Whether you prefer a small lounge or a large arena, New York City is a great place to see live music. We've put together a list of great venues to explore representing a wide variety of genres and sizes, as well as neighborhoods around New York City.
1. The Beacon Theatre
Located on the Upper West Side, The Beacon Theatre
can accommodate 2,800 guests. When the theatre first opened in 1929, it hosted vaudeville acts, musical productions, drama, opera, and movies and was renowned for having excellent acoustics.
Address: 2124 Broadway (74th/75th streets)
Subway: 1/2/3 to 72nd Street and Broadway
2. City Winery
Photo by Christian Jensen, used with permission.
Although City Winery
is at its core a wine-making operation and bar, they put together a varied line-up of musicians representing everything from singer-songwriter to R&B and jazz to entertain audiences. The Mediterranean menu is designed to compliment the wine made on site, making this a great place to enjoy dinner before the show starts. With reserved seating at tables, this venue tends to draw an older crowd that stays seated throughout the show, but with an audience of about 300, nearly all seats are good ones.
Address: 155 Varick Street
Subway: E to Spring Street
3. Joe's PubJoe's Pub
at the Public Theater is truly a great place to see live music. This downtown club provides an intimate venue with up to three performances nightly, and features established and up-and-coming talent representing a wide variety of musical genres. The bookings are well-curated, making Joe's Pub a great place to explore and experience new-to-you music, comedy, poetry readings and other performances. Ticket-buyers can choose reserved seats or space at the bar. Joe's Pub offers quality food which can be enjoyed at the tables, as well as a full bar with table/bar service.
Address: 425 Lafayette Street
Subway: B/D/F/M to Broadway/Lafayette; 4/6 to Bleecker Street
4. The Living Room
Photo by Anton Brookes, used with permission of The Living Room
Now in its second location on Ludlow Street, The Living Room
is a truly intimate venue for music-lovers -- the live performance space can hold just 130, and the lounge can accommodate another 50 guests. Many shows at this Lower East Side venue are free, with a one-drink minimum and a suggested $10 donation for the musicians. Sets typically last about 45 minutes, and some nights as many as 10 bands perform. Norah Jones is probably the Living Room's most famous alum, but the owners are always finding new, exciting music to feature.
Address: 154 Ludlow St. (Stanton/Rivington)
Subway: A/C/E to West 4th Street; F/V to 2nd Ave
5. Madison Square Garden
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Madison Square Garden actually has two different areas where you can watch musical performances: The Theater, which seats 5,600 and the Arena, which can accommodate nearly 20,000. The Arena is Manhattan's largest performance venue, and hosts very popular acts, including Madonna, The Who, Justin Bieber and Aerosmith.
Address: Four Pennsylvania Plaza (7th Avenue between 31st/33rd Sts)
Subway: 1/2/3, A/C/E to 34th Street/Penn Station
6. Radio City Music Hall
Photo by Heather Cross, licensed to About.com
Probably most famous for the annual Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall
offers top-quality acoustics for a line-up of popular performers that often sell out this 6,000 seat venue. The largest indoor theater in the world, visiting Radio City Music Hall is a treat in itself, an opportunity to explore the theater's elegantly designed spaces and have an "only in New York" concert-going event. The three-mezzanines in the music hall are all relatively shallow and the column-free design of the space ensures that all seats offer unobstructed views.
Address: 1260 6th Avenue (50th/51st St)
Subway: B/D/F/V to 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center
7. Roseland Ballroom
Photo by Heather Cross, licensed to About.com
When the Roseland Ballroom
first opened in the 1920s, it was at the center of the ballroom dancing phenomenon. Today, popular acts perform at the 3,500 capacity Roseland Ballroom year-round, and since it's primarily general admission, those willing to arrive early and tough it out can score great spots for dancing and getting close to the performers.
Address: 239 West 52nd Street (Broadway and 8th Avenue)
Subway: A/C/E to 50th Street; B/D/E to 7th Avenue
8. The Town Hall
Photo by Todd Weinstein, used with permission.
Built in 1921, The Town Hall
was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Although (as its name implies) it was originally built as a public meeting space, today this 1495 seat venue hosts a wide range of concerts and performances, including world music, jazz, gospel, blues, folk, show tunes, political humor, theatre and dance.
Address: 123 West 43rd Street (6th Avenue & Broadway)
Subway: B/D/F/V to 42nd Street-Bryant Park; N/Q/R/W to Times Square
9. Village Vanguard
New York City's most notable jazz club, the Village Vanguard
has been entertaining audiences in its subterranean West Village location since 1935. While the space might not have the spit and polish of some of New York City's other jazz venues, it is full of history and legend and has amazing acoustics.
Address: 178 7th Avenue South
Subway: 1/2/3 to 14th Street