6 of the Coolest Entertainment Venues in NYC

by Asako Maruoka / Feb 09, 2015 /
Asako Maruoka's picture

If you want to hear great music, New York City is one of the best places in the world to visit. Beyond music, the Big Apple is home to any and all entertainment you may be looking for, whether it's sports, comedy, or something else entirely. From the ultra-famous to the hip and indie, these venues host great shows worth checking out next time you're in the city.

 

NYC at night. Photographic File of the Paris Bureau of the New York Times, 1935, adapted by Wandering Educators

NYC at night. Photographic File of the Paris Bureau of the New York Times, 1935, adapted by Wandering Educators

 

Madison Square Garden

No list of NYC venues would be complete without the self-proclaimed "world's most famous arena."

Madison Square Garden hosts everything from the top music artists to sporting events to comedians. The Garden has a bar and grill on its third floor, and offers behind-the-scenes tours.

 

Madison Square Garden

Wikimedia Commons: Ludovic Bertron

 

Bowery Ballroom

For fantastic indie music you may or may not have heard of (but will be downloading from iTunes as soon as you get home), look no further than The Bowery Ballroom.  Most shows are 18+, and tickets generally run between $15 and $30. Their extensive calendar often boasts multiple acts of different musical stripes in one night. Its Lower East Side neighborhood is a pretty cool place to stay, too. Find a great NYC hotel nearby to enjoy the full experience that the Bowery area has to offer.

 

Bowery Ballroom, NYC

Bowery Ballroom. Wikimedia Commons: Tony

 

Carnegie Hall

Go to Midtown's classiest venue if you want to hear top notch classical music. Some of the best orchestras, conductors, and individual performers in the world come to Carnegie Hall. Their season is incredible. Even if you'd rather see guitars and amps up on stage, the building itself is worth a tour. Three performance spaces and a museum make this a must-see for fans of great architecture.

 

Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall. Wikimedia Commons: David Samuel

 

Pete's Candy Store

If Manhattan is a little too touristy and crowded, head down to Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. They have live music every night, a vegan barbecue every Sunday, and a quizz-off trivia game challenge (with a $75 bar tab first prize) every Wednesday. Every alternating Thursday they host literary readings as well, if you're in the mood for something quieter.

 

Pete's Candy Store, NYC

Wikimedia Commons: Kent Westlund

 

Village Vanguard

Greenwich Village's premiere spot for great jazz, the Village Vanguard has a 70 year history of putting on top jazz performers in a little basement room with phenomenal acoustics. Every night has two sets: one at 8:30 and one at 10:30. Buy tickets in advance if you want to be sure to get in, because the small space fills up fast.

 

Village Vanguard at night, 1976.

Village Vanguard at night, 1976. Wikimedia Commons: Tom Marcello

 

Rockwood Music Hall

Rockwood Music Hall has an ambitious schedule and setup. A new performer takes the stage almost every hour on not one, but three different stages. Many of their shows are free, and all are 21 and over. Visit to hear a lot of great artists you didn't know you were missing out on.

 

Rockwood Music Hall

New York in 100 Pictures by InThisLight Photography, on Flickr

Whether you want to don fancy clothes for a night out at the orchestra or discover new music at a free show, New York has just the thing if you know where to look. Go for what you know or take an adventure and discover something completely new. Don't forget to eat!