St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tours

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a Neo Gothic-style cathedral that is at the corner of 5th Avenue and 50th St, across from Rockefeller Center.  St. Patrick’s, completed in 1878, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. On March 17, 2012, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced that St. Patrick’s was to undergo a massive, three year renovation, both inside and out. Years or wear and tear, pollution and acid rain had caused the exterior to begin to crumble. The massive renovation began in May 2015 and cost nearly $200 million. One step inside and you will agree it was worth it. In this video you get a preview of the interior of the cathedral and a tour of some of the most sacred spots inside.

 

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St. Patrick's Cathedral New York

Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist

Tours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-see on your trip to NYC.  The tours will also tell you about the intricacies of the architecture as well as the right history of the building.  The self-guided tour will also show you pictures of the Cathedral in its full glory.

  • Check the cathedral’s website for general information about tours.
  • Tours for groups of 10 or more must be scheduled in advance by calling 212-355-2749.
  • Walk-in tours on certain dates are available.
  • All Walk-In Tours begin at 10am (NOTE: tours may be cancelled if they conflict with a liturgical event)
  • All tours are free, but donations are accepted.
  • You can download the cathedral’s app here. The video clip below is a preview of what to expect from the app.
  • A multi-media audio tour is also available on held-held devices at the Cathedral.  Adult, Child and Spanish versions of the tour are available.  It includes narration by Cardinal Dolan and Monsignor Robert Ritchie, photographs and videos.
  • Check out St. Pat’s Google Places link.
  • All proceeds from purchases of the  self-guided tour go towards the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

History

In 1853, at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Mulberry St, Archbishop John Joseph Hughes announced that he would build a new, larger cathedral uptown.  The church had purchased the plot of land that St. Patrick’s now stands on in 1810, but with no intention of building a new cathedral there.  People thought Hughes was crazy; the proposed site was considered near-wilderness and was far north of the existing city.  Hughes, however, insisted that the spot would someday be in the heart of New York City (he was right) and that he would build the most beautiful Gothic cathedral in the New World there. (Right again, Archbishop Hughes!)

The cornerstone for the new cathedral was laid on August 15, 1858.  The architect was James Renwick, Jr., and the proposed budget was about $850,000.  The church is made of white Tuckahoe marble.  Though the building progressed very rapidly at the start, it came to a grinding halt during the American Civil War and then resumed when the war was over.  In 1878, when the structure was completed, a fund-raising fair was held in the new cathedral.  The budget had not allowed for the purchase of furnishings.  $172,625 was raised during the fair, and on May 25, 1879 St. Patrick’s cathedral was formally opened.

Things to Do Nearby

Due to it’s central location in Midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is very close to several other NYC attractions, including:

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