New York is the city where artists go to make it big. While the cultural significance of places like the Chelsea Hotel is no longer relevant, the city still attracts artists who are ahead of the times. Unlike other cities, such as Los Angeles, the artists who come to New York tend to be more independent-minded and radical. There are many mainstream venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, but New York music enthusiasts know better than to spend enormous amounts of money just to see corporatized artists in an overcrowded and impersonal setting.


Here are just a few of the many concert venues that music-heads in NYC frequent. The venues are roughly categorized by aesthetic, historical, and cultural significance.

Elegant And Historical NYC Venues

Carnegie Hall

Address: 881 7th Ave, New York, NY

Built in the late 1800s by Andrew Carnegie, this building is a New York landmark. While the concerts hosted at this hall are not necessarily popular with younger crowds, it's worth visiting this monument for the historical and aesthetic experience alone. The building is an exemplary legacy of classic renaissance architecture. Fittingly, most of the concerts performed at Carnegie Hall are classical concertos, orchestras, and philharmonics. Tickets are generally not very expensive, but nonetheless, it's an opportunity to dress sharp and experience high art in one of New York's oldest and finest venues.

United Palace Theatre

Address: 4140 Broadway, New York, NY

The slogan for this theatre aptly described it:

One of Manhattan's Most Spectacular Theatres

United Palace Theatre is quite possibly the most unique venue in New York. Interestingly situated in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Uptown Manhattan, the theatre functions as a church, performance hall, and classical cinema. The neoclassical architecture and tasteful ornamentation give this venue a flair of old-fashioned dignity in a sacred atmosphere. What can be said for sure is that most concerts that take place at United Palace are a sanctified and elevated respite from the materialism of modern metropolitanism.

Visitors interested in transcendent artists such as Beach House and Sigur Ros should keep an eye on this venue.

Blue Note Jazz Club

Address: 131 W 3rd St, New York, NY

A legendary cultural institution from the 80s, Blue Note is a must-visit for anyone with an ear for jazz. The emergence of jazz in downtown Manhattan was a milestone of cultural progression. In its heyday, Blue Note hosted jazz giants like Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown. Nowadays, a rotation of resident musicians entertains diners and drinkers on most evenings. Often, modern jazz giants like Thundercat perform here, bringing in enthusiastic and friendly crowds from all over the world. The Club is open to families and upholds an unpretentious environment.

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Notable Mentions:

Hudson Broadway Theatre

  • Address: 141 W 44th St, New York, NY

Hammerstein Ballroom

  • Address: 311 W 34th St, New York, NY

The Bowery Ballroom

  • Address: 6 Delancey St, New York, NY

Rough Trade NYC

  • Address: 64 N 9th St. Williamsburg, NY

Related: Top 10 Destinations For Music Lovers

NYC Venues For Independent Artists

Music Hall Williamsburg

Address: 66 N 6th St, Brooklyn NY

In the heart of hipster Brooklyn, Music Hall Williamsburg is a highly coveted performance venue for bands and artists with select audiences, cult followings, and eccentric styles. Most of the time, concerts are opened by up-and-coming artists. Every now and again, the opening act is better than the main performance, so it's a good way to discover relatively unknown musicians and a solid reason to arrive early. Concerts are performed on most days of the week. Some notable bands that have played at Music Hall include LCD Sound System and Crystal Fighters.

Music Hall is owned by AEG Presents. The company owns other NYC venues including Brooklyn Steel, Terminal 5, and Webster Hall. Since these venues are owned by the same company, they can be grouped together.

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Address: 261 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Technically, this venue, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, is a Polish community center. The days of serving the traditionally Polish neighborhood are mostly over, as New York's ethnic neighborhoods are diluting out of existence. Without a community to serve, Warsaw found a new purpose - hosting concerts. The vibe is intimate, and occasionally, drowned in sound and color, one feels a sense of history in ephemeral flashes. The cultural roots are palpable.

Bands that play here are often foreign and less known, which makes it all the more special.

Market Hotel

Address: 1140 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY

This absolute gem of a venue is a pocket of underground Brooklyn history. It's located in a 150-year-old building in the middle of the infamous Flushing Triangle in Bushwick. Everything from the neighborhood to the building to the interior exudes ratchet old-school cool. It's easy to transport back to the 1970s and imagine the pioneers of New York's counter-culture congregating in this inconspicuous old building to escape the immure of mainstream scrutiny. To this day, for those who can hang, there are plenty of under-the-radar concerts and guerilla events in this relatively hidden venue.

Related: Why Visiting MoMA PS1 Should Be On Everyone's New York City Bucket List

Notable Mentions:

Union Hall

  • Address: 702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY

The Bell House

  • Address: 149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY

The Mercury Lounge

  • Address: 217 E Houston St, New York, NY

Knitting Factory

  • Address: 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, NY

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