As you walk the streets of New York City, you can feel the influence of Black culture across all five boroughs. It’s woven into the identity of the city—after all, this is where you’ll find the largest and most diverse Black population in the U.S.
For everything from world-renowned music, fashion, and food to visual and
performing arts, we go to our trusted experts at The Black Experience in
NYC. They provide the where-to-go and what-to-do to immerse yourself in
Black culture across the city. Read on to discover key neighborhoods and
hot spots to celebrate the Black community on your next visit to NYC.
Why not spend the weekend discovering Black-owned restaurants, bars,
retailers, and cultural attractions in Harlem? From the cozy neighborhood
café Home Sweet Harlem to the Kente Royal Gallery, you can cater your
experience to your favorite things. Foodies will love Red Rooster Harlem for
dinner, but you’ve got to go to The Edge for brunch. Shop many Black-
owned small businesses that put the neighborhood’s stamp on fashion. And be sure to check out the history that runs down Edgecombe Avenue and the historic jazz bar, Minton’s Playhouse.
Travel here to meet Dr. George E. Blair, a descendant of the Buffalo soldiers
and the oldest Black cowboy in New York. Yes, you read that right—there is
a small but longstanding community of Black cowboys and they are in NYC! At 92-years young, George, who produced an all-Black cowboy rodeo in Harlem for over 30 years, continues to teach visitors how to ride horses at his New York Riding Academy on Randall’s Island.
Welcome to the center of activism in the north during the civil rights
movement of the 1960s. Leaders like Dr. Robert Palmer and Shirley
Chisholm mobilized people to battle racism from these very streets—and
now these buildings feature incredible neighborhood murals spotlighting
these civil rights figures and music icons. While the history is rich, today
this destination is bursting with color and life with new restaurants and
vibrant shops that embody the spirit of Black pride. Click here for a glimpse of the best places to visit.
You may have heard Jamaica, Queens mentioned by artists like Nicki Minaj,
50 Cent, Run DMC, and LL Cool J— but the legacy of Black culture in the area runs deep, with jazz legends like John Coltrane, Lester Young, and
Charlie Mingus having called this area home. A scrappy area with a lot of
heart, Jamaica is a frequently overlooked cultural hub.
Home to a large African diaspora population, this neighborhood has
welcomed many Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean Americans
since the late 1960s. This is where you can find the West Indian American
Day Carnival, the largest annual celebration of Caribbean culture in New
York City. Top spots here are the Lakou Café for traditional Haitian eats,
Colors Effect for sips and painting, and the Weeksville Heritage Center, a
historical site dedicated to sharing the story of one of the largest free Black
communities in pre–Civil War America. For more on this neighborhood,
click here to see how you can spend a weekend here.
From Black voices on Broadway to the best Black-owned restaurants and
businesses, click here to start planning your next trip to explore the Black
Experience in New York City.