Harlem is an exciting neighborhood in Manhattan. It is famous for its warm and cozy jazz clubs, soul food institutions, and African-American culture. It is also home to amazing hotels and Airbnb vacation rentals. This neighborhood comprises of a mix of 19th century brownstones and contemporary high-rises. In the early 20th century, Harlem was the center stage of the Harlem Renaissance. This was an African-American-led movement in music, literature, dance, and art. Popular hip-hop dance moves such as the Harlem shake, toe wop and chicken noodle soup originated from here. To explore more of its arts and culture scene, visit places such as Apollo Theater, Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, and National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Harlem has a vibrant music and nightlife scene with popular joints including Bill’s Place, 67 Orange Street, Showman’s Jazz Club, Shrine and Bier International. Scroll down to find out more on things to do in Harlem, New York City.
1. Try American cuisine at Red Rooster
Here at Red Rooster Harlem, it’s always fried chicken time. And our Hot Honey Yardbird is perfectly balanced with a sweet corn succotash and tomato salad.Posted by Red Rooster Harlem on Friday, 16 August 2019
Dine at this restaurant with delectable and creative foods by celeb chef, Marcus Samuelsson. As you step inside, the interior decor exudes a warm and cozy outlook. Admire the original works of art on the wall from visual artists such as Brandon Cox, Charles M. Brow and David Hammons. The menu features comfort food celebrating the roots of American cuisine and the varied culinary traditions of the neighborhood. Using ingredients grown locally by local farmers and artisanal food makers, they create amazing finger-licking dishes that you will definitely love. Enjoy great food, ambiance, and service when dining in this restaurant.
Address: 310 Lenox Avenue, Harlem, NY 10027
Website: Red Rooster
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11.30am - 10.30pm; Fri: 11.30am - 11pm; Sat: 10am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 10pm
2. Listen to live jazz at Bill’s Place
For the jazz fans, this is the place to be. Make a reservation here and get to enjoy quality jazz music in a unique setting. Bill’s Place is Harlem’s only authentic speakeasy that has been in existence since the 1920’s during the Prohibition era. Be taken back in time at this small and cozy joint with live jazz music from famous artists such as Bill Saxton, the Harlem Jazz King who owns the place. Listen to the soothing tunes that will completely drown you into the music. No alcohol is served therefore you are allowed to bring your own booze. Enjoy great performances at an affordable price.
Address: 148 W 133rd St, New York, NY 10030, USA
Website: Bill’s Place
Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 7:30pm - 11:30pm (closed from Mon - Thu & Sun)
3. Spend a day at Marcus Garvey Park
Bring your children to this 20.2-acre (8.1 ha) park for a day of outdoor fun. The park features two playgrounds that also accommodate the handicapped, a 47-foot (14 m) cast-iron Harlem Fire Watchtower, Pelham Fritz Recreation Center, Richard Rogers Amphitheater, a little league baseball field, a dog run with wood chip footing, and a swimming pool that is open during summer. The playgrounds come equipped with slides, fountains, and drawbridges. Bring your kids here to enjoy a fun and energetic day out in the sun.
Marcus Garvey Park
Address: 6316, Mt Morris Park W, New York, NY 10027, United States
Website: Marcus Garvey Park
Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)
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4. Join a free walking tour of Harlem
Explore uptown Harlem through the eyes of a local on this two-hour free walking tour. Meet at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture where the tour starts. Discover the streets of Harlem and learn some of its history. See highlights such as Abyssinian Baptist Church, Apollo Theater, Malcolm X-related sites, Headquarters of William J. Clinton Foundation, and Strivers’ Row. Note that this tour does not include entering the buildings. The tour then comes to an end outside Apollo Theater. After the long walk, treat yourself to some delicious soul food at Sylvia’s Soul-food Restaurant. This is a great way to see Harlem’s famous landmarks.
Free walking tour of Harlem
Website: Free walking tour of Harlem
5. Enjoy a few drinks at 67 Orange Street
Head out to this joint that is known to have some of the best cocktails in Harlem. The restaurant exudes a cozy, vintage speakeasy vibe. Enjoy an extensive selection of drinks that mostly lean towards the classics. A small food menu is also available if you want to grab a bite as you down your refreshing drink. 67 Orange Street provides an exciting and chill spot for that relaxing evening you need to escape the everyday struggles of life.
