The Most Beautiful Church in Every State (How Many Have You Visited?)

woman praying and meditating in church
Updated June 10, 2024
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Churches, beyond their religious purpose, have mesmerized us for centuries with their architectural beauty. Often the most ornate structures in a town, they showcase human devotion and creativity.

The US is filled with these architectural gems, each telling a unique story. Prepare to step up your travel game and be amazed by stunning churches, from soaring cathedrals to hidden chapels, in every state.

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Alabama: Saint Symeon Orthodox Church (Birmingham)

Dietmar/Adobe saint john the baptist church

Saint Symeon Orthodox Church is noted for its bronze dome and beautiful white exterior, but its beauty is even more evident inside.

The interior is beautifully painted and adorned with intricately cut wood, creating a historic-looking space, even though the church is somewhat newer.

Alaska: St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (Juneau)

demerzel21/Adobe saint nicholas russian orthodox church

Built in 1894, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church is a beautiful but smaller church that set the foundation of the Christian faith in the region.

It’s simplistic in its detailing, but when you consider the location and time period in which it was built, it’s quite the stunner!

Arizona: Chapel of the Holy Cross (Sedona)

RbbrDckyBK/Adobe holy cross chapel in sedona arizona

In Sedona, the natural beauty of the land and surrounding region is easily seen from the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a simplistic building from the outside positioned on top of the area’s red rocks.

This church, built as a sculpture, is so fitting to the area that it’s become a top tourist attraction.

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Arkansas: Thorncrown Chapel (Eureka Springs)

ODell Outside/Adobe autumn color at thorncrown chapel

Tucked into the forest, the Thorncrown Chapel is quite the spectacle. It has 425 windows, creating 6,000 square feet of glass to let nature in.

The wooden structure reaches 48 feet into the sky but blends in with the surrounding space, creating a sanctuary in the trees.

California: St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church (Los Angeles)

Kit Leong/Adobe st. vincent de paul roman church

The ornate detailing on the exterior façade at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church makes it incredibly stunning. Built in 1925, this structure is just as detailed inside.

Notably, in one of the wealthiest areas of the city (at the time), this church was meant to spur diversity in the community.

Colorado: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver)

Timothy/Adobe pipe organ

Founded in 1860, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception towers over the community but provides seating for about 900 people.

What makes this small space so incredible are the stained glass windows and the French Gothic architecture, which leaves no area untouched with ornate detailing.

Connecticut: St. Mary Church (New Haven)

jonbilous/Adobe entrance to st. mary's church

A community founded in 1832, St. Mary Church was rebuilt after a fire burned the original structure in 1848.

Stepping into it, it’s impossible not to look up at the wooden arches lining the ceiling. The stone façade is a testament to the hard work the people of that time put into this building.

Delaware: Trinity Episcopal Parish (Wilmington)

ggfoto/Adobe elderly couple in the church

Trinity Church, built in 1890, features the English Gothic architectural style. Its massive Austin organ, which had 700 pipes added to it in 1975, is a main draw within the space.

You’ll also be impressed with the detailed stained-glass windows throughout.

Florida: Memorial Presbyterian Church (St. Augustine)

Luis/Adobe presbyterian church st. augustine

A historic church built in 1890 by Henry Morrison Flagler, a noted industrialist of the time, Memorial Presbyterian Church was the first of its denomination in the state.

The interior is elaborate, with beautiful mosaics and arched spaces tucked away for deep prayer.

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Georgia: Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Savannah)

Oleg Kovtun/Adobe stained glass window

The cornerstone for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was placed in 1873, and the construction of this High Victorian-style gothic church inspired by French architecture was underway.

Stunning stained glass with two towering spires helps to create a visual spectacle in the center of the city.

Hawaii: Kawai'ahao Church (Oahu)

ZoneCreative/Adobe man praying in modern church

As the oldest church in Hawaii, Kawai’ahao Church is a historic treasure. A sacred spring is said to sit on the grounds.

The stone church is simplistically beautiful inside and out. They continue to use the Hawaiian language at some of its services as well.

Idaho: Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist (Boise)

No-Te/Adobe christian girl sitting and praying

The Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist is a Roman Catholic church founded in 1876 and designed by architects Tourtellot & Hummel.

The Romanesque Revival style features beautiful boulders from the local area.

