Grace Cathedral is one of the most iconic churches in San Francisco, famous for its gorgeous stained glass windows, mosaics, floor labyrinths, and overall French Gothic design. It’s a beautiful place to attend for any church service, but at Christmastime it is especially spectacular!
Check out these amazing special events coming up on the calendar, most of which are Christmas-themed. They’re open to everyone, whether or not you’re a frequent church attendee. Weekly church services, morning prayers, and Bible studies will continue to take place, but advance registration or ticket purchase are necessary for most of these special events.
Tree lightings and activities
- World Tree of Hope Installation (Nov 18, 20, 21, 27, 28), and 16th annual lighting celebration (Dec 6): Grace Cathedral is home to the largest origami Christmas tree in the world! They partner with Rainbow World Fund to decorate it with over 17,000 handmade origami cranes and stars, each of which is inscribed with wishes and hopes for the future. You can send your wish to be inscribed on a crane for free and added to the tree. They’re accepting volunteers to help trim the tree, and you can see the installation process throughout November. The tree will be lighted on December 6 and stay there until January 7.
- Advent wreath making workshop (Nov 28): A family wreath-making event, materials provided.
- Nob Hill lighting ceremony (Nov 29): The 50th consecutive tree lighting ceremony will take place at Huntington Park outside of the cathedral. See the outside trees and gardens illuminated with thousands of beautiful lights, while enjoying music from the French American Jazz Quartet and food from local hotels.
- Advent Procession (Dec 5): The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys will sing the Christmas story while the Cathedral is gradually illuminated with lamps and candles.
- A Cathedral Christmas (Dec 11, 12, 18, 19, 21): The Choir of Men and Boys will perform classic Christmas carols accompanied by a full orchestra and organ.
- Lessons & Carols (Dec 24): The Choir of Men and Boys will perform an Anglican tradition of readings, hymns, and anthems.
- Choral Eucharists (Dec 24-25)
- Sing you a Merry Christmas (Dec 11, 18, 21, 22, 23): A family sing-along event led by toys brought to life from St. Nicholas’s workshop!
- A Brass and Organ Christmas (Dec 13): A holiday performance from the Bay’s best brass musicians and the cathedral’s 7,466-pipe organ.
- A Baroque Christmas (Dec 15): American Bach Soloists will perform Part 1 (the Christmas portion) of Handel’s Messiah
- Handel’s Messiah (Dec 16-17): American Bach Soloists will perform Handel’s complete Messiah for the 23rd year.
- Soulful Joy (Dec 20): A new, lively holiday jazz performance by Destiny Muhammad and her Sonic Ensemble.
- The Bishop’s Christmas Pageant (Dec 24): The Christmas story told by the Right Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California, accompanied by children portraying magi, angels, and shepherds.
- Projecting Grace (Nov 21): An informal event in which the cathedral will project artwork honoring Native American Heritage Month on the face of the cathedral.
- Grace Light Installation (recurring, beginning December 31): Illuminate and Grace Cathedral present an enormous light installation by George Zisiadis, accompanied by an original score by Gabriel Gold. See a 100-foot-tall shifting beam of light shine down onto the labyrinth. Tickets are released at 12pm on the 15th of each month for the following month.
Music and more
- Discology (Nov 19): Celebrate the full moon at this silent disco/meditation dance party.
- Grace Cathedral Sound Bath (Nov 22): An immersive, whole-body sonic experience.
- Yoga on the Labyrinth (Nov 23, Nov 30, Dec 7): Captivating weekly yoga classes set to live music. See our article about Yoga on the Labyrinth for more info!
- Candlelight Labyrinth Walk (Dec 3): Walk an ancient, sacred path and immerse your senses with live music and flickering candles.
Find Grace Cathedral at 1100 California Street in Nob Hill, San Francisco.
Featured image: Courtesy of Grace Cathedral