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Best Churches in America: Explore the Hidden Gems of the USA

As America emerges as an epicenter for art, culture, science and technology, its contemporary attractions, like all its Churches, Chapels, Cathedrals and Basilica, lure millions of visitors annually. 

From historic churches steeped in rich history in sleepy towns to grand cathedrals that wow you with their amazing architecture, visitors are in for plenty of surprises with their church tours.

The USA boasts of a diverse range of churches reflecting its socio-cultural demographic and beliefs. 

So, let’s jump in and take a look at the list of the best churches in America that you can include in your bucket list. 

Washington National Cathedral, DC 

Washington National Cathedral, DC
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

Constructed over a span of 83 years, from 1907 to 1990, the Washington National Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the United States.

Officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, it is renowned for its exquisite Gothic Revival architecture, featuring intricate stone carvings and breathtaking stained glass windows. 

Apart from being a place of worship, the Washington National Cathedral is a cultural and educational center with one of the best church choirs in America.

Apart from the gorgeous outer facade and beautiful interiors, the Cathedral features beautiful grounds, lush gardens, outdoor sculptures, and the Bishop’s Garden.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, LA

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, LA
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

The St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans is the oldest continuously active Cathedral in the United States, standing as a true symbol of faith, resilience, and architectural beauty.

The St. Louis Cathedral is an exquisite example of Spanish Colonial architecture located in the French Quarters. 

Built-in 1718, it features a distinctive white facade, elegant spires and triple steeples.

Its interior is equally elegant, with soaring ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and intricate stained glass windows.

One of the highlights of the St. Louis Cathedral is its historic organ, dating back to the early 19th  century. It still fills the sacred space with its music during the services.

Make an informed decision about exploring a city’s hidden jewels and some amazing architectural marvels steeped in fascinating history.  

Read why visit churches and who is it best for to know what your tour entails.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA
Image: Facebook.com/savannahcathedral

Built-in 1896, the cathedral’s constitution was overseen by renowned architect Francis Baldwin. 

He designed it in the stunning Gothic Revival structure that stands out as one of Savannah’s most iconic landmarks. 

The architect took inspiration from the great cathedrals of Europe, with their soaring arches, vaulted ceilings, and ornate decorations. 

Besides the gorgeous outer facade, the cathedral’s interiors are equally stunning and awe-inspiring.

The Cathedral boasts a grand nave, elegant columns and a beautiful sanctuary adorned with religious artwork and statuary.

As the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah, it holds a special place in Savannah’s history and culture. 

Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. Augustine, FL

Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. Augustine, FL
Image: Wikimedia.org

Completed in 1890, the Memorial Presbyterian Church was commissioned by a prominent industrialist and co-founder of Standard Oil, Henry Morrison Flagler. 

He built the church in Neo-Classical architecture in memory of his daughter, Jennie Louise Benedict, who tragically passed away from complications during childbirth. 

This church gives a message of faith and hope and is known for its grandeur and elegance, with a striking facade adorned with majestic columns, intricate carvings, and a soaring bell tower. 

The serene gardens and tranquil surroundings offer visitors a peaceful retreat from the bustling everyday life. 

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Missouri

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Missouri
Image: Facebook.com/cathedralstlmo

Inspired by the great Cathedrals of Europe, the construction of this Cathedral began in 1907 under the guidance of the renowned architect Thomas P. Barnett.

He gave the Cathedral a Byzantine and Romanesque architectural style. 

One of the Cathedral’s highlights is the stunning mosaics, covering over 83,000 square feet of interior space and depicting scenes from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ.

As the mother church of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, it serves as a center of worship, prayer, faith, and spiritual renewal for catholic thought. 

With its captivating outer facade and gorgeous interiors, it is a must-see for all architecture lovers. 

For spiritual souls, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is synonymous with faith and heritage in the heart of the Midwest. It is a must-visit church.

San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral, San Antonio, TX 

San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral, San Antonio, TX
Image: Tripadvisor.in

Located in the heart of Downtown San Antonio, San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral is a historic landmark standing as a testament to the city’s rich heritage. 

Founded in 1731, it is one of the oldest continuously functioning cathedrals in the United States that seamlessly blends elements of Spanish Colonial and Gothic Revival Styles. 

The Cathedral has witnessed many historical moments, such as the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, when the site acted as a makeshift fort and refuge for defenders of the Alamo. 

Beyond this, the architectural beauty of the cathedral, featuring the iconic bell tower, soaring arches, ornate altars, and stunning stained glass windows, makes it even more alluring. 

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA 

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
Image: Mjoyphoto.com

Located atop the Nob Hill in San Francisco, the Grace Cathedral is a masterpiece of French Gothic design, which was built in several phases and finally completed in 1943. 

