HomeNYC NeighborhoodsNYC HarlemHarlem Neighborhood Guide

Harlem Neighborhood Guide

Our Harlem neighborhood guide will show you the wonderful cultural, food, music and historic value of this landmark area, which has long, strong and proud NYC roots. The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s began the golden age of African-American culture, literature, music, artists, theater and art, which continues to strengthen today. Harlem has always been a destination spot for those in the know, but has recently really put itself on the international map and become a must-see area of NYC. If you want to eat authentic soul food, hear mind-blowing jazz and gospel and clothing shop with Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, then Harlem needs to be added to your bucket list!

Things to Do and See in Harlem

Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater, named for the Greek god of music, has launched dozens of famous careers and played a vital role in a time when African-Americans were not allowed to perform elsewhere. Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick, Lauryn Hill and so many others got their start at The Apollo. Amateur Night is every Wednesday @ 7:30pm 1-hour tours are provided almost daily by reservation only. More Info: Apollo Theater, 253 W 125th St.

Striver’s Row

When you see famous photos of Harlem and are looking at rows of gorgeous brownstones, you are most likely seeing Striver’s Row. The St. Nicholas Historic District, aka "Striver’s Row" is a historically and architecturally significant area of NYC, and home to many accomplished African-Americans over the years. It spans Frederick Douglass Boulevard to Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, 138th-139th Streets.

Harlem Tours

More Things to Do in Harlem

Harlem Gospel Experience Tour – 9am every Sunday, this tour takes you to all the local historic and cultural spots, and ends at a local gospel church where you may stay for the lively worship service (dress appropriately).

National Jazz Museum, Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Hotel Teresa

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Harlem Neighborhood Guide Sightseeing Passes

The NY Sightseeing pass includes the ‘Walk This Way Thru Harlem’ tour, a hip-hop music tour, and the ‘Harlem Gospel Experience’ Tour.

NY Sightseeing Pass, New York Pass, NY Explorer Pass, CityPASS Compared

New York City Passes Compared

See All: NYC Attractions Pass Comparison Chart

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Harlem Restaurants

Soul and comfort food line the streets of Harlem, with popular restaurants having lines out the door and months-long reservation lists. Restaurant Row runs along Frederick Douglass Blvd (an extension of 8th Avenue) from 110th to 125th Street.

Top spots loved by true NYC foodies include Red Rooster, Sylvia’s (Cheesy grits, chicken and waffles and sweet tea), Amy Ruth’s (soul food), Billie’s Black, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too, Melba’s, Vinatería (upscale Italian and Spanish wine bar), The Cecil and Lido.

More Harlem Restaurants

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Harlem Neighborhood Guide Shopping

Harlem Haberdashery

Think the late Notorious B.I.G. in elaborate leather ensembles, Grammy award-winners Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s "Empire State of Mind", or David Beckham’s "Welcome to the U.S." Adidas promotion campaign. Harlem Haberdashery’s signature collection has been seen on everyone from award-winning restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, to New York Giants’ Victor Cruz to New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia.

The family behind these iconic looks welcomes you to their gorgeous retail store where you can shop like a celebrity even if you are not one! More Info: Harlem Haberdashery

Harlem Haberdashery NYC

More New York City Shopping

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Harlem Hotels

Harlem is one of the most affordable places to stay in Manhattan, offers easy subway access downtown and has more B&B and apartment style rooms than most other areas, As Harlem is known for their brownstones and not high rises. it allows many landlords to offer vacation rentals that are completely legal, unlike it’s downtown high-rise counterparts.

Harlem YMCA (Hostel)

Harlem YMCA (Hostel)

The Harlem YMCA is one of the the best value hotels in NYC. For those with minimal requirements, who are happy to stay in bunk beds and share bathrooms, then you cannot beat the prices, which start under $100 per night. Believe it or not, the Harlem YMCA includes a full-service fitness center, swimming pool, steam room, sauna, free wifi (common areas) and gets fantastic reviews online from our budget-conscious visitors. All guests must be 13 years of age or older.

