Churches are more than just religious sites; they can also showcase some of the most gorgeous architecture in the world. Most people think of beautiful churches spread around Europe, but the United States has its fair share as well. The gorgeous churches are spread across the country, meaning that no matter where you live, there should be one nearby to visit. You can even take a cross-country road trip that will show you the most beautiful churches.
1: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
The Washington National Cathedral dates back to 1907 and since then, it has been a spiritual center and gorgeous landmark within the nation's capital. In addition to the gorgeous architecture, the grounds are also beautiful and open year-round with cultural activities as well as spiritual ones. Inside this breathtaking church you will find varying exhibits, such as photographs and those related to the church's history.
Address: 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20016
This church is the mother church for the Episcopal Diocese in New York as well as the Bishop Seat. There are over 30 services each week and the church is truly part of the community as it runs a soup kitchen serving about 25,000 meals a year. The Cathedral dates back over 120 years and is still unfinished, yet remains the largest cathedral worldwide. During a visit to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, be sure to spend some time on the gorgeous Close, the 11.3-acre grounds and buildings. This area offers a respite from the city and features theater performances and outdoor music.
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis was designed by four architects, with another designing the Chapel for the Blessed Virgin and All Saints as well as their unique mosaics, which were then created in 1912 by Tiffany Company. The balcony level stained glass windows were created by yet another designer, but the entire structure remains uniform. You can attend one of the weekly masses at the cathedral, take a tour, or visit the Mosaic Museum, which also includes historic items.
The St. Mary of the Angels parish dates back to 1899 and the first building began construction during the same year. Work on the new church lasted from 1911 to 1920 and was designed to resemble the Roman St. Peter's Basilica. Many people claim this cathedral is one of the top pieces of Roman Renaissance architecture in the country, making it well worth a visit. After being neglected for several decades, the church restoration began in 1991 and included repairs to the stained-glass windows and dome. There are now 26 fully rebuilt roof angels catching the eye of passersby.
The current Cathedral of Saint Paul is the fourth church with that name and the building was completed in 1958, at which point it was consecrated by Archbishop William O. Brady. The cathedral's exterior walls are made of Saint Cloud Granite while the interior walls are American Travertine from Mankato. The church also has seven bronze grilles around the altar and has Italian Botticino marble on the Chapels' main walls. There is also a beautiful Resurrection window facing east. The exterior of the cathedral has rounded arches and domes, straight lines, and a floor plan in a symmetric cross with the 120-foot dome of steel beams catching the eye. There is also a Cathedral Museum and the ability to go on a tour of the church.
The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France, also known as the St. Louis Cathedral, is one of the most popular landmarks in New Orleans, You can see the triple steeples from a reasonable distance and represents the heart of the historic city. There have been churches at this location since 1727 and the current one was officially completed in 1793, with significant additions and restorations made throughout the years since then. This includes a major reconstruction in 1849, which required the building to be mostly rebuilt, although the base remained the same. You can take a tour of the cathedral itself or the Old Ursuline Convent which is on site the oldest building within the Mississippi Valley.
Address: 615 Pere Antoine Alley,
New Orleans, LA 70116
This church has stained-glass windows, ornate paintings, and gorgeous designs, giving it the designation of Queen of the Painted Churches. As such, it is a popular stop along the tour of Painted Churches of Texas. This particular church is known for its beauty not only because of its architecture, but for its unique paintings as well, which require a great deal of restoration and conservation work to keep them in top shape. This means that when you go on a tour or attend services, the paintings will look as beautiful as they did years ago.
The Wayfarers Chapel takes advantage of the natural beauty of Rancho Palos Verde, working with it to create a truly gorgeous space. The chapel was designed by Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son. He created the tree chapel design, which makes the church feel as if it is a natural sanctuary in the middle of the forest. It is made using beautiful redwood beams to further connect it with nature and this has made it a very popular spot for weddings and tourists.
Address: 5755 Palos Verdes Dr S,
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
The Memorial Presbyterian Church is breathtaking with various stained glass pieces, and an intricately detailed dome with yellow-gold designs on a blue background. The church dome is perfectly framed by the local palm trees and you can either attend a service or simply visit the church while in the area.
The Cathedral of Saint Andrew is the indirect result of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, who brought the Anglican Church to the state of Hawaii. The Cathedral Close has the Cathedral in the shape of an inverted ark that began construction in 1865 and reached its current state in 1958. The elegantly simple design. You can also visit the Memorial Building and relax in the grounds, which include a plaza, sculpture, and fountain.
Address: 229 Queen Emma Square,
Honolulu, HI 96813