Harlem Edit: What to See & Do Uptown
So you’ve made it to the last installment of The Harlem Edit. I really do love this neighborhood especially in the summer time. It’s the best place to be. You can sit on a stoop or at many of the numerous parks and just have a picnic and take it all in. Or you can visit some of the mainstays in Harlem and get a little dose of culture. When I think about it, Harlem is a mixture of everything a neighborhood should be and I may be bias but I think it’s the best neighborhood in all of Manhattan. So I’ve already given you the details on Where to Eat Uptown and Where to Shop Uptown, now its time to school you on what you can see and do in Harlem.
Studio Museum of Harlem is number one on my list of cool shit to do in Harlem. I love visiting every few months to check out the exhibitions. The most recent one I saw was the Black Cowboy exhibit a long with a few pieces from Kerry James Marshall. I’m looking forward to checking out the Jamel Shabazz exhibit soon too. The museum is quiet and thoughtful with the flow of artwork. You can spend a whole day or just an hour strolling around taking it all in. I love going on Sunday’s when they first open at noon. It’s relatively quiet and you can have the whole place to yourself. It’s also Free on Sundays thanks to Target! All other days admission for adults is a suggested donated of $7 and it’s free for children under 12. Please make sure to stop by the gift shop. It’s one of my favorites (so much so that I included it in the Where to Shop Uptown Edit!). I would suggest brunch at one of my favorites from Where to Eat Uptown and then a trip to Studio Museum of Harlem for a perfect Sunday!
Studio Museum of Harlem 144 W. 125th
Thursday- Friday 12-9pm
Visit the National Black Theatre and catch performances showcasing African American plays and events. They also have drama education as well. Make sure to check out the schedule online where you can buy tickets for shows.
National Black Theatre 2031 5th Avenue
Visit Morris-Jumel Mansion which is the oldest house in Harlem/Washington Heights. In 1776 it was used as headquarters by General George Washington (he then went on to become the 1st President of the United States). The house is pretty cool and on a summer day it’s the perfect place to wander around and visit the garden. What’s even cooler is Jumel Terrace, across the street from Morris-Jumel Mansion which is an instagram dream and historic district. This would be perfect for a day date! The tours are usually self guided. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students.
Morris-Jumel Mansion 65 Jumel Terrace
Saturday – Sunday 10-5
Riverbank State Park is an absolute favorite of mine. I actually run a path along the park from George Washington Bridge to the park entrance on 145th Street. It’s the perfect run along the Hudson River as the sun rises or sets on the water. In the summer Riverbank State Park has a roller skating rink and it turns into an iceskating rink in winter. It’s so much fun to relive my childhood and go roller skating on a hot summer day! The park also has an outdoor track which I incorporate into my runs as well as indoor pools. In the summer there are always huge cookouts and parties along the water too. It’s the best place to take a walk after a long day, feed the ducks and watch the water. It’s one of my favorite thinking spots too. I like to go there, sit on a bench and look at the George Washington Bridge all lit up at night.
Riverbank State Park 679 Riverside Drive at 145th St
Take a stroll down one of the most scenic brownstone streets Hamilton Terrace and then visit The Grange or Hamilton Grange Mansion. The mansion sits on a hill in St. Nicholas Park. It’s the relocated home of US founding father, Alexander Hamilton. But that’s not what interests me. The house is simply stunning and preserved to perfection. I love it so much I did a shoot here! It’s definitely worth a visit. It’s FREE to visit and see inside the home! Another wonderful street to take a walking through is Striver’s Row. Strivers Row is St. Nicholas historic district where many prominent African Americans such as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson lived. The streets between 138th and 139th Street are full of brownstones and row houses. It the most perfect two blocks in Harlem.
The Grange 414 W. 141st Street
GET THE LOOK
No visit to Harlem is complete without visiting the Apollo Theatre even if it’s just to stand outside and take a few pictures. But if you can, go and see a show. The most notable ones that have happened recently are shows by Dave Chappelle, Amy Schemer, Steve Harvey and D’Angelo. Amateur night is always a fun time too happening every Wednesday at 7:30pm and tickets are less than $30! On November 21, 1934, 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut at the Apollo, winning a $25 prize.
Apollo Theater 263 W. 125th St
Catch some live Jazz and singers at Minton’s! Fun factoid: I used to date an upright bass player and he practically dragged me to every Jazz spot in Harlem and beyond. So Minton’s is a must do even if you’re not that into Jazz, it’s a fun experience and they have something different almost every night. Check their calendar before making a reservation. Minton’s has live music during dinner Wednesday to Sunday nights and during brunch on Saturday & Sunday.
Minton’s 206 W. 118th St
Visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It is a research library as well as an archive for information of people of African descent. In addition to collections of rare books they have an extensive schedule of events from exhibitions (currently the Black Power exhibition), to talks with prominent journalists, artists and scholars. In addition to exhibitions and talks they also show movies! On July 7th 2017 at 6:30pm they are having the 25 Anniversary Screening of JUICE. Released in 1992, the hip hop-fueled drama Juice stars Omar Epps and presents the acting debut of Tupac Shakur, alongside Jermaine “Huggy” Hopkins, Khalil Kain, and Samuel L. Jackson. A few members of the cast will join and following the screening there will be a 90s music themed afterparty. I CANT WAIT. On Tuesday July 11th, 2017 they are also having a book release and exhibition social for Adornment as Resistance: The Black Dandy & Streetstyle. It looks like a good time too. So make sure to check the Schomburg calendar for upcoming events.
Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Monday, Thursday-Saturday 10-6pm
LIVE LIKE A HARLEMITE and rent an airbnb in Harlem like this one built in the 1800s with a beautiful suite in central Harlem. You can also get a Limo Service in New York to see the city in style.
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