67 Orange Street
Address: 2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026, USA
Website: 67 Orange Street
Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 5pm - 1am; Wed - Thu: 5pm - 2am; Fri: 5pm - 4am; Sat: 6pm - 4am; Sun: 6pm - 1am
6. Learn more about Latin culture at El Museo del Barrio
We're now open Sundays! Walk around el barrio, enjoy its colors, rhythms and intense cultural richness, and make sure to visit our galleries. We're open until 5pm.Posted by El Museo del Barrio on Sunday, 22 January 2017
Visit New York’s leading Latino, Latin American, and Carribean arts museum. A haven for history and art lovers, this museum offers exhibits on visual and performing arts, cultural celebrations, film and literary works, and educational programs to further enlighten its visitors. The museum boasts over 6,500 collections and exhibitions. Admire its permanent collection that has been divided into four main areas; pre-Columbian/Taíno artifacts, popular traditions, graphics, and modern and contemporary arts. These artworks aim to showcase the history and culture of these groups of people. Visit this museum and explore all it has to show and learn a lot while at it.
El Museo del Barrio
Address: 1230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
Website: El Museo del Barrio
Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 11am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
Price: 5 - 9 USD
7. Watch a performance at Apollo Theater
Buy a ticket to watch a live performance in this lovely theater. It is a music hall that hosts concerts, film screenings, dance performances, theatrical performances, and so much more. Admire the beautiful neo-Classical style of the building that has a seating capacity of 1,506. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the shows by African-American performers. Apollo Theater is also home to Showtime at the Apollo, which is a national television variety show. Feel the thrill that comes with watching a live show at a renowned theater with great acoustics.
Address: 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027, USA
Website: Apollo Theater
8. See the historic houses of Harlem legends at Strivers’ Row
Explore Strivers’ Row which is a historic district in the Harlem neighborhood that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The row of houses found here were constructed between 1891 to 1893. They include red brick and brownstone buildings, yellow brick and white limestone with terra cotta trim buildings, and, dark brick, brownstone and terra cotta buildings. Notable houses include those that belonged to Eubie Blake (a musician), Fletcher Henderson (bandleader), and Harry Wills (a heavyweight boxer). Be taken back in time as you explore this district.
Address: W 138th and W 139th Street, New York, NY 10030, USA
Website: Strivers’ Row
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
9. Visit the famous Central Park
Do not miss out on exploring this famous urban park that has numerous visitors all year round and has also been the filming location for various movies. It sits on 843 acres (341 ha). See diverse flora and fauna in the wooded areas and lawns such as The Ramble, Sheep Meadow, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, and Central Park Zoo. Relax in the peace and tranquility surrounding the eight artificially created water bodies including the lake and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Have fun at the Wollman Rink and Central Park Carousel. Keep fit on the 6.1 miles (9.8 km) of drives used for running, walking, jogging, cycling or skating. The park also has sports facilities including several tennis, basketball, soccer, baseball, and volleyball fields. Do not forget to take photos next to its spectacular landmarks and sculptures.
Address: New York, NY, USA
Website: Central Park
Opening hours: 6am - 1am (daily)
10. Check out the spectacular architecture of buildings at Hamilton Heights Historic District
Take a walk around Hamilton Heights which is a neighborhood in the northern part of Manhattan. The district has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It comprises of town houses constructed with limestone and brownstone from the period between 1886 and 1931. Take in the vintage and beautiful scenery of the Romanesque, Beaux-Arts, and Queen Anne-style architecture employed in the constructions. Most of the houses are three- and four-story brick row houses popping up behind raised stone terraces.
11. Enjoy a live music performance at Shrine
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Catch a live music performance at Shrine, a multimedia arts and culture venue. Matching its name, the ambiance is serene and fun. The venue fits 75 people seated and 200 standing. It features performances in film, theater, dance and live music suitable for all ages and people of all backgrounds. Eat delicious bar bites and have drinks as you enjoy the performances of live bands and independent artists. You can also watch all major sporting games at this joint.
