Built in 1855, the soaring twin spires of the basilica pierce the sky and are visible all the way from Signal Hill. Its design marks the revival of classical architecture in North America. Inside, 65 stained-glass windows illuminate the remarkable polychromatic Italianate ceiling and its gold-leaf highlights.
The honor of being named a 'basilica' was bestowed on the church by Pope Pius XII on its centennial anniversary. Free half-hour tours are offered from 10am Monday to Saturday in July and August, according to demand. The convent behind the church holds the 'Veiled Virgin,' a one-of-a-kind marble statue that spiritual types come to view. Ring the buzzer for entry.