Broadway, backstage and beyond: New York’s top entertainment venue tours
What better place to base your Big Apple entertainment adventure than Broadway, where “they say the neon lights are bright”? Go behind the scenes of some of New York City’s most iconic theatres, concert halls and sporting venues. These tours are so evocative, they deserve their own Tony Awards.
The Millennium Broadway New York Times Square, in the heart of glimmering, bustling Times Square, is the ideal spot from which to start your own walking tour, checking out the marquees that dot the area for all the latest Broadway plays and musicals. From Times Square you’re within easy reach on foot, by taxi or by subway of the following foursome of fabulous showbiz spots.
Radio City Music Hall – Stage Door Tour
Home to stage shows, concerts, movies and the world-famous dancing Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall is the largest indoor theatre in the world. On the excellent guided Stage Door Tour, you’ll get a front-row seat to this renowned showplace, hearing tales of its remarkable Great Stage, checking out its nostalgic Art Deco design and even meeting a Rockette! Tours take place every day from 9:30am to 5pm. Tickets cost $26.95 USD for adults and $19.95 USD for children aged 12 and under.
Apollo Theater – Historic Tour
Built in 1914, Harlem’s Apollo Theater is steeped in history. The famed music hall’s stage has seen the likes of Duke Ellington, Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald and many other legends. Experience the stories and even grace the stage on your hour-long Historic Tour with tour director Billy Mitchell, aka Mr Apollo. Among his many fascinating anecdotes, he will share the story of the Tree of Hope, whose stump now graces the Apollo’s stage. (You may want to touch it too.) The Apollo offers tours only to groups of 20 or more, but individuals and smaller groups can call in advance to join an already-scheduled tour. Tours cost $16 USD on weekdays and $18 USD on weekends.
Carnegie Hall – Walk-In Tour
Historic Carnegie Hall has been making music and entertaining audiences since it opened in 1891. With its one-hour Walk-In Tour, you’ll get an insider’s look at these 125 years of history, from the building itself, a historical preservation site and a national landmark, to the classical musicians, orchestras, conductors and singers who’ve performed in the Stern Auditorium on the illustrious Perelman Stage. Carnegie Hall conducts tours daily from October to late June, but call ahead as the schedule can vary depending on the venue’s rehearsal and performance calendar. Tour tickets cost $17 USD for adults and $12 USD for students, seniors aged over 62 and children aged 12 and under.
Madison Square Garden – All Access Tour
Nicknamed ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’, Madison Square Garden is home to the New York Rangers hockey team, the New York Knicks basketball team and the New York Liberty women’s basketball team. The arena has played host to countless sporting events and world-class concerts, including the benefit Concert for New York City following the events of September 11, 2001. On your All Access Tour, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the newly refurbished Garden’s storied 130-year history, as well as entry into some exclusive sections of the arena, including the Rangers’ and Knicks’ changing rooms. Tours are available every day from 9:30am to 3pm. Ticket prices are $26.95 USD for adults and $19.95 USD for children aged 12 and under.