Expand your cultural horizons this season. New York City is the epicenter of exceptional theater, diverse performing arts, and of course, major Broadway productions. Any day of the week, any time of year, you can see everything from a classic jazz ensemble and an award-winning musical to an underground impromptu show. Anything is possible in NYC.
Use our guide to New York City's booming theater and performing arts scene to discover the best way to experience the performances. We're covering the classics, the must-sees, and the lesser-known venues.
Classic NYC Venues You Don't Want to Miss:
NYC is home to New York-style pizza, exclusive shops, and a little over 8 million people. The city's also home to some of the most well-known performing arts venues in the world. It was a challenge, but we dwindled it down to our top 3 recommendations for classic and iconic NYC venues.
The Met - The Metropolitan Opera House is a quintessential stop on any NYC trip. The impressive rosters of singers include both international and American artists. The operas in the Met's repertoire include everything from 18th-century Baroque and 19th-century Bel canto to the Minimalism of the late 20th and 21st century. Talk about variety!
Carnegie Hall - Carnegie Hall is the world-renowned Midtown Manhattan concert venue. From Billie Holiday to The Beatles, an honor roll of artists representing the finest of every genre has filled Carnegie Hall throughout its 130-year history. Today, Carnegie Hall hosts a wide range of performers on its three great stages.
(photo credit: Aia)
Lincoln Center- If you're a classical music buff, the Lincoln Center is one of the best places for live classical music performances. You can catch world-class orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic or listen to delightful piano concertos and string quartets here.
Must-See Broadway Theatres:
Broadway is such a significant part of NYC culture. There are 46 Broadway theatres in NYC, each with its unique flair. We're sharing our picks for the top Broadway theatres that are worth making the trip to NYC for.
Lyric Theatre - This Broadway powerhouse opened its doors in 1903 and never looked back. The Lyric has hosted some of the most famous Broadway shows in history. Located in the heart of Times Square, this immaculate theatre is a must on any performing arts tour of New York City.
Tip* There's a private bar called "The Ambassador Lounge" inside the theatre that's often unnoticed by theatergoers. Grab a pre-show drink in the exclusive private lounge!
Gershwin Theatre - The Gershwin Theatre is one of the largest theatres on Broadway, with over 1,900 seats. Since opening in 1973, The Gershwin Theatre has hosted some of the best and longest-running shows on Broadway.
(photo credit: NYtix)
Minskoff Theatre - You may recognize the iconic outdoor theatre entrance with black columns and yellow glowing lights. The Minskoff Theatre hosted the original West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Lion King. Today, the theatre still hosts many Broadway classics.
Currently, the Minskoff Theatre welcomes Disney's The Lion King.
Other theatres we love are The Hudson Theatre, The Lyceum Theatre, and The Lunt-Fontanne Broadway Theatre!
The Best Jazz Clubs in NYC
The breadth of unique jazz venues in NYC includes legendary landmarks, modern lounges, and underground joints throughout the boroughs. You can find exactly the type of live jazz experience you want in NYC.
Dizzy's - According to legend Tony Bennett, Dizzy's is "the best jazz room in the city." Dizzy's is an intimate jazz club in the heart of The Lincoln Center. The club welcomes modern-day greats and some of the best upcoming stars from the jazz world.
55 Bar - This Greenwich Village gem has been open for over a century! Come here to see some of the most innovative names in modern jazz in an intimate, informal space.
(photo credit: Flickr)
Blue Note - Blue Note is one of the biggest and most legendary jazz clubs in NYC. Some of the biggest names in American jazz, including Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, and Joe Lovano, have performed here.
(photo credit: Pinterest)
Some other favorites include Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club Supper Club, and Terra Blues.
Additional Stops to Add to Your List:
We're not quite done yet. Before you go, we're leaving you with a few other places you'll want to check out while you're in NYC. The New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948. With a roster of nearly 100 extraordinary dancers, The New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world. If you're a ballet fan, seeing a show here will be an unforgettable experience.
Have you ever considered experimental theatre? To touch some of the lesser-known spots in NYC, the (still very famous) La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in Manhattan's East Village hosts some of the best off-off-Broadway productions you'll come across. La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre and is the oldest surviving off-off-Broadway theater in New York City.
Hey, you might just discover the next big thing. After all, La MaMa has helped produce and create legendary shows, including Godspell, Torch Song Trilogy, and Blue Man Group.
How to Get Around NYC:
If you're visiting The Big Apple on a trip, you'll want to pack in as many performances as possible. One of the best ways to experience the arts and everything NYC has to offer is by foot! Walking allows you to soak up the big city's culture, sights, smells (good and bad). If you can't walk to your destination, the subway is the next-best way to get around.
That rounds out our NYC Guide to All Things Performing Arts. To Broadway and beyond, performance art in New York is undoubtedly thought-provoking and diverse. After all, where else can you explore an array of performance series and multiple award-winning theater shows in one city?