It sits right in the heart of New York City in the Midtown area, right across the street from another renowned New York City attraction, Rockefeller Center. Pope John Paul II famously visited the cathedral when he came to the city in October of 1979. Today, a bust of the pope sits at the back of the St Patrick’s Cathedral commemorating this historic visit.
The Cathedral of St. Patrick was designed by architect James Renwick in an extraordinary Gothic Revival style to represent religious freedom within a city and nation of immigrants. Construction began in 1858, stopped in during the Civil War in 1865, and was completed in 1878. Many parts of the Cathedrals were added in the half-century that ensued such as the towers in 1888, and the stained glass windows between 1912 and 1930. The cathedral itself is beautiful both from outside and indoors, and the roof of the cathedral when seen from higher grounds makes up a large cross.
The Cathedral of St. Patrick was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and is one of the largest and more prominent Roman Catholic cathedrals in the world. Fifth Avenue to the west, and its spires soar up to 330 feet above the ground. The cathedral is visited by approximately 5.5 million visitors and worshippers annually and accommodates over 2000 worshippers at a time.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral should be on anyone’s must-visit list when coming to New York City whether you’re Roman Catholic, religious or non-religious. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a breathtaking venue that is intricately designed with superb stained glass and incredible acoustics with organs of 177 stops and 9,838 pipes. It’s a perfect place to attend mass, get away from the noise of Manhattan, rejoice, wash away one’s sins, or just enjoy a moment of quiet reflection during a hectic day of sightseeing.
Entry to the Cathedral is free, and so is mass attendance. Operating hours for the church are from 6:30 am until 8:45 pm. On the opening day of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, the cathedral stays open until 10 pm. Also, be sure to visit the cathedral’s gift shop where you can explore great gift ideas and a large assortment of religious and spiritual items. It is open from 8:30 am until 8 pm, and its storefront on East 51st Street is open from 10 am to 6 pm.
If you want to learn all about the beautiful St. Patrick Cathedral’s rich history and architecture, then you should consider taking a guided tour with a knowledgeable volunteer tour guide. Tours are not offered daily but every few days. Tours are free of charge and begin promptly at 10 am and sometimes 1:30 pm depending on the date.