Plan A Night on the Town in Central New York

Michele DeBella

Just because New Year’s Eve is over doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. All year long, Oneida County is a great place to see—or even be a part of—music performances, live theater, open mic nights, and more. Check out this list to plan your next night out.


Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute

FirstFridaysTheir permanent and rotating art exhibits are world-class but MWPAI is also one of the best destinations around for a night out. Catch an independent, foreign-language, or documentary film that is screened as part of their film series, view the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, or attend a First Fridays event, which adds live music and happy hour drinks to your art appreciation experience.


Broadway Utica

TheStanleyFor more than six decades, the Broadway Theater League of Utica has provided local audiences with high-quality, touring Broadway shows. The Stanley in Utica is the regular venue, so theater-lovers can catch up on their favorite plays and musicals without having to trek to the city each time they want to do so. Performances scheduled for 2019 include Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Sound of Music, and Finding Neverland


Players of Utica
Comedies, dramas, musicals, and original plays have been produced here since 1913, making them one of the oldest community theaters in the United States. Upcoming plays include Sly Fox by Larry Gelbart and Neil Simon’s They’re Playing Our Song. Players of Utica also acts as a creative outlet for the community. Auditions are open to everyone, and they also host regular Open Mic nights, in which people are invited to showcase their talents in poetry, comedy, music, or any other medium they’d like to share.

Rome Community Theater
Their regular season runs from October through June and they’ve always got a robust line-up of performances for which they welcome everyone to audition. The first play of 2019 will be the comedy-drama, Steel Magnolias. The theater also features off-season shows, including an Annual Summer Youth Theater Production for kids to dip their toes in the theater arts.

Utica Brews Café and Pub

Utica BrewsLocated in the historic Shoppes At The Finish Line, Utica Brews Café and Pub has become well-known for their Southern-style cuisine as much as for their live entertainment line-up, which includes Blues Jams, Comedy Nights, and their Music Open Mic Night every Friday.


Celtic Harp

Harp v2Utica has risen to become a choice destination not only for excellent food, but for great live music venues, too. One popular gathering place is the Celtic Harp Irish Pub and Restaurant, located in the historic brewery district. They host a regular schedule of live musicians, as well as karaoke on Wednesday nights. It’s the best place around to order some traditional Irish-American fare to go with the entertainment. Top it all off with a Guinness Draught or Irish whiskey.

Craft Beverage Trail

instaschram Instagram 1954 ig 1845459266406149998 6285289Kill two birds with one stone by listening to live music and completing your Heart of New York Craft Beverage Trail stamp card. Several participating establishments host fun, unique live performances in addition to serving the best craft beverages in the region. 

Every Thursday evening in the summer, Nail Creek Pub & Brewery in Utica features local blues musician Matt Lomeo. And on the first Tuesday of every month, musicians from around Central New York gather here for a jam session of traditional Irish music. Woodland Farm Brewery, also in Utica, is always a hive of community activity, from bottle release parties, to Thursday Trivia Nights, to performances by favorite local bands.

Copper City Brewing Company in Rome has been a pioneer in revitalizing the city, starting with opening the first microbrewery in the area since Prohibition. They continue to support and help grow the community by hosting frequent local musicians.

16Stone16 Stone Brewpub has grown to be a favorite gathering spot in Holland Patent. Every Thursday is Acoustic Open Mic Night. They also hold frequent live music performances, and every fourth Friday is a meeting of the B.Y.O Book Club. Finally, Villa Verona Vineyard dubs their music series as Tunes in the Tasting Room, where wine sampling and good music come together.



Exit 33
Any serious nightlife aficionado should check out Exit 33, the nightlife lounges located inside the Turning Stone Resort Casino. There’s always some combination of dancing, DJs, and live music, from rock-and-roll at The Gig, to country music at Tin Rooster, to sophisticated lounge entertainment at Turquoise Tiger, and more.

Woods Valley Ski Area
Katie Cruz Woods ValleyAnd finally, whether you ski or not, Woods Valley in Westernville welcomes everyone to Tap Room 46, located inside their Chalet, for live music performances and a full menu and bar. The live music is free.