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. 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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  • 3. Kings Theatre

    Dance

    Dormant since 1977, this grand and opulent 1929 movie palace reopened as a 3,000-seat performing-arts venue in 2015, with an exciting schedule...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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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  • 7. Apollo Theater

    Harlem | Music

    Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and James Brown are just a few of the world-class performers who have appeared on this equally famed stage...Read More

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  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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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