Travel Guide

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

This architectural masterpiece, dating back to the 19th century, stands as a testament to faith, history, and artistic brilliance in the bustling heart of Midtown Manhattan. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of America's largest Neo-Gothic cathedral and uncover the stories etched in its magnificent spires and stained glass windows.

St. Patrick's Cathedral in a nutshell…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a magnificent Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral and a major landmark in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Location: 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, directly across from Rockefeller Center

Transportation: Easily accessible by subway (5th Avenue/53rd Street station) and several bus lines (M1, M2, M3)

Tickets: Free admission; guided tours available for a fee

Visiting Hours: Open daily from 6:30:00 am to 8:45:00 pm; closed for tours on Sundays

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is more than just a religious landmark; it’s a cornerstone of New York City’s rich cultural tapestry. Towering over Fifth Avenue, directly across from the famous Rockefeller Center, this architectural marvel commands attention with its stunning Neo-Gothic design and impressive scale. As the largest cathedral of its kind in North America, St. Patrick’s has been captivating visitors and locals alike since its inception in the 19th century.

The cathedral’s journey to its current location is a fascinating tale of vision and perseverance. Originally situated on Mulberry Street, the growing congregation necessitated a move in 1853. Archbishop Hughes, with remarkable foresight, proposed relocating uptown - a decision initially met with skepticism. At the time, the area was considered far from the city center. However, Hughes’ prediction that this part of town would soon become the heart of the city proved to be incredibly accurate. The first cornerstone of the cathedral we know today was laid in 1858, marking the beginning of a new era for this iconic institution.

Today, St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands as a beacon of faith and architectural splendor in the heart of Midtown. Its prime location, just steps away from other New York landmarks like Central Park and Grand Central Terminal, makes it an essential stop on any city tour. Whether you’re drawn by its religious significance, architectural beauty, or historical importance, a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral promises a truly enriching experience. As you plan your trip to this magnificent site, let’s delve deeper into everything you need to know to make the most of your visit.

Practical information

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to New York City or a seasoned local, these details will help you navigate your way to and through this magnificent piece of architectural history with ease.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral is situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, occupying the entire block between 50th and 51st Streets. Its prime location, directly across from the world-famous Rockefeller Center, makes it an unmissable sight on the city’s skyline.

How to get there

Getting to St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a breeze, thanks to its central location in Midtown Manhattan. The area is well-served by various modes of public transportation, making it accessible from all corners of the city. Whether you prefer to travel by subway, bus, or on foot, you’ll find multiple convenient options to reach this iconic landmark.


The New York City subway system offers several convenient options for reaching St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

For those traveling on the 6 train, get off at the 51st Street station. If you’re riding the E or M trains, your stop will be 5th Avenue - 53rd Street station, just a short 5-minute walk from the cathedral

Alternatively, the B, D, F, and M trains all stop at the 47th-50th Streets - Rockefeller Center station, which is also within easy walking distance of the cathedral.


The M1, M2, and M3 buses all serve the area, providing convenient access to this iconic landmark.

For those heading southbound, you’ll find these buses running along 5th Avenue, dropping you off right in front of the cathedral. If you’re traveling northbound, look for the same bus lines on Madison Avenue. From there, it’s just a short walk west to reach St. Patrick’s.

Hop-on Hop-off Buses

Hop-on Hop-off buses are a fantastic way to explore New York City, especially when you’re planning to visit multiple attractions like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. These buses offer a unique blend of convenience, flexibility, and sightseeing that can enhance your overall city experience.

By choosing a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour, you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace. You can hop off to spend as much time as you like at the cathedral, then easily hop back on to continue your city tour. This method of transportation also provides informative commentary about the city’s history and attractions, adding an educational element to your journey.

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While driving in New York City can be an adventure in itself, it’s generally not the most convenient option for visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Midtown area, where the cathedral is located, is known for its heavy traffic and limited parking options, which can make driving a stressful experience, especially for those unfamiliar with the city.

