Grace Cathedral

Top choice church

in Nob Hill & Russian Hill

San Francisco's Episcopal cathedral has been rebuilt three times since the gold rush and the current reinforced-concrete Gothic cathedral took 40 years to complete. Spectacular stained-glass windows include a 'Human Endeavor' series dedicated to science, depicting Albert Einstein uplifted in swirling nuclear particles. San Francisco history unfolds on murals covering the 1906 earthquake to the 1945 UN charter signing. People of all faiths wander indoor and outdoor inlaid-stone labyrinths, meant to guide restless souls through three spiritual stages: releasing, receiving and returning.

Grace's commitment to social justice is shown by the Interfaith AIDS Memorial Chapel, with a bronze altarpiece by artist-activist Keith Haring depicting his signature characters as angels taking flight – especially powerful since this was his final work before his 1990 death from AIDS. Cathedral artworks honor achievements from Protestant and Catholic faiths alike – Robert Lenz’s Mary Magdalene is a head-turning modern Greek Orthodox icon, vivid stained-glass windows honor Quaker anti-slavery efforts, and the cathedral doors are exact replicas of Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze baptistry doors in Florence. Check the website for events, including spectacular choral performances – don't miss Bach's Magnificat at Easter – plus inclusive weekly spiritual events, such as yoga, Thursday Evensong, and candlelit meditation services. On your way out, don't miss Beniamino Bufano's smiling statue of the city's patron saint.