Places to Go
Things to Do
Places to Stay
Plan Your Trip
Harlem is one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in New York City and in the world. It’s where the Harlem Renaissance began, inspiring a cultural movement across the United States. It’s where legendary performers like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson were discovered and where jazz and gospel music still flood the sidewalks. It’s also where the soul food classic chicken and waffles was invented.
Harlem Week 2018 is now in its 44th year, having started in 1974. It has become one of the largest cultural events in the nation and this year will have 100+ events spanning conferences, seminars, sports, music, food, dance, and more.
While the event is named Harlem Week, it’s actually an entire month of celebrations. In 2018, Harlem Week spans from July 29 to August 31 and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Women Transforming the World: Past, Present, & Future.” 44 women, including Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Misty Copeland, and Beyoncé, are being saluted during a variety of events. This year will also honor members of the LGBTQ community like poet Langston Hughes, performer Gladys Bentley, and actor Neil Patrick Harris.
Find out when and where events are taking place.
“A Great Day in Harlem”—"A Great Day in Harlem" attracts over 45,000 people throughout the day to Ulysses S. Grant National Memorial Park. The day consists of four segments, beginning with an International Cultural Showcase, Artz, Rootz & Rhythm, the Tri-State Gospel Showcase, a Fashion Fusion Showcase, and "Showtime! A Concert Under the Stars".
“Summer in the City”—"Summer in the City" showcases the Harlem Arts Alliance, Artz, Rootz & Rhythm Festival on the St. Nicholas Avenue Stage on W. 135th Street. This stage also features a "Dancing in the Street" segment which invites all attendees to get up and dance, a Higher Education Fair & Expo, a children's festival, and an outdoor film festival.
“Harlem Day”—Harlem Day is the biggest day of the Harlem Week public events and attracts over 100,000 persons of all ages from throughout the city, the Tri-state region, nationally and internationally. The attendees enjoy four stages of music and entertainment including Jazz, dance, R&B, gospel, Rock & Roll, Blues, Caribbean, African and Latin music as well as fashion shows, an auto show, a health village, and a children's festival.
Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run & Health Walk—The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run is celebrating its 8th Anniversary this year and is anticipated to attract over 7,500 registered runners of all ages and genders representing 94+ countries to participate in this 5K run through historic Harlem.
Restaurant Week in Harlem—This appetizing event showcases the best of Harlem's international diversity by featuring cuisines from some of the major diverse populations in the greater Harlem area including Cuban, Caribbean, Dominican, and of course Harlem's famous "Soul Food".
Harlem is the spot to try soul food. Sylvia's, known as "the Queen of Soul Food" has been a staple for more than 50 years with their smothered chicken, fried catfish, and collard greens. There are daily specials and a menu for Sunday Gospel Breakfast. Popular Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is known for its pork ribs, Texas-style brisket, and pulled pork.
Red Rooster Harlem, by Top Chef's Marcus Samuelsson, is a favorite of President Barack Obama. Signature dishes include cornbread, deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, mac and greens, Helga's meatballs, and the fried yard bird. Downstairs, find Ginny's Supper Club which recreates the Harlem speakeasies of the 1920s with live music, creative cocktails, and more soulful food.
For something a little different, try Ponty Bistro for French-Senegalese food like escargot, poulet yassa (a traditional chicken dish), seafood linguini, sirloin steak with Senegalese spices, and chocolate fondant.
Close to all Harlem Week events and just 5 minutes to the subway to explore the rest of the city, Aloft Harlem provides everything you need in the heart of Harlem. The hotel, a member of the SPG group, has an always-open gym and restaurant on-site and a bar with live music, specialty cocktails, and pool tables.
There are a number of Bed & Breakfast options in the area if you are looking for a unique stay. Sleep in an authentic but renovated 100-year-old brownstone at the Harlem Grand. Guests return for the beauty of the rooms, the friendliness of the host, and the ideal location. The San Fermin B&B has earned the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and is in a quiet, off-the-beaten-path location a little further uptown.
Don't just take our word for it, the folks below can show you the best and brightest things to see and do in Harlem: