St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most recognizable structures in New York City. Thousands of visitors flock to the Gothic Revival structure to take photos and get a glimpse of the famous nativity scene displayed every year at Christmas. Find out when you should go, why you should visit, how to get there, and why you should skip.
Why You Should Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Iconic: One of the most recognizable buildings in New York City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been in dozens of movies and TV shows.
Architectural: The Gothic Revival structure is one of the most impressive in New York City. Architectural buffs will find plenty of flying buttresses as well as an ornate alter and vaulted ceilings inside.
Historic: The current location opened in 1878 and changed the landscape of Manhattan. Previously, the congregation was located in what is now the NoLita area, but the church moved uptown to follow the masses of wealthy congregants moving up north to Midtown.
Musical: St. Patrick’s plays host to many ensembles, choirs, and orchestras. They also have their own in-house choir that has performed at the Vatican and for President George W. Bush.
Celebrity: Many celebrities have gotten married at St. Patrick’s and many also attend church services here on Sundays.
Cinematic: St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been featured in dozens of movies and TV shows, including The Path, Gremlins 2, and Sex and the City.
Like a Local: St. Patrick’s has an active congregation. In order to be a congregant, you must live in the area (sorry!).
How Much Does it Cost to Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral?/Money Savers:
- Services are free!
- Donations are not mandatory but are appreciated
How Much Time Should I Spend at St. Patrick’s Cathedral?/Time Savers:
Fly-By: 15 minutes for interior and exterior photos.
In-Depth: 60 minutes if you want to stay for a service.
Need to Know:
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a cathedral–not a tourist attraction. Please respect the congregants when entering the church by removing hats and speaking in hushed tones.
- Security guards will check your bag before entering.
Why You Should Skip:
If you’re not into religious attractions or churches, you can skip.
When to Go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
- Anytime is a good time to visit St. Patrick’s; check out their website for service times.
- Visit at Christmas to see the impressive nativity scene.
How to Get to St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
Walking: Walk to W. 50th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
Subway: Take the E or the M to the Lexington Av/53 St. stop. Walk four blocks west, and take a left on 5th Avenue.
Taxi/Car: Hop in a taxi or car, and tell them to take you to St. Patrick’s. Most cab and car drivers will know how to get you there.
Bus: If you don’t mind sitting in a little traffic, take the M50 to 5th Avenue, or take the M101, M102, or M103 to 5th Avenue.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
St. John of the Divine: If you want to see a Cathedral that’s slightly less touristy, head up to St. John of the Divine on the Upper West Side. This cathedral is the fifth largest church in the world.
Trinity Church: Head downtown to check out a stunning Episcopalian church that was also the first church in Manhattan under British rule.
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!