Religious Sites in San Francisco

Religious Sites in San Francisco, CA

Religious Sites in San Francisco

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Sights & Landmarks
Sights & Landmarks
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28 places sorted by traveller favourites
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

What travellers are saying

  • andyh67186334
    Coalville, UK6,829 contributions
    The Grace Cathedral was opposite my hotel, so I had no excuse not to visit.
    The style of architecture seemed reassuringly familiar and reminded me of Gothic cathedrals back home in England.
    A beautiful space inside full of calm and peace to escape the hustle and bustle outside. I thoroughly recommend a visit here.
    Written 21 January 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • patricia817
    La Jolla, CA25 contributions
    This is the oldest building in SF with extraordinary history, hand-made interior, has survived multiple earthquakes, and should be at the top of any tourist’s checklist. I’m embarrassed that it’s my first visit. Extremely impressive history here folks!
    Written 18 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Thomas V
    Oakland, CA16,744 contributions
    Very important church that is fundamental to the delivery of social services to those in need as well as spiritual uplift. Long the home of great leaders in the community. Wonderful place. And the church is a lovely building.
    Written 19 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LostInTime
    Pittsburgh, PA11,714 contributions
    This nice big church sits right in front of a park. It was a beautiful sunny day and it looked so nice against the blue sky. Really beautiful.
    Written 26 January 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • StephenCross
    Dublin, Ireland18,476 contributions
    The NATIONAL shrine to St.Francis of Assisi in located here in San Francisco. It’s a beautiful building and striking in pure white.
    Written 4 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • StephenCross
    Dublin, Ireland18,476 contributions
    The Old Cathedral of Saint Mary’s is on the corner of Grant and California. Red brick structure and interesting as built into the hill.
    Written 5 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • mini
    Fremont, CA1,84,572 contributions
    I was in Chinatown and went to see Tin How Temple One climbs up the stairs to the Temple. Its a active Buddhist Temple.
    Written 31 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sam
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia12,099 contributions
    We noticed we were walking on Little Russia so the Orthodox Church made sense. Not too big, It's beautiful inside
    Written 17 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • georgia h
    119 contributions
    look on the internet before your visit to understand the history of what you will see, the Zen center history has largely influenced the founding of Esalen and many cultural figures, beginners are welcome and various lengths of stay can be arranged
    Written 7 July 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • GPBurdell67
    Asheville, NC1,979 contributions
    You are unlikely to find this house of worship in your guidebook, but it is a truly unique building with a fascinating history. I've been to hundreds of churches, mosques and synagogues around the world and I've never seen one like this. From the congregation's website: "Dedicated in April 1926, the magnificent building at Lake Street and Arguello Boulevard is the third site of this congregation. Designed primarily by Arthur Brown, Jr. (designer of the War Memorial Opera House, the Hoover Library at Stanford and, with two others, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge) the building was influenced by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. From the exterior of the dome (150 feet) to the four-manual Skinner organ to the nine-foot high jewel box which is the Ark itself, the Main Sanctuary is a place of dignity, power and peace. In 1927, the American Institute of Architects selected Temple Emanu-El as the finest piece of architecture in Northern California." A note about security -- you won't just walk in because there aren't scheduled tours. We knocked on the gate and talked to a person who turned about to be the head of security. He was kind enough to allow us in and led us on a brief visit to the courtyard and sanctuary. No photos are allowed inside. Even if you don't go inside, admire the beautiful exterior architecture in this quiet neighborhood just south of the Presidio.
    Written 25 December 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Allan D
    San Jose, CA139 contributions
    Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church (2097 Turk St.) holds services at 10:10am on Sundays, followed by St. John Coltrane’s worship service at noon.
    It is only ope for mass on Sunday, but I knocked on the door and my guests from overseas were allowed in.
    The church shares the building with another church congregation.

    Despite an eviction and subsequent relocation, the African Orthodox Church of Saint John Coltrane continues to groove in the Western Addition.

    As Hoodline reported in February, the Coltrane Church faced uncertainty after being forced to leave its Fillmore space, at which it was served an eviction notice in April.

    When the church's plight made the news, welcome invitations flooded in from across the Bay Area, southern California and as far away as Baltimore. But an offer to share the space of Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church stood out, and the two churches joined forces in May.

    Founded in honor of late saxophone legend Coltrane, who serves as its modern-day patron saint, the church is unique in its call upon jazz to affirm devotion. It's brought in a new wave of worship since its founding on Divisadero Street in 1971, as well as community engagement in the form of counseling services and youth music programming.

    “We’re happy to be [at St. Cyprian's'],” says the church's pastor, Wanika Stephens. “As nice as some of the other churches were, this one made the most sense," as its location at the corner of Turk and Lyon streets allowed the congregation to remain adjacent to its former district.

    Pastor Wanika Stephens (right) plays bass in the clergy's musical homage to Saint John Coltrane.
    Stephens also noted the historical connection between the Episcopal and African Orthodox churches. St. Cyprian’s was founded in 1923 as the first black Episcopal church in the Diocese of California, with an inaugural service at Grace Cathedral. That same decade, the African Orthodox Church was founded, prompted also by issues of race. This shared sense of place within the context of African-American history heightens the connection between the two congregations.

    In 1960, St. Cyprian’s moved into its current location, and the church's vicar, Father Thomas C. Jackson, says that bringing in a diverse community of spiritual searchers is part of its mission.

