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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


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Lodging Near Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo

See all 335 Properties near Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay $188
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
     
    4.2
    of 5, from 3,214 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.

    Hotel Abrego $199
    Hotel Abrego

    Hotel Abrego

    755 Abrego Street, Monterey
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 2,097 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.

      Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa $161
      Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

      Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

      1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey
         
        4.0
        of 5, from 5,027 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.

        Monterey Surf Inn $104
        Monterey Surf Inn

        Monterey Surf Inn

        1200 Munras Ave, Monterey
           
          3.6
          of 5, from 1,564 reviews
          2.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the airport, 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).

          The Monterey Hotel $130
          The Monterey Hotel

          The Monterey Hotel

          407 Calle Principal, Monterey
             
            3.9
            of 5, from 1,674 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.

            Monterey Marriott $199
            Monterey Marriott

            Monterey Marriott

            350 Calle Principal, Monterey
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 881 reviews
              3.5 out of 5.0

              Connected to the Monterey Conference Center by a footbridge, this smoke-free downtown hotel is 3 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, and less than 2 miles from Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

              Mariposa Inn & Suites $179
              Mariposa Inn & Suites

              Mariposa Inn & Suites

              1386 Munras Avenue, Monterey
                 
                4.0
                of 5, from 1,926 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 Maritime Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa $169
                Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

                Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

                700 Munras Ave, Monterey
                   
                  4.1
                  of 5, from 1,991 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.