Northern Lights Mansion

Housed in a restored 1880 brownstone in Harlem, Northern Lights Mansion offers 2 Executive & Honeymoon suites with private Jacuzzies and One Queen Suite with a private Infra-Red Cedar Suana. The Waterfall Jacuzzi room options are the Deluxe Suite with Spa bath or Queen Suite w Jacuzzi. There are 3 standard additional units with luxury showers. A total of 6 suites and 6.5 luxurious baths are found throughout the mansion.

Northern Lights Mansion Waterfall Jacuzzi

Aloft Harlem Hotel

Aloft Harlem is a fresh, fun, forward-thinking accommodation with urban-influenced design, accessible technology, and a social scene that’s always abuzz. Sip a drink, read the paper, or work on your laptop in the re:mix(SM) lounge or w xyz(SM) bar, where lighting and music change throughout the day to set the perfect mood.

The Harlem Pearl (Lofts, Vacation Rentals)

Harlem Pearl is perfect for the convenience to express subways and very cool restaurants/night clubs (Sylvia’s, Corner Social, Red Rooster). The apartments offer a variety of bed and sofa configurations and reviewers note the cleanliness of the rooms and friendliness of the staff. If you want to stay like a proper NYer, then a brownstone apartment is the way to go.

Jazz on the Park Hostel

Jazz on the Park is likely the most famous hostel in NYC and consistently gets rave reviews, especially relative to the value they deliver. Jazz Hostel offers both dormitories and private rooms, all with shared bathrooms. However, the reason they have such loyal customers is their community, offering a funky coffee bar, weekly pub crawls and summer BBQs. Note: stairs only.

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Harlem Subways

  • A/C, 1/2/3, B/Q Subways
  • General Address: 360 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027

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Harlem Neighborhood Guide Maps

Central Harlem is roughly bound by Frederick Douglass Boulevard, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Morningside Park on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and Central Park North on the south.

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s famous Broadway show, In the Heights, takes place in Washington Heights, the neighborhood that starts just north of Harlem, beginning at 155th Street.

West Harlem is composed of Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill, while East Harlem is also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio.

Harlem Neighborhood Map NYC

Harlem Things to Do Map NYC

Map provided by Free Harlem Walking Tours

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NYC Neighborhood Guides


Our Harlem neighborhood guide will show you the wonderful cultural, food, music and historic value of this landmark area, which has long, strong and proud NYC roots. The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s began the golden age of African-American culture, literature, music, artists, theater and art, which continues to strengthen today. If you want to eat authentic soul food, hear mind-blowing jazz and gospel and clothing shop with Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, then Harlem is on your bucket list!

Harlem Neighborhood Guide

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is a residential neighborhood filled with young professionals and families. It is a great place to stay if you are looking to avoid the heavy crowds of Midtown, explore Central Park, The Museum of Natural History, the Beacon Theatre, Lincoln Center, the West Side Highway and still be about 20 minutes from most of Manhattan.

Upper West Side NYC

Central Park

Central Park offers 843 gorgeous acres to explore and 100s of things to do, which is why we consider it an unofficial neighborhood. Central Park draws 38 million visits a year and is home to the Central Park Film Festival, SummerStage, Shakespeare in the Park, Ice Skating, Central Park Zoo, Bow Bridge, biking, playgrounds, the Carousel and much more.

  • Explore: Central Park Guide
  • To Do: Central Park Zoo, Carousel, TV and Movie Sites, Ice Skating, Loeb Boathouse

Central Park Guide

Times Square & Broadway

Times Square New York and the Theater District are some of New York City's most popular tourist attractions. Of course, Broadway, also known as the Great White Way, is most definitely for locals as well. Spend a bit of time here and make sure to see the lights at night, the Hershey's and M&M Stores, as well as catch a great Broadway Show.

Times Square & Broadway NYC Guide

Midtown West, Koreatown, Hell's Kitchen

Midtown West is a huge tourist area with great neighborhoods like NYC's famous Diamond District, Hell's Kitchen and Koreatown. Hell's Kitchen, is the most western section and an "up-and-coming" residential area of New York City with new shops and restaurants opening often. Koreatown, just a block from the Empire State Building, is known for their restaurants and karaoke bars and clubs.

