mosaics and gilding within this 1893 Catholic cathedral, where JFK was laid in state and his funeral mass was held. Its vast central dome, altars and chapels depict biblical saints and eminent New World personages – from Simón Bolívar to Elizabeth Ann Seton – in stained glass, murals and scintillating Italianate mosaics; almost no surface is left undecorated. Pick up a self-guided-tour brochure by the entrance (beneath the guest register).

Evening is the best time to visit, when flickering candles illuminate the sanctuary, but you can attend mass on Sunday morning or slip in almost any time to look around.