Its exemplary architecture, featuring stained window glasses, towering spires, and intricate carvings, combined with its rich history, makes it a must-visit spot for tourists who seek tranquility. 

The highlight of the architecture and its beauty is the collection of stunning stained window glasses, which include works by artists such as Jan Henryk De Rosen, Gabriel Loire, and Mark Adams. 

Beyond the obvious beauty, the cathedral is a vibrant hub of spiritual and cultural life in San Francisco. Visitors can witness plenty of religious services, concerts, and community events. 

Trinity Church, New York City 

Trinity Church, New York City
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

Located in the heart of Lower Manhattan in New York City, the Trinity Church is an iconic landmark that stands out from the surrounding modern skyscrapers. 

Built in 1697, the Trinity Church is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival Architecture. Richard Upjohn designed it. 

One of the highlights of the Trinity Church is the brownstone exterior featuring intricate carvings, pointed arches, and soaring spires that compare antiquity with the surrounding modern buildings. 

In addition to the beautiful architecture, the Trinity Church is wrapped in incredible history, standing as a place of worship, a symbol of faith, resilience, and community in the bustling metropolis. 

Amidst the various contemporary attractions and the numerous skyscrapers, New York features some of the most stunning churches in America. 

So, read about the Best Churches in New York for a unique artistic perspective of the city.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most stunning Chapels, situated amidst Sedona, Arizona’s stunning red rock formations. 

Squatted dramatically atop a rocky outcrop, the chapel is celebrated for its innovative and bold design. 

It was built in 1956 and is one of the best churches in America due to its unique setting and architecture. 

The chapel’s modernist architecture blends with the surroundings and offers a stunning panoramic view of the entire desert landscape. 

The chapel offers a peaceful retreat amidst breathtaking views and vistas to meditate and reflect. 

St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, SC 

St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, SC
Image: Wikipedia.org

Established in 1680, St. Philip’s Church is one of the region’s oldest and most storied churches, with a history spanning centuries of socio-cultural and religious upheaval. 

The current structure is a great example of Greek Revival architecture, featuring an imposing portico, towering columns, and elegant symmetry. 

To match the stunning outer facade, the church’s interior is equally beautiful and ornate, with soaring ceilings, graceful arches, and stained glass windows. 

St. Philip’s Church in Charleston has a rich history that now acts as a place of worship, community, and cultural life, offering a glimpse of the local life. See things to do in Charleston.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

At the heart of Midtown Manhattan in New York, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece completed in 1878 and designed by the renowned architect James Renwick. 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an example of Gothic Revival architecture known for its intricate stone carvings and soaring spires that seem to touch the sky. 

The interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is cavernous, with sunlight filtering through the exquisite stained glass windows. Creating a beautiful view. 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral holds a special place in the heart of New York, known for its worship, community and cultural life. 

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, MN 

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, MN
Image: Shanelongphotography.com

As the first Basilica established in the United States, the Basilica of St. Mary Minneapolis holds a special place in the history of Catholicism in America. 

The structure is a fine gem of Beaux-Arts style that was completed in 1914 and is now cherished for its historical heritage and as a symbol of faith. 

The outer facade features a stunning blend of Classical and Gothic architectural elements, which are highlighted by the statues of Saints and Angels found within the Basilica. 

The rose window at the entrance washes the interiors with a vibrant hue, making everything more magical. 

The historical significance of the Basilica, combined with its exemplary architecture, makes it one of the must-visit churches in America. 

Given that churches are not just architectural marvels, these are places of worship; people need to dress accordingly. Read what to wear to a church to know the do’s and don’ts. 

Besides this, if you have not visited a church before, read about what to expect to know exactly what you will get from your visit.

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, AZ 

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, AZ
Image: Wikipedia.org

Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Mission San Xavier is a historic Spanish Catholic mission renowned for its stunning architecture and rich cultural significance. 

Founded in 1692 by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino, the architecture blends Baroque and Moorish influences, reflecting the enduring legacy of Spanish Colonialism in the American Southwest. 

The intricate carvings, colorful frescoes, and ornate details adorning its facade against the backdrop of the Arizona desert owe the mission its nickname, “White Dove of the Desert.” 

Beyond the architectural beauty and the artistic significance, the mission holds deep cultural and spiritual importance for the Tohono O’odham people. 

Trinity Church, Boston, MA 

Trinity Church, Boston, MA
Image: Wikipedia.org

Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1877, Trinity Church is one of the finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. 

The highlight of the exterior facade is its distinctive red sandstone with intricate carvings, an important bell tower, dramatic arches, and rounded windows. 

The interior is equally stunning, with a spacious nave adorned with colorful murals, intricate woodwork, and stunning stained glass windows. 

