The best theaters in New York are true iconic landmarks of the after-dinner entertainment in the city that never sleeps. New York City is one of the best destinations in the world to see live shows, thanks to the extensive options on Broadway and beyond. In fact, many of the world’s most famous shows make their debut in the New York theaters. 

    The Theater District by Times Square is where you'll find most of the city’s performing arts venues, but you’ll find plenty more by heading to other New York boroughs. Brooklyn, for example, hosts many independent theaters that showcase contemporary plays in intimate settings. Check out our guide to the best places to see a show or play in New York. 

    What are the most famous theaters in New York?


    St. James Theater

    An iconic 1,710-seat New York theater

    The St James Theater is one of New York’s largest theaters, located in the heart of the Midtown theater district. Originally opened in 1927 as the Erlanger Theater, it took its present name when it changed hands just 3 years later. With a 1,710 seating capacity, it’s one of the largest theaters on Broadway. Like most Broadway theaters, it’s not on the avenue itself.

    The original productions of The King and I, The Producers, Hello Dolly, and Oklahoma were all staged here. More recently, in 2017, the theater was expanded to accommodate a theater production of Disney’s Frozen. It also features in the movies Birdman (2014) and Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979).

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    Location: 246 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Phone: +1 888-985-9421


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    Broadway Theater

    New York’s historic theater that opened almost a century ago

    Broadway Theater is a New York auditorium with a larger than average 1,761-seat capacity. Unlike most other “Broadway” theaters, it’s one of only 5 whose address is Broadway itself. Originally, when it opened in 1924, it staged vaudeville shows and movies. Four years later, the first-ever cartoon to feature Mickey Mouse, Sternwheeler Willie, premiered there.

    These days, Broadway Theater is ideal for musicals because of its spacious stage which can accommodate a large cast. It has hosted productions such as West Side Story, Sister Act, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, and Shrek The Musical.

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    Location: 1681 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, USA

    Phone: +1 212-239-6200


    photo by Andreas Praefcke (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Apollo Theater

    Visit a historic theater

    Apollo Theater is one of the most iconic historic landmarks in all of New York City, and it still hosts live performances that you can see to this day. It was originally opened more than a century ago, and while there was a period of decline, the modern Apollo Theater gets more than a million visitors every year. The nature of the performances can vary quite a bit. While musical performances are the most common, you'll find dance routines, comedy acts, and classic theater performances as well. You'll find the theater in Harlem just east of Morningside Park.

    Location: 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027, USA

    Open: Most shows begin at 7 pm

    Phone: +1 212-531-5300


    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Beacon Theatre

    Enjoy iconic performances

    Beacon Theatre is among the top venues in the city for live music and entertainment where you'll find a wide variety of acts to enjoy. The theater is most widely known for its live music performances ever since The Allman Brothers' legendary series of concerts. Among the modern performances, you'll find touring artists as well as stand up comedians. The theater often hosts special events as well like film premieres and award shows. You'll find this theater on Broadway in the Upper West Side.

    Location: 2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023, USA

    Phone: +1 212-465-6500


    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Vivian Beaumont Theater

    See Broadway off-Broadway

    Vivian Beaumont Theater is a popular Broadway theater that's unique in that it's the only one not located in the Theater District with the other Broadway theaters. Despite its location, you'll find plenty of Broadway-tier performances held here including productions of classic Shakespeare plays along with more modern works. The theater itself is capable of holding 1,200 spectators who can enjoy the building's grand design mastermind by architect Eero Saarinen. You can see it all for yourself next to Hearst Plaza within the Lincoln Center.

    Location: 150 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023, USA

    Phone: +1 212-501-3100


    photo by Jim.henderson (CC BY 4.0) modified


    New York City Center

    Explore the best of dance and music

    New York City Center is home to quite a few impressive dance companies as well as an entire festival and musical theater series through its three theaters. The main stage of this theater can fit up to 2,257 guests, but you'll find two smaller theaters as well for more intimate performances. Several dance companies have come to call this theater home, and that's mostly the kind of performances you can expect, especially during the Fall for Dance Festival. Of course, Encores! is also based here. See it for yourself just a short walk south from Carnegie Hall.

    Location: 131 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019, USA

    Phone: +1 212-581-1212


    photo by Tony Hisgett (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Shubert Theater

    An elegant theater in Midtown

    The Shubert Theater is a popular Broadway theater located in Midtown, Manhattan. The building is hard to miss with its Venetian Renaissance-style facade. It’s a little unusual in that it’s connected to its neighbor across a small alleyway called the Shubert Alley. Both theaters share the same Renaissance-style architecture but the similarities end once you step inside.

