United Palace

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Features, NYC Guides, Washington Heights

The 18 best places to visit in Washington Heights

By Devin Gannon, Mon, June 21, 2021

A hilly neighborhood with stunning public parks, incredible food, and community pride, Washington Heights is special. Not only is this area full of natural beauty (it has the highest natural point in Manhattan and boasts incredible Hudson River views) and historically important (it served as a strategic defense point during the Revolutionary War), Washington Heights has long been an immigrant enclave.

As development hit the largely rural neighborhood in the early 20th century, Irish, Jewish, African American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican communities have all called Washington Heights home. Today, a strong Latin American and Caribbean presence remains, with Washington Heights and nearby Inwood considered the most populous Dominican neighborhoods in the U.S. With this month’s release of the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical In The Heights, we’ve put together a guide of must-visit places in Washington Heights, from Manhattan’s oldest home to the city’s only underground street, with stops for roasted chicken and chicharrón along the way.

Start planning your visit

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Behind the Scenes, Features, History, Washington Heights

United Palace Theatre, Loew's 175th Street Theatre, Loew's Wonder Theatres, Washington Heights theater, Reverend Ike, United Palace of Cultural Arts, Thomas W. Lamb

Earlier this year, 6sqft got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Loew’s Jersey City, one of the five opulent Loew’s Wonder Theatres built in 1929-30 around the NYC area. We’ve now gotten a tour of another, the United Palace in Washington Heights. Originally known as the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, the “Cambodian neo-Classical” landmark has served as a church and cultural center since it closed in 1969 and was purchased by televangelist Reverend Ike, who renamed it the Palace Cathedral. Today it’s still owned by late Reverend’s church but functions as a spiritual center and arts center.

Thanks to Reverand Ike and his church’s continued stewardship, Manhattan’s fourth-largest theater remains virtually unchanged since architect Thomas W. Lamb completed it in 1930. 6sqft recently visited and saw everything from the insane ornamentation in the lobby to the former smoking lounge that recently caught the eye of Woody Allen. We also chatted with UPCA’s executive director Mike Fitelson about why this space is truly one-of-a-kind.

Take the incredible digital tour

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Events, Features

A couple weeks ago, a long list of artists, including Cindy Sherman and Richard Serra, started a petition calling for cultural institutions to close on Inauguration Day as “an act of noncompliance” against “Trumpism.” That list has grown to 740 artists and critics, and many galleries, museums, and academic spaces will shut their doors tomorrow according to the J20 Art Strike. But there’s also a long list of museums and cultural institutions across the city that have decided to take an alternate approach and remain open, offering free admission and/or special programming. From a marathon reading of Langston Hughes’s”Let America Be America Again” at the Brooklyn Museum to special gallery tours at the Rubin, these are all the (free!) ways to use the arts as an outlet on Inauguration Day.

See the full list here

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