Located in downtown Los Angeles alongside the busy Hollywood freeway, this new style and New World Catholic cathedral is thoroughly L.A. - big, brash and welcoming of all. Established in 2002 as the seat of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a popular site for both its spiritual and architectural attributes.
With its imposing 11-storey structure and geometric contemporary architecture, the cathedral initially invited criticism, but its popularity during holiday masses and with visitors has seen the site find its flock. Architect José Rafael Moneo designed the cathedral without right angles and with the vibrant mix of the 21st century L.A. congregation in mind.
The exterior is made of architectural concrete in an ochre hue reminiscent of California missions, and the bronze entrance doors, crowned with a contemporary statue of Our Lady of the Angels, were created by local sculptor Robert Graham. A huge concrete cross decorates the front of the cathedral and, when illuminated at night, can be seen from afar.
Inside, the cathedral eschews the typical stained glass for Spanish alabaster mosaics in earth tones which allow the light to flood in and create an airy and expansive space. Underneath the church on the lower level, you'll discover the polished marble mausoleum furnished with Spanish limestone and stained glass windows and etchings of guardian angels on the crypt doors.
Other artistic elements worth scoping are the 25 fresco-style tapestries which line the nave depicting 135 saints and other honoured religious figures from around the world, and the four bronze angels in a rose-gold tone which decorate the burgundy marble altar.
There are free organ recitals within the cathedral on Wednesdays at 12.45pm, and mass is held from Monday to Friday at 7am and 12.10pm and on Sundays at 8am and 10am. Free guided tours of the cathedral are held at 1pm on weekdays. To visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, from Union Station take the Metro Redline train and alight at the Civic Center Station stop. From here, it's a five-minute walk up North Hill Street and then left onto West Temple Street.