    Since the first performance – Hamlet – in 1913, the theater has hosted some of the most successful plays and musicals on Broadway. These include A Chorus Line, Chicago, Spamalot, Matilda the Musical, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

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    Location: 225 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Open: Most shows begin at 7 pm

    Phone: +1 212-239-6200


    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Richard Rodgers Theatre

    Visit a Tony Awards veteran

    Richard Rodgers Theatre is among the most famous of the Broadway theaters in that it has hosted 11 different Tony Award-winning plays and musicals. That record puts it above any other theater on Broadway. When you book a seat at this theater, you can be sure you're in for a high-quality production, and often one you won't find anywhere else. This historic theater dates back all the way to 1925, but you'll find some modern design choices inside. For example, this theater is unique among its contemporaries as it features a single entrance for both standard seats and luxury seats. You'll find this theater just a short walk west of Times Square.

    Location: 226 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Phone: +1 212-221-1211


    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Palace Theatre

    See iconic musicals

    Palace Theatre was once known for its vaudeville performances, but it has since grown to host some of the most iconic musicals you'll find anywhere in the world. Among its rich history of productions, you'll find musicals like "Beauty and the Beast" and "West Side Story." This venue is also home to musical spin-offs of popular media including "Legally Blonde: The Musical" and "Spongebob Squarepants." You'll find this theater conveniently in Times Square right across the street from Father Duffy Square.

    Location: 1564 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Phone: +1 212-730-8200


    photo by Chernjam (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

    Delve into this influential cultural center and see a great performance

    The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is where visitors to New York City can find incredible examples of the metropolis’ famous cultural scene. Across thrilling theater productions, dance performances, opera showcases and movie theater screenings, there’s a constantly updated list of events hosted by the 11 arts institutions that operate from the venue.

    The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts also features remarkable architecture and history. You’re welcome to attend a 75-minute-long guided tour of the complex. Alternately, download the Tour Lincoln Center app to lead your own adventure.

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    Location: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, USA

    Phone: +1 212-875-5456


    Majestic Theatre

    Experience 'The Phantom of the Opera'

    Majestic Theatre is one of the largest Broadway theaters in town and has been home to the legendary "The Phantom of the Opera" since 1988. This historic play is the only production of this theater ever since its debut in 1988, and each year it seems to get better and better with the box office record set only recently. The theater itself has a 1,681 seat capacity and features a combination of Spanish style and Adam style construction where you'll find steep stadium seating and a single balcony. The stage is massive to allow for the complex sets in "Phantom." See it for yourself just east of Times Square across the street from St. James Theatre.

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    Location: 245 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Phone: +1 212-239-6200


    photo by Summ (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Lyceum Theatre

    Visit a more modest Broadway theater

    Lyceum Theatre is relatively small with only a 922-seat capacity, but it still produces absolutely incredible performances ranging from stage plays to musicals. Despite its relatively small capacity, it still features 3 levels along with an opulent Beaux-Arts design with multiple marble staircases. When you visit this theater, you'll be visiting a piece of history as it dates back all the way to 1903. In fact, it was the first Broadway theater in town to be granted official landmark status. See it for yourself near Times Square between Sixth and Seventh.

    Location: 149 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036, USA

    Phone: +1 212-239-6200


    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified


    St. Ann's Warehouse

    Enjoy theater in Brooklyn

    St. Ann's Warehouse is a Brooklyn performing arts venue that's known for combining a love for rock and roll with professional theater productions. Throughout its history, it has hosted a wide variety of concerts that mostly featured rock and roll artists, but other genres had their time in the spotlight as well. When you visit this venue today, you'll find a satisfying combination of theater and live music. In fact, one of their most popular productions was "A 24-Decade History of Popular Music," which combined music and theater in an award-winning way. You'll find this theater on the east side of the Brooklyn Bridge by the river.

    Location: 45 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA

    Phone: +1 718-254-8779


    photo by Caroline Culler (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Kings Theatre

    Visit a restored historic landmark

    In better shape than ever thanks to recent renovations, Kings Theatre is a historic theatre where you can see events, concerts, dances, and other performances. The latest renovations were completed in 2015 and they meticulously recreated the original 1929 design of this theater. When you visit, you'll feel as if you've stepped into the past. In terms of programming, you'll find a wide variety of shows available. Touring musical artists often use this venue for shows, but you'll also find stand up comedians and specialty events. Check it out for yourself in Flatbush south of Prospect Park.

    Location: 1027 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226, USA

    Phone: +1 800-745-3000


    photo by Professorcornbread (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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