Address: 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030, USA
Opening hours: 4pm - 4am (daily)
12. Explore the exhibits at Museum of the City of New York
Visit this history and art museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of New York City and its people. The building features a beautiful, neo-Georgian style. Explore its collection of about 750,000 items mostly dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These include prints and photographs, paintings and sculpture, theater collection, costumes and textiles, manuscripts and ephemera, furniture and decorative arts, and archival collections. Featured collections include mid-20th century women’s garments and New York Silver. Get to discover New York like never before.
Museum of the City of New York
Address: 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
Website: Museum of the City of New York
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 20 USD
For approximately two hours, go on a walking tour of Harlem with a guide born and raised here as you discover the role Harlem played in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 6’s. Watch a video of key people such as Malcolm X, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., A. Philip Randolph, and Rev. Wyatt T, Walker at Harlem Heritage Tourism and Cultural Center before embarking on your tour. As you walk, your guide will share information about that time and use videos, photos, and other multimedia to help you visualize that period.
Harlem Civil Rights Multimedia Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours
14. Visit General Grant National Memorial
Pay your respects at General Grant National Memorial which is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. His wife, Julia Grant was also buried beside him. Admire the classic domed 1897 Beaux-Arts mausoleum which is the largest in North America. It was designed by architect John Duncan. Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Riverside Park and placed on one of the highest points on Riverside Drive, the mausoleum is truly a sight to behold.
General Grant National Memorial
Address: W 122nd St & Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027, United States
Website: General Grant National Memorial
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 9am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
15. Stop by Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
Visit this cathedral that has been in existence since 1892. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is considered to be the fifth largest Christian church in the world. It was originally designed to feature Byzantine Revival-Romanesque Revival architecture but it was later changed to a Gothic Revival style in 1909. Explore its splendid architecture and stained-glass windows, beautiful artwork by Keith Haring, a 9/11 memorial sculpture, and 17th-century tapestries. Learn about its history as you move from room to room exploring it.
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
Address: 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025, USA
Opening hours: 7:30am - 6pm (daily)
16. Take your children to Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling
Join us tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 and help our "Eclectic Librarian" select the "Book of The Week"Posted by Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling on Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Storytelling and art have been used for a long time to facilitate children’s learning process. Bring your kids here to Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling to enjoy a day of fun and learning. It uses inter-generational dialogue with artists, art, and storytelling to nurture kids’ curiosity and creativity. Children can admire a variety of art, practice making their own artwork in this well-equipped facility, and engage with working artists. They can also enjoy a storytelling session. The story encourages them to reflect on what they hear and to tell their own stories. This the perfect place for your kids to build their language, critical thinking skills, and confidence.
Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling
Address: 898 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10032, USA
Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed from Mon - Wed)
Price: From 4 USD
Harlem is known as the birthplace of hip-hop and a visit here would be incomplete without this two-hour hip-hop walking tour. Led by a hip-hop historian, this tour takes you through important landmarks including Apollo Theater, Graffiti Wall of Fame, Lenox Lounge and historic Harlem jazz clubs. Visit popular locations for hip-hop music videos and hear enlightening stories about them. Make a stop at Dip Set which is Harlem’s oldest record store. The ticket is inclusive of entry into the Museum of the City of New York. Take this memorable tour through the history and evolution of hip-hop culture in Harlem.
Harlem Hip-Hop Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours
18. Catch a performance at Dance Theatre of Harlem
Visit Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) which is an American professional ballet company and school. Relish a forward-thinking repertoire by multi-ethnic dancers featuring classic pieces, neoclassical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garlands, and contemporary works. These are aimed at using the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular shows, from the lighting, costume, and music to the performance itself. Get ready for a truly beautiful, unique, and memorable performance that will give you chills.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Address: 466 W 152nd St, New York, NY 10031, USA
Website: Dance Theatre of Harlem
19. Try some of the best desserts in the city at Make My Cake
There's only one way to start the week right, and you're looking right at it Sweeties. 🍰 #REDVELVET #HARLEM ❤️Posted by Make My Cake on Sunday, 25 September 2016
Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings at Make My Cake. This full-service retail and wholesale bakery specialize in making finger-licking baked goods. Boasting of recipes that combine Southern flavor and Harlem inspiration, they take pride in making their treats from scratch to present you with fresh and scrumptious products. Smell the wonderful aroma of the cakes, take a bite, and close your eyes as you relish in the delicate taste. Be sure to try out their famous cakes including German Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Sweet Potato Cheesecake. Other products include beautifully and uniquely designed cupcakes, cookies, pies, and pastries. Come prepared for the sweetest experience ever that will leave you craving for more.