    “We started off as a neighborhood church when the Western Addition was predominantly black," Jackson said. But in recent years, St. Cyprian’s has engaged the local community by forging new partnerships. “We had already welcomed the First United Lutheran Church as well as the Sophia in Trinity Roman Catholic, so when St. John Coltrane needed a place, it seemed logical.”

    In the face of gentrification, “we’re trying to be a bridge between what used to be and what is becoming so that everyone can live together," Jackson said. “St. John Coltrane transcends things like race and class and economic barriers—the music does that.”

    Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church is located at the corner of Turk and Lyon.
    Despite finding a comfortable new home, Pastor Stephens admits that relocating has had some challenges. “We used to get a lot of foot traffic,” says Stephens, but these days, Sunday services have seen dwindling numbers.

    Written 29 September 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PHLee7ca
    Ellicott City, MD1,397 contributions
    We attended a family wedding here and found it a very special, quaint and touching location given the age and historical significance of the church. Nice well kept courtyard. It was a small wedding (about 30) so very appropriate and the reception was on site as well and catered. You can Wikipedia this church to get the history. We were very fortunate that our cousin (who lives in the Bay area) chose this for her church to be married in.
    Written 25 June 2016
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Vincent M
    New Orleans, LA2,213 contributions
    I stumbled across this church on the corner of Bush and Laguna, while walking from Japantown to Nob Hill, and felt compelled to take a look. I’ve wandered about in Japan a bit and have reviewed numerous attractions in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and so on, for TripAdvisor. But I’d never actually encountered a Konko-kyo church in Japan itself. This one’s very existence here underscores how cosmopolitan a city San Francisco truly is. I do have ambivalent feelings about this church as an “attraction.” There are some churches in San Francisco which should be high on tourists’ to-do list, either due to historic importance (e.g. Mission Dolores) or stunning architecture (e.g. Grace Cathedral).

    This church doesn’t get high marks on either of those categories. The physical church is quite modern, and their entire religion is less than 200 years old. As for architectural interest, the exterior of the church is as plain as can be (see Exterior photo), its only photogenic detail being a stone monument to a former Konko bishop of California (see Bishop Memorial photo). The interior is quite minimalist, but is somewhat serene. I’m tempted to describe it as Zen-like in its simplicity of line and form, but that would be seriously barking up the wrong theological tree: Zen is a variant of Buddhism, whereas Konko-kyo is a variant of Shintoism. That means you won’t find a thousand-armed Kannon (Guan-yin) or any photogenic guardian deities in samurai armor here. No sitting, standing, or reclining Buddhas or Boddhisattvas either. If you offered an iconoclast ten thousand dollars for every graven image he smashed up, the poor sucker wouldn’t make a dime in this church. There’s not a single anthropomorphic image in the house. There are a few vases, and what appear to be bottles of sake or plum wine, on simple shelves (see Interior photo). The center area is an “altar” where Kami is “worshipped” and a second, smaller “altar” to its right is where ancestors are respected and honored (though they don’t burn spirit money in ovens a la Taoism). I will admit that all the panels and shelves are in warm blond-wood, beneath a nicely-proportioned beamed ceiling. So the space is really rather serene in a minimalist sort of way.

    There are, of course, other reasons to go to any church. I’ve seen people going to the Cathedral in Lima, the temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, and the Sultan mosque in Singapore, simply to pray, because they’re Christians or Buddhists or Muslims. And I’ve seen folks go to such places because they want to learn about other religions. So, if you already believe in Konko-kyo, and are visiting the USA from Japan, you’ll be happy to find this church right in the heart of the town. If you’re interested in learning about Konko-kyo, the folks inside are more than willing to explain their beliefs to you. Downright eager to, as a matter of fact. While they believe in Kami as a vital universal force, the minister explained to me that they don’t refer to Kami as a “god” in the USA, because that’s a loaded word to Westerners and conjures up images that are antithetical to the concept of Kami (e.g. Jehovah on Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the Sistine ceiling). Oddly enough, the Konko-kyo religion is quite willing to admit you to their congregation for purposes of heightening your spiritual life’s-journey, even though you are primarily a Scots Presbyterian, Hindu, Mormon or Sikh. As far as they’re concerned, it’s perfectly alright for you to believe that, and participate in their religion as well, as they consider the other religions to be complementary to Konko-kyo. Altogether, what these folks have to say is so intriguing culturally, that even though the physical church would be lucky to rate a “3” as an attraction based on architecture alone, I’d have to say that as an intellectual or philosophical attraction, the Konko-kyo Church of San Francisco rates a 5. So, I'm going split the difference and rate this as a 4 overall: Very Good. San Franciscans should consider themselves singularly blessed to be able to discuss Konko-kyo right here in their own backyard, without having to fly all the way to Japan to do so.
    Written 30 September 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Chahat C
    Ranchi, India106 contributions
    It claims to be one of the oldest temple in US. Temple timing is from 9-4. It's not that big and is on 3rd floor.
    Written 30 November 2015
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • rainforest1993
    San Francisco, CA1 contribution
    i started going there about 23 years ago because of master lee and master chan . they are the best inspiration and have changed my whole life . i have not see them for over 7 years because they are busy flying around teaching in asia .matter of time when we are meant to meet again . i am still feeling guilty for the meditation beads that master chan had been using for over 20 years and gave to me not even knowing him for a month that i lost . master lee is also a tai chi master and if yor are fortunate enough to catch them there . you too will understand why its the people that makes the biggest difference and not the apparence of the temple itself . yuet wah
    Written 20 June 2012
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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