Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
This post reviews Carnegie Hall’s public tour as well as details on taking a tour, what to do nearby, and seeing a performance here.
Carnegie Hall is one of the great concert venues in the world. From its opening in 1891, Carnegie Hall has hosted some of the best performers of every genre.
Carnegie Hall offers approximately 180 concerts each year of a wide array of musical styles and remains one of the premier music halls of New York City.
The building is landmarked and its interior is something worth seeing if you are music or architecture/design lovers.
There are two ways to see the interior of this landmarked building. You can take one of their public tours or you can attend a concert there. Why not do both!
See below for details on how to take a tour.
Also below, you will find information on seeing a performance there and ways to obtain discounted tickets.
Below are directions to Carnegie Hall as well as things to do in the area.
Carnegie Hall is located in Midtown Manhattan at 881 7th Avenue at the corner of West 57th and 7th Street.
You can easily get there by public transportation. Use this Google Maps link to get exact directions from anywhere.
If you are new to the NYC subway, then you may find the 2 articles below helpful.
If you are driving, you can find parking garages here:
For amazing views, visit Top of The Rock, the observatory in 30 Rockefeller Center.
Museum of Modern Art
This world-class museum is just 4 blocks away from Carnegie Hall. The MoMA has free admission on Friday afternoons.
Located just a few blocks north of Carnegie Hall. You can take a tour and get a behind-the-scenes look at this world-famous complex of venues hosts opera, ballet, and the NY Philharmonic.
Located ten blocks from Carnegie Hall, Times Square is a must-see New York City destination. Our post on things to do in Times Square lists the many things to do and see in the area.
Explore Midtown Manhattan
As you will be right in the Midtown Manhattan area, you might enjoy a tour of the neighborhood. You can take one of our pay-what-you-like walking tour of Midtown Manhattan.
On this 60- 75 minute-tour, you will see the Stern Auditorium, visit the Rose Museum filled with more than 400 Carnegie Hall artifacts, and Composers Alley.
Throughout the tour, your knowledgeable guide will share stories from Carnegie Hall’s 125 years of history. You will have the opportunity to take photos of the beautiful interior.
Public tours of Carnegie Hall are generally offered from September through July.
These tours are very popular and they can fill up quickly. We recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance.
You can buy advance tickets on their website or by calling 212-247-7800. Note that there is a $6.50 convenience charge for booking over the phone.
You can purchase same-day tickets at the Carnegie Hall box office prior to the tour.
TIP: If you plan on seeing many attractions while in NYC, such as Carnegie Hall, and want to save a considerable amount of money, you should consider getting a tourist pass.
If you’d like more information on discount tourist passes, read our post on which tourist pass is the best to buy.
Guests love the Carnegie Hall tours! The tour is consistently given high ratings with praise for both the building and the guides.
Reviewers stated that a big benefit of this tour is the ability to take photos where you normally wouldn’t be able to.
However, there are some critiques of the tour. It is not as extensive as other music hall tours as you will only tour the main hall (Stern/Perlman Auditorium).
Carnegie Hall has three separate performance spaces and offers concerts of many different genres. See what is on from their calendar.
Rush Tickets – You can try for “rush” tickets which are sold on the day of the show from the box office for only $10.
Tickets are very limited and are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis from the box office, open Mon-Sat 11 am – 6 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm.
For more information on how to get Rush tickets for Broadway shows, click here.
Partial View Seats – You can get tickets for 50% off if you are willing to take a seat with an obstructed sight lines or restricted legroom. You will still be able to hear everything.
These tickets are available in the Balcony, Dress Circle, and Second Tier of Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.
Military Discounts – Veterans, active-duty members, and first responders (with valid ID) get 30% off of the ticket price.
Student Discounts – With a valid student ID, students can get $10 tickets to some performances.
Bank of America Cardholders – Receive a 10% discount when using your Bank of America card and promo code BAC24503 to purchase tickets.
AAA – Currently there is no discount offered to AAA members.
In the late 1800s, Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest men in America, whose fortune could be put to any use he wanted.
Fortunately for music lovers, he also had a love of music. Carnegie wanted to sway the New York Philharmonic to make Carnegie Hall its permanent home.
Carnegie commissioned the construction of a grand music hall whose architectural design would ensure outstanding acoustics.
He was successful in doing so because the hall was built using the innovative and acoustics-enhancing Guastavino design that creates large vaults with interlock tiles.
On a side note, Guastavino vaults can be found in many prominent buildings in NYC like Grand Central Terminal and Ellis Island’s Registry Room.
These vaults are named for the architect Rafael Guastavino who created and patented his tile arch system in 1885.
In 1891, Carnegie Hall’s construction was complete, and opening night was held on May 5th with the American debut of Tchaikovsky.
The hall was heralded as a triumph for music and architecture. The New York Philharmonic made Carnegie Hall its home until 1962 when it moved to Lincoln Center.
The entire list of performers who have graced the Carnegie stage are too many to list here, but some of the most famous are Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Vladimir Horowitz, Gustav Mahler, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, and Arturo Toscanini.
Carnegie Hall kept up with the musical trends of the day and many of the Jazz, Blues, and Swing greats played here – Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane.
In the 1960s and 1970s, renowned artists such as Judy Garland, Vladimir Horowitz, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Itzhak Perlman, and Luciano Pavarotti filled the house with sold-out performances.
With a list of performers like this, it is hard to imagine that in the 1950s the hall was almost demolished.
In the 1950s, the New York Philharmonic announced it was moving to a new building (Lincoln Center) and Carnegie Hall was put up for sale.
Only real estate developers were interested in purchasing it with the intent of tearing it down and putting up a skyscraper.
Shortly before the demolition was to occur in 1960, the Committee to Save Carnegie Hall convinced New York State’s legislature to allow the City of New York to purchase Carnegie Hall for $5 million.
From that point forward the venue has been run by a nonprofit organization, The Carnegie Hall Corporation.