The City that Never Sleeps Welcomes Religious Group Travelers

New York City is home to Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Parade and the New Year’s Eve ball drop at the strike of 12, but the city offers more than just modern American traditions. New York City, a historic treasure, contains sites like Ellis Island with over 700,000 immigrants passing through, the Statue of Liberty and historic churches such as St. Paul’s Chapel, which survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Great New York Fire of 1776.

New York’s Religious Attractions

St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul’s Chapel

Riverside Church is a 13th century Gothic-style church that replicates a cathedral in Chartres, France. The church has hosted famous speakers ranging from Martin Luther King to the Dalai Lama and is known for its organs and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon. One-hour tours are available after Sunday morning worship providing the history of the church, and tours at other times are available by reservation.

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

Located in Lower Manhattan, St. Paul’s Chapel is the oldest Manhattan building and was a place of worship for George Washington. The chapel, built in 1766, remains a survivor from historical disasters such as the Great New York Fire of 1776 and World Trade Center attacks. St. Paul’s is part of the Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church, which was founded in 1697 and destroyed in the Great New York Fire of 1776. The current Trinity church dates from 1846. Tours are available for both of these historic churches.

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine has a beautiful interior with stained-glass windows. The church has undergone years of alterations since 1892. There are 16 different tours available including the “Secrets of St. John the Divine” tour.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Inside

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Inside

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, across from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, is the largest Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in the United States and has over 2,400 seats. Tours are available on specific dates found on its website.

Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy since 1998 has reached out to almost two dozen synagogues. A listing of tours is provided on its online tour and event calendar, and the Conservancy offers walking tours of the Jewish Lower East Side.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage


Temple Emanu-el, built in 1829, is one of the world’s largest synagogues and has a museum of Judaica. Group tours of 10 or more are available but must be booked two weeks in advance.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage features more than 25,000 items of Jewish art, history and culture. The museum serves as a memorial to Holocaust victims and features exhibits on Holocaust-era ghettoes and camps, Jewish participation in the civil rights movement and the Yom Kippur War.

New York City Tourist Attractions

NBC Studio Tour at Rockefeller Center offers a chance to see how NBC creates shows through visits to the sets of Saturday Night Live, Dateline and other shows.

Rockefeller Center in the Winter

Rockefeller Center in the Winter

Carnegie Hall is a New York City landmark filled with music and fun featuring various genres such as jazz, folk and classical. Carnegie Hall has hosted famous musicians from Tchaikovsky to the Beatles. Tours are available.

South Street Seaport, near the Brooklyn Bridge, is a historic district showcasing New York’s seafaring history. It’s also a festive marketplace with indoor and outdoor shopping and entertainment.

Top of the Rock, the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, offers panoramic views of Central Park and all of New York City. The Empire State Building, the most famous building in New York, has observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art, founded in 1870, features more than two million artworks spanning 5,000 years. Museum of Modern Art, one of the largest museums in the world, founded in the late 1920s, includes media and performance art, architecture and design, film, photography and more. Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and contains works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and other artists.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Times Square contains the largest collection of shrunken heads, a piece of Elvis’ hair and a section of the Berlin Wall.

Madame Tussauds is a wax museum filled with celebrities ranging from Barack Obama to Brad Pitt. Newly added celebrities to the museum include Katy Perry, Adele and Jon Hamm’s character Don Draper from Mad Men.

New York City Sightseeing Tours

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Ride moves throughout the city as if New York City itself were a live performance on a stage. Visitors get to look at famous New York landmarks, starting at Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Gray Line double-decker buses include several different hop-on, hop-off tours through Downtown, Uptown and Brooklyn.

Circle Line Downtown is a water cruise with visits to the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. The Beast is a high-speed boat that accommodates up to 145 guests on a 30-minute tour of New York Harbor.

Big Onion Walking Tour walks guests through Central Park, Times Square, Chinatown and other neighborhoods.

The Original Greenwich Village Food and Culture Tour explores the history of Greenwich Village while allowing guests to taste food specialties along the way. The tour features the old Italian neighborhood and the narrowest house in New York City.

New York’s Annual Festivals

The Chocolate Show occurs every year in November with chocolate fashion, lounge and demonstrations. Over 65 American, Japanese and French chocolatiers offer samplings of their chocolate art.

The Armory Show, located in Manhattan on Piers 92 and 94, feature 20th and 21st century art every March, drawing artists, critics and collectors.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, located in Queens, celebrates Chinese traditions with boat races, food and performances every August.

Latin American Cultural Week occurs every year in November with music, art and plays.

New York City is a melting pot of culture and serves as a learning experience for all religious group travelers. The numerous churches, museums and historic sites make this city a destination to write home about.