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Hamilton! 6 Top New York Spots to Discover the Man Behind the Musical

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By Michele Herrmann for the Orbitz Travel Blog

How does an illegitimate orphan from the Caribbean grow up to become the man on the ten-dollar bill, and now the hottest thing on Broadway? That's the story behind "Hamilton," a hip-hop musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. With tickets that are nearly impossible to snag your options are: patiently waiting for the next batch to be released or for its national tour to begin, trying your luck at the daily pre-show lottery or stomaching super high resale prices. Yet much of Hamilton's life in New York City can be told beyond the stage, so go ahead and visit these six locations in NYC linked to this Founding Father without a father.

Hamilton Hall | Photo courtesy of Bruce Gilbert/ Columbia University

Hamilton Hall, Columbia University
Born on the island of Nevis and raised in St. Croix, Hamilton was sent to the Colonies to get an education and was admitted to King's College in 1774 (what Columbia University was called before the American Revolutionary War). As resistance to staying under British rule grew, Alexander left school and joined in the fight for independence. As for King's College, its name changed to Columbia a decade after Hamilton's enrollment and later moved up to Morningside Heights. Yet Columbia will always be connected to its alumnus: a building and statue in his honor are on campus at 116 Street and at Amsterdam Avenue.

Fraunces Tavern | Photo courtesy of Sean Donnelly

Fraunces Tavern
During the American Revolution, General George Washington needed a right hand man and Hamilton became that guy. After the war, this tavern/museum in the Financial District was where Washington bid farewell to his officers in 1783 and temporarily housed the new government's foreign affairs, war and treasury departments. As for Hamilton, he and Aaron Burr, a political revival, attended a formal dinner here in 1804, set a week before their fateful duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. And now until December, the tavern has an exhibit on another key player: America's favorite fighting Frenchman, Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the U.S. in its battle against British forces. See the bloody slash he wore in battle!


Plaque on Maiden Lane

57 Maiden Lane
Though the house Thomas Jefferson rented is no longer around, the address is still a pretty big deal. Here in 1790 is where two Virginians - Jefferson and James Madison - and the immigrant Hamilton cut a compromise over dinner that would set our nation's capital in Washington, D.C. in exchange for having the federal government assume the states' post-war debts. Imagine being in the room where it happened (which Burr sings about in the musical, but totally missed out on.)! Today, a visual reminder marks this site.