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The Best Venues in NYC to Host a Gala

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No city puts on a party like New York. Not only will you find some of the world’s most creative designers, planners, and caterers, but there are certain backdrops only an event in NYC can provide. From aesthetics to guest count, in-house amenities to tech capabilities, so much goes into choosing the right locale for your gala. If your organization, company, or nonprofit is looking to host a gala in the city that never sleeps, The Vendry has put together a list of 22 breathtaking venues for guaranteed event elevation. 

Host Your Next Gala at One of these Stunning Venues

It’s hard to make a wrong turn when trying to source out gala venues in NYC. From landmark addresses to stately hotels, The Vendry has narrowed down a list for you to kick off your research. Get out your checklist of “must haves” and take a look at the best New York has to offer.

1. Center415

Neighborhood: Midtown
Capacity: 1200 standing, 600 seated

Let 5th Avenue in Midtown be your red carpet when you host your gala at Center415, a 32,000 square-foot open space wonder of a venue. The 18-foot high ceilings divided between two floors make this space feel open and airy. Give lots of room to your catering crew with their large kitchen. Center415 is ready for any lighting, tech, or theatrical installations you might require with 2,000 amps of power and a rigging grid. Close to major transportation hubs, use this venue for the benefit or gala of your dreams.

2. Terminal 5

Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Capacity: 3,000 standing

Terminal 5 emerges as the premier choice for hosting a gala in the heart of New York City for corporate event planners. With its swanky multilevel setup, this venue presents an unparalleled opportunity to create a memorable and sophisticated event. The soaring 40-foot ceilings and cutting-edge sound and lighting systems set the stage for an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression on attendees.

Its versatility is a key asset, offering three floors of raw event space, making it suitable for a wide range of gatherings, from corporate functions and non-profit galas to weddings, movie premieres, and fashion shows. A recent 2019 renovation has elevated Terminal 5 even further, featuring a revamped roof deck, multiple bars, comfortable seating areas, green rooms, ample bathrooms, nearby parking, and seamless load-in/out options. This venue's combination of style, technology, and convenience makes Terminal 5 the ideal canvas for crafting a gala that stands out in the bustling corporate landscape of New York City.

terminal 5 venue with over a dozen round tables and purple uplighting
Terminal 5

3. The Glasshouse

Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Capacity: 1,850 standing

No stones to throw at this beauty – The Glasshouse in Hell’s Kitchen is a stunning, versatile open concept event space that will rise to any of your occasions. With 75,000 square feet, The Glasshouse has it all: a furnished VIP lounge with separate entrance, Green Rooms,  and multiple outdoor terraces. Choose from their diverse set of preferred vendors, as well as their on-site inventory of rentals like glassware and chairs. Create a real scene with their production services, all there to incorporate immersive experiences for your gala guests. Enjoy use of the “pre-function” airy lobby, that has direct terrace access for those killer views. Like what you see here? The Glasshouse has sister locations in Bryant Park and Chelsea.


4. Chelsea Industrial

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Capacity: 1100 standing, 450 seated

Chelsea Industrial comes in hot offering lots of options for all your gala needs. In addition to the great location and cool, sleek vibe it offers, Chelsea Industrial offers three individual event spaces within the property. The Yard is their largest space with 18-foot ceilings, a breakout area, two kitchens, floor-to-ceiling windows, and one of the city’s largest indoor LED screens perfect for projections. Choose The Lounge, a more intimate space that can hold 250 people and has its own entrance and built-in bar. Or select The Village, the corner event space that is on the ground level, perfect for your gala’s cocktail hour.  

5.  The Altman Building

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Capacity: 750 standing, 550 seated

Bring some history to your event by hosting it at The Altman Building, a structure built in 1896 as the carriage house for the famed B. Altman & Company department store. This versatile event space has 14,000 square feet over two floors, and provides loads of flexibility with hardwood floors, vaulted exposed brick ceilings, and arched windows. The main floor is nearly column-free, and the Gallery floor is a perfect spot for a silent auction or experiential installation. There’s in-house beverage service and a preferred list of caterers, all making certain your gala will go off without a hitch.

6.  Pier Sixty

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Capacity: 2000 standing, 1800 seated

Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers is the largest NYC waterfront event venue, featuring 20,000 square feet of gorgeous, column-free space, floor-to-ceiling windows, and unreal views of the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, and Freedom Tower. Host your galas in any or all of their nine event spaces, and utilize the venue’s ability to break up those spaces with airwalls. Enjoy the ease of their in-house catering for all your culinary needs. Invite your guests to take in the sunset on the Veranda, Pier Sixty’s outdoor space.

7. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Capacity: 6000 standing, 2732 seated

Quintessential New York, Lincoln Center is the classic locale to hold your next gala or fundraiser. Considered the cultural epicenter of the city, Lincoln Center is a 16-acre campus with recognizable architecture and multiple venues for your big event. You can go big with something like the Josie Robertson Plaza, a 28,000-square foot open space with the iconicRevson Fountain. Or choose something more intimate, like the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse on the 10th floor, which seats 250, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and has a wraparound balcony with sweeping views of the Hudson River. The two theaters – Alice Tully Hall and David Geffen Hall – both can serve as the perfect stage for any presentations that might be on the night’s agenda.

