We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Meditate Here” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Cathedral of Christ the Light

The Cathedral of Christ the Light
2121 Harrison St., Oakland, CA 94612
+1 510-832-5057
Improve this listing
Ranked #6 of 100 things to do in Oakland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Anchored by the world's newest Catholic cathedral - The Cathedral of Christ the Light - the entire Cathedral Center is a beautiful and welcoming gathering place to experience liturgy, arts and cultural events reflecting the diversity of Oakland and the Bay Area.
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Meditate Here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

I love to go on a run around the lake and when I am finished I go into the cathedral and meditate. Such a great space. I'm not catholic or anything but I can definitely appreciate the beauty of this mega church. Great Acoustics!

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Patrick P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

95 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More
san francisco
Level Contributor
54 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“I am not religious, but I love this cathedral”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

It has terrible acoustics, so is not good for a concert, but the feeling of the place is wonderful. When my friend had cancer our family lit our candles there, and prayed, and she is now cancer-free! So it works even for the non-religious. My husband and father-in-law went for the Spanish Christmas mass, (no unfortunately, we aren't spanish-speaking), but my FIL decided last minute that he wanted to go to Christmas Mass. They both came home glowing. So I think of this place as sanctuary for all.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank mskih
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
81 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Nt all that great looking, and took land off the tax rolls”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

Great location right on Lake Merritt but it doesn't use the location at all. Is certainly lighter than if it had been a concrete monstrousity without the extensive windows, but really nothing special. Worst of all it now takes land off the tax rolls and Oakland needs the tax money far more than it needs another church dispensing fairy tales

Visited December 2012
Thank bigsteve666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Modern Cathedral for the New Century”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2012

While on a short trip to San Francisco we made a point to travel over to Oakland to see this newly opened cathedral designed by the well-known New York firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. And, I was most glad we did. Situated on the northwest shore of Lake Merritt it definitely makes a bold statement.

The architecture is a radical shift from cathedrals of old as seen throughout Europe and the rest of the world both in it's exterior design as well as interior functions. In fact, I was struck by how very non-traditional everything about the layout was for a Catholic church, for example having the choir in a semi-circle at the front end behind the alter. Except for a few hints it could easily be a church of any denomination. And yet, looking closer and reading more about the architect's vision, you learn that it is filled with design elements that are religious-based and steeped in symbols of the church from ancient times.

The design is a very clean, modern look that is dominated by the theme of light. The projected window of Christ taken from a 12th century image found in the Chartres Cathedral is especially effective as is the interplay of the louvers and roof elements. The mausoleum downstairs is beautifully done and definitely worth a visit as well.

The cathedral is part of a large complex of buildings including an underground parking structure, plaza, gift shop, outdoor fountain, and rectory. Cross over to the lake to get nice overview pictures but unfortunately there is a very ugly building behind it that ruins much of the drama of the building so choose your camera views carefully.

There is a daily tour at 1:00pm on Mondays-Fridays. In addition, there is an advertised short organ concert on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. Unfortunately, although we were told the organ would be played the day we were there, we waited in vain and finally told apparently they had changed the schedule which was a shame.

This is a definite visit for the architecture fan, especially those interested in religious spaces. Much of the design is quite successful and innovative and you will definitely enjoy your visit.

Visited June 2012
1 Thank RoadTravelled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
40 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A Cathedral for the 21st Century”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

No, this cathedral cannot compare to Notre Dame, Chartres, Rheims.
It was designed for the new century, as was the new one in Los Angeles.
When we walked inside the first time, the gigantic image of Christ took our breath away. You should arrive at 1 PM for the free guided tour. All of our out of town guests come away impressed; some ask to return. Wife and I plan to be interred in the crypt below . Hopefully, not soon !

Visited June 2012
Thank CarpenterBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Cathedral of Christ the Light also viewed


Been to The Cathedral of Christ the Light? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing