Harlem has a rich cultural history and historic venues such as the Apollo Theater are still a great way to experience it. Another venue for summer is the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park; Outdoor recreational venues Central Park; trendy dining at Red Rooster and soul food hot spots Amy Ruth’s and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Nightlife venues Lenox Lounge and Harlem Tavern.
This famous neighborhood has new commercial occupants such as Former President Bill Clinton, and merchants have opened stores like The Gap, Old Navy, Magic Johnson's Theatres, Starbucks and Disney. Celebrated establishments like the Apollo Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Schaumburg Center for African American Research and Sylvia's eatery on Lenox Avenue help set the tone for this area's rebirth.
Like any neighborhood in New York, Harlem's boundaries are often contested. For our purposes—and we should know—Harlem extends north from 110th Street (the northern edge of Central Park) to 155th Street and from the East River west to the Hudson River, with the notable exception of Morningside Heights, the bubble around Columbia University that carves out a considerable and beautiful portion of Harlem to the west of Morningside Avenue and south of 125th Street. Many consider Fifth Avenue the dividing line between Harlem and Spanish Harlem, but much like the West Village is simply a division of Greenwich Village, we will not make the distinction here.
Many of Manhattan’s finest and most elegant homes can be found in several districts of Harlem, including the Hamilton Grange area, the Mount Morris district, and Strivers' Row. In addition, the 1802 home of Alexander Hamilton at 87 Convent Avenue, between West 141st and West 142nd Streets, merits a visit. It's worth visiting the nearby City College campus to see the beautiful Harris and Shepard Halls, not to mention the spectacular views from the escarpment of St. Nicholas Park.
No trip to Harlem would be complete without visiting its numerous museums, churches and mosques, restaurants and music venues. Some of the many highlights include the African American Wax Museum, the Black Fashion Museum, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Lenox Lounge, as well as the Gatehouse Theater at 135th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, which opened to much fanfare in 2006. In addition, several tour companies feature special offerings, such as gospel tours, and soul food and jazz outings.