Illinois: Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago)

Jbyard/Adobe holy name cathedral in chicago

Founded by Catholic immigrants to Chicago, Holy Name Cathedral is known for its stunning interior of ornate detailing, including numerous arched stained glass windows.

Recognized as one of the most stunning churches in the US, the Gothic revival church’s architecture includes a 70-foot ceiling and a 210-foot spire.

Indiana: Saint Meinrad Archabbey (Meinrad)

Postmodern Studio/Adobe man in coat in catholic church

Saint Meinrad Archabbey is a Benedictine monastery that looks like a castle tucked into the countryside.

The building, established in 1854, is home to monks today, and many come to tour the stunning design, which includes murals and sculptures throughout the building and on the church grounds.

Iowa: Basilica of St. Francis Xavier (Dyersville)

Adene Sanchez/peopleimages.com/Adobe sitting in silent prayer

A true treasure in its architectural beauty, the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier features two 212-foot tall spires that are beautifully lit at night and topped with gold-leafed crosses.

The church also features 64 burnt-colored cathedral windows, which have remarkable detailing and color, especially as the sun sets.

Kansas: Church of the Resurrection (Leawood)

Ian/Adobe crowd at worship concert

While the Church of the Resurrection seems simplistic from the outside and is one of the newer buildings on this list, it’s the incredible resurrection stained glass window inside that tells the story.

This 100-foot by 35-foot window uses 21st-century technology and fused glass methods to create the incredibly rich color and beauty of this church.

Kentucky: St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption (Covington)

worm_ flag/Adobe interior of the cathedral of st mary

A walkthrough of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption takes you on a journey through gothic architecture inspired by Notre Dame in Paris.

In the center of the front façade is a rose window, and within the building are beautiful stained glass windows.

Louisiana: Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (New Orleans)

lazyllama/Adobe cathedral basilica of saint louis

A stunning example of Southern architecture, the Cathedral Basilica of Stain Louis is an impressive symbol right on Jackson Square. It’s one of the oldest cathedrals in the country.

The architecture — from the spires to the 10 stained glass windows depicting the life of St. Louis IX, King of France — also boasts beautifully landscaped gardens and a view of the waterfront.

Maine: St. Ann’s Episcopal Church (Kennebunkport)

Faina Gurevich/Adobe st ann by-the-sea episcopal church

St. Ann’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church is a seaside treasure with its stone exterior and wooden, arched interior.

With 25 stained glass windows in the church alone and needlepoint kneelers crafted by hand, don’t miss the details in this stunning church.

Maryland: The Baltimore Basilica (Baltimore)

Sergey Novikov/Adobe baltimore basilica against blue sky

The Baltimore Basilica's white façade and stately design certainly make its presence known. Step inside to a continued white theme with arched domes and beautiful architectural details throughout.

The beautifully painted ceiling captures your attention and draws your view upward to the heavens.

Massachusetts: King’s Chapel (Boston)

pixs:sell/Adobe king's chapel on the freedom trail boston

King’s Chapel, built in 1749, is a landmark treasure that sits next to one of the country's oldest graveyards.

A beautiful white stone chapel, it represents the hopes and dreams of those who founded a new nation.

Michigan: Cathedral of St. Andrew (Grand Rapids)

encierro/Adobe female hands during prayer

There’s so much to see at the Cathedral of St. Andrews from the 10 bells that are in the north cathedral spire to the 23 stained glass windows originally installed in as early as 1912.

The three beautiful organs, numerous statues, and beautifully decorated interior (just see it during the Christmas holidays!) make this a historically stunning church.

Minnesota: Basilica of St. Mary (Minneapolis)

Waldteufel/Adobe basilica of saint mary minneapolis

An impressive building in size and architecture, the Basilica of St. Mary dates to 1914.

It features Beaux-Arts architecture, and has not only served the religious purposes of many groups, but also has become a center for the arts.

Mississippi: St. Mary’s Episcopal Chapel (Natchez)

doidam10/Adobe hands on a holy bible

Much different than the large and stunning churches on this list, St. Mary’s Episcopal Chapel is quite a historic building tucked into the Laurel Hill Plantation.

It dates back to 1838 and features an exceptional level of woodwork and a marble floor. The age window of rosettes on this church and its somewhat forlorn look makes it quite a piece of artwork itself. The spires, the iron cross, and its location in the woods are all alluring.