Besides the architectural beauty that allures visitors from around the globe, the Trinity Church is the center of religious, cultural, and civic life in Boston

Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, WI

Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, WI
Image: Wikipedia.org

Designed to mimic the grandeur of 19th-century European churches, the Basilica of St. Josaphat is renowned for its stunning blend of Romanesque and Baroque architectural styles.

This architectural gem is a cherished symbol of faith and heritage in the city’s heart, which holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for the Milwaukee community. 

The exterior facade features soaring arches that seemingly touch the sky with intricate brickwork and majestic domes. 

The interior features exquisite marble altars, delicate wood carvings, and stunning stained glass windows to create an atmosphere of reverence and awe. 

Cathedral of Blessed Sacramento, Sacramento, CA

Cathedral of Blessed Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Image: Tripadvisor.com

Standing as a beacon of faith, the Cathedral of Blessed Sacramento serves as the mother church of the Diocese of Sacramento and holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. 

Architecturally, visitors will witness something different from most churches as it is a fine example of mid-20th-century Ecclesiastical design with a blend of Gothic and Art Deco influences. 

The contrasting features of the various styles and use of several elements, such as intricate carvings, majestic stained glass windows and a grand rose window, create a striking silhouette against the city skyline. 

Hosting various religious services, concerts, and cultural events, the Cathedral of Blessed Sacramento provides a journey of faith for those who enter its hallowed halls. 

Cathedral of St. Helena, Montana

Cathedral of St. Helena, Montana
Image: Wikipedia.org

Built between 1908 and 1924, the Cathedral of St. Helena is a majestic example of Gothic Revival architecture serving as a spiritual oasis and cultural landmark in Big Sky County. 

The exterior of the Cathedral emphasizes its grandeur with its soaring spires, intricate stonework, graceful arches and towering buttresses. 

The interior, bathed in the soft glow of sunlight through the stained glass windows, features exquisite marble altars, wood carvings and plenty of sculptures.

Visiting the Helena Cathedral is a journey of spiritual awakening, quiet contemplation, and a rediscovery of faith in a sacred atmosphere at a historical cathedral. Get Directions.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Pennsylvania

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Pennsylvania
Image: Wikipedia.org

Located in the small community of Bryn Athyn, the Cathedral was completed between 1908 and 1928 in a Gothic and Romanesque architectural style. 

It strikes the right balance of rich history with natural beauty, captivating visitors with its striking architecture and serene ambiance.

The main building of the Cathedral is of the Early Gothic style, while the adjacent structures are of a transitional period reflective of both Gothic and Norman styles. 

The Bryn Athyn Cathedral is located on a hill, providing unrestricted and picturesque views of Pennsylvania. 

Scottish Rite Cathedral, Indianapolis, IN 

Scottish Rite Cathedral, Indianapolis, IN
Image: Wikipedia.org

Built between 1927 and 1929, the Scottish Rite Cathedral is located in Downtown Indianapolis. 

It is one of the largest Masonic buildings in the world, thus a must-visit cathedral for people who follow Freemasonry and its ideologies. 

The Scottish Rite Cathedral features the typical elements of the Gothic style that make it stand out and still remain elegant, signifying the spiritual and religious essence of the place. 

Attending a service or any community event here is a great way to delve into the cathedral’s history, symbolism, and Freemasonry ethos.

Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe 

Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary
Image: Maryqueenoftheuniverse.org

With a fascinating origin, the Basilica of the Nation Shrine of Mary, Queen of Universe, is unlike any other Basilica with its Modernist architecture and minimalist elements in the outer facade. 

The use of white throughout the outer face also gives the attraction a soothing and tranquil ambiance, evoking spiritualism. 

The Church is based on the floor plan of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and also features 14 aisle windows called “The Magnificent Windows.” 

If you are in Florida, then you must visit the best churches in Orlando to explore some of the lesser-known architectural gems and places of faith and worship.

FAQs 

What is the most famous church in the USA? 

One of the most popular churches in the USA is the Washington National Cathedral located in DC. 

Apart from this, the Trinity Church in New York and the Chapel of Holy Cross in Arizona are popular among travelers for their exquisite architecture. 

What is the biggest church in America? 

The biggest church in America is the Lakewood Church located in Houston, Texas. It has 16,800 seats and receives 45,000 attendees weekly.

Apart from this, there are a couple of other big churches in Texas, such as the Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas and St Ann’s in Coppell, Texas. 

Besides Texas, there is also the St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, with over 50,000 members. 

What is the richest church in America? 

The Trinity Church, located in the heart of Lower Manhattan in New York City, is the richest church in America. 

It is said that the Trinity Church has an investment portfolio of over $6 billion as of 2019. 

However, many say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the richest in America, with over $100 billion.

Featured image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

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