New York City

The streets of New York alone are stageworthy. With so many people faking it 'til they make it, daily life can take on the feeling of performance—to exhausting, and inspiring, effect. No wonder that the city draws a constant influx of actors, singers, dancers, and musicians from around the globe, all striving for their big break and infusing the city with a crackling creative energy. This fiercely competitive scene produces an unrivaled wealth of culture and art that many New Yorkers cite as the reason they're here, and that millions more are determined to travel for.

Although costly ticket prices can make attending a Broadway show a less common outing for even the most devout theater-loving New Yorkers, that's not true of many other kinds of more affordable performances. Whether the audiences are primarily local or not, it's their discernment that helps drive the arts scene, whether they are flocking to a concert hall to hear a world-class soprano deliver a flawless performance, or crowding into a cramped café to support fledgling writers reading from their own work.

New York has upward of 200 "legitimate" theaters (meaning those with theatrical performances, not movies), and many more ad hoc venues—parks, churches, lofts, galleries, rooftops, even parking lots. The city is also a revolving door of special events: summer jazz, one-act-play marathons, film festivals, and music and dance celebrations from the classical to the avant-garde, to name just a few.

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  • 1. Shakespeare in the Park

    Upper West Side | Theater

    Some of the best things in New York are, indeed, free—including this summer festival presented by the Public Theater and performed at an open...Read More

  • 2. Great Music in a Great Space

    Upper West Side | Music

    This aptly named series of public concerts is inspired by a wide range of musical traditions and performed in St. John the Divine's massive...Read More

  • 3. Jazz at Lincoln Center

    Upper West Side | Music

    A few blocks south of Lincoln Center itself, this Columbus Circle venue is almost completely devoted to jazz, with a sprinkling of other genres...Read More

  • 4. Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center

    Upper West Side | Music

    A destination for both old-school and cutting-edge musical performances, this concert hall around the corner from Lincoln Center is a lovely...Read More

  • 5. Miller Theatre

    Upper West Side | Music

    Adventurous programming of jazz, classical, early and modern music, and dance makes up the calendar at this Columbia University theater, founded...Read More

  • 6. Symphony Space

    Upper West Side | Arts Centers

    Although Symphony Space runs an energetic roster of classical, jazz, international, and other kinds of music, it also excels with other kinds...Read More

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