Top Religious Sites Walking Tour, Dallas

Top Religious Sites Walking Tour (Self Guided), Dallas

Dallas, one of the biggest cities in Texas, is rich in religious congregations. Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian communities are prominent in many neighborhoods, anchoring two of the city's major private universities: Southern Methodist University and Dallas Baptist University.

The Catholics also have a strong presence in Dallas, with the Arts District's Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe being home to the second-largest Roman Catholic membership in the United States.

While every place of worship in Dallas is worth visiting, its downtown sanctuaries – be they cathedrals, churches, or chapels – are especially memorable.

One such is the Saint Paul United Methodist Church. Situated in the heart of downtown Dallas, this church is a historic landmark known for being one of the oldest African American churches in the state.

The First United Methodist Church of Dallas, established in 1846, is deeply rooted in Dallas history. This congregation is an emblem of Methodism's presence in the city and a center for worship and community engagement.

The First Baptist Church of Dallas, with its towering steeple, has been a pillar of the Baptist faith for over 150 years. Its notable architecture and passionate congregation make it a prominent religious institution in the city.

Finally, the First Presbyterian Church-Dallas. Founded in 1856, this temple is a beacon of the Reformed tradition in Dallas. Its historic sanctuary and commitment to serving the community demonstrate the enduring influence of Presbyterianism in the region.

Exploring these religious sites, visitors can appreciate the diverse ecclesiastical tapestry of Dallas. We hereby invite you to embrace the opportunity to learn, reflect, and engage with the city's spiritual community, as these houses of worship continue to be essential anchors in its social and cultural landscape.
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Top Religious Sites Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Top Religious Sites Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Dallas (See other walking tours in Dallas)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: sylvia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Paul United Methodist Church
  • The Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe
  • First United Methodist Church of Dallas
  • First Baptist Church of Dallas
  • First Presbyterian Church-Dallas
St. Paul United Methodist Church

1) St. Paul United Methodist Church

Saint Paul United Methodist Church is a true gem of the Art District in Dallas, Texas. It was organized by freed slaves in the year 1873. As such, it is one of the oldest African American churches in all of Texas. It is also the only such church in downtown Dallas.

From 1874-1875, the church also served as a school for African American children. The current church building was designed by Sidney Pitman, Dallas’ first African American architect, and it was completed by 1922. The building’s patchwork of colored bricks is still visible. There are thirty-five beautiful stained glass windows, which are all original and were donated by some of Dallas’ first affluent African Americans.

Saint Paul was designated as an historic landmark by City of Dallas in 1982. In 2013, the church was approved as Texas Historical Landmark. In 2016, Saint Paul was named to the national registry of historic sites. There was a recent effort to renovate this old church, which now is finished. It was quite the undertaking, as walls had to be stabilized and restored. An elevator was also added to the church for the handicapped and elderly.
The Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe

2) The Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe

The Cathedral Shrine is one of the largest churches in Dallas, with over 17,000 families. It is also one of the most historic churches in town, as this was the first Catholic community formed in the area. It is also the Mother Church for the local diocese.

The local worshiping community was founded in 1869. It was called the Sacred Heart Church then. They built their first building in 1872. In 1890, the church was reformed into the Cathedral for the area, after the Dallas area became a diocese. The overall architectural look of the current building is gothic, and is done in a beautiful red brick. The sanctuary is done in white walls and is trimmed in oak.

This congregation is also a great promoter of the arts in the area. They hold events for the Arts District many times each year. They also sponsor the Greater Children’s Chorus of Dallas, which is a sacred choir. It is located in the same area is the Sculpture Garden, Dallas Symphony, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
First United Methodist Church of Dallas

3) First United Methodist Church of Dallas

The First United Methodist Church is situated in a very old part of the downtown section; in fact, it has been part of that overall landscape since the 1840s, when Dallas was just a village where Methodist preachers would stop for worship while riding the circuit. The congregation used to met at three previous locations before the Trinity Methodist and First Methodist congregations eventually combined in 1916, remaining relevant and inviting ever since.

The current church at Ross and Harwood opened its doors in 1926. Done in a Gothic style of architecture, it has been added to and renovated numerous times, but most recently in 2013, when the structure saw a massive 16,000-square-feet renovation and a 12,800-square-feet addition connected by a sky bridge. The renovation features a two-story glass entry (referred to as "Portals of Inspiration") and a multipurpose room (referred to as "Crossroads Center"), which functions as the primary hospitality area.

Curiously enough, the new addition encloses the existing structure built in the 1920s, making the aged exterior the new space's interior. Exposing aged brick and original stained glass presented a unique challenge, but you are now free to convince yourself of the results. The church is open pretty much any day of the week, with worship services held Sundays.
First Baptist Church of Dallas

4) First Baptist Church of Dallas

The First Baptist Church of Dallas is a very well known house of worship in Dallas. In modern terms, it is a mega church, which means it has a large number of members. As a part of the Southern Baptist Convention, it has about 13,000 members in 2018.

The church was founded in 1872. The current building was completed in 1891, and has been a prominent part of the downtown landscape for years. The church is done in a Gothic style of architecture, and covers over six city blocks in the downtown area. There are seven major buildings in the overall complex.

In the current day setting, the church not only ministers to its thirteen thousand members, but also runs a small college, a school, and several radio stations throughout Texas. The local congregation is also known for its mission work in the downtown Dallas.
First Presbyterian Church-Dallas

5) First Presbyterian Church-Dallas

The First Presbyterian Church is an important historical building in Dallas, situated in the Farmers Market District on Park Avenue. It's notable for being the very first Presbyterian congregation established in the area.

This congregation came into existence in 1856, under the leadership of Reverend Robert Byers, starting with just eleven members. Initially, they met in various locations as they didn't have a dedicated building. Over time, the church expanded and moved into four different buildings to accommodate its growing membership.

The church we see today is in the Harwood Historic District and is a significant local landmark. It was completed in 1913 and is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style, which sets it apart from other buildings in the Historic District. A standout feature is the Corinthian columns at the front - they're huge, made from a single piece of stone, and were the first of their kind in Dallas. Each column was transported from Indiana on its own railcar.

The church's exterior is adorned with original art glass windows, created by the Kansas City Stained Glass Works Company and delivered to Dallas in 1912. Inside, the layout follows a modified Akron Plan, a design concept from Akron, Ohio, used between 1900 and 1920. This design was meant to make it easier for people to move between worship services and Sunday school classes. It features a semi-circular auditorium with curved seating that opens directly onto classrooms next to the main worship area.

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