Instead of driving, we recommend taking advantage of New York’s excellent public transportation system or our convenient Hop-on Hop-off bus tours. These options allow you to avoid the hassles of navigating busy streets and finding parking, letting you focus on enjoying your visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other nearby attractions.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral is open to all, free of charge. Unlike many other popular attractions in New York City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral doesn’t require tickets or reservations for entry, making it an accessible destination for everyone, regardless of budget.

For those interested in a deeper exploration, guided tours of the Cathedral are available.

Visiting Hours

You can visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral daily from 6:30 am to 8:45 pm. However, it’s important to note that the cathedral is closed for tours on Sundays, as this day is primarily reserved for religious services and worship.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral offers a rich schedule of masses throughout the week, catering to both regular worshippers and visitors. Here’s a breakdown of the mass schedule:

Monday - Friday: 7:00 am (with music), 7:30 am, 8:00 am, 12:00 pm (with music), 12:30 pm, 1:00 pm (with music), and 5:30 pm.

Saturdays: 8:00 am (with music), 12:00 pm, and 5:30 pm (with music).

Sundays: 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am (with choir), 10:15 am (with choir), 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm (Spanish Mass with choir), and 5:30 pm.

The choir masses on Sunday mornings provide a particularly moving experience, filling the cathedral with beautiful harmonies.

Best time to visit

For the optimal experience, try to arrive before 11:00 am. Arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon can help you avoid the busiest hours and enjoy a more serene atmosphere.

Keep in mind that St. Patrick’s Cathedral welcomes nearly 5 million visitors annually, so some crowds are inevitable. Mondays tend to be the busiest weekday, with peak hours from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. If a Monday visit is unavoidable, aim to arrive by 10:00 am and allocate about 30 minutes for your exploration.

Tours and Experiences

Enhance your visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral with a variety of tours and experiences that offer deeper insights into this iconic landmark and its surroundings. From audio tours to guided walks, these options cater to different interests and schedules, ensuring you get the most out of your visit.

St Patrick’s Cathedral Official Audio Tour

Immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural splendor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral with the official audio tour. This self-guided experience allows you to explore the 160-year-old building at your own pace while listening to fascinating narratives from those who know it best, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

As you wander through the cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior, you’ll learn about its architectural features, historical significance, and the stories behind its most notable elements. The audio tour is available in several languages, making it accessible to international visitors. This option is perfect for those who prefer a more independent exploration or wish to delve deeper into the cathedral’s background without the constraints of a guided group tour.

Midtown Manhattan Art and Architecture Walking Tour

For a broader perspective on Midtown Manhattan’s architectural wonders, consider joining this walking tour that includes St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This unique experience takes you through the lesser-known tunnels connecting private and public spaces between Hell’s Kitchen and Tiffany & Co., offering a fascinating glimpse into the city’s hidden infrastructure.

Led by a knowledgeable guide, you’ll receive a primer on New York City history while admiring striking works of art and architecture. This tour is especially appealing on rainy days, as it allows you to explore comfortably indoors. It’s an excellent way to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the context of Midtown’s architectural landscape and to discover how locals navigate the city’s complex urban environment.

New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour

If you’re short on time but want to experience the best of New York, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this comprehensive tour is an excellent choice. Combining bus travel with a Staten Island Ferry ride, this tour offers a diverse overview of the city’s top attractions.

As you pass by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, your guide will provide insightful commentary on its history and significance. The tour also includes stops at iconic locations such as the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, and Rockefeller Center. A highlight is the ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, offering stunning views of the world-famous skyline and Brooklyn Bridge. This option is ideal for first-time visitors wanting to see multiple landmarks in a single day.

New York City at Night Bus Tour

Experience the magic of New York after dark, including a glimpse of St. Patrick’s Cathedral illuminated against the night sky. This evening bus tour showcases the city’s most famous landmarks and neighborhoods in their nighttime splendor.

