San Francisco is a cool, elegant and hypnotizing consolidated city-county in California composed of large streets providing stunning views of one of the world’s greatest bays. Take flight to San Francisco from Hong Kong and enjoy the attractions it has to offer but the tour is not complete if you skip these 10 most beautiful churches in San Francisco.
Grace Cathedral is the third largest cathedral in the US shining on the Nob Hill. It is simply stunning with a spectacular organ, grand archways, and stained-glass windows. The aura of old-world is gifted to Grace Cathedral by its Gothic revival architecture style. You will love the walk around indoor and outdoor labyrinths which depicts the history of the site together with the mosaic murals and art installations. Visitors are not allowed at the time of their regular services unless you visit before or after. Yoga lovers are invited weekly on Tuesday evenings for a donation-based class.
Holy Virgin Cathedral.
“Joy of All Who Sorrow” , which is also known as the Holy Virgin Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox Cathedral that stood in the Richmond district of San Francisco. It can be introduced as the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral outside of Russia. Its building is a design of Oleg N. Ivanitsky. Cathedral’s five sharp onion domes are enveloped in 24-karat gold leaf. Similarly, its interior shines with rich mosaics and statues of gilt paintings and religious scenes.
Saints Peter and Paul Church
Saints Peter and Paul Church is honored by the name “Italian Cathedral of the West”, standing on the Washington Square of North Beach. This church has appeared in a few movies, Dirty Harry, Deadpool and Sister Act 2. Perhaps you recognize the steps of this church from the wedding photos of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. Although the original cathedral was destroyed in 1906 by an earthquake and fire, the current church stands over the city firmly with 191 feet high twin spires since 1924. The bright interior of the church draws inspirations from Italian Gothic style and features the magnificent ecclesiastical artwork.
Mission Dolores is the oldest standing building in San Francisco. It is rather a museum than a historic church, yet it is an active museum beneath the exhibits of Native American history. The mission is located next to basilica with bell towers. Visitors are impressed by the simple mission architecture of the building. You’ll love the small cemetery behind the mission amongst bustling neighborhood.
Dominic’s Catholic Church.
St. Dominic’s Catholic Church is another gorgeous church in San Francisco with a mega-building in lower Pacific Heights. You’ll feel the holy atmosphere by the moment you walk in through the door. The impressive Gothic revival architecture and the shrine of St. Jude draw here thousands of visitors annually. This is the fourth parish located in this church completed in 1928. You’ll realize that there’s a lot of prized statues and artworks inside St. Dominic’s church. It remains alive through life changing talks and beautiful music. I recommend you to attend here mostly on holy days of obligation to hear the talented chamber choir and pipe organ.
St. Patrick Church is another massive Roman Catholic Church in the heart of San Francisco founded in 1851. You’ll find it as the best place to spend time with Jesus having reflecting prayers. It is unique due to its historic brick buildings with very well done masses amongst modern buildings. Inside is absolutely beautiful with very high ceilings, stained glass windows and statues of saints. The tranquil interior awards you a divine moment of silence and respite. A must visit place, even if you’re a non-Catholic.
Saint Ignatius Church.
One of the largest churches in the city which was built in 1914 as a part of the University of San Francisco. The present church is the fifth parish of Saint Ignatius church. Inside is incredibly decorated with a mixture of Italian and Baroque elements architecture on a floor plan based on ancient Roman Basilica. This becomes a prominent landmark in San Francisco by its twin spires and dome. Four alcoves inside the church have been converted into an art gallery called Manresa Gallery participated by a number of Bay Area artists.
Old St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Old St. Mary’s Cathedral is one of most beautiful cathedrals in the city which exhibits Gothic Revival architecture style. You can witness the photographs of its survival from the earthquake and fire. One will hardly miss this church as it is located in the heart of Chinatown. It is best to visit here on Tuesdays afternoon to watch the lively classical music performances. This church with a lot of history and a tranquil atmosphere makes one feel that the world is away and only God matters.
National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.
The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi is the real heart of San Francisco. Although the complete site is solemn and quite its warmer interior is breath-taking with stained-glass windows, rich woods, holy relics of Saint Francis and beautiful Gothic architecture. Although it is no longer a parish this is the best place to talk to God. Moreover, this is connected with a school. Thus, walking around the church will also be educational.
Log on Notre-Dame-Des-Victoires Church to make a wish under respite while visiting around the bustling San Francisco. This Roman Catholic Church was built originally to serve French Immigrants. As this is a French National Church there is a separate center for French community of San Francisco inside. The two staircases at the entrance extending either side give a positive impression for visitors but the architecture is a model of Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere in Lyon.