Harlem, New York neighborhood guide

Harlem, New York has a rich history filled with longstanding soul food joints and lively jazz clubs from the 1920's

Apollo Theater
Photograph: Shahar Azran

Harlem is known for its soul food and New York attractions such as the Apollo Theater and its history. Noteworthy Harlem Renaissance leaders include Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Zora Neale Hurston, Cab Calloway and more. Amid beloved landmarks, spend a day indulging in some of the nabe’s prize jewels: a bakery that serves cookies the size of your fist, a finger-lickin’-good eatery with ribs and the best BBQ that melts in your mouth and a no-frills music venue showcasing some of the best jazz musicians in the city.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide of Manhattan, NY

How do I get to Harlem, New York?
You can get to Harlem, New York by taking the the D, 2, 3, A or C train uptown. Get off at 125 St.

How to have the perfect day in Harlem, New York

Start here: Levain Bakery
If Father Time is on your side, you may stumble into this pastry haven just as its perfectly plump chocolate-chip cookies exit the oven. Needless to say, these sweets—displayed among other delectable creations such as Bomboloncini (jam-filled doughnuts, dusted with powdered sugar and ready to be popped into your mouth)—are just as satisfying at room temperature.

Eat here: Sylvia's
Harlem natives head to this soul-food favorite for mom-approved chicken and waffles, hearty meat loaf and gooey mac and cheese that warms the heart as much as it does the stomach. Homestyle cooking comes with kindred hospitality: The restaurant has a cozy vibe with photographs of famous customers that line the walls.

Drink here: 67 Orange Street
This two-story vintage-style lounge is a hot spot for after-work drinks. Join the crowd and sip your way through $14 cocktails such as the Color Purple (gin, lavender bitters, blackberries, crème de violette, St-Germain, lemon and simple syrup).

Do this: Bill's Place
Jazz up your life at this modest BYOB speakeasy that lacks pizzazz, but certainly makes up for its humble interior with a beguiling lineup of talent. Make a reservation (a requirement) to literally rub elbows with other bebop-loving revelers while jiving musicians, including sax man and bar owner Bill Saxton, stun you with their skills. Even Billie Holiday graced the stage here during her teenage crooning days.

Time Out tip for Harlem, New York
Walk off your meal by sauntering up to Marcus Garvey Park, and head to the upper level, where you'll find a great view of the surrounding environs. Take a seat at the recently revamped Richard Rodgers Amphitheater, which plays host to SummerStage shows. — Andrew Frisicano

Things to do in Harlem, New York

The best things to do Harlem
Things to do

The best things to do Harlem

The three places you must visit in Hamilton Heights

The three places you must visit in Hamilton Heights

The best Harlem restaurants in NYC

The best Harlem restaurants in NYC

The best hotels in Harlem

The best hotels in Harlem

Cheap eats in Harlem: Best nosh on a budget

Cheap eats in Harlem: Best nosh on a budget

Best brunch places in Harlem: The weekend starts here

Best brunch places in Harlem: The weekend starts here


Tom C

If you’re a white tourist, don’t go into Harlem. We walked around and stopped to look at the Apollo theater walk of fame and some guys (selling cd’s) were very guick to blame us for slavery. They were aggresive and called my girlfriend some very nasty things. They said I used the N-word, to rally other people against us and chased us to the subway. A very unpleasant experience, just don’t go since there are plenty of other beautifull places to visit in New York. Really don’t!

Ray C

Consisting of three sections - West Harlem, which includes Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill and Manhattanville, Central Harlem, which includes Bradhurst and Strivers Row, and East Harlem, which includes Spanish Harlem - Harlem is experiencing a broad-based revival.

To find out more about Harlem, check out the neighborhood guide on RentHop, a nationwide apartment rental website: https://www.renthop.com/nyc/harlem-apartments-for-rent

Rochelle Q

Now I know nice places to go thank you

damian L

If you're in West Harlem looking for something to do...Try these places. 

Harlem Bar-B-Q on Lenox ave. between 137th & 138th - Great BBQ!  

Harlem Bar-B-Q - 2367 Frederick Douglas blvd. (8th ave.) at 127th - The original HBBQ. Awesome wings & frozen drinks.

Cantina 1838 - 1838 7th ave. at 111th street. Right near the park.. Great drinks & Mexican

LuLu's Taqueria - 553 Manhattan ave. at 123rd. - Delicious Mexican food. Great weekend brunch.

Get off "restaurant row" & try something different. 

Noche R

Revolution Books 437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Avenue @ 132nd Street, 

Holiday Party and Weekend, Dec 12-13
Saturday11 AM Children's Reading Javaka Steptoe, illustrator: Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix
Afternoon: Readings, Conversations, Surprises, and LOTS OF BOOKS & GIFTS!
Evening: HOLIDAY PARTY Music and more
SundayAfternoon: ART SALE The first of a series of Revolution Books Art Auctions: Artwork donated by artists and collectors to support Revolution Books: Posters, Prints, historic African Masks & Sculptures
Danielle G

RAW SPACE (2031 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. BLVD) is home to IKAG (I Kissed A Girl) Parties. The next one is December 11th. Check us out on Meetup - SNATCH NYC

Very B

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Emmanuel Pena

Check out new coffee shop in Harlem 404 Lenox av. Astor row cafe