You’ll pass by illuminated attractions like Times Square and Rockefeller Center, and through vibrant areas such as SoHo and Chinatown. The tour includes a stop at the High Line for an atmospheric stroll. This tour offers a unique perspective on St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other NYC landmarks, beautifully lit up after sunset.

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Enjoying St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Discount Passes

While St. Patrick’s Cathedral itself is free to enter, it’s worth noting that guided tours of the cathedral are included in several New York City attraction passes. These passes can be an excellent way to save money if you’re planning to visit multiple attractions during your stay in the city. Let’s take a closer look at some of the passes that include St. Patrick’s Cathedral tours.

The New York Sightseeing Pass

For a comprehensive New York experience, consider the New York Sightseeing Day Pass. This versatile pass grants you access to almost all of New York’s major attractions for a set number of days. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking to explore the city extensively, as it combines cost-effectiveness with convenience. By including St. Patrick’s Cathedral along with numerous other iconic sites, this pass allows you to make the most of your time in the Big Apple without worrying about individual ticket purchases.

GoCity Explorer Pass

The Go New York Explorer Pass offers flexibility and savings for your New York adventure. With this pass, you can choose from over 90 top attractions, including a guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This option is ideal if you prefer to curate your own itinerary, picking and choosing the sites that interest you most. The pass’s economical approach ensures you get great value while exploring the city at your own pace.

The New York Pass

For those eager to immerse themselves fully in New York’s vibrant cultural scene, the New York Pass is an excellent choice. This comprehensive pass offers access to over 100 attractions, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Whether you’re interested in museums, tours, or even bike rentals, this pass has you covered. It’s a fantastic way to experience the breadth of what New York has to offer, with the guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral being just one of many highlights.

What to Expect at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

As you step inside, your gaze will be drawn upward to the soaring ceilings that reach a height of 330 feet from the ground to the spires. The cathedral’s interior is adorned with 3,700 stained glass panels, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that dance across the stone surfaces. You’ll find a wealth of artistic treasures, including a replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà that is three times larger than the original. The cathedral’s capacity to accommodate up to 3,000 people speaks to its immense scale and importance as a place of worship and gathering.

Some key features to look out for during your visit include:

  • The Rose Window: A stunning example of stained glass artistry.
  • Altar of the Holy Family: A focal point of religious significance.
  • The Crypt: Located beneath the high altar, it houses the final resting places of notable Catholic figures.
  • The Stations of the Cross: Fourteen sculpted relief panels depicting Christ’s journey to crucifixion, with seven on each transept.
  • Statue of Saint Patrick: The cathedral’s namesake, depicted holding a book of gospels and a shamrock.
  • The Lady Chapel: A sacred space behind the sanctuary, known for its “flaming jewels of light” stained-glass windows.
  • The Pietà sculpture: A moving interpretation by William Partridge, larger than Michelangelo’s famous version.
  • Altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe: A gift from the Archbishop of Mexico City, popular among Latino worshippers.
  • The Founders’ Window: A stained glass masterpiece depicting St. Patrick and the cathedral’s creation story.

As you explore, you’ll encounter numerous chapels along the side aisles, each with its own unique history and artistic elements. Don’t miss the four red cardinal’s hats (galeros) suspended from the ceiling, a traditional honor for deceased cardinals.

The cathedral’s crypt holds special significance, not only as the resting place for New York’s archbishops but also for Venerable Pierre Toussaint, a former slave turned philanthropist who is considered the father of Catholic charities in New York.

