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. Brooklyn Academy of Music

    Fort Greene | Arts Centers

    Founded in 1861 and operating at its current location since 1908, BAM is a multidisciplinary performing arts center that has grown to span three...Read More

  • 2. New York City Center

    Midtown West | Arts Centers

    Pause as you enter this neo-Moorish building, built in 1923 for the Shriners (cousins of the Freemasons), and admire the ornate decorative details...Read More

  • 3. Park Avenue Armory

    Upper East Side | Arts Centers

    Completed in 1881 and occupying an entire city block, this Gothic-style brick building now serves as a splendid arts center but was originally...Read More

  • 4. Radio City Music Hall

    Midtown West | Arts Centers

    This landmark was built shortly after the stock market crash of 1929; John D. Rockefeller wanted to create a symbol of hope in what was a sad...Read More

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  • 5. The New Victory Theater

    Midtown West | Arts Centers

    In a magnificently restored space from 1900, The New Victory Theater presents an international roster of supremely kid-pleasing plays, music...Read More

  • 6. 92nd Street Y

    Upper East Side | Arts Centers

    Well-known soloists, jazz musicians, show-tune stylists, and chamber music groups perform in 92Y's 905-seat Kaufmann Concert Hall. But the...Read More

  • 7. Baryshnikov Arts Center

    Midtown West | Arts Centers

    Famed dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov's longtime vision came to fruition in this modern performing arts venue for contemporary dance, theater...Read More

  • 8. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

    Dance

    Part of the Brooklyn College campus, this community-based arts center offers a variety of performances at affordable prices—their roster of...Read More

  • 9. Harlem Stage

    Harlem | Arts Centers

    Set in a perfectly restored landmark built in 1890 as part of the Croton Aqueduct system, Harlem Stage is a cozy 200-seat venue for jazz music...Read More

  • 10. NYU Skirball

    Greenwich Village | Arts Centers

    This pristine, wood-lined theater on the NYU campus supports emerging artists, with interesting dance, music, and theater events, often in...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. The Town Hall

    Midtown West | Arts Centers

    Founded by suffragists and built in 1921 by famed architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the Town Hall has been part of NYC's cultural...Read More

  • 13. Tribeca Performing Arts Center

    TriBeCa | Arts Centers

    The center celebrates theater (with a clever children's series) and dance but is primarily known for jazz. Highlights in Jazz and Lost Jazz...Read More

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