May 04, 2019

The Stunning Architecture of San Antonio's Most Historic Churches

Whether you're super religious or can just appreciate some fine architecture, here's a look at some of the Alamo City's oldest and most beautiful churches.
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Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower
1715 N Zarzamora St, littleflowerbasilica.org
In a Beaux-Arts architecture style, the basilica evokes an emotional reaction even from San Antonians who may not be religious. The church was dedicated in 1931 as a shrine to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.” This beautiful Roman Catholic church is one of less than 100 churches in the U.S. designated as a “minor basilica.” Due to its spiritual significance and undeniable beauty, the basilica was also named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo via Instagram / skylinedronetx
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower
1715 N Zarzamora St, littleflowerbasilica.org
In a Beaux-Arts architecture style, the basilica evokes an emotional reaction even from San Antonians who may not be religious. The church was dedicated in 1931 as a shrine to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.” This beautiful Roman Catholic church is one of less than 100 churches in the U.S. designated as a “minor basilica.” Due to its spiritual significance and undeniable beauty, the basilica was also named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo via Instagram / skylinedronetx
St. Mary's Catholic Church
202 N St Mary's St, stmaryschurchsa.org
Founded in 1852, St. Mary’s in downtown San Antonio is the second oldest parish and one of the beautiful churches in the Alamo City. The church first served non-Spanish speaking Catholic residents at the time, but also grew to accompany a boy’s school adjacent to the church. This school later evolved, moved and became Central Catholic High School. There was also St. Mary’s Academy, which inspired the founding of St. Mary’s University.
Photo via Instagram / sniperv
St. Mary's Catholic Church
202 N St Mary's St, stmaryschurchsa.org
Founded in 1852, St. Mary’s in downtown San Antonio is the second oldest parish and one of the beautiful churches in the Alamo City. The church first served non-Spanish speaking Catholic residents at the time, but also grew to accompany a boy’s school adjacent to the church. This school later evolved, moved and became Central Catholic High School. There was also St. Mary’s Academy, which inspired the founding of St. Mary’s University.
Photo via Instagram / sniperv
First Presbyterian Church
404 N Alamo St, fpcsanantonio.org
Just a decade after all the drama went down at the Alamo, a Pennsylvania native by the name of John McCullough established the First Presbyterian Church. The church held many homes in its early years before eventually settling at the corner of Alamo and Fourth Street. Today, the church is active in the community and works with local organizations to help community members in need such as the homeless, poor and residents with special needs.
Photo via Instagram / fpcsanantonio
First Presbyterian Church
404 N Alamo St, fpcsanantonio.org
Just a decade after all the drama went down at the Alamo, a Pennsylvania native by the name of John McCullough established the First Presbyterian Church. The church held many homes in its early years before eventually settling at the corner of Alamo and Fourth Street. Today, the church is active in the community and works with local organizations to help community members in need such as the homeless, poor and residents with special needs.
Photo via Instagram / fpcsanantonio
Mission San Jose
701 E Pyron Ave, missionsanjosechurch.org
As Texas’ largest colonial mission, Mission San Jose definitely stands out. The carved limestone facade and the Rose Window are special points of interest, though every detail at this mission is unbelievably stunning. The Rose Window was sculpted in 1775 and is regarded as one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in the entire continent. Even more amazing is that nobody knows who completed it (though there’s plenty of theories). The church served as a model for other missions, though its unique architecture has contributed to its lasting legacy as the “Queen of the Missions.”
Photo via Instagram / azillachaser
Mission San Jose
701 E Pyron Ave, missionsanjosechurch.org
As Texas’ largest colonial mission, Mission San Jose definitely stands out. The carved limestone facade and the Rose Window are special points of interest, though every detail at this mission is unbelievably stunning. The Rose Window was sculpted in 1775 and is regarded as one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in the entire continent. Even more amazing is that nobody knows who completed it (though there’s plenty of theories). The church served as a model for other missions, though its unique architecture has contributed to its lasting legacy as the “Queen of the Missions.”
Photo via Instagram / azillachaser
Trinity Baptist Church
319 E Mulberry Ave, trinitybaptist.org
Slide through the breezy foyer to the sanctuary, where the brightly-colored carpet leads up to a stunning altar that’s complete with risers for the choir. Then, there’s a stunning stained glass display that’s simple, but still so beautiful. If you can, take a tour of the Children’s Center that has a tree surrounded by artwork of animals.
Photo via Instagram / imaynotbefromla
Trinity Baptist Church
319 E Mulberry Ave, trinitybaptist.org
Slide through the breezy foyer to the sanctuary, where the brightly-colored carpet leads up to a stunning altar that’s complete with risers for the choir. Then, there’s a stunning stained glass display that’s simple, but still so beautiful. If you can, take a tour of the Children’s Center that has a tree surrounded by artwork of animals.