Tips for Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a profound experience that blends spiritual reverence with architectural awe. To enhance your visit to this iconic New York landmark, consider these practical tips:

  • Arrive Early: For a quieter, more contemplative experience, plan to visit early in the morning. This helps avoid the crowds and allows you to enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the cathedral.
  • Take a Guided Tour: Join a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the rich history and stunning Gothic architecture of the cathedral. Tours can provide fascinating details that you might miss on a self-guided visit.
  • Take Your Time: Allow yourself ample time to explore. Don’t rush through your visit; instead, soak in the intricate details and craftsmanship found throughout the cathedral.
  • Photography Tips: Bring a camera to capture the awe-inspiring architecture. While photography is encouraged, always be respectful, especially during services—try to keep your camera clicks discreet.
  • Attend a Service: Check the cathedral’s website for mass times to participate in a service. Attending mass can be a moving way to experience the cathedral’s spiritual purpose.
  • Security Measures: Be prepared for security checks at the entrance. Note that large bags or luggage might not be allowed inside.
  • Watch a Live Broadcast: If you cannot make it in person, consider watching the live broadcast of the Sunday mass at 10:15 am.
  • Explore Architectural Details: Marvel at the cathedral’s 21 altars and over 2,800 stained glass panels. The exterior alone, with its towering spires that rise 330 feet, demands attention.
  • Understand the History: Recognize the significance of its lengthy construction period and its role in the community, especially the Irish immigrant population it was named to honor.
  • Discover Unique Features: Look for the hidden window—a traditional element in Gothic cathedrals meant to symbolize that true glory belongs only to God.
  • Modest Attire: Dress modestly out of respect for the cathedral’s status as a place of worship.
  • Visit on Weekdays: If possible, plan your visit for a weekday morning when the cathedral is less crowded, providing a more personal experience.
  • Enjoy the Organ Music: If you have the chance, listen to the cathedral’s massive organ, which boasts 7,855 pipes, during a service for an unforgettable auditory experience.
  • Learn About the Bells: Take a moment to appreciate the history of the cathedral’s 19 bells, originally rung manually but now played from a keyboard.


A wheelchair ramp is available on 51st Street, providing easy access to the cathedral for those using wheelchairs or with difficulty navigating steps. This ramp allows visitors to enter the cathedral smoothly and explore its magnificent interior. Inside, the cathedral’s wide aisles and open spaces accommodate wheelchair users and those with mobility aids, allowing them to move freely and comfortably throughout most areas of the building.

It’s worth noting that while most areas of the cathedral are accessible, some historical features may have limited access due to preservation needs. However, the cathedral staff is dedicated to ensuring that all visitors can experience the essence and majesty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, regardless of physical limitations.

Frequently Asked Questions

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is open daily from 6:30 am to 8:45 pm. However, it’s closed for tours on Sundays due to religious services. It’s best to arrive before 11:00 am to avoid crowds, especially on weekdays.

No, admission to St. Patrick’s Cathedral is free. You can enter and explore the cathedral at no cost during regular visiting hours. However, guided tours and audio tours are available for a fee.

Yes, guided tours are available at select times daily, except on Sundays. The cathedral also offers an official audio tour, which allows you to explore at your own pace while learning about the cathedral’s history and architecture.

Absolutely! St. Patrick’s Cathedral holds several masses daily. Weekday masses are held at various times from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday schedules differ slightly, with additional services and choir masses on Sundays. Check the cathedral’s website for the most up-to-date schedule.

Key features include the Rose Window, the Altar of the Holy Family, the Pietà sculpture, the Lady Chapel, and the Stations of the Cross. Don’t miss the stunning stained glass panels, the high ceilings, and the various chapels along the side aisles.

Photography is generally allowed inside the cathedral for personal use. However, flash photography, tripods, and photography during masses or in designated prayer areas (like the Lady Chapel) are not permitted. Always be respectful of worshippers and ongoing services.

A typical visit can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your level of interest and whether you’re taking a guided tour. Allow extra time if you plan to attend a mass or spend time in quiet reflection.

Yes, the cathedral is accessible. There’s a wheelchair ramp on 51st Street, and the interior has wide aisles to accommodate wheelchairs. Assistive listening devices are available, and staff can provide descriptive tours for visually impaired visitors upon request.

The best time to visit is from September to November when the weather is pleasant and crowds are smaller. However, the cathedral is beautiful year-round. Christmas and Easter are particularly special times to visit, though they can be very crowded.

