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Alicia Keys
Photograph: Zoltan Tombor

10 of Alicia Keys’s favorite spots in New York City

From Harlem to Downtown, Alicia shares her most frequented spots in NYC.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys was born and raised in NYC, so you know she’s got a full lineup of favorite spots. 

Keys was born in Hell’s Kitchen in 1981 and was raised in Harlem, where she got to grow up around prestigious institutions like the Apollo Theater and the National Black Theater. 

Today, she lives in La Jolla, California with her husband Kasseem Dean aka Swizz Beatz and two children, but when she visits her hometown there are at least 10 places she loves to stop at. Apple Maps worked with Keys to craft a map featuring her picks that includes information, links and reviews of each place so you can visit them, too!

We’ve gathered them below:

Alicia Keys at Global Citizen concert
Photograph: Taso HountasAlicia Keys at Global Citizen concert

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1. The Butcher’s Daughter

“I love the Butcher’s Daughter, it is sooo good. This is a [vegetarian] spot, but they also do it in a regular way. I like to eat dairy-free and meat-free, so I love how they make so many delicious things you can eat, and you don’t even realize that is vegan. That’s the best. I’m a tea fanatic and I love their teas. They have a golden turmeric latte that’s amazing. It’s in a really cool neighborhood downtown. It’s beautiful, easy, and super casual. I love this place!”

The Butcher's Daughter Williamsburg
Photograph: Courtesy Sergio Villatoro

2. The Class

“The Class is one of my favorite workout places. Taryn Toomey is a very beautiful soul. Here it is all about challenging your mind to think about the endless reservoir of strength inside you. They use sounds and movements to remind you to push through hard things. The atmosphere is beautiful. It’s an intimate studio, but it’s also a boutique to find great gifts. I go here with my homegirls or by myself. It definitely feels like a safe place to be.”

3. Radio City Music Hall

“This is, of course, one of my favorites. I had some of the best memories here recently. I did two shows back-to-back here for my world tour, the Alicia + Keys World Tour, and it was magic. The most beautiful part about Radio City is not only how it looks—it’s one of the most stunning and aesthetically beautiful theaters in the world—but I also love how it’s a relatively big place, but it just feels so intimate. It feels like you’re with your family, with your friends.”

Radio City Music Hall
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Miss Lily’s

“This is another spectacular place in New York. This is Jamaican food at its finest. The energy and the vibe in this place is unforgettable. You walk in there, the reggae music is playing, and you just are in an instant vibe. The food is incredible. This is an amazing place—the energy, the vibe, the music, the food. It’s all you’re looking for. You can go with friends, you can go late night. It’s a great night spot.”

5. Marcus Garvey Park

“Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem is one of my favorite parks. I grew up in Harlem and I spent a lot of time in this park, especially when I needed to decompress, be easy, and when I needed a little bit of time in the green in the city. It was right down the street from the apartment I was living in. I remember walking here and having some really important times with just myself. The park is a really special memory for me, and Harlem is a favorite.”

6. Apollo Theater

“The Apollo Theater, of course, is one of one! The minute you walk in there, you feel the energy of history and greatness. The shows are always going to be electric. It’s literally one of the most special theaters in the world just because so much has happened there and so many people have performed there. When I go there, I just feel all this performance greatness. It’s right there for me. I love it there. You are always going to catch a great show at the Apollo, and it’s beautiful.”

Apollo Theater Salutes Harlem Week/Amateur Nights
Photograph: Courtesy Shahar AzranApollo Theater

7. The Bowery Mission

“It’s one of my favorite places to visit in New York. Definitely during the holidays when the family and I go there and we help feed the community in that area. The people are so nice there. They are really focused on doing this beautiful, good work. I definitely encourage you to visit the Bowery Mission if you’re looking for a place to donate, or even looking to spend time and reach out to people and impact them in a beautiful way.”

8. AKT

“AKT is one of my favorite workout places. They are incredible and [the founder] Anna Kaiser is tremendous. It’s a mixture of tons of cardio, but you also do amazing dance routines. The location is really upbeat. You walk into a community that you can connect with and love. It’s hard. Everyone is sweating and the music is bumping—this place is alive! If you’re looking for a way to get yourself in shape, this is the place. You feel you’re in the neighborhood with your friends.”

9. National Black Theatre

“This is another incredible place in Harlem that’s just so special. The history is just pouring out of the walls. All the greats have performed there or developed projects there. If you’re looking for interesting theater, something that’s going to spark your mind, then the National Black Theatre is one of these legendary locations that you’re going to love. I remember as a little girl seeing my mother perform here. This is a staple to the actor community.”

10. Park Avenue Armory

“The Armory is a really special place. I saw a Nick Cave exhibit there and that was really cool. It’s very interactive. The way that the exhibits are put on here is supposed to really break the norm of how shows are put on. Every time something is going on there, you’ll have an experience that’s special. The atmosphere is inviting but very artistic and beautiful. The place is pretty big. I can go here with my homegirls, my husband, my mother—there’s definitely something for everyone.”

Carrie Mae Weems, The Shape of Things at Park Avenue Armory,
Photograph: Stephanie Berger Photography/Park Avenue Armory

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