Make My Cake
Address: 2380 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030, USA
Website: Make My Cake
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 8am - 7pm; Sat: 9am - 7pm; Sun: 9am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
20. Check out the interesting Graffiti Hall of Fame
Street art provides a beautiful and creative way for local artists to showcase their talents. Graffiti Hall of Fame is a site which has been in existence for a long time. Take a walk here and admire the street art of many well-known street artists on the schoolyard walls. It started as a place where kids used to practice their graffiti when hanging out and it later became the Graffiti Hall of Fame where visiting, internationally renowned street artists leave their works. Marvel at the blend of many different colors used to create writings and amazing murals that seem to come to life.
Graffiti Hall of Fame
Address: Park Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
Website: Graffiti Hall of Fame
21. Go on a shopping spree at 125th Street
Visit this mecca for shopping that has numerous shops. These include shops selling clothes, furniture, beauty supplies, antiques, hats, wines and spirits, books and sidewalks lined with vendors selling shea butter, art, oil, perfumes and music. Get souvenirs at Nilu, Harlem Heirloom and gift shops of museums such as Museum of the City of New York and Studio Museum. Shop at Harlem Underground for authentic Harlem apparel or at Harlem Haberdashery for a taste of trendy fashion. With a variety of shops at your disposal, you will not miss what you want. The two-way street also has numerous eateries for when you want to grab a bite.
Address: New York, NY 10027, USA
22. Catch up on your reading at New York Public Library
Enjoy the peace and relaxation that comes with reading a book in a library. This library is a classical three-story building with large arched windows and an elegant marble staircase. The first floor has adult and young adult reading rooms, children’s room, and a separate story-hour area is on the second floor. On the third floor is a 74-seat auditorium that shows free films and a Center for Reading and Writing in English is on the lower level. Catch up on chapters of your favorite book here. Relish the serene environment that is just perfect for reading.
New York Public Library
Address: 9 W 124th St, New York, NY 10027, USA
Website: New York Public Library
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 7pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
23. Find Native American artifacts at National Museum of the American Indian
Nearly everything that can be named or sold in the United States has at some point been named or sold with an Indian...Posted by Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on Friday, 13 April 2018
NMAI is the go-to museum if you want to learn about Native American history. It features over 800,000 Native American artifacts including objects, photos, and media that give information about the whole of the Western Hemisphere. The collection is grouped into areas such as Amazon, Andes, Arctic, California, Contemporary Art, and Caribbean. Its aim is to advance knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of these people in the past, present, and future. It also houses exhibitions, research, educational activities, and performing arts programs.
National Museum of the American Indian
Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004, USA
Opening hours: Mon - Wed, Fri - Sun: 10am - 5pm; Thu: 10am -8pm
24. Go on a tour of Federal Reserve Bank
Go on a one-hour tour enables you to learn about the role of the Federal Reserve in executing monetary policy of the US by trading dollars, promoting financial stability, and serving communities to advance economic growth. The tour takes you through the museum and gold vault. How many times will you get to see a pile of real gold? The vault contains the world’s largest depository of gold belonging to various countries around the world. You can also explore the neo-Renaissance structure and admire its stone exterior, rusticated horizontal and vertical joints of the facade’s stones and, lanterns and window grills constructed of wrought iron.
