Culture abounds in New York City, where people of all types from all around the world have flocked for decades to live and create. Here are just some of the ways to experience the cultural side of the city through music, art, history, or food.
Take a gospel tour in Harlem.
Get a glimpse of a weekly ritual in the neighborhood of Harlem with a gospel tour. On a Sunday morning (most likely, although some tours operate other days), visit one of the many local churches where gospel music is a major part of the services. Most tours last about four hours and include a guided walking tour of the area to see its historical landmarks; some tours also include brunch.
Visit an art or history museum (or five).
To check off some of Manhattan's top museums in one swoop, head to Museum Mile, a Central Park–adjacent stretch of 5th Avenue that's home to the Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, the Cooper Hewitt, and the Neue Galerie New York. Other must-see cultural institutions include the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Midtown and the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. To avoid the admission queue at the most popular sites, book a skip-the-line ticket before you go, or opt for a guided tour to gain insight into the pieces on display.
See a Broadway show.
A night out at the theater is a classic New York activity that all Manhattan visitors should enjoy at least once. There's a musical or play for all kinds of tastes: Disney (The Lion King, Aladdin), movie adaptations (School of Rock, Waitress), humor (Book of Mormon, Avenue Q), pop culture sensations (Wicked, Hamilton), classics (Phantom of the Opera, Cats), and more.
Learn about the city's music heritage.
Rock 'n' roll, jazz, hip hop, and swing have all had a history or presence in NYC. On a walking tour of an area such as Harlem, Brooklyn, or the East Village, you can see places and venues where legendary musicians have lived or performed.
Get out of Manhattan.
New York City's most-visited borough is home to the Big Apple's most famous attractions, of course, but to really get a feel for the culture of the whole city, visit one of the five other boroughs. Discover the food and hippest-of-hip atmosphere of Brooklyn; explore the most ethnically diverse borough in Queens; learn about the evolution of hip hop music in the Bronx; or ride the ferry to Staten Island, home to several museums.