Top Concert Venues in New York City
Where in New York City do the bands play and their fans gather
From the emergence of jazz in the 1940s, to the growth of the punk rock scene surrounding CBGB’s in the 1970s and 1980s, to the birth of hip-hop in Brooklyn, New York City has arguably remained at the forefront of music, arts and culture for decades, cementing its place in history. New York City is not only a must for touring bands to play concerts, but it’s a breeding ground for legendary musicians, like Bob Dylan, The Notorious B.I.G., and Miles Davis. A diverse range of concerts and musical performances can be found here, such as alternative rock, hip-hop, ska, blues, folk, salsa, jazz, and techno. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a local band with a growing buzz at The Bowery Ballroom, or a big-name headliner at Madison Square Garden, New York City is a true music lover’s paradise. We’ve laid out the hottest concert venues in New York City so you know where to go to hear your favorite genres.
Radio City Music Hall
(1260 6th Avenue, 212-307-7171)
Radio City Music Hall hosts film premieres, concerts, and special events. Although Radio City is most commonly known for the Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes, the venue has a long and varied history of entertaining audiences with legends like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and more up to date music acts like 50 Cent, Eminem, and AC/DC.
(311 West 34th Street, 212-279-7740)
Located at Manhattan Center Studios, the 12,000-square-foot Hammerstein Ballroom has seen a variety of award ceremonies, comedy acts, fashion shows, professional wrestling events, and musical performances, with acts like Wu-Tang Clan, Britney Spears, Guns N’ Roses, and many other bands. Hammerstein Ballroom has a hand-painted mural on its 75-foot high ceiling and three balconies overlooking the stage and main floor.
Madison Square Garden
(4 Pennsylvania Plaza, 212-465-6741)
One of the most famous arenas in the world is located in Midtown, home to sports teams like the NBA’s New York Knicks and NHL’s New York Rangers. Other events include dog shows, political conventions, circuses, theatricals, and of course major live musical acts as Madison Square Garden has a capacity of 20,000 for concerts.
(239 West 52nd Street, 212-247-0200)
Roseland Ballroom is a music venue, concert, and dance hall. Famous performers such as The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Nirvana have all graced the stage. The former ice rink has also hosted parties and premieres, live album recordings, and a ballroom dance scene from Malcolm X was taped here.
The Bowery Ballroom
(6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111)
The Bowery Ballroom, part of The Bowery Presents group, has become one of the most beloved music venues in New York City, with a wide theatrical stage, wraparound balcony, and bars on each level. Well-known touring bands as well as local acts are known to frequent this popular spot.
(217 East Houston Street, 212-260-4700)
The Bowery Presents’ Mercury Lounge is a small, intimate live music venue located in the Lower East Side where big name bands as well as up-and-coming local bands are known to play. The venue floor is standing room only, but there are benches along the walls and a bar area in the back.
(125 East 11th Street, 212-353-1600)
Webster Hall is one of New York City’s premiere concert venues in the East Village with regular live band performances, and it is used as a nightclub every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Webster Hall has been a center of cultural growth in New York City since 1886 as one of the first modern nightclubs, and showcasing emerging acts over the years like Tina Turner, B.B. King, and Prince.
The Knitting Factory
(74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006)
Reviving the downtown arts scene when founded in 1987, this music club and concert house offers live jazz and rock band performances, along with poetry readings, film screenings, performance art, and dance. The Knitting Factory is fairly intimate, with the largest of the three performance spaces holding 400 people.
(431 West 16th Street, 212-414-5994)
Located in the Meatpacking District, the Highline Ballroom is a two-story, 700-person capacity concert venue with little decor, two bars, hardwood flooring, and state of the art sound and lighting. Performances are generally intimate and the genres of music range greatly, from Ludacris to Paul McCartney.
NOKIA Theatre Times Square
(1515 Broadway at West 44th Street, 212-930-1950)
One of the newer concert venues to New York City, the NOKIA Theatre in Times Square opened in 2005. As a venue in Times Square, it wouldn't’t be right without an 85-foot-long LED high definition marquee screen where the name of the event can be displayed outside. Concerts can also be broadcast live from the stage directly to the marquee.
The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
(17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800)
Formerly known as Irving Plaza until it was renamed by Live Nation in April 2007, The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza is a mid-sized concert hall with a capacity of 1,200, and hosts live music acts, bands, theater, and dance performances. Located near Union Square Park, it’s known for hosting a mix of well known artists as well as artists on the rise.
(425 Lafayette Street, 212-539-8777)
Joe’s Pub is an East Village showcase venue for live music, poetry, cabaret, and comedy acts, with plush velvet couches, and soft, warm lighting, giving it a cozy yet hip feel. Musical offerings are eclectic, most often featuring jazz, but also R&B, swing, country, rock, and world music concerts.
(610 West 56th Street, 212-665-3832)
Terminal 5 is best known as the worst of The Bowery Presents venues in New York City. The sound quality and sightlines aren’t great, but it manages to draw famous bands like Coheed & Cambria, Jimmy Eat World, and M.I.A.