Photo via Instagram / imaynotbefromla
Christ Episcopal Church
510 Belknap Pl, cecsa.org
Found in the charming Monte Vista neighborhood is Christ Episcopal Church, regarded as peaceful as it is beautiful. It was founded in 1907, so the church as welcomed plenty of visitors since its founding.
Photo via Instagram / joannaraeb
Christ Episcopal Church
510 Belknap Pl, cecsa.org
Found in the charming Monte Vista neighborhood is Christ Episcopal Church, regarded as peaceful as it is beautiful. It was founded in 1907, so the church as welcomed plenty of visitors since its founding.
Photo via Instagram / joannaraeb
Mission San Juan Capistrano
9101 Graf Road, worldheritagesa.com
Founded in 1731 by Spanish Catholics, Mission San Juan Capistrano sits on the San Antonio River, making it an altogether dazzling space – though its history is plagued with the fact that missionaries were meant to colonize indigenous folks in the area. It is reported that some of the parishioners there today are descendants of the original inhabitants. Otherwise, be sure to check out the Yanaguana Trail here, a paved walkway with surrounding trees and vegetation. The compound also includes a three-bell campanario, walls, foundations of the original living quarters, a granary building, a convento, a well and a residence. There’s even a small museum, so there’s much to appreciate here.
Photo via Instagram / paulanrandyporter
Mission San Juan Capistrano
9101 Graf Road, worldheritagesa.com
Founded in 1731 by Spanish Catholics, Mission San Juan Capistrano sits on the San Antonio River, making it an altogether dazzling space – though its history is plagued with the fact that missionaries were meant to colonize indigenous folks in the area. It is reported that some of the parishioners there today are descendants of the original inhabitants. Otherwise, be sure to check out the Yanaguana Trail here, a paved walkway with surrounding trees and vegetation. The compound also includes a three-bell campanario, walls, foundations of the original living quarters, a granary building, a convento, a well and a residence. There’s even a small museum, so there’s much to appreciate here.
Photo via Instagram / paulanrandyporter
Immaculate Heart-Mary Church
617 S Santa Rosa Ave, ihmsatx.org
With permission from Rome, Immaculate Heart-Mary Church opened its doors to its congregation in 1912. Built in the byzantine Romanesque style, the church is rich in religious traditions as well as Hispanic culture, art and details. The aesthetic is truly mesmerizing here, just look at the hand-painted stencil motifs on the walls, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and religious statues as proof. The church also holds a bit of history as the bell here is the one that was formerly at San Fernando. That’s the same bell that was rung to announce the fall of the Alamo.
Photo via Instagram / fr._paul
Immaculate Heart-Mary Church
617 S Santa Rosa Ave, ihmsatx.org
With permission from Rome, Immaculate Heart-Mary Church opened its doors to its congregation in 1912. Built in the byzantine Romanesque style, the church is rich in religious traditions as well as Hispanic culture, art and details. The aesthetic is truly mesmerizing here, just look at the hand-painted stencil motifs on the walls, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and religious statues as proof. The church also holds a bit of history as the bell here is the one that was formerly at San Fernando. That’s the same bell that was rung to announce the fall of the Alamo.
Photo via Instagram / fr._paul
San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
Sitting in the heart of the city, San Fernando is easily one of the most visible churches in San Antonio. This Roman Catholic church is known for its iconic Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture, an iconic landmark since 1731. A group of 15 families from the Canary Islands founded the church, which is the oldest continuously-functioning religious community in Texas. It’s also the first church to be founded in the city, meaning it’s packed with history and heart.
Photo via Instagram / champagnechynna
San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
Sitting in the heart of the city, San Fernando is easily one of the most visible churches in San Antonio. This Roman Catholic church is known for its iconic Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture, an iconic landmark since 1731. A group of 15 families from the Canary Islands founded the church, which is the oldest continuously-functioning religious community in Texas. It’s also the first church to be founded in the city, meaning it’s packed with history and heart.
Photo via Instagram / champagnechynna
Little Church of La Villita
508 Villita St, lavillitasanantonio.com
Though it serves as more of a venue than a functioning church, the Little Church at La Villita is not one to be skipped. Open to all beliefs and backgrounds, this historic indoor chapel makes for a traditional, yet progressive spot to tie the knot. Non-denominational services have been held, as well as a food pantry to benefit the needy.
Photo via Instagram / ljher
Little Church of La Villita
508 Villita St, lavillitasanantonio.com
Though it serves as more of a venue than a functioning church, the Little Church at La Villita is not one to be skipped. Open to all beliefs and backgrounds, this historic indoor chapel makes for a traditional, yet progressive spot to tie the knot. Non-denominational services have been held, as well as a food pantry to benefit the needy.
Photo via Instagram / ljher