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Old Cathedral of St. Mary

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Address: 660 California St, Chinatown, San Francisco, CA 94108-2501
Phone Number: 415 986 4388
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

This downtown San Francisco landmark was the first Catholic church in...

This downtown San Francisco landmark was the first Catholic church in California.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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The Old Cathedral

This old red brick cathedral with clock tower is located on California Street with a cable car stop right in front. Inside the cathedral, there are white marble pillars and an... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
Zurich, Switzerland
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40 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 29: English reviews
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
1,118 reviews
480 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 557 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This old red brick cathedral with clock tower is located on California Street with a cable car stop right in front. Inside the cathedral, there are white marble pillars and an arched ceiling with soft tones near the top. Stained glass windows and sculptures run along the sides of the wall. There are wooden benches inside for seating for the... More 

Thank FormerCaliBoy
Level Contributor
851 reviews
339 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 260 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2016 via mobile

So this is an impressive, historic church right near Chinatown so one can't miss it. Its a brick church and it is quite big with a shop which is assessable by the Main Street right behind It's still a functioning church so they have mass on Sunday mornings.  Inside, the interior is white and so it has a light feel.... More 

Thank youke_worldwide
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
1,393 reviews
694 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,597 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2016

This "old cathedral" in Chinatown is actually a parish church that serves Chinatown and Nob Hill. Though built as the first cathedral in California, the building only served in that capacity from 1854 to 1891 when a needed larger structure went up elsewhere. When we entered the California Registered Historical Landmark recently, a mass was in progress so we couldn't... More 

Thank Rumples
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
525 reviews
265 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2015

Goodness knows how this old pile of bricks has withstood all the rattlers under the ground here. 1906 and 1989 left the old girl standing resolute. Beautiful interior, great gift shop nextdoor.

Thank William M
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2015 via mobile

The entire building is beautiful including the windows and the overall architecture. The most special part is the altar with the many shadow box type depictions of the Blessed Virgin.

Thank TommyORD
Level Contributor
45 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015

This church is walking distance from China Town, the financial district. there are lots of great old pictures of pre and post earthquakes. the church itself is beautiful and worth a walk through, even if you don't go to a service.

Thank mrsbudboden
Stockton, California
Level Contributor
35 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2015

While in San Fransico, we attended mass at St. Mary's. The priest started the mass welcoming all visitors.. I was amazed at the beauty of the church. There is even appear organ. Stop by and see the store right next store... Have some neat things

Thank Kathy P
Lafayette, California
Level Contributor
467 reviews
192 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2015

If you find yourself in the area of Chinatown, don't miss a stop at Old St Mary's. The Cathedral was completed in 1854 using granite from China, bricks from New England (salvaged from the ballast of ships scuttled during the gold rush), and wood from N. CA. Notice the bible verse under the clock - it was meant as a... More 

Thank LightFighter
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
407 reviews
292 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2015

Free entry! Kind of neat to see this old Cathedral built in 1854 as California's first cathedral. It survived the 1906 great earthquake and fire, though had to be partially rebuilt. There's cool pictures of what it looked like after the fire inside the church.

Thank ClintPage
Abingdon, Maryland
Level Contributor
610 reviews
403 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2015

This cathedral was built in 1854. It survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. I believe it was the first cathedral built in California. There is beautiful art work inside. We were lucky enough to be there for a mass. The music was absolutely wonderful. It is easy to find this church as it is on the corner of Grant and... More 

Thank Sharon M

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Staying in Chinatown

Neighborhood Profile
As the oldest in North America, San Francisco's Chinatown is an exotic experience. A unique neighborhood decorated with colorful shops, historic streetlights, hanging lanterns, and pagoda roofs awaits behind the stone-carved dragon gates. Feast on dim sum at the tea houses, or meet the locals who gather at historic Portsmouth Square to play chess or practice Tai Chi. Fish markets, produce stands, tourist shops, jewelry stores, fortune tellers, temples and restaurants come together to create a world unto itself in this historic neighborhood.
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