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The Best New York City Churches, Synagogues and Temples to Visit

These New York City Churches and Religious Buildings are Worth Seeing

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Visitors to New York City will enjoy visiting these famous churches, synagogues and temples. Whether you're looking for a spiritual experience, or just want to appreciate the beautiful architecture, these spots are well worth visiting in New York City.

1. Abyssinian Baptist Church

Abyssinian Baptist Church
Photo by Julienne Schaer © NYC & Company
The first black church in New York City began in 1808, and dedicated its current Gothic-style church in Harlem in 1923. The Coptic cross on the alter was a gift from the king of Ethiopia.
  • Denomination: Baptist
  • Address: 132 Odell Clark Place (formerly 138th St.)
  • Subway: 2/3 train to 135th Street/Lenox Avenue
  • Phone: 212-862-7474
  • Service Schedule: Worship Schedule

2. Bialystoker Synagogue

The Bialystoker Synagogue was first organized in 1865, but make its home in late Federal style fieldstone building built until 1905. This New York City landmark was has a rich history, including playing a role in the Underground Railroad and hiding runaway slaves in the Synagogue's attic.
  • Denomination: Orthodox
  • Address: 7-11 Willett Street/Bialystoker Place
  • Subway: F to East Broadway
  • Phone: 212-475-0165
  • Service Schedule: Schedule of Shiurim

3. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Photo by Kara Flannery, used with permission of The Cathedral.
The largest church in the United States (and some argue, the world) the Cathedral of St. John the Divine has been a work-in-progress since its contruction began in 1892. Consider taking a Guided Tour of the Cathedral to fully appreciate its beauty. Its also a wonderful place to experience a concert.
  • Denomination: Episcopal
  • Address: 1047 Amsterdam Avenue
  • Subway: 1 to 110th Street/Cathedral Parkway stop
  • Phone: 212-316-7490
  • Service Schedule: Daily Service Schedule

4. Eldridge Street Synagogue

Opened in 1887, the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue was the first great house of worship built in America by East European Jews. A multi-million dollar restoration was completed in December 2007 and the best way to experience the Eldridge Synagogue's beauty is on a guided tour. Though the Synagogue hosts a variety of events, religious services are no longer held at the Synagogue.

5. Friends Meeting House in Flushing

Built in 1694, The Friends Meeting House in Flushing is the oldest house of worship in New York City. The Meeting House has a rich history, including serving as an underground railroad for slaves traveling to freedom. Tours are offered after worship on Sundays from 12-12:30 p.m.

6. Mahayana Buddhist Temple

The Mahayana Buddhist Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in New York City and houses a beautiful 16 foot statue of the Buddha. Visitors can see scenes from Buddha's life depicted throughout the temple, and can also read their fortune for $1.
  • Address: 133 Canal Street
  • Subway: F to East Broadway
  • Service Schedule: There are public services held on weekends, normally from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

7. Riverside Church

The stone carvings and stained glass are among the most beautiful features of this Gothic Cathedral, completed in 1930 with financing from John D. Rockefeller Jr. Visitors interested in music will enjoy experiencing performances by the various choirs, as well as music from church's organs and carillon.

8. St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City
Photo by Heather Cross, licensed to About.com
Probably New York City's most well-known church, St. Patrick's Cathedral is the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States and the seat of the Archbishop of New York. Visitors can walk around inside the Cathedral anytime it is open, but might enjoy attending Mass or a musical performance. Thegift shop offers unique souvenirs and postcards.

9. St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul's Chapel Interior
Heather Cross
Located directly across from the World Trade Center site, St. Paul's Chapel has a long history since its completion in 1766. In 1789 a thanksgiving service was held there in honor of George Washington's inaugaration as president. Amazingly, on 9/11 it sustained virtually no damage and was an important location during the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

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