Seattle, Washington

Seattle skyline from Puget Sound. Photo © Marc C. Johnson.

Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, has a population of a half million within the city proper and another three million in the larger Puget Sound region. Seattle is known for its abundance of water – it falls frequently from the sky and surrounds the city in the form of numerous bodies of water – and for its increasingly cosmopolitan air and cultural diversity. Seattle has long had a vibrant Asian-American population, and it also hosts well-established communities of Scandinavians, African-Americans, Jews, Native Americans, Russians and Latinos. This diversity is reflected in Seattle's many interesting religious sites, which range from Buddhist temples to African-American churches.

Betsuin Buddhist Temple
This Japanese Buddhist temple is associated with the Jodo Shinshu school, which emphasizes devotion to Amida Buddha.
St. Mark's Cathedral
This Episcopal cathedral has had a rocky history but is now a happily established church. Its fortress-like form dominates a hilltop with beautiful lake views.
Sakya Monastery
Founded in 1975 and housed in a former Presbyterian church, this Tibetan Buddhist monastery hosts regular classes and services.
Temple De Hirsch Sinai
A synagogue for Seattle's Reform Jewish community, housed in a space-age-style 1960s building. Anyone is welcome to study at its extensive Jewish library.
St. James Cathedral
Completed in 1907, this is Seattle's Roman Catholic cathedral. Built on a grand scale, it features fine architecture and the relics of Mother Cabrini, the first American saint.
Mount Zion Baptist Church
Home to Washington's largest and oldest African-American congregation, Mount Zion is the place for powerful sermons and rousing gospel music.
St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral
Built in 1941 in downtown Seattle, St. Spiridon is a Russian Orthodox cathedral complete with blue onion domes and golden Orthodox crosses.
Chapel of St. Ignatius
Designed by Steven Holl, this magnificent Catholic chapel on the campus of Seattle University has won multiple awards for its unique modern architecture and masterful use of light.