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. Anthology Film Archives

    East Village | Film

    Dedicated to preserving and exhibiting independent and avant-garde film, Anthology Film Archives consists of two intimate screening rooms (seating...Read More

  • 2. Film Forum

    West Village | Film

    In addition to premiering new international features and documentaries that are otherwise hard to catch on the big screen, this nonprofit with...Read More

  • 3. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) films

    Midtown West | Film

    You'll find some of the most engaging international film repertory around at Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters 1 and 2, in the MoMA's lower level...Read More

  • 4. Nitehawk Cinema

    Williamsburg | Film

    The only movie theater of its kind in the New York City area, Nitehawk shows first-run and repertory films in three theater spaces and serves...Read More

  • 5. Angelika Film Center

    Greenwich Village | Film

    Foreign, independent, and specialty films are screened here. Despite its (six) tunnel-like theaters, small screens, and the occasionally audible...Read More

  • 6. IFC Center

    Greenwich Village | Film

    The IFC Center shows a mix of repertory and first-run independent, art-house, and foreign movies as well as shorts (including cartoons). Despite...Read More

  • 7. Maysles Documentary Center

    Harlem | Film

    Founded by legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles, this snug theater showcases an array of independent documentary films as well as panel discussions. ...Read More

  • 8. Metrograph

    Lower East Side | Film

    Exclusive premieres, sometimes with celebrity guest speakers, and an ever-changing calendar of both classic and obscure films lure patrons to...Read More

  • 9. Museum of the Moving Image films

    Astoria | Film

    This museum touts two theaters, including both a show palace and an intimate screening room, where classic Hollywood and foreign titles share...Read More

  • 10. The Paris Theatre

    Midtown West | Film

    Across from the Plaza Hotel stands the Paris Theatre—a rare, stately remnant of the single-screen era. Opened in 1948, it retains its wide screen...Read More

  • 11. Sunshine Cinema

    Lower East Side | Film

    Talk about busy: according to a Village Voice article, this storied building, which reportedly dates back to 1844, has served as "a church...Read More

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