New York City attracts tons of musicians, both as residents and as traveling artists who come in to play shows. It is a wonderful destination for music lovers, as any night of the week you can find dozens of performances ranging from small indie rock shows to jazz sets to giant concerts at Radio City or Barclay’s Center. It’s worth it to check out concert lists a few months in advance because shows can sell out quickly. Here are some of the very best venues that feature amazing live music in NYC, whether you’re a tourist or a local.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Williamsburg has long been home to some of the best of NYC’s music scene and the same still holds true today. Music Hall of Williamsburg is run by local promoter Bowery Presents and is a Brooklyn version of the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. It’s actually a bit of a step up, though, because there is more space for concert-goers to stretch out and it has elevated areas for better viewing. Acts vary from indie-rock bands to hip-hop artists, and it is definitely one of the best spots in the city to catch a show.
Beacon Theatre is a delightful spot to check out both for the music and for the space itself, which is a gorgeous old vaudeville theater. They book fairly big acts here, from stars like PJ Harvey and Steely Dan to Ryan Adams and Wilco. It’s a vast and expansive space located on the Upper West Side. Check out their website to see their list of upcoming shows.
Radio City Music Hall
This famous Madison Square Garden venue has been operating since the 1930s and brings in some of the biggest acts from around the world. It is a beautiful space with Art Deco details, a giant stage and the capabilities for a lot of theatrics, so get ready to be dazzled! Radio City Music Hall plays host to the annual Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, and has also had artists like Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and Bjork perform, just to name a few.
Webster Hall was built in 1886 and is still known as one of the city’s greatest concert venues. Back in the 1950,s it was a spot where Tito Puente and Woody Guthrie would perform. In the 1980s, it was known as The Ritz, and hosted amazing acts like U2, Eric Clapton, Guns N’ Roses and more. You can see all kinds of acts perform here, from indie bands to metal artists to hip-hop stars. Just try to get there early if you want to get close to the stage because it does get packed!
If you’re looking for a smaller spot to hear local artists play, head to Saint Vitus. It’s a small club in Greenpoint that has a low-key ambience, decorated with all-black walls and dead roses hanging above the bar. It’s one of the best places in the city to see metal bands, hard rock and experimental music, so if that’s your thing you will love it here! They have live acts booked pretty much seven nights a week, but make sure to check out their show listing before you head over.
If live music is what you’re after, you’ll have to trouble finding something to entertain you while you’re in New York. Check out one of these venues to find a full listing of bands and venues for the dates you’re in town.