How to Experience Live Music in NYC

Nightlife, Travel Tips — By elizabethmonson on April 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm

This isn’t the New York of the ‘60s, when new bands were being formed seemingly by the minute that shaped the entire music scene, but that creative energy has stayed strong. Bands small and large make it a point to stop by New York on tours, making for great performances nearly every day of the week.

One of the most fun things to do while visiting is to take in a show, so check out these resources, then head downtown for a show.


The Bowery Presents

The Bowery Presents owns the most venues in New York City, making it a one-stop-shop of sorts for local music. As the parent company for the Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Terminal 5, you’ll be sure to catch some of the coolest shows in the city. Many of their shows sell out, so if you’re dead set on seeing your favorite band, be sure to buy tickets in advance.

Islands at Bowery Ballroom

Islands perform at Bowery Ballroom.

Brooklyn Bowl

This new venue in Williamsburg is part bowling alley, part concert hall, and part gourmet restaurant, and full of buzz. With mostly smaller bands, tickets usually run about $5 a pop. An upcoming Snoop Dogg show, however cost $50 and sold out immediately. Go for one of the cheaper or free shows and enjoy delicious food from Blue Ribbon before or after.


NY Mag

New York Magazine is a great reference point for everything going on in NY at the moment. Their Agenda section features weekly event listings with editor’s picks. You can also filter by event type and date to get the perfect time and place.

Brooklyn Vegan

Don’t be confused by the name, this music blog covers all of New York with show listings and reviews as well as national music news and album announcements. Their simple format makes it easy to browse through free shows, tour dates, and a handy venue map.

Jaguar Love at Brooklyn Bowl

Jaguar Love performs at Brooklyn Bowl.


Time Out New York

This weekly magazine covers literally everything to do in New York from where to eat out to art openings, new movies, and great sections for kids and gay/lesbian events. Pick up a copy when you get here and you’ll have a complete guide to who’s playing where and which shows are must-sees.

The L Magazine

You’ll find this magazine free on the street, and in cafes and stores. Inside you’ll find a listing of their recommended shows for the week along side features on bars, film, shopping, art, and more.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith performing live in New York.

[photos courtesy of Mark Iantosca]

Tags: bowery ballroom, brooklyn bowl, live music, live music venue, music hall of williamsburg, music nyc, ny concerts, terminal 5


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