Midtown West NYC Guide

Garment District / Fashion Center

The Garment District, also called the Fashion District or Fashion Center, is home to many of the world's most famous fashion designers and showrooms. The area is an amazing resource for fabrics, beads and trims, however, unless you are trade, don't expect to walk in off the street to designer showrooms. The best way to possibly get access to private showrooms is through a private tour or a NYC Sample Sale.

Garment District Fashion Center NYC Free Map Guide

Chelsea & Hudson Yards

Chelsea NY is known for art galleries, nightlife and gay-friendly culture. It is a lively, vibrant neighborhood with some of New York City's top restaurants, clubs, art and things to do outdoors and along the Hudson River. While Chelsea boundaries are West 14th-34th Streets, from 7th Ave to the Hudson River, the new Hudson Yards occupies it's most North and West streets, West 30th to 34th Streets between 10th and 12th Avenues.

  • Explore: Chelsea & Hudson Yards Guide
  • To Do: The Highline, Art Galleries, Chelsea Market, Chelsea Piers, Little Island, Edge, The Vessel, The Shops at Hudson Yards

Chelsea & Hudson Yards Free Map Guide

Meatpacking District

The Meatpacking District, also known as the Gansevoort Market, is only a few blocks, so you cannot get lost, but it is packed with upscale restaurants, night clubs and designer shopping. Like many NY neighborhoods, the MP District retains it's historical architecture, as it is lined with cobblestone streets and old warehouses, but, today, these same buildings house very modern shopping and dining. The heart of the Meatpacking District is Little West 12th Street.

Meatpacking District NYC Guide Free Map Guide

Greenwich Village & NoHo

Our Greenwich Village NYC Guide provides insight into one of NYC's most cherished neighborhoods. The Village is full of history, celebrity, politics, landmarks and so much more. The NYU campus, Washington Square Park, gorgeous brownstones and cobble stone streets, amazing restaurants, tons of trees and much more make this area a local favorite.

Greenwich Village NYC Guide

West Village

The West Village is filled with tree-lined streets, beautiful old brownstones and hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafés. It is truly a quintessential NYC neighborhood, inhabited by locals and celebrities who can afford to live anywhere they choose. If you're a Friends or Sex and the City fan, then you are already quite familiar with the West Village...now it's time to come experience it!

West Village NYC Guide


SoHo (SOuth of HOuston - pronounced How-ston) is another NYC neighborhood filled with the best shopping and restaurants. Traditionally known as a haven for artists and their lofts, it has become more upscale over the years and a much sought-after place for New Yorkers to live.

  • Explore: SoHo Guide
  • To Do: New York Fire Museum, Shopping, Art Galleries, Brunch & Restaurants, Broken Kilometer & Earth Room

SoHo NYC Guide

Tribeca & The Battery

Tribeca Tribeca (TRI-angle BE-low CA-nal) NYC, is home of the namesake Film Festival, Robert De Niro’s pet project, created to promote commerce downtown after 9/11. He also owns several hotels and restaurants in the area and is spotted quite frequently. Tribeca was also the home of JFK Jr and Caroline Bessette Kennedy before their tragic death in 1999 and is filled with old warehouses, now converted into lofts, beautiful views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty along the West Side Highway, excellent restaurants, families, parks and NYC history.

  • Explore: Tribeca & The Battery
  • To Do: Hudson River Park and River Promenade, Statue of Liberty Views, Upscale & Casual Dining

Tribeca Neighborhood Guide

Financial District and Wall Street

The Financial District (FiDi), at the southern tip of NYC, is one of NYC's most bustling business and tourist areas, from Monday to Friday and is near dead on the weekends. Sights include the 9-11 Memorial & Museum, Wall Street, One World Observatory, The American Stock Exchange, the Charging Bull, the Fearless Girl and views of the Statue of Liberty.

