Harlem is one of the prominent neighborhoods of New York City located at the northern end of Manhattan. Over the centuries, Harlem has emerged as the hot destination spot for tourists because of its historical and cultural sites. this rapidly growing city provides its guests with rich history like the major periods of Harlem Renaissance, and plenty of interesting spots to visit. If you’re taking a trip to New York City, you cannot afford to miss the historical and cultural beauties of Harlem. If you’re curious to learn about the cultural heritage of Harlem, take a Harlem walking tour and explore Harlem’s past and current scenes.
Here is a list of must-visit historical and cultural spots you can find in Harlem.
Harlem Historical Spots
Corn Exchange Building
Your Harlem walking tour may take you to the Corn Exchange Building which was built by an architectural firm, Lamb & Rich in 1883-1884. Some of the prominent companies like the Mount Morris Bank and Safe Deposit Company resided in the building on the major luxurious floors. Eventually, the Mount Morris Bank was parented by the Corn Exchange Bank after which the building was given the name of the bank. Although its top floors were demolished due to fire in 2009, it still remains a site to behold in Harlem.
Mount Olivet Baptist Church
If you’ve joined the Harlem walking tour, you just cannot miss this magnificent historical site. Initially built as a synagogue, the Mount Olivet Baptist Church is a historical site that reflects the Jewish background. Here, you’ll also find marble pediment inscribed with a verse in the Old Testament – “Jehovah is in his holy temple; be silent, before him, before all the earth,” This pediment further leads to the baptismal pool.
The building is named after Alexander Hamilton, one of the prominent founding fathers of the country. Alexander Hamilton had been living in New York City for a significant amount of time. And therefore, he asked an architect John McComb Jr. to build him a home on 32-acres of land in Harlem. The project was completed only two years before Hamilton’s death in 1804. Since then, Hamilton Grange is open to tourists as one of the historical sites. this home is officially registered as a U.S. National Memorial.
369th Regiment Armory
Built in 1993, the 369th Regiment Armory is a memorial for the regiment’s unmatched war heroism. Popularly known as the “Harlem Hell Fighters,”, the unit was the first African-American regiment of the country to fight in World War I. Designed by Tachau & Vought, the 369th Regiment Armory is bifurcated into two brick-buildings, one being the Art Deco style administration building and other being a medieval-inspired drill shed.
Harlem Cultural Spots
Minton’s Playhouse is another mood-refreshing Harlem walking tour spot for tourists. It is a world-famous jazz bar which was opened in 1938 by a famous jazz musician Henry Minton. The jazz bar has featured some of the legendary talents Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Count Bassie. The venue has made its place in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
This small and intimate venue was built in 1979 and later emerged as one of Harlem’s favorite performing arts centers. Harlem Stage was built with an aim to bring together all the diverse and interesting artistries developed in Harlem in one place. Various artists perform their music, dance, and acts. Harlem Stage showcases the artistic voice of Harlem and its effects on American culture.
When taking a Harlem walking tour, you cannot afford to skip this world-famous music venue in Harlem. Apollo Theater has featured some great talents like Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Billie Holiday, and many other musicians of the generation. This historical stage has emerged as the famous landmark of New York City and has become a part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Harlem Townhouse of Maya Angelou
One of America’s most prominent personalities, Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist and author. She primarily lived in Salem, North Carolina, but owned a townhouse in the Mount Morris Park Harlem. Her house was sold for $4.08 million two years later after her demise in 2014. This place has now become a cultural spot for tourists
Wrapping Up the Harlem Walking Tour
Besides historical and cultural spots, Harlem is also home to famous jazz clubs, restaurants and bars, refreshing parks and cool streets, museums and institutions, architecture moderns, markets, and coffee shops. Are you still thinking from where to start? Don’t worry! Plan your activities and take a Harlem walking tour to find what this popular New York’s neighborhood has in store for you.