Apollo Theater

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An Insider's Guide to Harlem's Apollo Theater

Having launched the careers of countless African-American musicians, the Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem neighborhood ranks amongst the most important venues in the United States. Here are some of the events that shaped The Apollo's rich history.

  • A historic venue is born

    1. A historic venue is born

    Though built in 1913, The Apollo didn't receive its name until it was opened to black patrons in 1934. It became one of the most important institutions for African-American music.

  • Rubbing the stump

    2. Rubbing the stump

    After a popular Elm tree in front of the theater was chopped down, the stump was relocated inside and performers started the tradition of rubbing the stump for good luck.

  • 3. Amateur Night

    The Apollo's legendary Amateur Nights were the start of many an illustrious career. In 1934, the 15-year-old Ella Fitzgerald became one of the first Amateur Night success stories.

  • Live at the Apollo

    4. Live at the Apollo

    James Brown's 1962 recording "Live at the Apollo" was a huge success, spending 66 weeks on the Billboard charts and motivating many others to also record their shows at The Apollo.

  • Michael Jackson's breakthrough

    5. Michael Jackson's breakthrough

    Michael Jackson's 1967 Apollo debut with the Jackson 5 propelled him to fame. He performed at the venue throughout his career and a tribute was held there upon his death in 2009.

Planning Your Visit

  • Attend Amateur Night

    The Apollo still hosts their famed Amateur Nights. They're one of the venue's most popular events so check their schedule and book your ticket in advance to snag a seat to this musical highlight.

  • Grab a bite to eat

    If you hope to cap your night of soulful music with some authentic soul food, the area around The Apollo is brimming with excellent restaurants. The landmark restaurant Sylvia's is located two blocks away!

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Box Office open Monday - Saturday 10:00AM - 6:00PM, Sunday 12:00PM - 5:00PM
  • Is it expensive?
    Tickets vary based on the event.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Guides are not necessary for events.
  • How to get there
    On NYC Subway take the A, B, C, or D train to 125th Street and walk east to reach the theater.
  • Additional information

    • Purchase at least 2 tickets and receive a 30% discount.

    • Sign up for the Apollo A-list and receive emails providing advance notice on shows.

Other Sightseeing Options in Apollo Theater

Want to discover all there is to do in Apollo Theater? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Apollo Theater

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 927 reviews

All the best and most beautiful places in Harlem!

It was a real pleasure spending two hours walking with our guide George. He showed us the beauty of this neighborhood both now and through stories of it’s past. We spent a week walking around NYC but the tour with George was my very favorite. Thank you so much, George!

This tour is a hidden treasure. George was knowledgeable and incorporated the right balance of history, perspective, and humor into his presentation. I now have a much more nuanced view of this part of the city and look forward to returning to explore more.

Fun time walking through Harlem with someone who knows the place!

Our tour with Reggie Reg of Crash Crew was really interesting and entertaining. He made everyone in our group feel welcome, and gave us lots of great insight into the culture and Harlem. My 17-year-old son enjoyed it and so did I (55)!