Missouri: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (St. Louis)

legacy1995/Adobe saint louis basilica

A historic treasure and perhaps one of the most ornate of all churches in the US, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis began construction in 1908 and features a blend of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture.

Though the church's completion took 80 years, it is filled with stunning paintings, elaborate architectural details, and hand-crafted beauty, from the stone to the woodwork and, of course, the sculptures and paintings.

Montana: St. Mary’s Mission (Stevensville)

Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe elderly person in chapel

St. Mary’s Mission is a cabin-like church surrounded by Montana's beauty. It was founded in 1841, 48 years before Montana became a state.

There’s much to love about this historic space, including the restored chapel, on-site museum, and replica of a Salish encampment, all of which tell the story of this remote destination.

Nebraska: First Plymouth Church (Lincoln)

No-Te/Adobe worship night

First Plymouth Church, built in 1930, is in the style of an early basilica but blends elements of a Greek forum into it.

This building blends in instead of standing out along the natural, open prairie of the area. Beautiful brickwork paves the way for a welcoming retreat.

Nevada: St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church (Virginia City)

Gina Kathleene/Adobe saint mary's cathedral virginia city

A historic church, St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church, stands tall against a desert backdrop.

The interior’s stunning wood, brightly colored stained glass windows, and Gothic-inspired architecture make it a fabulous place to visit.

New Hampshire: St. Anne’s Church (Hampstead)

Octavian/Adobe hand and candle in church

St. Anne’s Church has a Victorian Romanesque architectural design. Its carved wood interior and Corithian-inspired columns are marvelous.

The work tells the tale of local millworkers who helped construct the building in 1900.

New Jersey: Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Newark)

demerzel21/Adobe cathedral basilica of the sacred heart

As one of the largest cathedrals in North America, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is worthy of a trip just to see the French Gothic Revival architecture.

The cornerstone went into place in 1899. It towers over the community!

New Mexico: San Miguel Chapel (Santa Fe)

Naya Na/Adobe san miguel chapel in santa fe

Often referred to as the oldest church in the country, San Miguel Chapel is absolutely stunning from both a historical and architectural standpoint.

This adobe church was built by Franciscan friars and locals, and records indicate that the first construction began in 1859.

New York: St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York)

Belikova Oksana/Adobe st. patrick's cathedral in new york

With over 2800 stained glass windows and a rose window at the center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral dominates in architectural design (there are 21 altars here!)

Built by poor immigrant donations, the structure welcomes over 5 million visitors each year.

North Carolina: Wesley Memorial Methodist Church (High Point)

doidam10/Adobe  praising god together

Wesley Memorial Methodist Church is equally artistic as it is historic. The craftsmanship of the stained glass windows alone in the Sanctuary makes this trip worthwhile.

The stone walls and high steeple make it seem as if it dominates the area, but it was once nothing more than a one-room church built by 17 people.

North Dakota: St Mary’s Catholic Church (Hague)

David Lahoud/peopleimages.com/Adobe man praying to god

Although it may not look as ornate from the outside as other churches, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has beautiful spires and hand-painted details.

It has a German Romanesque style with towers and corbeled brick details throughout.

Ohio: Old Stone Church (Cleveland)

Daniel/Adobe old stone church in cleveland ohio

Located in Downtown Cleveland, the Old Stone Church is a historic Presbyterian church with some of the most detailed stained glass windows in the area.

Several notable landmarks are within, including a bell from 1865, the massive organ, and beautifully carved stone statues.

Oklahoma: St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral (Oklahoma City)

Kit Leong/Adobe saint joseph's old cathedral

Though it began as a wood-framed building in 1889, St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral is noted for its Gothic Revival style.

The building offers numerous historic elements, even though it was damaged in 1995 after a bomb detonated nearby. Italian marble statues and beautiful paintings brought it back to life.

Oregon: The Chapel of Mary (Portland)

yooranpark/Adobe the grotto shrine and sanctuary

The Chapel of Mary is within The Grotto, a place dedicated to peace, prayer, and the natural beauty of the world.

What makes it so special are the outdoor gardens, the numerous works of art within this quaint chapel, and the simplicity of the shrine to Mary.

Pennsylvania: Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (Philadelphia)

Leonid Andronov/Adobe cathedral basilica of saints peter and paul

Located at Logan Square and built in 1864, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is an open space with large windows.

