Lincoln Center


Lincoln CenterOfficially known as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, but always called just Lincoln Center, this is a collection of buildings set on 16 acres at the southern part of Manhattan’s Upper West Side that is the home base for much of the high culture in the city. Many famous institutions make up Lincoln Center, the first of which first opened in 1962. Among other things, the world renowned Julliard Music School is located within the center.

Lincoln Center is an important and popular attraction for visitors to the city, but unless you have arranged tickets for a concert or other event it’s actually difficult to get a real sense of what’s inside. In some cases you can get tickets for these events right up until showtime, but most tend to be very expensive. You can take a guided tour of Lincoln Center if you really want to see some of the lavish interiors and learn more about the complex.

There is a large plaza between most of the buildings and that’s worth a stroll for anyone in the neighborhood. There are often free outdoor performances of one kind or another, and sometimes small craft markets are set up in the central square area.

The main components are:

  • Alice Tully Hall — A 1,095-seat concert hall inside the Julliard School building.
  • Avery Fischer Hall — A 2,738-seat symphony hall, which is home to the New York Philharmonic.
  • Metropolitan Opera House — The largest venue in Lincoln center with 3,900 seats. This is, not surprisingly, the home to the Metropolitan Opera.
  • New York State Theater — This 2,713-seat ballet theater is home to the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.
  • Vivian Beaumont Theater — This is a 1,080 theater used for stage productions.
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center — This is a collection of concert venues for jazz that is actually located at the Time Warner Center next to the main complex.

Guided tours

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One-hour guided tours of most of the venues are conducted four times each day, every two hours starting at 10:30 a.m. Visitors usually get to hear part of a live rehearsal in progress as part of the tour, but the jazz facilities are on a separate tour. Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $10 for students, and $6 for children 12 & under. Reservations for the tour can be made by phone at (212) 875-5350.

Guided tours of Jazz at Lincoln Center

Every day but Sunday at 12:30 p.m. a tour is given of the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex in the Time Warner Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $5 for children 12 & under.

Buying tickets for performances

Needless to say, tickets for the most popular events can be sold out well in advance and are rarely cheap even when they are available. Tickets for the Metropolitan Opera, for example, mostly range from $100 up to almost $400 each, but there are some cheap standing-room tickets available for some shows that can be as low as $15 if they are not yet sold out.

You can buy tickets in person at the various box offices, or by phone, as well as through the Lincoln Center ticket website.