Beginning of main content

Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo

Admire ecclesiastical relics on display in the heritage center to learn about this cathedral, which is California’s oldest stone building.

The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo is a charming spiritual home dating back to 1794. As the oldest continually operating parish in California, it is considered among the state’s most important historic structures. Admire the Spanish-colonial style of the building, which plays an important role in the Latino community.

The elegant off-white façade, with its brown wooden portal and bell tower, blends Spanish-colonial styles with Moorish features. Gaze up at the carving of Our Lady of Guadalupe that decorates the niche. It is said to be the oldest non-indigenous sculpture in California.

Enter the intriguing church to see its ornate interior. Listen to Masses and sermons recited in English and Spanish to serve the city’s Catholic community. The nave has an airy feel, with light permeating through its many windows and illuminating oil paintings of the Stations of the Cross.

The parish offices inside the building contain the Heritage Center Museum, which has highlights including artistic portrayals of the church. Look for remnants of the Vizcaíno-Serra oak tree that stood in the area when Monterey was founded in the early 1600s. Take a guided tour and speak with docents to find out about the museum, the church and its grounds.

Surrounding the chapel is a garden containing a serene path that leads to the complex’s San Carlos School and the Rectory of San Carlos Cathedral. Follow the trail to the San Carlos Cemetery to see its range of headstones and sculptures in the midst of giant oak trees.

Note that Masses take place daily, including on weekends. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The church, which accepts donations, is also known by locals as the Royal Presidio Chapel.

The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo is in the central part of Monterey. Ride a bus to a nearby stop or walk from other attractions in the downtown area. The street outside the church has many parking spaces. Visit nearby landmarks, such as the Dennis the Menace Park, Lake El Estero and Jacks Park.

Guide to Exploring around Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo

Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Lodging Near Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo

See all 318 Hotels near Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo
Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

700 Munras Ave, Monterey
of 5, from 1,914 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

This downtown Monterey property is a half-mile from Monterey State Beach and within a mile of Monterey Fisherman's Wharf.

Stargazer Inn and Suites

Stargazer Inn and Suites

1046 Munras Ave, Monterey
of 5, from 1,218 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

This Monterey motel is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Fisherman's Wharf, 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Cannery Row, and 2.3 miles (3.7 kilometers) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Del Monte Shopping Center is 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) away.

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey
of 5, from 4,809 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

After undergoing a $60 million renovation, this 550-room hotel and conference center is situated on 22 acres next to the 18-hole championship Pebble Beach Resort's Del Monte Golf Course, 6 blocks from the beach and 1 mile from downtown Monterey.

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
of 5, from 3,138 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Just 200 yards from Fisherman's Wharf, this resort borders Custom House Plaza, with the beach and sparkling bay just beyond; Cannery Row and the aquarium are a short walk away.

The Monterey Hotel

The Monterey Hotel

407 Calle Principal, Monterey
of 5, from 1,617 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Monterey, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Golden State Theatre and Maritime Museum. Fisherman's Wharf and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 15 minutes.

Hotel Abrego

Hotel Abrego

755 Abrego Street, Monterey
of 5, from 2,075 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Offering friendly service and immaculate rooms, this hotel is 1 block from Historic Downtown Monterey, 5 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf and the Monterey Conference Center, and 2 miles from the aquarium.

Mariposa Inn & Suites

Mariposa Inn & Suites

1386 Munras Avenue, Monterey
of 5, from 1,844 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Del Monte Shopping Center, Fisherman's Wharf, and Dennis the Menace Park. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Maritime Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Pelican Inn Monterey

Pelican Inn Monterey

1182 Cass St, Monterey
of 5, from 385 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Monterey, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Don Dahvee Park, Fisherman's Wharf, and Maritime Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).