The interior is beautiful, with marble floors, arched, painted ceilings, and fabulous woodwork.

Rhode Island: Grace Episcopal Church

Alexey Zarodov/Adobe catholic church with wedding decorations

An elaborately designed church, it was designed by Richard Upjohn, a well-known architect in the mid-1800s.

It is said to be the first asymmetrical Gothic Revival Church in the country.

South Carolina: Symmes Chapel (Cleveland)

digidreamgrafix/Adobe chapel near greenville south carolina

Symmes Chapel sits in Caesars Head State Park. It’s absolutely worth exploring thanks to the view of the 1400 acres of land it offers.

There’s nothing quite like watching the sun rise or set here. It sits at the top of Stone Mountain.

South Dakota: Chapel in the Hills (Rapid City)

ExploringandLiving/Adobe historic chapel in the hills

Chapel in the Hills is a stave church, a style of church commonly found in Norway.

This very out-of-place church has numerous beautiful features, including ornate door furnishings and locks, wood carvings of intricate details, and a tiered, peak roof.

Tennessee: Cathedral of the Incarnation (Nashville)

Pratiwi/Adobe church mass worshiping on sunday

The Cathedral of the Incarnation is a historic church that began development in 1902. It features an Italian Renaissance style from the exterior, with notable stained glass windows.

The interior is quite stunning but far more simplistic than the buildings it was mirrored after.

Texas: St. John The Baptist (Ammannsville)

tloventures/Adobe st. john the baptist german catholic church

St. John the Baptist was built in 1918 and has one of the most notable interiors: a pink, cotton-candy color with ornate embellishments.

When you visit, notice the palm fronds and the stained glass windows that pay special homage to the Czech heritage that helped build this church.

Utah: Cathedral of the Madeleine (Salt Lake City)

desertsolitaire/Adobe cathedral of the madeleine in salt lake

The construction of the Cathedral of the Madeleine began in 1900. Much of what you see outside is the same as it was when it opened its doors in 1909, though the copper roof was a later addition.

The interior, designed by notable architect John Theodore Comes, has a refined artistic feel. It has a Spanish Gothic feel and beautiful murals.

Vermont: First Universalist Parish of Derby Line (Derby Line)

Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe elderly person praying

Quaint, simplistic, and very beautiful, the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line was erected in 1840.

It has a boxed felfry and a simplistic-looking pilastered façade. It offers the Colonial feel that many expect to see in New England.

Virginia: Old St. John’s Church (West Point)

Максим Галінский/Adobe woman praying on her knees

Though this church was originally built in the late 17th century, very little of its original remains. Yet, it has been restored with the utmost attention to detail.

It’s a simple church with a beautiful exterior garden. Many historical figures in America’s history are believed to have visited the location.

Washington: Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (Seattle)

done4today/Adobe man attending church in spain

A church founded in 1889, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral is an incredible structure that’s undergone significant renovation.

Its spires, beautiful architectural detailing, and huge windows make it a peaceful retreat in a busy city.

West Virginia: Cathedral of St. Joseph (Wheeling)

peopleimages.com/Adobe man worshipping holy book

The ornate detailing and paintings at the Cathedral of St. Joseph make it a work of art.

You’ll notice the exterior looks much like the Duomo in Florence, Italy. Inside, the stained glass, intricately carved wood and stone, and towering bell towers dominate the architecture.

Wisconsin: Basilica of Saint Josaphat (Milwaukee)

Nicholas J. Klein/Adobe basilica st josaphat dome

The Basilica of Saint Josaphat was built by an immigrant Polish community at the end of the 19th century.

A Roman painter, Gonippo Raggi, hand painted the delicate frescoes on the ceiling of this beautiful space (and he had to do it again after an electrical fire damaged it).

Wyoming: Chapel of the Transfiguration (Moose)

Nick Fox/Adobe chapel of the transfiguration

Tucked into Grand Teton National Park is the Chapel of the Transfiguration. It’s small and looks much like a log cabin, but it was built in 1925 and offers a simplistic setting like no other.

The views of the mountain range are nothing short of majestic here, and they certainly help center one's identity and beliefs.

Bottom line

David L/peopleimages.com/Adobe senior woman praying with rosary

These architectural wonders transcend religion, offering a fascinating glimpse into our nation's history and the communities that built them.

So grab your best travel credit card, hit the road, and discover the rich tapestry woven into the heart of America's churches.

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