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Gospel in Harlem

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 07 April, 2024

God-fuelled singing, clapping and dancing Gospel – it really is as uplifting as it looks, and there is no better place in the world to experience it’s rousing effect than Harlem.

This once-notoriously dangerous neighbourhood – now not just safe but ‘up-and-coming’ – throngs with churches that rock the rafters every Sunday morning.

Worth some time to wander around this fascinating neighbourhood packed with African-American history, before rounding it all off with some authentic ‘soul food’.

Don't miss

After the service, round off the experience by going for brunch and ‘soul food’ at the super-trendy nouveau-soul joint Red Rooster or old-school ‘Queen of Soul’ Sylvia’s.

If Rooster and Sylvia’s are mobbed – there are often long queues after services finish – head to Fredrick Douglass Boulevard below 125th Street for some decent, if less authentic, alternatives.

While you're there

It’s worth a stop are the Studio Museum (144 West 125th Street), which also happens to have great art and gifts, while West 125th Street’s street vendors sell Harlem T-shirts.

Legendary Harlem music venue the Apollo Theater (launched James Brown, Diana Ross and more) is still going strong, and open in the evenings for performances.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 hour

Getting there & doing it

To get to Harlem, take the subway A, C, 2 or 3 trains and get off at the 125th Street stop.

The Abyssinian Baptist (132 West 138 Street) is the best-known church for Harlem’s gospel choir tradition, but you need to go 2 hours early to get in.

Alternatives include New Mount Zion (171 140th Street), Mount Neboh 1883 Seventh Avenue (at 114th Street) or Greater Refuge Temple (2081 Adam Clayton Blvd) – or just walk around and try one of the smaller churches for a more authentic, intimate experience.

Dress respectfully and mind your manners.

When to do it

Services run every Sunday, all year round.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • New York City

Harlem is one of New York City’s most culturally rich neighborhoods. Don’t miss out on its beauty just because you don’t know where to go on your own. This Harlem Sunday morning gospel tour, complete with a gospel choir service, takes care of the details for you. See the Apollo Theater and Cotton Club, and explore parts of this neighborhood. Upgrade to include a soul food brunch at a local restaurant. Explore Harlem on the day of the week when it’s most alive—Sunday Watch a Sunday morning gospel service with a choir A guide knows the best ways around to see more in less time Upgrade to enjoy a soul food brunch at a local-favorite restaurant

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Rating 4.08 / 5 [941 ratings]

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  • New York City

Visit Harlem, the ethnically diverse borough of New York, on a Wednesday-morning guided tour. On your tour through one of New York City's most vital neighborhoods, you'll hear stories from Harlem's fascinating history and see its famous sights.

Price $80

Min age 5

Rating 4.26 / 5 [286 ratings]

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  • New York City

This 4-hour authentic Sunday Harlem Gospel and Brunch Tour first starts at the Apollo Theater, explores the 125th Street area, and then carries through to Mount Morris Park Historic District area. Here, you will find a multitude of churches rich with history amongst where our prominent individuals made their homes. Some of the most well-known musicians and entertainers started their journeys here, and much of the music that began here is now immortalized in American pop culture for future generations to enjoy. Heading through uptown on a Sunday morning, you will hear and enjoy the sights and sounds of Harlem at its best. Hand-clapping, foot-stomping, and the soulful rhythms of black gospel music fill the air. Participate in sermons and homilies given by Harlem's most prominent. Now that you have the feeling of the spiritual energy flowing through you, what about topping off your day with some of the area's best-kept secrets? We’re talking fine dining at one of our local restaurants

Price $115

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Rating 4.60 / 5 [69 ratings]

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  • New York City

On this tour you will visit one of Harlem’s most historic churches consisting of outstanding soul stirring gospel music and the power of prayer. After the church service, you will embark on a cultural walking tour conducted by a lifelong born and raised Harlem resident equipped with portable video, sound and pictures presented along the way at sights of cultural significance. The media component will heighten your enjoyment and understanding of Harlem history.

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  • New York City

Our VIP Contrasts Tour is the best option for you and your family. Our tour allows you to discover and enjoy the diversity of cultures and traditions of the city's neighborhoods: Harlem, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. During the tour, you will enjoy and participate in a Gospel Mass, you will see the most emblematic places of the city, such as the Apollo Theater, the Brooklyn Bridge. Our VIP Contrasts tour is a unique experience that allows you and your family to experience the contrasts that make New York one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Our experienced guides will provide you with an in-depth insight into the city as well as detailed information on the local culture. There is no better way to discover New York. Not only will you be able to see the main attractions of the city, but you will also have the opportunity to learn about its history and culture. You will have an unforgettable and unique experience with your family.

Price $99

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Rating 4.7 / 5 [20 ratings]

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