Apollo Theater
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Apollo Theater: Tours & Tickets

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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.

Photo: David Jones@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Photo: Travis Wise@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

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.

Photo: David Goehring@flickr CC BY 2.0)

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.

Photo: David Wilson@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Apollo Theater: Our Tips

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 to visit
    Box Office open Monday - Saturday 10:00AM - 6:00PM, Sunday 12:00PM - 5:00PM
  • What is the price?
    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 tips
    • 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.

What People Are Saying About Apollo Theater

The tour was extremely interesting with Charlie being a engaging guide

I couldn't recommend this tour more highly. Charlie was an absolutely fantastic guide. He was fun and extremely informed, a marvellous combination. Be prepared for plenty of walking but be guaranteed taht you will see and learn a great deal.
Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour Reviewed by andrew, 12/06/2013

Charlie's enthusiasm and details about the area/history were amazing!

Charlie was fabulous! We learned more than we ever expected about the area! He graciously gave us the tour that we wanted, not one that was only scripted. His personal experiences re: the area/history made our learning so much more compelling. We especially were thrilled with the Schomburg Center, and the many historic buildings and churches like Hamilton's house and the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Thank you very much. (The trip was actually with family and adult child)
Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour Reviewed by Marjorie, 05/16/2013

Things To Do Near Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater
Based on 11 reviews by GetYourGuide customers
Cover photo: The All-Nite Images, CC BY 2.0