10 Best Historic Churches and Temples in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to many churches whose parishes date back to over a century, plus several temples that bring historic value to the city. With architecture ranging from California-mission style to neo-Romanesque creations, many of these churches and temples are design wonders in addition to being places of worship. Some of Los Angeles' historic churches and temples also served as the beginning of certain denominations in Los Angeles and brought communities together. Plus, as this is L.A., there's even a church that was established in order to give actors and other motion-picture industry insiders, a place to worship. Today, all these churches still offer services every week.

For visitors to Los Angeles looking for art, you can also find that by visiting some of the historic religious sites of the city. The churches and temples house murals, paintings, statues and even ancient bells. The art amidst the grand designs of some of the buildings is beautiful to behold. In addition, visitors can learn about the history of each church or temple, shedding insight into how some of the first settlers of Los Angeles lived and helped shape it into the large metropolis it is today, and how the churches and temples developed over those years.

St. John's Episcopal Cathedral
Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki

Built in 1925, this church serves the parish of St. John's, which has been in formation since 1890. It also serves as the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. When the St. John's parish outgrew its original church in the early...  Read More

Angelus Temple was built in 1922 under the direction of Aimee Semple McPherson, who was the founder of the denomination, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the 20's and 30's McPherson had a huge following so the church was built...  Read More

Located in the middle of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and built by some of L.A.'s first Japanese immigrants, the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple has been serving Los Angeles since 1905. However, it wasn't until 1965 that its latest temple was...  Read More

Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles - or as it's often referred to, Plaza Church - means "our lady queen of angels" and is the oldest church in Los Angeles. It is of Roman Catholic denomination and has operated as a church since its conception....  Read More

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki

This church is Spanish Baroque style infused with California-mission architecture. It has been a historic cultural monument since 1971. The parish celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012 though it was in 1925 that the current church was built...  Read More

The Los Angeles California Temple is part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is the religion's second largest temple and its first temple to be built in California. The temple opened in 1955 after many years of planning. The...  Read More

Saint Mary of the Angels Church is dubbed "Hollywood's historic little church 'around the corner'" due to its location in old Hollywood in Los Angeles. The church was started in 1918 and moved into its current Spanish mission-style location in...  Read More

This small architectural gem is located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of east Los Angeles where it charms any passerby with its understated, but beautiful California-inspired architecture, stained glass windows and a stone base. The Church...  Read More

With stark white walls and a round intricate window greeting you above the entrance, walking into St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church feels like you're going to church in Greece. The domes are green instead of the blue domes popular in the Greek...  Read More

San Gabriel Mission

Just outside of Los Angeles in the town of San Gabriel lives the San Gabriel Mission Church, the fourth California mission to be built out of a total of 21. San Gabriel Mission was founded in 1771 and is named after Archangel Gabriel. In 1775,...  Read More


Meet Gina Douglas Tarnacki

Gina Tarnacki is a freelance writer and marketer and an avid traveler. When she's not busy finding a creative way to squeeze in a few more vacation days so she and her family can explore the...  More About Gina

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