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  • Writer's pictureAbby Brenker

5 Historic Cemeteries to Visit in New York City

Visiting historic cemeteries is a major hobby of mine. Any weekend I find myself not traveling, I am probably using my time to explore a new historic cemetery. And New York City has many to offer. There are so many incredible and complex historic attractions in the city, but of course, graveyards are not often on the everyday tourism list.

Here are my top 5 recommendations of historic cemeteries of New York City for anyone traveling here and looking to learn a bit of history in a fun and different way. Keep in mind, some of these are easier to get to than others. But I tried to represent different boroughs in my list, so you can hopefully fit one or two into your travel plans, no matter where you are exploring in New York City.

woodlawn cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx. Woodlawn Cemetery first opened in The Bronx in 1863. It occupies over 400 acres of land and holds the remains of about 300,000 people. Woodlawn spans rolling hills, making it picturesque and beautiful for photos. Woodlawn is also often called the Jazz Cemetery because so many famous Jazz musicians are buried here, including W. C. Handy and James Edward Ellington.

trinity church

Trinity Churchyard in lower Manhattan. The Church Yard contains the grave of five-year-old Richard Churcher, officially the oldest headstone in New York City, dating 1681. Perhaps most famously is the grave of Alexander Hamilton. Trinity Churchyard is located in a great spot, especially for anyone visiting the city.

calvary cemetery

Calvary Cemetery in Queens. Calvary Cemetery was officially opened in 1848. It has over 3 million burials, making it the cemetery in the US with the most burials. Calvary is a bit off the beaten path for tourists, but it's only a quick subway ride from Grand Central. Definitely worth the trip.

maple grove cemetery

Maple Grove, also in Queens, was established in 1875 as a Victorian-era rural cemetery. It’s located in Kew Gardens, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods to explore. Again, similar to Calvary, Maple Grove is a bit off the beaten path, but if you find yourself with time to spare when visiting the city, Maple Grove is a beautiful way to spend a morning.

green-wood cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. One of my favorite places in the entire world. Green-Wood cemetery spans 478 acres of land. It opened in 1838. Green-Wood is hands down the most stunning cemetery I've ever seen. There is something magical and otherworldly about it's winding paths and towering trees. Green-Wood is open every single day of the year, making it easy for visitors to gain entry.

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