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. Carnegie Hall

    Midtown West | Music

    Internationally renowned Carnegie Hall has incomparable acoustics that make it one of the best venues in the world to hear classical music,...Read More

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  • 2. Monday Night Magic

    Greenwich Village | Theater

    Since 1997, Michael Chaut and three other magician producers have been running these weekly performances in and around Greenwich Village (they...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. New Amsterdam Theatre

    Midtown West | Theater

    In 1997 Disney refurbished the elaborate 1903 Art Nouveau New Amsterdam Theatre, where Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Fred Astaire, and the Ziegfeld...Read More

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  • 8. New York Botanical Holiday Train Show

    Belmont | Festivals

    The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is one of the city’s top seasonal attractions, especially for families. It runs from the...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Puppetworks

    Park Slope | Puppet Shows

    Marionette puppets have been enacting classic fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast , Goldilocks and the Three Bears , Jack and the Beanstalk...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. TADA!

    Chelsea | Theater

    Vibrant original musicals for family audiences are performed by a cast of talented kids (aged 8–18). Most shows are on weekends, and children...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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