New York City ’s largest venue is the 19,000-seat Madison Square Garden (Seventh Ave. between 31st and 33rd Sts., 212/465-6741), also home to the city’s basketball and hockey teams. The 5,600-seat Paramount is a separate venue inside the Garden.
The historic Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway, at 74th St., 212/496-7070, www.beacontheatre.com ) is a convivial spot that hosts the Cirque du Soleil.
The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., 212/840-2824, http://the-townhall-nyc.org ), is a National Historic site that presents a variety of jazz, world, and traditional music in an intimate setting.
The atmospheric Apollo  (253 W. 125th St., near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., 212/531-5305, www.apollotheater.org ) offers mostly R&B, soul, and rap, while on Wednesdays, the famed amateur-night tradition continues. Don’t hesitate to venture up here at night—125th Street  is always bustling.