The Apollo is an intrinsic part of Harlem history and culture. A leading space for concerts and political rallies since 1914, its venerable stage hosted virtually every major black artist in the 1930s and ’40s, including Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. Decades later, it would help launch the careers of countless stars, from Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin to Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill. Today, its thriving program of music, dance and special events continues to draw crowds and applause.
The Apollo’s most famous event is the long-running Amateur Night, which takes place on Wednesday nights February through November. The wild and ruthless crowd is as fun to watch as the performers. Fascinating tours of the building require groups of 20 or more with advance reservation, though individuals are welcome to join group tours ($17 to $19 per person) based on availability (see the website for details).