Live music: Classic New York venues

Soak in the city at its finest

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Apollo Theater

  • Price band: 4/4

Visitors may think they know this venerable theater from TV’s Showtime at the Apollo. But as the saying goes, the small screen adds about ten pounds: The city’s home of R&B and soul music is actually quite cozy. Known for launching the careers of Ella Fitzgerald and D’Angelo, among many others, the Apollo continues to mix veteran talents such as Dianne Reeves with younger artists such as John Legend. For a taste of classic New York, check out the Apollo’s now-legendary Amateur Night showcase, which has been running since 1934.

  1. 253 W 125th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) and Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave)
Book online

Beacon Theatre

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

This spacious former vaudeville theater, resplendent after a recent renovation, hosts a variety of popular acts, from "Weird Al" Yankovic to Crosby, Stills & Nash; once a year, the Allman Brothers take over for a lengthy residency. While the vastness can be daunting to performers and audience alike, the gaudy interior and uptown location make you feel as though you’re having a real night out on the town.  

  1. 2124 Broadway at 74th St
Book online

Radio City Music Hall

  • Price band: 3/4

Few rooms scream "New York City!" more than this gilded hall, which has recently drawn Leonard Cohen, Drake and TV on the Radio as headliners. The greatest challenge for any performer is not to be upstaged by the awe-inspiring Art Deco surroundings. On the other hand, those same surroundings lend historic heft to even the flimsiest showing. Bookings are all over the map; expect everything from seasonal staples like the Rockettes to an evening with Charlie Sheen. 

  1. 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St
More info

The Town Hall

Acoustics at the 1921 "people’s auditorium" are superb, and there’s no doubting the gravitas of the Town Hall’s surroundings—the building was designed by illustrious architects McKim, Mead & White as a meeting house for a suffragist organisation. George Benson, Grizzly Bear and Lindsey Buckingham have performed here in recent times, and smart indie songwriters such as the Magnetic Fields have set up shop for a number of nights.

  1. 123 W 43rd St between Sixth Ave and Broadway
More info

United Palace Theatre

This renovated movie house, which was once a vaudeville theater, dates from the 1930s. And it really does feel as if you’ve entered a palace here, with its shimmering chandeliers, ornate detailed ceiling and gold-drenched corridors. The venue’s solid booking has ranged, over the past few years, from popular young acts such as Adele, Vampire Weekend and Bon Iver, to stalwarts of the music world like Bob Dylan and the Allman Brothers Band. At the top end of Manhattan, far beyond the traditional nightlife or tourist zone, the theater is nevertheless easily accessible by subway.

  1. 4140 Broadway at 175th St
More info

Carnegie Hall

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Artistic director Clive Gillinson continues to put his stamp on Carnegie Hall. The stars—from orchestras to neoclassical stars like Joanna Newsom, and mavericks like Keith Jarrett— shine brightly as ever inside this renowned concert hall.

  1. 154 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves
More info

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