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This uptown New York City neighborhood caught the public’s attention in the 1920s with the Harlem Renaissance—an explosion of African-American art, literature, and music. Though it has been subject to gentrification, the district remains a cultural powerhouse with jazz clubs, theaters, and soul food restaurants tucked away among old brownstones. 

The Basics
Many tourists in New York City find themselves strolling the streets of Harlem. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (125th Street), Harlem’s main thoroughfare, holds many of the area’s top attractions including the Apollo Theater and the Studio Museum in Harlem. But to really get to know this part of Upper Manhattan, explore in the company of a tour guide. Walking tours focus on different aspects of its musical heritage—think hip-hop, Harlem gospel, and jazz—as well as Harlem’s history.

Other Harlem tours revolve around food, movie and TV filming locations, and the district’s swing-dance scene. Many tours make stops at notable religious structures, including the as-yet-unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the lively Abyssinian Baptist Church, and the Rockefeller-built Riverside Church.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Harlem is a must-visit for fans of African-American culture.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and expect to do quite a lot of walking, as Harlem covers a relatively large section of Upper Manhattan. 
  • Curb ramps are commonplace, making much of Harlem accessible to wheelchair users.

How to Get There
Harlem is located in Upper Manhattan. The New York City neighborhood begins at the northern boundary of Central Park between Fifth Avenue and Manhattan Avenue. Harlem’s east-west boundaries widen as you travel north, eventually extending from the Harlem River all the way to the Hudson River. To get to the heart of Harlem, ride the A, B, D, 2, or 3 train to 125th Street. 

When to Get There
Harlem is fun to explore at any time, though the subway trip is probably best avoided during the crowded morning and evening rush hours. On Sundays, you can hear the strains of gospel music emerging from the neighborhood’s many places of worship. Friday and Saturday evenings are best for nightlife. 

Key Historic Sights in Harlem
For a glimpse into the Harlem of old, head for Strivers’ Row, also known as St. Nicholas Historic District. Situated on West 138th and 139th Streets between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevards, this row of elegant 19th-century townhouses has been home to countless historic figures including Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake. Harlem also boasts what is arguably New York’s most glorious cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine—an immense stone construction blending Romanesque, Gothic, and neo-Gothic elements. 

Tours & Tickets

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Harlem Hip-Hop Walking Tour, New York City, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Harlem Hip-Hop Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

Take a guided tour through Harlem to the sites that inspired and nurtured hip-hop culture. New York is the birthplace of hip-hop and this walking tour ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $35.00
Harlem Safe House Jazz Parlor, New York City, Literary, Art & Music Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Harlem Safe House Jazz Parlor

This 2-hour intimate jazz concert in a historic Harlem brownstone setting with hors d'oeuvres, wine and dessert is a unique opportunity to mix and mingle with ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.35
Harlem Gospel and Brunch Tour, New York City, Concerts & Special Events
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Gospel and Brunch Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 16 Reviews

This 4-hour authentic Harlem gospel and brunch walking tour starts with a leisure stroll along 125th Street and the Mount Morris Historic District taking in ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $92.50
Harlem Gospel Sunday Tour, New York City, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Gospel Sunday Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

Get to know the history, heritage and soul of Harlem, the legendary neighborhood known internationally as the Black Mecca of the world. This explosion of ...  Read more

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.00
Harlem Historical Food Tour, New York City, Literary, Art & Music Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Historical Food Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 13 Reviews

Harlem is home to a variety of diverse cultures and tastes. On this walking tour, you will taste renowned soul food as well as Caribbean and African cuisines ...  Read more

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00
Evening Harlem Jazz Tour, New York City, Food Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Evening Harlem Jazz Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 7 Reviews

What better way to end an evening than in Harlem with some sightseeing and live jazz? Enjoy a 3.5-hour tour across 125th Street, then a lovely stroll along ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $62.00
Harlem Sightseeing and Apollo Theater Multimedia Walking Tour, New York City, Literary, Art & Music ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Sightseeing and Apollo Theater Multimedia Walking Tour

The Apollo Theater Multimedia Walking Tour is a combination of Harlem sightseeing and a tour of the world famous Apollo Theater. The idea is to walk the ...  Read more

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.00
Harlem Walking Tour of Mount Morris Park Historic District with Lunch, New York City, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Walking Tour of Mount Morris Park Historic District with Lunch

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

This 3-hour Harlem walking tour of 125th Street and the Mount Morris Historic District with lunch, showcases a remarkable blend of late 19th and early 20th ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.35
Central Park and More Bike Tour, New York City, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Central Park and More Bike Tour

An experience unlike any other in NYC, this 4 hour bike tour of Central Park covers NYC's most famous park and Manhattan's neighborhoods of the Upper West ...  Read more

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00
Harlem Gospel Experience Walking Tour in English, New York City, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Harlem Gospel Experience Walking Tour in English

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Review

Listen to the beautiful, uplifting sounds of a Harlem gospel choir, learn the history of American gospel music, and view the historic sites in the place that ...  Read more

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $45.00

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