Federal Reserve Bank
Address: 33 Liberty St, New York, NY 10045, USA
Website: Federal Reserve Bank
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:15am - 3pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
25. Explore interesting memorabilia at The Houdini Museum
A small portion of our new Houdini Museum #handcuffs , #seance,#houdini ,#foxsisters, #fantasma_magicPosted by Houdini Museum of NY at Fantasma on Wednesday, 13 December 2017
We all love being awed by magic whenever the opportunity arises. Visit Houdini Museum of New York which is dedicated to honoring Harry Houdini, the famous magician. It has over 1,500 pieces of Houdiniana in its archives, most of which belonged to the magician. Some of its famous pieces are his 1907 escape coffin, the robot, and the Metamorphosis Trunk. Others include extremely rare publicity posters, large escape restraints, spiritualistic expose items, thought provoking photographs and creative advertising memorabilia. Get to also see magic tricks performed by famous magicians or buy an original Houdini souvenir.
The Houdini Museum
Address: 213 W 35th St Suit 401, New York, NY 10001, USA
Website: The Houdini Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 5pm
Price: Free admission
26. Try a giant cookie from Levain Bakery
Exploring and indulging makes for a perfect Saturday . 📸: @thecarboholicPosted by Levain Bakery on Saturday, 29 June 2019
Indulge your sweet tooth at Levain Bakery. Using the finest natural ingredients, they bake tasty treats on site on a daily basis to ensure you get the freshest products. Try out their products that include an array of rustic breads, brioche, scones, tarts, crispy pizza, cakes, buns, muffins, and baguettes. Their signature product is the world-famous 6-ounce (170 g) chocolate chip walnut cookie. Do not miss trying it out when at this bakery; also enjoy their other freshly baked treats.
Address: 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026, USA
Website: Levain Bakery
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 7pm; Sun: 9am - 7pm
27. Sip on cocktails at Harlem Nights
For a nice evening out, head to this rustic bar and music venue. The interior exudes a cozy and charming feeling with its vintage décor. Serving craft cocktails and creative snacks, this neighborhood bar provides the venue for a perfect night out. Enjoy live music in a relaxed lounge atmosphere. A fun night out with amazing drinks and food is always a much-welcomed idea.
Address: 2361 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030, USA
Website: Harlem Nights
Opening hours: Mon - Wed, Sun: 4pm - 2am; Thu - Sat: 4pm - 4am
Get a spiritual uplifting on this tour that takes approximately four hours. Meet your guide at Times Tower and get on board a coach to north Harlem which takes you through highlights such as Strivers’ Row, Sylvan Terrace, and Apollo Theater. Learn about the famous former residents of Harlem’s brownstones. Indulge in a spiritually uplifting morning service by the talented ARC gospel choir at a local church. This choir supports Addicts Rehabilitation Center which is a free drug addiction recovery program in the area. You can upgrade your ticket to include a delectable lunch at Sylvia’s Soul-food Restaurant. The tour ends with a drop-off at the starting point.
Harlem Wednesday-Morning Gospel Tour
Duration: 4 hours
Harlem is known for its exciting food scene and this walking tour that takes approximately four hours offers exploration of most, if not all of them. A local guide will take you through the neighborhood as he gives you insights in relation to the history, culture, and tradition of the area. Sample various foods including traditional soul food, African cuisine, and Caribbean bites from various restaurants. Be sure to come with an empty stomach and a huge appetite to eat a lot of food.
Harlem Historical Food Tour
Duration: 4 hours
Put on your dancing shoes and go on this approximately two-hour dancing-themed walking tour. Meet your guide in central Harlem in the evening. Explore the cultural history of dancing in Harlem and its connection to swing and lindy hop dances founded by Frankie Manning. Visit streets and sites famous for Harlem’s dancing history. Bust some moves learning the dances from the locals. This tour provides a fun way to spend your evening while dancing your heart out and learning something new about these historic dance crazes.
Harlem Walking Tour and Swing Dance
Duration: 2 hours
Tour the historically rich Harlem
Whether you are delving into the history of arts, hip hop, and culture, eating tasty soul food or eclectic cuisines, exploring the cozy jazz clubs and music scene, enjoying the ambiance of bars and cafes, or visiting the famous Central Park, you are guaranteed of a fun time when here. Get to know this neighborhood using our list of things to do in Harlem, New York City.
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