It’s Halloween. Let’s celebrate in a cemetery! I’ve always been fascinated with cemeteries. When I travel, I tend to visit a cemetery. It’s peaceful and oftentimes, incredibly beautiful. They’re filled with people I never knew. They’re filled with people that time has forgotten. So I rounded up a few of my favorite cemeteries I’ve visited so far. Making this list has really proven to me that I need to visit more cemeteries.
SAN LORENZO PIONEER CEMETERY – San Lorenzo, CA, USA
The first burial record in this cemetery is April 10, 1853, however, there are unmarked bodies that were buried pretty haphazardly around the tree photographed above. Due to lack of money, this cemetery is not really kept up and it’s pretty dicey (headstones are broken, ground is uneven). In 2007, when I took the photo, you had to sign in at the school next door in order to get keys. Once you got the keys, you could have full reign of the cemetery.
MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY – Oakland, CA, USA
This cemetery is probably my favorite ever. I’ve been there several times. I’ve gone just to think, run, write, walk my dog, and just… be. It’s huge and I probably still haven’t seen all of it. Once you get to the very top, you have such a beautiful view of the Bay Area. Fun Fact: The Black Dahlia is actually buried here. It was established in 1863 and is still active.
Also, if you’re in the Bay Area, you should book my friend Ethan cause he’s the BEST. He took the above photo and interestingly enough, his now wife is in the 2007 photo from the above cemetery. https://www.righterportraits.com/
Mission Dolores Cemetery – San Francisco, CA, USA
I think that this is the only cemetery I’ve been too that’s attached to a mission (also probably the only one I’ve been to in SF). It is known as the oldest cemetery in San Francisco, it was established in 1776.
ANGELUS-ROSEDALE CEMETERY – Los Angeles, CA, USA
This cemetery was founded in 1884 and when I visited, a couple was having what looked like engagement photos taken there and I was very jealous. There’s definitely a TON of famous people buried there and it’s gigantic. Another cemetery I’d probably be cool with getting lost in for hours.
HISTORIC SALEM CEMETERIES – Salem, MA, USA
There’s 3 historical cemeteries in Salem, MA and I’ve been to all 3. They’re really easy to visit all at once! When my Greek family came to the US, they settled in Salem, Massachusetts. Growing up, I went to Salem for a few times to visit my Great Uncle who lived there (in a house that the boys built for their parents). I don’t know how to explain the feeling of Salem to you but there’s a FEELING. When I’m getting ready to leave, I’m just planning my next trip there (we were supposed to go this year but yay COVID). I’ve always felt “at home” in Salem. You can find more info here: https://www.salem.org/cemeteries/
Père Lachaise Cemetery – Paris, France
If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I’m kind of obsessed with this cemetery (and actually, just Paris in general). I have been there twice and I still don’t think I’ve seen even a half of it. It was opened in 1804 and there’s a ton of famous people there (including Jim Morrison, who’s grave has a fence around it due to people stealing part of his headstone). The first time I got there, I was on a trip with my mom. We were in Prague and Paris and this day was the first day we had ended up fighting. I walked away, in frustration, and immediately got lost. I ended up running into an older Frenchman who often goes to the cemetery to write. It turns out he lived in Berkeley and SF for a few years in the 70s/80s! He gave me a little tour around the cemetery and helped me find my way back to my mom. Cemetery lovers are cool.
Cimitero delle Porte Sante – Florence, Italy
I have never been to a cemetery quite like Cimitero delle Porte Sante. It wasn’t sprawling green grass but it wasn’t unkempt and falling apart. It was beautiful and thought out and just a wonderful homage to the people buried there. It was opened around 1837 and is worth climbing up the HUGE hill in Florence to get to (plus, once you’re up there, the view of Florence is unmatched).
English Cemetery – Florence, Italy
Fun story, this cemetery is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, which I didn’t know until we hoofed our way over there only to be met with a closed gate. Luckily, we had another day in Florence so we were able to go back, which I’m very thankful for. This is a very small cemetery but still so incredibly beautiful. Jacob has a new favorite thing to do, which is google the names he sees on the headstones. Sometimes he comes up with some fun stories and tidbits. This cemetery was opened in 1827.
NEW LUISENSTADT CEMETERY – Berlin, Germany
I actually wasn’t planning on visiting this one. I got a tattoo in Berlin and the artist wasn’t ready for me. The area I was in wasn’t… super touristy so I tried to find something that would take up some time… And you know me. I stumbled across a cemetery. It wasn’t too big (definitely not compared to a few on this list) and it was one of the most peaceful cemeteries I’d been in, despite people being in there. It is still active and was opened in 1865.
Have you visited any really cool cemeteries? Leave a comment below and let me know!