The Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts is a multiplex of buildings and outdoor spaces that sits on over 16 acres of land in Lincoln Square of Manhattan in New York City. Some of the residents who call this place home include the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the Juilliard School of Music, amongst others.

    The Lincoln Centre sees 5 million visitors annually and offers a variety of performances ranging from opera to dance and theatre. Be sure to check their website for the latest calendar of events, some of which include free admission to performances. The show you choose will also determine how long you will spend at the Lincoln Centre. Don’t forget to factor in the time you’ll want to walk around to take in all of the beauty and history.

    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Highlights of the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts

    Whether you take in a performance at the Lincoln Centre or not, you should experience one of their tours. The 75-minute tour is guided by an expert who will show you a behind-the-scenes look that everyday visitors won’t get a chance to see. You may even get to catch your favourite ensemble practising as you’re guided through the 30 indoor and outdoor spaces of the complex.

    To go along with the tour, you can download the Tour Lincoln Centre app from either the App Store or Google Play. The app knows where you are amongst the 16 stops of the tour and will provide you with a multimedia experience that introduces you to the architecture, art, famous organisations, and colourful personalities that make the centre unique.

    photo by Billie Grace Ward (CC BY 2.0) modified

    History of the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts

    John D. Rockefeller III led the way with other civic leaders to come up with a high-culture idea for a Lincoln Centre renewal project for the Lincoln Square area in the 1950s and 1960s. On May 14, 1959, the groundbreaking ceremony was held with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. David Geffen Hall, which was previously named Avery Fisher Hall and Philharmonic Hall, was the earliest building to open in the complex in 1961.

    A mystery remains regarding the naming of the centre. Nobody knows if the Lincoln Centre is named after former President Abraham Lincoln or its location in Lincoln Square. There was speculation that a previous landowner had the surname of Lincoln, but there have been no records found to support that. The papers filed in 1906 for Lincoln Square provide no reason for the name bestowed.

    photo by ajay_suresh (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Good to know about the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts

    Check out the Lincoln Center’s website for an abundance of information, such as directions and the best places to park. You can also find out where you can shop and dine on the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts Campus. Also, the website gives you a brief look at what’s around the area on the West Side of Manhattan so you can make other plans for when you’re finished at the Lincoln Centre.

    For most performances, there isn’t a dress code. If you are attending a special event, check the website to see if one is required. If you are taking the Lincoln Centre Tour, you’ll want to make sure that you wear comfortable shoes, as it is a walking tour and you’ll be covering the full 16 acres.

    Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York

    Location: Lincoln Centre Plaza, New York, NY 10023, USA

    Open: Box Office hours, Monday to Saturday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Sunday 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

    Phone: +1 212-875-5456

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