The scene for live music in NYC is ridiculous – in a good way. The Big Apple is a mandatory stop on any artist’s tour, no matter how famous. When you add in the hundreds of bars, impromptu spaces, and more that offer live performances, choosing can be overwhelming.

Luckily, there’s a little something for everyone. So, deciding where to go is a matter of figuring out what you like. Do you want to check out a massive arena show? Or do you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting? If you’re not sure what you like, you can check out a variety of options to discover your preferences. Regardless of the venue for live music in NYC you choose, you need to plan ahead in terms of getting home. Driving in New York is a challenge at the best of times, but if you’re attending a big show, it’ll be almost impossible. Even if you’re only heading out to a bar with live gigs, you still need to consider how you’ll get home.

Ideally, you’d head to a venue close to where you live so getting home isn’t a chore. Blueground offers stunning apartments in some of the best and most centrally-located neighborhoods in New York. The properties are completely furnished, fully equipped, and even serviced. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. Another advantage is that you won’t need a cosigner, which is definitely a positive in NYC’s highly competitive rental market. You simply have to pay a deposit and first month’s rent and you’ll be good to go. If the gig you want to attend isn’t close to home, though, then you need to make arrangements. If you’ll be heading home right after the show, it might be early enough for you to use NYC’s public transit system.

However, if the show ends really late, then you might have to resort to a taxi or an Uber. Either way, make sure to prioritize safety to ensure the night ends on the same awesome tone. Now, let’s take a look at some great venues for live music in NYC.


Bowery Ballroom (for those who love to be there from the beginning)

The people running the Bowery Ballroom seem to have a talent for finding great acts that are right on the cusp of making it to the big leagues. The venue itself is incredibly charming with its hardwood floors and great layout. It has a nice bar and lounge downstairs where you can grab a drink. There are also two sets of stairs leading up to the performance space – one at the back and one at the front. This means less crowding and a more fluid movement in and out of the space.

live music nyc woman enjoying a concert

The location is also excellent. The Bowery Ballroom is right in the center of all the best food and drinks spots in the Lower East Side. You’ll have plenty to do before and after the show. So, if you’re the type of person who loves being there from the beginning to witness the meteoric rise of an artist, this the place for you.


Mercury Lounge (for those who like it simple)

The Mercury Lounge has a reputation for being a great place to discover hot new artists. This is because the Strokes were discovered in this venue in 2000. While it is no longer independent since it now works with Live Nation – a promoter – it’s still a venue people flock to.

This venue for live music in NYC features awesome shows and relatively inexpensive tickets, which makes it a favorite for many. However, don’t expect anything fancy. The venue itself is pretty simple with nothing to set it apart. Then again, it’s not like that matters seeing as you’re there for the music, which is always great.


Market Hotel (for those who love a smaller show)

If arena concerts aren’t your thing, the Market Hotel is perfect. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, you could easily miss it if it weren’t for the mass of people outside. The room itself is shaped like a V, which is somewhat odd. However, that doesn’t detract from the shows in any way. The Market Hotel is committed to booking acts that people adore with a passion, which is why the place is always full. So, if you like a smaller concert hall where you can dance to your heart’s content, then this is the venue for live music in NYC for you.


Barclays Center (for those who love arena shows)

Barclays Center is the perfect venue for live music in NYC if you love the energy of an arena show. Located in Prospect Heights, this venue has a clean and modern look and it was built to fulfill the requirements of today’s entertainment. It has excellent acoustics and the seating is absolutely great, making the expensive tickets more than worth it.

live music nyc concert at barclays center

So, if you love arena shows, you really have to check out Barclays Center. This is one venue for live music in NYC that’ll prove arena shows can be extremely enjoyable.


The Apollo Theater (for those who love a little tradition)

If you want a traditional experience and a glimpse of the Old New York, then you can’t miss showtime at the Apollo Theater. This legendary neo-classical venue for live music in NYC boasts the ornate designs you’d expect from a historical building. It’s also an homage to African-American culture because many stars of the “good old days” made their presence known on this stage. James Brown recorded one of his most amazing albums ever at the Apollo Theater, while Ella Fitzgerald made her debut on the same stage.

There’s just something great about the Apollo Theater and you can feel it the moment you enter. Additionally, you can also enjoy the amazing restaurants in Harlem, including awesome places like Clay, ROKC, Amy Ruth’s and Sylvia’s. So, if you’re looking for a night out to experience something truly great and an opportunity for some of the tastiest food in New York, then you should definitely head to the Apollo Theater. It’ll be an evening you’ll never forget.

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