9 Can't Miss NYC 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 when you're in New York City.

Do note that if you want to attend services on a popular holiday it's best to reach out to the house of worship's office directly to confirm the process. Some offer tickets by lottery or only to members on specific dates or for special services.

  • 01 of 09
    Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, New York City, USA
    DennisInAmsterdam/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-SA-2.0

    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.

    If you're planning to attend their service, read their visitor guidelines carefully to avoid disappointment. Visitors/tourists are only allowed to attend the 11:30 a.m. service (although there are certain days when visitors/tourists aren't allowed), must be dressed appropriately and are expected to stay for the entire 2 and 1/2 hour service.

    • Denomination: Baptist
    • Address: 132 Odell Clark Place (formerly 138th St.)
    • Subway: 2/3 train to 135th Street/Lenox Avenue
    • Phone: 212-862-7474
  • 02 of 09
    The Bialystoker Synagogue
    Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0

    The Bialystoker Synagogue was first organized in 1865 but made its home in a late Federal style fieldstone building built in 1905. This New York City landmark 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
  • 03 of 09
    Cathedral of St. John
    Kripaks/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

    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 construction began in 1892. Consider taking a guided tour of the Cathedral to fully appreciate its beauty. It's 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
  • 04 of 09
    Eldridge Street Synagogue looking up
    Jason3091/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-4.0

    Opened in 1887, the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue was the first great house of worship built in America by Eastern 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.

    • Address: 12 Eldridge Street
    • Subway: F to East Broadway; B/D to Grand Street
    • Phone: 212-219-0888
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    Friends Meeting House in Flushing
    Dmadeo/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0

    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 part of the Underground Railroad. Tours are offered after worship on Sundays from 12-12:30 p.m.

    • Denomination: Quaker
    • Address: 137-16 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
    • Subway: 7 to Main Street/Flushing
    • Phone: 718-358-9636
  • 06 of 09
    Mahayana Buddhist Temple
    Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images

    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 have their fortune read.

    • 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.
  • 07 of 09
    New York City Riverside Church
    TOWFIQ AHMED PHOTOGRAPHY/Getty Images

    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.

    • Denomination: Interdenominational
    • Address: 490 Riverside Drive
    • Subway: 1 to 116th Street
    • Phone: 212-870-6700
  • 08 of 09
    St. Patrick's Cathedral
    Steve Kelley/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

    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. The gift shop offers unique souvenirs and postcards.

    • Denomination: Roman Catholic
    • Address: Entrance on Fifth Avenue between 50th/51st Streets
    • Subway: E, V to 53rd/5th Avenue
    • Telephone: 212-753-2261
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    St. Paul's Chapel, Manhattan, New York
    Ken Lund/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    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 inauguration 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.

    • Denomination: Episcopal
    • Address: 209 Broadway
    • Subway: 2/3 to Park Place, 1/4/5/A to Fulton St/Broadway-Nassau
    • Phone: 212-233-4164