The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

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Arguably the center of the arts, dance, and music in New York City and the United States as a whole, a visit to Lincoln Center is the chance to bask in some of the richest cultural history the city has to offer. Whether it’s a show or concert at The Met, a performance by the New York City Ballet, or simply a stroll on the storied grounds of Julliard, the American School of Ballet, or Fordham Law School, Lincoln Center and its surrounding neighborhood offers a rich variety of options for visitors and locals alike.


As a hub for cultural and artistic events in New York City, it’s impossible to envision, but Lincoln Center actually got its start as an urban renewal project in 1955. Famous New Yorker Robert Moses was the head of the committee designated to revitalize the Lincoln Square Neighborhood as part of what was known as the Mayor’s Slum Clearance Committee.

Moses enlisted the help of fellow New Yorker John D. Rockefeller III who helped raise half of the initial $184.5 million needed for the project. Rockefeller also served as the inaugural president and then chairman of Lincoln Center throughout the 1950s and 60s. Slowly over the next few years, the first three major buildings of Lincoln Center opened. They were: Avery Fisher Hall (Philharmonic Hall) in 1962, the Metropolitan Opera House in 1964, and the David H. Koch Theatre (New York State Theatre) in 1966.

The buildings of Lincoln Center were quickly populated by some big names including Fordham Law School and Julliard in 1962, The American School of Ballet in 1964, and, more recently, Jazz at Lincoln Center was added. It moved into the brand-new Fredrick P. Rose Hall at the Time Warner Center in 2009.

Main Attraction

There are many options for activities on a trip to Lincoln Center which, like any theatre district, varies according to performances and the season.  Lincoln Center is home to both the New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic, both of which perform routinely throughout the year. The Film Society of Lincoln Center also has daily showings of various cultural movies and the Lincoln Center Theatre puts on daily performance of Broadway-esque plays and musicals.

However, Lincoln Center is about more than just the Performing Arts. Located on New York’s exclusive Upper West Side, Lincoln Center proper and its associated 16.3 acres represent only a small fraction of the attractions found in the area. The Lincoln Square Neighborhood is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is a popular location for arts and entertainment companies as well as residents of New York. ABC as well as The Children’s Television Network both call the Lincoln Square neighborhood home. Famous people who have lived on the Upper West Side include names as diverse as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, Denzel Washington, and Al Pacino among many others. The Upper West Side and Lincoln Center specifically have also been featured in many television shows and films.

Shoppers won’t be disappointed when visiting Lincoln Center. The new Time Warner Center offers a large retail complex that includes stores like Banana Republic, Barnes and Nobel, and The Gap along with designer shops from Ann Taylor and Eileen Fisher. For foodies, Lincoln Center and its surrounding neighborhood offer a plethora of gourmet markets and shops. This includes Fairway Market, Citarella’s, and Zabar’s, all of which are within walking distance of Lincoln Center.

Why It’s a Must-See

Depending on time and interest, seeing a show or a movie at Lincoln Center is a truly magical experience. The stages as the Metropolitan Opera House, Avery C. Fisher Theatre (ballet), and David H. Koch Theatre are storied for a reason. Though the tickets can be pricey, they are truly worth it for fans of the arts. However, everyone can enjoy a stroll around Lincoln Center, both day and night, for the sheer vibe that such a cultural mecca creates. It is a true diamonds among gems on the New York arts scene.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is available on the The New York Pass and New York City Explorer Pass