In the heart of Harlem, the Apollo Theater is one of the world’s most famous live music venues. Some of the biggest musical names have played the Apollo, including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Godfather of Soul James Brown. Hear popular jazz, blues, and R&B artists or catch performances by up-and-comers at its long-running amateur night.The Basics
Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill are among the stars who first flaunted their talent as amateurs on the Apollo’s legendary stage. Today it showcases myriad musical and comedy acts year-round, including special shows during the holiday season. The theater is also home to Showtime at the Apollo, a syndicated TV variety show highlighting new talent that ran from 1987 to 2008. In front of the Apollo on 125th Street, the sidewalk features a Walk of Fame honoring African-American music legends.
Informative, entertaining daily tours highlight the history of the theater and the performers who have played there. The Apollo is a popular stop on gospel tours, soul food crawls of the neighborhood, and hop-on hop-off bus tours of uptown Manhattan.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Apollo is a must-see for music lovers.
- If you’re attending a performance, the theater offers coat and bag check.
- Located on the theater’s upper level, the Apollo Music Café hosts artists in a lounge setting.
- Wheelchair locations and sight-impaired seats are available on the orchestra level, and infrared listening devices are available for the hearing impaired.
The Apollo Theater is on West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (Eighth Avenue) in Harlem. Take the A, B, C, or D train to 125th Street and walk a block east to the theater, or take the 2 or 3 train to 125th Street and walk two blocks west.
When to Get There
Check the theater’s performance calendar for current events, including amateur night, which traditionally occurred on Wednesdays. Historical tours are offered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm; Wednesday at 11am; and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm.
Nearby Strivers’ Row
In the 1920s two picturesque blocks of Harlem, located from 138th to 139th streets and from Frederick Douglass to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. boulevards, earned the name Strivers’ Row, although it’s officially considered the St. Nicholas Historic District. Many prominent doctors mingled with well-known musicians in this area, including W.C. Handy and Bojangles Robinson. Bob Dylan also reportedly owned a home here at one time.