Yes, you can light a candle at various locations within the cathedral. This is a common practice for prayer and remembrance. There’s usually a small donation requested for candles.

While there’s no strict dress code, modest attire is appreciated as it is an active place of worship. Avoid overly revealing clothing or beachwear out of respect for the religious nature of the site.

The crypt beneath the high altar houses the remains of notable Catholic figures, including past Archbishops of New York and Pierre Toussaint, a former slave and philanthropist who is on the path to sainthood.

Yes, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has 19 bells, each named after a saint. They are now electrified and can be heard during special occasions and some masses. The bells are typically rung before the 10:15 am Sunday mass.

Yes, there is a gift shop where you can purchase religious items, books, and souvenirs related to the cathedral and Catholic faith. The shop is usually open during regular cathedral hours.

Where to Stay Near St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Staying near St. Patrick’s Cathedral can be an excellent choice for visitors to New York City, especially if you’re interested in exploring Midtown Manhattan’s iconic attractions. The area surrounding the cathedral is at the heart of the city’s bustling Midtown district, offering easy access to numerous landmarks, shopping destinations, and cultural sites.

By choosing accommodation in this area, you’ll be within walking distance of not only St. Patrick’s Cathedral but also other famous spots like Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and the Museum of Modern Art. The neighborhood is well-served by public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. However, keep in mind that hotels in this prime location can be quite expensive, and the area can be very crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons.

If you’re looking for a slightly quieter or more budget-friendly option while still maintaining good access to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, consider staying in nearby neighborhoods like Murray Hill or the Upper East Side. These areas are just a short subway or bus ride away from the cathedral and offer a more residential feel while still providing easy access to Midtown attractions. Regardless of where you choose to stay, remember that New York’s excellent public transportation system makes it easy to reach St. Patrick’s Cathedral from almost anywhere in the city.

Other Nearby Attractions

After your visit to the cathedral, you’ll find yourself perfectly situated to continue your New York adventure. Within walking distance, you’ll discover world-renowned landmarks, cultural institutions, and entertainment venues that collectively define the quintessential New York experience.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center, just a stone’s throw from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is an iconic complex that embodies the spirit of New York City. This sprawling collection of 19 commercial buildings offers a unique blend of art, architecture, and entertainment that has made it a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike.

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Top of the Rock

For breathtaking views of New York City’s skyline, the Top of the Rock observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is an experience not to be missed. Located just steps away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this vantage point offers a unique perspective on the city that never sleeps.

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Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), located just a short walk from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is a world-renowned institution that houses one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art. This cultural powerhouse offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in groundbreaking works that have shaped the art world over the past century and beyond.

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Central Park

Central Park, often referred to as the “lungs of New York City,” is an 843-acre oasis of green space nestled in the heart of Manhattan. Just a short stroll north of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this iconic park offers a refreshing contrast to the urban landscape and a multitude of activities for visitors of all ages.

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Times Square

Times Square, often called “The Crossroads of the World,” is an iconic intersection and neighborhood that epitomizes the energy and excitement of New York City. Located just a short walk southwest of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this dazzling hub of entertainment, commerce, and culture is a must-see destination for any visitor to the Big Apple.

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Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, often simply called Grand Central Station, is more than just a transportation hub - it’s a magnificent example of Beaux-Arts architecture and a true New York City landmark. Located just a short walk east of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this historic station offers visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of early 20th-century New York.

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New York Public Library

The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, often referred to simply as the New York Public Library, is a magnificent Beaux-Arts landmark that stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to knowledge and culture. Located on Fifth Avenue, just a short distance south of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this iconic institution is not only a functioning library but also a must-visit attraction for architecture enthusiasts and book lovers alike.

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Explore Our Comprehensive Travel Guide

On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Practical information
  3. Tours and Experiences
  4. Enjoying St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Discount Passes
  5. What to Expect at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  6. Tips for Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  7. Accessibility
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Where to Stay Near St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  10. Other Nearby Attractions