Financial District and Wall Street Guide

Upper East Side NYC

The Upper East Side is an upscale, residential neighborhood and home to Museum Mile, some uber-upscale shopping and Gracie Mansion. The homes on Fifth Avenue, along Central Park, are some of the most exclusive in all of Manhattan. You've likely seen the Upper East Side on Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, The Real Housewives of New York, I Love Lucy, Breakfast at Tiffany's and dozens of other times on your screens.

Upper East Side NYC Free Map Guide

Midtown East

Midtown East is a huge tourist, commercial and residential area. Around 5th Ave, the neighborhood is home to many tourist attractions, such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock and Radio City Music Hall. Bryant Park, the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station are close together just south. Moving towards 3rd Ave and further east, the area is more residential, and generally, the restaurants are better and more affordable, with the UN being the only attraction in that part of the neighborhood.

Midtown East  NYC Free Map Guide

Union Square, Flatiron, NoMad, Gramercy

Union Square (my hood!), the Flatiron District and NoMad all have a mix of residence and business tenants. Additionally, colleges such as NYU, The New School and FIT dominate the area, making it very fun and lively. It is one of the best dining and nightlife areas in Manhattan, with something for every palate and budget and offers fabulous hotels of all kinds.

Union Square, Flatiron, NoMad, Gramercy Free Map Guide

East Village

While originally part of the Lower East Side, an immigrant neighborhood, the East Village, has separated itself and become home to some of the City’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife. It is full of character, diversity, fine dining, shops and live music, and includes a subsection named “Alphabet City.” East Village culture ranges from tattoo parlors and “dive bars” to some of New York City’s nicest hip and trendy hotels.

  • Explore: East Village
  • To Do: Blue Man Group & Stomp, St. Mark's Place, Nightlife, Speakeasies, Curry Lane

East Village NYC Free Map Guide

Lower East Side NYC

Traditionally, the Lower East Side was a working class immigrant neighborhood (think “Gangs of New York”). Today it is a wonderfully ethnic and diverse neighborhood and serves as a shopping, dining and nightlife destination for many NYC locals. Even with all its modern upgrades, the LES retains a large amount of its history, especially it’s Jewish, Polish, Irish and Italian cultures. The LES also has one of the best selections of hotels in NYC - tons of boutique hotels with amenities, rooftops, skyline views and seconds from 1000s of cool restaurants and hot spots.

Lower East Side NY Guide

Chinatown NYC

Chinatown NYC is a small, but very densely packed area of shops and restaurants. It is really fun to walk around, enjoy the culture, pick up some souvenirs, and most definitely, eat some delicious and affordable Dim Sum, dumplings, pork buns and other amazing Chinese cuisines.

  • Explore: Chinatown NYC Guide Guide
  • To Do: Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), Mahayana Buddhist Temple, Dim Sum & Dumplings

Chinatown NYC Free Map Guide

Little Italy NYC

Little Italy NYC Guide is a just a few blocks, with tons of outdoor restaurants and owners promising free wine and sangria to lure you in. Puglia is a favorite restaurant for families with their live singing and kids standing on their chairs waving napkins. Visit the new Italian American Museum, which tells the story "from Columbus to Cuomo," the original Old St. Patrick's Church and NYC Police Headquarters.

Little Italy NYC Free Map Guide

NYC Boroughs

Explore the diverse neighborhoods of NYC Boroughs with our comprehensive guide to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. New York City is a melting pot of cultures and neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Whether you're a local or a visitor, exploring the five boroughs of NYC is a must-do experience.

NYC Boroughs Guide

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NYC Insider Guide
NYC Insider Guidehttps://www.nycinsiderguide.com
Welcome! I'm Melissa, a fourth generation New Yorker, who has been lucky enough to live in New York for over 30 years. I love just about everything in New York City, the very reason I started this web site, and I look forward to sharing it all with you. Please explore the New York City Insider Guide at your own pace. I hope it helps you plan your New York City Vacation, so you not only go home as a NYC Insider, but plan to visit us again soon.


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