New York City’s Entertainment Scene
There are a lot of different reasons to travel to New York City. Some go for the sights, some for the food and drink, some for specific events, and most for the total experience. But in the midst of New York’s unlimited appeals is one of the busiest and most incredible entertainment scenes anywhere, which is enough of a reason to head to the Big Apple.
Simply put, New York tends to attract the biggest names in show business and sports, and it has the venues to support them. If this is part of what you look for in picking a destination, read on for a few words on some of the city’s best entertainment venues.
New Amsterdam Theatre
Boasting internal décor reminiscent of European royal opera houses and a name that harkens back to New York’s origins, the New Amsterdam Theatre is full of historical atmosphere. It’s located just a few blocks south of bustling, ultra-modern Times Square and yet, according to a city theater guide, it’s one of the two oldest surviving Broadway venues. It’s the perfect spot for those fascinated with the history of theater in the city.
The Belasco Theatre
It’s nowhere near as old as the New Amsterdam (which was originally constructed in 1903), but The Belasco is still among the older Broadway theaters. It offers the same old-world, vaguely European atmosphere with a slightly cleaner, more modern touch. For my money, this is the most beautiful of the New York theaters.
The St. James Theatre
Located in the heart of the theater district and having hosted shows off and on since opening in 1927 (as The Erlanger), The St. James has long been among the more popular venues. It’s reached new levels of fame lately after serving as the primary filming location for the Oscar-winning 2014 film Birdman.
Claire Tow Theater
If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art venue at which to enjoy a top-notch musical, symphony performance, or opera, the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center is tough to beat. Its gorgeous, ultra-modern design is a pleasure in itself, and as discussed here, its terrace sets it apart from other theaters by providing a unique place to congregate between shows and acts.
Radio City Music Hall
If you’re more interested in catching a big act traveling through the city, look no further than Radio City Music Hall. The biggest concerts often take place at the major sports arenas (which I’ll cover below), but this is arguably the busiest and most spectacular music-first venue in the city for popular acts.
BB King Blues Club
New York’s Jazz and Blues clubs, and increasingly even the Rock clubs downtown, are renowned for attracting incredible talent—sometimes established, sometimes unknown, and sometimes on the way up. This page on New York travel highlights the BB King Blues Club, along with the Apollo Theatre, as one of the best venues in this category for a memorable live music performance.
It may not be as special as the historic ballpark that was abandoned after 2008 and eventually torn down, but the new Yankee Stadium is in some ways a replica of that historic site. It stands across the street from the old stadium grounds and, history aside, is as stunning a venue as there is in the country to watch a baseball game.
Madison Square Garden
Near the top of this list of sports venues to visit before you die, Madison Square Garden is a treat no matter what you see there. It’s probably best known as the home of the New York Knicks, and despite the franchise’s rocky history of late, the arena tends to be packed for home games. MSG is also a stellar concert venue and the home stadium for the NHL’s New York Rangers and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
These are some of the highlights for those drawn to New York City for its reputation for live events. Each of these destinations offers an incredible and memorable experience, and can be worth the whole trip to New York.