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. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 4. The Public Theater

    East Village | Theater

    Fresh, exciting theater keeps people talking about the Public Theater, which was founded in 1954 but has most recently seen such hits as Lin...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. Classic Stage Company

    East Village | Theater

    At the CSC's cozy 199-seat theater, you can see work by Shakespeare as well as excellent revivals—such as work by Tennessee Williams or Eugene...Read More

  • 7. Dixon Place

    Lower East Side | Theater

    Founded in the 1980s, this small nonprofit theater continues to host worthy, and frequently unconventional and hilarious, performances of theater...Read More

  • 8. HERE

    SoHo | Theater

    Celebrating all manner of contemporary, genre-bending productions, the original home of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and Basil Twist...Read More

  • 9. La MaMa E.T.C.

    East Village | Theater

    The late Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa E.T.C. in 1961 in a small Manhattan basement. Since that time, the Experimental Theatre Club has grown...Read More

  • 10. 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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  • 11. New York Theatre Workshop

    East Village | Theater

    Works by new and established playwrights anchor this theater's repertoire. Jonathan Larson's Rent got its start here before going to Broadway...Read More

  • 12. Performance Space 122 (PS122)

    East Village | Theater

    Founded in 1980 inside a 19th-century public school building, Performance Space 122 has helped launch the careers of many downtown musicians...Read More

  • 13. Playbill

    Theater

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  • 14. Playwrights Horizons

    Midtown West | Theater

    Known for its support of new work by American playwrights, this Off-Broadway theater was the first home for eventual Broadway hits such as ...Read More

  • 15. Roundabout Theatre Company

    Midtown West | Theater

    This nonprofit theatrical company is known for its revivals of classic musicals and plays. Its main stage, the American Airlines Theatre, is...Read More

  • 16. Signature Theatre Company

    Midtown West | Theater

    Designed by the architect Frank Gehry, the company's Pershing Square Signature Center houses three theater spaces. The Tony Award–winning theater...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. TheaterMania

    Theater

    ...Read More

  • 19. TKTS South Street Seaport

    Financial District | Theater

    ...Read More

  • 20. TKTS Times Square

    Midtown West | Theater

    ...Read More

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