Harlem has long been synonymous with black culture. In the early 20th century the neighborhood was the setting for African-American-led movements in music, literature, dance and art—collectively known as the Harlem Renaissance—that featured innovators like Bessie Smith, Langston Hughes and Josephine Baker. That legacy is still evident today, especially along the area’s main thoroughfare, 125th Street, which is anchored by the Apollo Theater. Other highlights include art at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and stalwart restaurants like Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s (which serve soul food par excellence), as well as newer entries like Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster.
To feast on Harlem’s cultural offerings is to keep the neighborhood’s legacy alive. An evening of entertainment at the world-famous Apollo Theater is best begun with a hearty helping of soul food from a down-home eatery and capped off with a nightcap at an old jazz haunt. Join us in exploring this electric neighborhood just the way history intended.See Highlights
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Historic music venues, a wealth of cultural institutions and world-class dining make Harlem a must-see destination.
It's showtime at one of NYC's most famous attractions, a center of black culture. Schedule
Founded in 1962, this world-famous Harlem soul food restaurant (think smothered chicken, fried catfish and collard greens) is so popular, it has spawned a line of Sylvia products, from triple-strength hot sauce and canned black-eyed peas to flapjack syrup and peach cobbler mix.
It is an iconic scene often captured in film and photographs – beautifully dressed women with impressive hats in Harlem heading to church for Sunday worship. But, it’s more than fashion or a show, Harlem congregants consider church worship and church family an integral part of life and a source of weekly spiritual sustenance. Sunday Gospel in Harlem invites you to be a part of this custom by respectfully joining a local church family for an hour of worship including gospel.
The storied Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill plateau overlooking upper Harlem developed around the historic 18th- and 19th-century country estates of such notable figures as Alexander Hamilton and Madame Eliza Jumel, whose houses still bookend the district. This area also became known as Sugar Hill, where “life was sweet” for many professional African-Americans who moved to the area in the 20s and 30s.
Harlem, birth place of the Lindy Hop, and stompin' ground for Lindy Hopper, Frankie Manning and many others. On this walking tour you will learn about the neighborhood which fostered the excitement and energy of Swing Dance and Big Bands! Bring your dancing shoes as this tour includes a Swing Dance Class after the walking tour!
The early 20th century popular music in Harlem was Ragtime, the virtual Hip Hop music of it's day! Many of the neighborhood's young Black and Jewish musical talents, which included Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers where influenced by those evolving rhythms!
By 1914, Harlem was the second largest Jewish community in America, with composers like Gershwin, Hammerstein, and Rodgers working in collaboration with their rising African-American neighbors and counterparts W.C. Handy, James Reese Europe and Ellington to craft what would become America's songbook.
From rural outpost to what is now one of northern Manhattan's most desirable neighborhoods, Hamilton Heights is named after Alexander Hamilton, one of America's founding fathers. Explore this historic district which features lush, tree-lined streets, turn-of-the-century architecture, religious edifices, and historic sites.
Considered the Mecca for African-Americans at the turn of the century, Central Harlem is home to Jazz, Lindy Hop and Swing, and continues today to be one of Harlem’s most vibrant for the arts, dining and shopping.
Your 3.5-hour tour of Harlem on Sundays exposes you to New York's center of Afro-American history rich in cultural and political tradition. A highlight of your tour includes a local church service to hear the inspirational sounds of Gospel music known throughout the world. Learn about the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century, when black writers, intellectuals and musicians flourished and political movements were born. See the landmarks of Harlem including Sugar Hill, the townhouses of Striver's Row, Sylvan Terrace, the Abyssinian Baptist Church and 125th Street, Harlem’s commercial center. Your tour includes round-trip transportation from select hotels.
Listen to the beautiful, uplifting sounds of a Harlem gospel choir, learn the history of American gospel music, and view the historic sites in the place that has been called the spiritual Capital of Black America: Harlem, USA. Visit iconic Harlem locations including the Apollo Theater and places associated with the Harlem Renaissance, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
The Malcolm X and Dr.
The Mama Foundation for the Arts offers "The Harlem Gospel Experience" through its acclaimed productions of shows such as "Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation" and "Sing, Harlem, Sing!" which are presented weekly at Harlem's Dempsey Theater (127 W.)
Casa Frela Gallery emphasizes the rich artistic history of Harlem with exhibitions that draw on the past—like a recent show that examined images of black journalists from antebellum through the civil rights era—as well as the present-day culture of Harlem, which the gallery engages through enterprises like the community-based Art Wall Project of Harlem.
Stickball—a baseball variation specially developed to be played in busy urban areas that lacked parks and fields—flourished in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, thriving among the City's many immigrant communities.
Opened in homage to painter Joseph David Jacobs, this Harlem art gallery (the brainchild of Jacobs' son, Yusuf Rashad) is directed by Harlem's own Paula Coleman and features the work of modern and contemporary artists across the world.
At Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling, children and their families discover, appreciate and create a world of art and stories.
The Poet’s Den Gallery and Theater hosts art and photo exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, dance performances and dramatic productions—both original works and classics by the likes of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.