So Bob Dylan won the much deserved Nobel Prize for Literature this week and so we thought,we’d do a round up of Best Music Spots in New York City! Having brought us the Ramones, Bob Dylan, The Talking Heads, the Wu-Tang Clan and many others, New York city is home to some of the most historic music venues in the world! With a musical heritage as diverse as the city itself, whether you’re a classical music fiend, jazz enthusiast, diehard punk fan or hip-hop head — there is plenty for everyone! Be it an 18000 capacity arena, mid-sized concert spaces or smaller, more intimate, under-the-radar spots, our top picks are sure to satiate the music lover in you.


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    A complex set on 16.3 acres in central Manhattan, Lincoln center houses NYC’s premier performance arts venues, among them the Metropolitan Opera House, New York State Theater and Avery Fisher Hall. Home to NYC’s oldest and most established performing companies, Lincoln Center features over 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually. In addition to hosting the annual Mozart festival, this iconic venue explores varied forms of music, from Japanese kabuki to American Jazz, to Inuit throat singing.

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    Bridging the line between intimacy and grandeur, Radio City Music Hall is managed by the Madison Square Garden Company. This austere Art Deco theatre, housed within the Rockefeller center, although airs the occasional movie premiere, focuses principally on concerts and live stage shows. Home of the ‘Rockettes’, the Hall has long showcased high profile events such as the Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and America’s Got Talent. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular among its most important annual events, the Hall has hosted the who’s who of the music world, from Lady Gaga to Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra!


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    Presenting more eminent concert events than any other venue in New York City including Elvis Presley’s first and last performances and John Lennon’s final concert appearance. MSG has been credited for hosting Elton John, a record 64 times, only surpassed by Billy Joel; and several appearances of Madonna, U2, Led Zeppelin, The Police and a whole slew of more contemporary artists!

    In the words of Billy Joel, “Madison Square Garden is the center of the universe as far as I’m concerned. It has the best acoustics, the best audiences, the best reputation, and the best history of great artists who have played there”. Need we say more?

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    Fancy something a little different, a little grand, a little left from center? Brooklyn Bowl is the place for you. Boasting the first LEED certified deluxe bowling alley in the US, a 4-star restaurant, two ‘Brooklyn brew’ bars and tons of seating, the Brooklyn Bowl line-up has featured acts like Animal Collective, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. One of Rolling Stone’s decreed best music clubs in the US, this genre-defying venue is in a league of its own — where culture, flavor and top-flight music collide head on!

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    One of the city’s premiere rock venues, hosting hip bands by the boatload in its intimate, 550-person space, the Bowery Ballroom is unpretentious and boasts phenomenal acoustics! With a band repertoire that includes the likes of the Pixies, Grizzly Bear, Metric and Lauryn Hill, the Bowery Ballroom ensures a great spot from anywhere in the room, for as low as $20 for admission.


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    Talk about indie, wonderful, soul-acknowledging music, the stuff that gets inside you and power washes your emotions — Rockwood Music Hall is your answer. Recent renovations having lent this place killer sound, there are three intimate stages offering live performances all nights of the week, most of them with no cover! Bring a date, get a friend, go on your own. Either way, you will not be disappointed.

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    With four or five performances a night, and genre diverse jams, you’ll find yourself transcended past the present and flowing into the music at The Living Room. The venue sports an acoustic, folksy, relaxed vibe, often with a small or no cover and has a large roof deck, great for outdoor summer jams. With a vast variety of beers on tap, and plethora of seating space, the focus here is on the performers and the attitude is refreshing, with a crowd that listens and musicians that reward with prodigious talent.

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    A pocket-sized space with absolutely sublime acoustics, head to the Blue Note for mind-blowing jazz. Also highlighting all the biggest names in Blues, Latin, Brazilian, Fusion, R&B, Soul, Contemporary, Big Band and Popular music, this wonderful little music haven is NYC’s worst-kept secret, with relentless queues. With locations in Japan, Italy, China and Slovakia, expect to see globally celebrated talent on the same platform with some exceptional local talent at this at this legendary club.

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    Unassumingly called Sounds of Brazil, S.O.B’s embraces NYC’s diversity with reggae, hip-hop, R&B, jazz and salsa, in a nutshell. Established with the purpose of exposing the musical wealth and heritage of the Afro-Latino diaspora to the world, S.O.B.’s, true to its intent has come to be known as a principal venue not only for World Music, but all genres, the world over. Having hosted performances from an impressive list of legends like Marc Anthony, Celia Cruz, Seu Jorge and Isaac Delgado, SOBs has also developed a reputation in the music industry as a breeding ground for emerging artists and trends, and has catapulted the early careers of uncounted artists, John Legend, Kanye West, Common and Drake to name a few. Aptly declared, it is indeed the “Home of Universal Music”.

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    Located in the quiet confines of Brooklyn, this tiny bar-cum-concert space spotlights a thrilling roster of performers from around the world. Shows running the gamut from jazz, bluegrass, classical and world music, Barbès’ Slavic Soul Party and Afro-rock ensembles are to watch for. Eclectic performances spanning traditional circus music, blues from 1920s Greece, film screenings and readings — be prepared to hoedown to some sick transnational beats.

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    Want the ultimate overview of New York’s music scene all in one day? Sign up for a tour through some of NYC’s most musical neighborhoods for a low down on history and cultural movements, and get up-close and personal with prodigious performers and splendid venues! Need a hand with your luggage while you are at it? Log in to Vertoe, take your pick from our convenient locations, drop your bags, and head out on your melodic journey!

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    Submitted by Shwetha Shanthakumar. To discover her work, you can check her blog here.