Visiting Carnegie Hall
Like London’s O2 Arena and Sydney’s Opera House, Carnegie Hall New York is the place to go for live acts when visiting the Big Apple. This historic landmark dates back to the early 1890s and has been showcasing world-class performers since its opening. Carnegie Hall has hosted over 50,000 events, a world record, and continues to be revered as a place of legacy and prestige for all music lovers.
Carnegie Hall history
When walking through the streets of New York, you can’t miss the grandeur of Carnegie Hall in Midtown Manhattan. Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill, it was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and was one of the last buildings of its size built entirely from masonry. Inside, its welcoming foyer and celebrated white and gold auditorium nods to a Florentine Renaissance inspired design and its lobbies are hung with signed portraits by those who headlined this renowned venue.
Carnegie Hall has three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall. The majestic Main Hall is the largest and can seat an audience just shy of over 2,800. Also known as the Isaac Stern Auditorium, it was renamed after the violinist to thank him for his generous donations to save the hall from demolition in the 1960s. This hall is considered the most prestigious of all in the United States when it comes to classical music but now also headlines more popular acts, too.
Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall has passed through many names and was even used as a cinema for over 30 years. It is one of the more adaptable performance areas and this new modern renovated space welcomes the likes of classical, pop, and jazz artists from around the world.
The Joan and Standford I. Weill Recital Hall is the venue’s smallest but most intimate performance space. Decorated with large draping chandeliers and soft blue velvet curtains you’ll find chamber music concerts and debut performances here along with panel discussions. The latest addition to the Hall is the Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing which hosts programs run by the Weill Music Institute and Ensemble Connect.
The Rose Museum is worth spending some time in, too, to discover the 400 artifacts and exhibitions showcasing some of the most famous acts to have played in Carnegie Hall NYC. To name a few, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Nina Simone, Ike & Tina Turner... If that isn’t impressive enough, the Beatles performed here twice during their New York tour of ’64, and guess who holds the record for the most consecutive sold-out performances at this iconic venue? Liza Minelli – she sold-out 17 consecutive shows at the Carnegie Hall!
Visiting Carnegie Hall
One of the best ways to experience 125 years of this historic landmark is by tour and Carnegie Hall tickets are included in the purchase of a The New York Pass. The sightseeing pass offers a free tour (60-75mins) led by an expert guide where you can learn of Carnegie Hall’s three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall, as well as the Carnegie Hall Archives and the Rose Museum, too. You’ll learn anecdotes and stories of the famous performers to grace the stages, such as the long-standing folklore that a tourist pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street asked the musician Jascha Heifetz as he was leaving on the day, "Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?" and Heifetz quipped, "Yes, Practice!"
Location: 881 Seventh Avenue (at 57th Street)
How to get there: Subway: Q R, to 57th Street
Opening times: Box office: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Tours subject to availability*
Carnegie Hall tickets can be pre-booked online or by phone to avoid disappointment and their box office is open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm. Or, make the most of a free guided tour included in your The New York Pass.