8.  American Museum of Natural History

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Capacity: 1000 standing, 750 seated

If historic, old New York is the vibe you are going after, then look no further than the American Museum of Natural History. The backdrop of countless movies, the Museum is known the world over for its exhibits, so why not host your gala or fundraiser right in the middle of one? There’s the Milstine Hall of Ocean Life, the iconic Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, all ready to deliver a night your guests won’t soon forget. And if a presentation is a part of your event’s program, consider the Kaufman Theater that can seat 270.

9. Ziegfeld Ballroom

Neighborhood: Midtown
Capacity: 1100 standing, 800 seated

An Art-Deco dream deep in the Theater District, Ziegfeld Ballroom has all the elegance and grandeur you desire in a venue, plus all the state-of-the-art tech you are going to need. Work closely with Ziegfeld’s management team to create an unforgettable night. The Ballroom itself can seat 800 for a dinner, with fare from one of the venue’s preferred catering partners. Perhaps use the balcony for cocktail hour, and watch as the room can be divided into five breakout rooms via air-walls. No ask is too big here – the Ziegfeld has hosted some of the finest society galas in the city.

10. Weylin

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Capacity: 1000 standing, 450 seated

Get on over to Brooklyn to experience Weylin, the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank from 1875. After a glorious restoration of its frescoed dome, wood carvings, and intricate mosaics, the Weylin now boasts 10 different event spaces for your next gala. The Main Rotunda can seat 400 and is a perfect backdrop for large-scale galas or award ceremonies. Invite your guests to retire to the 1875 Bar, with its aged tin ceiling and antique vault that really captures that Prohibition-era feel.

11. St. Ann’s Warehouse

Neighborhood: DUMBO
Capacity: 1500 standing, 1000 seated

Just east of the Brooklyn Bridge, situated on the waterfront in DUMBO is St. Ann’s Warehouse, a versatile open space venue with incredible views of the New York City skyline. The Studio is a 1,000 square-foot flexible space and has a 18-foot ceilings and a lighting grid. The Theater Space can accommodate 1,500 standing and is just ripe with possibilities, from the black Masonite floor to the retractable projection screen.

12. Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights
Capacity: 2500 standing, 800 seated

Morningside Heights is home to the architectural wonder that is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, home to many nonprofit and corporate events through the decades. Truly a space that serves its diverse community, the Cathedral can accommodate more than 800 guests for a seated dinner, or 2,500 for receptions. All cocktail or sit-down events held here are handled by famed caterer Abigail Kirsch. Your guests will praise you for the unique venue, as they congregate under the Cathedral’s famed rose window.

13. Cipriani South Street

Neighborhood: Financial District
Capacity: 1000 standing, 800 seated

On the second floor of the Battery Maritime Building sits Cipriani South Street, an inviting event space by the famed Cipriani family. It goes without saying that the Italian fare is the star here, but the patterned glass ceiling of the Great Hall is just as impressive. Seating 800, the 9,000 square-foot Grand Hall has pre-function spaces filled with natural light for cocktails or breakout meetings. Don’t miss the outdoor Loggia, which spans the full length of the building façade.

14. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Neighborhood: Midtown
Capacity: 705 standing, 425 seated

Host your gala where all the great stories are housed: The New York Public Library. Within the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, there are six event spaces from which to choose. Famed Astor Hall can accommodate 250 for seated dinner, with its arched marble and tall candelabras. Or choose the more intimate Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room, featuring moody lighting and a fireplace. No matter where you select, know you are doing well by the city – all event fees support the Library’s collection, services, and programs.

15. Metropolitan Club

Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Capacity: 400 standing, 240 seated

Designed at the height of the American Renaissance, the Metropolitan Club defines the finest of the Gilded Age. An event at the Metropolitan gives your gala guests a rare glimpse into this elite social club. There’s over 20,000 square feet of event space, room for anywhere from 20 to 1,100 guests. The West Lounge reveals decorative fireplaces, Renaissance-style ceiling murals, and deep, rich tones of burgundy and gold. Or choose the heart of the club – The Great Hall – with walls of variegated marble and a 45-foot-high gold coffered ceiling. The Library, the Governor’s Room, the Bar…there is no wrong choice at the Metropolitan Club.

16. Manhattan Center

Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Capacity: 3500 standing, 2220 sitting

This aptly-named locale genuinely puts you in the middle of the city. Manhattan Center offers not one, but three enormous event spaces. Let your event reach new heights in the Hammerstein Ballroom, which features a 75-foot hand-painted ceiling and numerous rigging points for any installation you can dream up. The Grand Ballroom has mastered acoustics down to a science, and can seat 1,200 – one of the biggest seating availabilities on this list. Lastly, there’s The Bank, featuring a private entrance, original marble, 46-foot ceilings, and an awesome balcony.

