As sunlight streams through ornate and colorful stained glass, cathedral archivist Michael Lampen and the Rev. Canon Mark E. Stanger will highlight selected windows on this spectacular and seldom-offered tour. Binoculars welcome!
Following the tour, you are invited to stay for a reception on the Chapel of Grace porch. The reception lasts approximately 30 minutes and includes light snacks such as cheese, crackers, and sparkling water.
Specific windows to be discussed on this tour are located in:
- The Nave
- The Chapel of Grace
- The Ambulatory- an area of the cathedral typically not open to the public
Grace Cathedral has 68 named stained glass windows, by five studios, covering 7,290 square feet. There are scenes or references to 52 of the 66 books of the Bible. Three quarters of the windows are by Connick Studios of Boston. Over 1,100 figures, including 36 post-biblical saints and 37 later church figures, are shown in the cathedral windows. The windows are the work of five artists and feature three different window types; traditional stained glass, faceted glass and fused glass, showing the evolution of stained glass technology over seven decades.
If you are a pledging member of the cathedral congregation, please contact us at email@example.com before purchasing to receive a discount code.
What Is Not Included?
- Will the cathedral be open to others during the tour?
- No. The cathedral will be closed to the public. It is important that you arrive a few minutes early for the tour.
- Do I need to buy tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is required as space is limited for this tour. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can be purchased using Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- How long is the tour?
- The Summer Solstice Stained Class Window Tour lasts approximately 90 minutes.
- What is included in the reception after the tour?
- The receptions after the tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. We will provide snacks such as cheese, crackers, and sparkling water so our guests. The reception is included in the ticket price.
- Is the tour suitable for children?
- We do not recommend this tour for small children. However, the tour is great for anyone ten or older.
- Is the tour wheelchair or stroller accessible?
- There are some stairs involved in the tour.
- When is the cathedral open to the public?
- The cathedral's doors are open every day from at least 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. for those who wish to find a respite from a world that seems ever more challenging. The stillness within the soaring gothic arches inside allows for prayer, meditation, walking the labyrinth, or simply taking in the structure itself.
- Is there a gift shop where I can purchase material related to the cathedral?
- The Shop at Grace Cathedral is located on the lower level of Grace Cathedral. You may enter the shop from within Grace Cathedral or directly from California Street mid-block betwen Taylor and Jones. We carry a selection of items including Episcopal prayer books and hymnals, music including CDs by the Choir of Men & Boys, jewelry, gifts, and labyrinth items.
- Can I just look around the cathedral?
- Yes, the nave of the cathedral is open to the public.
- Can we continue to explore the cathedral after the tour is over?
- You can remain with your guide after the tour for questions while you enjoy your beverage from Peet's. You are also free to explore the nave while it is open.
- What should I wear?
- Since guests will be on their feet for the duration of the tour, we suggest that guests wear comfortable shoes (i.e. not high heels!) and dress casually.
- Are cameras allowed?
- Yes, feel free to bring your camera.
- Is there a place to store our belongings during the tour?
- No, there is no place to store your belongings. We suggest that you not bring anything that you cannot carry around easily.
- Is there anywhere to sit during the tour?
- There will be opportunities to sit for short periods during the tour.
- Can I bring food or beverages on the tour?
- No food or beverages are allowed in the cathedral other than water. There will be a reception after the tour with snacks and drinks.
- Is there a restroom in the cathedral?
- Yes. You will have the opportunity to use the restroom before or after the tour, but not during.
- How much walking is involved?
- We will visit many areas of the cathedral, but there will be ample time to sit at various locations. Please keep in mind that there are also a few stairs on this tour.
- Does the tour involve walking up stairs?
- Yes, there are a few stairs on this tour.
- Is the entire tour narrated?
- Absolutely! Our guides will tell you about the architecture, history, and behind-the-scenes details of Grace Cathedral throughout your tour.
- What about rainy weather?
- Since all of the tour is under cover or inside, the tour will operate rain or shine.
- Do I have to be religious to take the tour?
- Absolutely not. Everyone is welcome at Grace Cathedral.
- Are pets allowed on the tour?
- Unfortunately, no pets are allowed on the tour.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! If you are interested in gift certificates, please click on the "Contact GraceCathedral" link to inquire about purchasing one.
- Do you offer discounts for this tour?
- If you are a pledging member of the cathedral congregation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before purchasing to receive a discount code.
- Can I book a private tour?
- No. Private tours are not available.
The cathedral is a beautiful, sacred space, and our liturgy and well-known music program (including a men and boys choir) attract many to the four Sunday services and daily services. We host cultural events in the visual arts, music and drama often in partnership with other major cultural institutions of the city, civic conversations on key issues of the day, and an excellent and wide-ranging educational program and flagship Forum series. Cathedrals have long been places of pilgrimage and all of us at Grace Cathedral are ready to welcome you among us whenever you are able to visit.
This church building is a “cathedral” because it is the seat of the bishop, the chief minister of the diocese, and contains his chair or “cathedra”. The architecture of the cathedral is the traditional French Gothic style, although the fabric is concrete and steel. The history of Grace Cathedral extends back to 1849, when little Grace Chapel was built in Gold Rush San Francisco. That chapel and the subsequent Grace Church both burned giving rise to Grace Cathedral as we know it today.