17. Edison Ballroom

Neighborhood: Theater District
Capacity: 1000 standing, 500 seated

Millions of dollars were poured into the 2008 restoration of the Edison Ballroom, an event space adjacent to the Edison Hotel, all to revive the venue to its original Art Deco style. This versatile ballroom can be set up theater-style or for a reception – their seasoned staff will make sure all your needs are met. In-house catering is prepared by celebrity chef Mina Newman. And sit down for this one: the Edison Ballroom does not charge for use of their state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. With a gorgeous room and budget-friendly options, The Edison Ballroom is a great choice for your upcoming gala.

18.  The Rainbow Room

Neighborhood: Midtown
Capacity: 300 seated

It’s hard to get more New York than this. The Rainbow Room, perched high on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Plaza, is truly where New York goes to celebrate. The setting, the food, the service, and the skyline all come together in 3,000 square feet of an unforgettable experience. Work with their done-it-all team to put together a menu of culinary delights, and use their list of preferred vendors for all your production needs. A gala at the Rainbow Room? Say no more.

19. The Plaza

Neighborhood: Central Park South
Capacity: 1000 standing, 500 seated

A hotel known the world over, The Plaza offers an impressive 24 event spaces within its iconic property to hold your important event. A fixture on the New York event scene since 1907, this landmark defines elegance by striking the chord between its storied past and its limitless future. Invite your attendees to the opulent Grand Ballroom, which was restored to its original grandeur. Or host a seated gala for 100 within the famed Palm Court, inspired by the greenery of nearby Central Park. There isn’t a white glove in this whole hotel that isn’t waiting to serve you and your event’s every need.

20. The Brooklyn Museum

Neighborhood: Central Park South
Capacity:  880 standing, 500 seated

The Brooklyn Museum is where history and the future collide. This respected institution is on ground that is a part of the ancestral homeland of the Lenape (Delaware) people, and the museum’s mission to protect and honor their legacy is felt throughout. Host your fundraiser or gala in this treasured building, where they have on-property parking and in-house audio/visual. The Beaux-Arts Court is the real standout, measuring at 10,000 square feet of dramatic space, with 60-foot ceilings, original archways, and a large brass chandelier.

21. David H. Koch Theater

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Capacity: 1100 standing

If you are in need of a theater plus an event space for your gala, the David H. Koch Theater might just be your answer. Considered the crown jewel of Lincoln Center, this historic theater boasts  stunning architecture. In addition to the 2,550 seats in the Auditorium, the Promenade is one of the largest interior event spaces in the city, offering 7,875-square feet. Invite your guests to dine under the 40-foot gold leaf ceilings and dramatic spiral staircases and balconies overlooking the fountains of Lincoln Center. It will be a night no one will forget.

22. The University Club of New York

Neighborhood: Midtown
Capacity: 600 standing, 400 seated

New York’s premier social club, The University Club of New York offers some of the most special event venues in the city. With an invite from a member, host your gala in the Main Dining Room, a breathtaking space that can accommodate 400 guests. Enjoy the newly renovated Terrace of the West Alcove, and be sure take in the view. The Theodore Dwight Dining Room with its richly wood-paneled walls and intimate feel, is perfect for a smaller benefit.

23. Jazz at Lincoln Center

Neighborhood:  Upper West Side
Capacity: 1233 standing, 600 seated

Another amazing choice if you are in need of a performance/event space, Jazz at Lincoln Center is a place to be seen. Choose from the 1,200+ seat Rose Theater or the Manhattan-skyline-as-a-backdrop Appel Theater. Then bring your guest over to Ertegun Atrium, the largest open space at the facility, perfectly suited to host your gala. Enjoy cuisine by Spoonbread Inc., New York’s largest African American owned full-service caterer.

Offer your guests something they cant refuse! Find the top gifts and swag vendors in New York for your next event!

What to Look For When Booking a Venue

In a metropolis as big as New York, having a solid checklist of everything you need and want is key. Decide what your “must-haves” will be and start there. With as many options as there are in New York, you might very well find everything you need in one place! So ask yourself, does the venue you are looking at have the following:

·  Audio/visual?

·  An approved list of caterers, florists, etc.?

·  Tables, chairs, linens, etc. to use?

·  Tech equipment like network ports or advanced lighting?

·  Rigging capabilities?

·  ADA accessibility?

·  Wi-Fi?

·  Parking if needed?

Find Your Next Event Venue on The Vendry

Planning a gala in New York doesn’t have to be daunting if you know what to look for. Let The Vendry help you source out everything you need for your gala by searching NYC neighborhoods, venue capacity, venue type, and more!

Read More:
Gorgeous Raw Event Spaces in New York City
The Most Uniquely Stunning Venues in New York City to Host an Event
The Best Venues in Los Angeles for Your Holiday Party

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