New York’s iconic Times Square offers a wide range of attractions and venues. If you want to take advantage of everything that Times Square has to offer, don’t leave it to an online casino throw of the dice. Plan out your visit before you go so that you’ll be able to maximize your visit.
Times Square is New York’s biggest commercial intersection, entertainment center, neighborhood and tourist destination. It’s bowtie-shaped space encompasses five blocks of central New York City from 42nd to 47th Streets. Times Square has been a central district of New York commercial exchange since the 19th century but after the New York Times established its headquarters there in the Times Tower in 1905.
The district became a center of New York theatre and as an extension, high-end hotels, bars and restaurants started to build there too. When New York theatre was hard-hit by the depression, some businesspeople saw the opportunity to use empty venues to build up the erotic entertainment industry and the zone became known as a center of vice where adult films, houses of prostitution, peep shows, dance halls with strippers, drugs and illegal gambling thrived. By the late 1960s the mafia was a force with which to be reckoned in the district and by the late ‘70s there were more felonies committed and crimes reported in Times Square than anywhere else in the city.
Since the 1980s, redevelopment projects have helped to revive Times Square’s image as a place for wholesome and family entertainment. Most of the traffic is now pedestrian traffic who can, once again, find many of New York’s best restaurants along with Broadway shows, walk the gardens, exercise, read on the park benches and experience New York City at its best.
Some of the best things to do in Times Square include:
It’s suggested that you take a moment to see an overview of Times Square from the Red Stairs. The Red Stairs, also known as the Red Bleachers, is located in Father Duffy Square and provides a panoramic view of most of the square. You can find it on Broadway at 47th Street and climb up the 27 stairs to take in the hustle and bustle of this iconic area.
There are always street performers in Times Square playing music, juggling, acting out scenes, dancing and otherwise entertaining the locals. Many of these street performers are dressed in costume so for a “donation” you can have your picture taken with one. Others busk, hinting that they would appreciate some money in return for their street theatre performances.
Late Night Shows
A number of late night shows tape from auditoriums in and near Times Square. Each show has its own procedures for obtaining tickets and restrictions on who can attend – including COVID-19 restrictions regarding taping in front of a live audience. But tiy can check out each show’s URL to find out when and how to get tickets to the tapings.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with Seth Meyers are filmed at Rockefeller Center, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tapes at the Ed Sullivan Theatre near Times Square and the Daily Show with Trevor Noah is taped in Hell’s Kitchen between 51st and 52nd Streets, several blocks up from Times Square.
Tickets are available for Broadway shows both on and off-Broadway. There are 41 theatres actually on Broadway – the Palace Theatre, the Winter Garden Theatre and the Broadway Theatre – but many others located nearby. You can find shows that have been running on Broadway for many years or one that will be running for a short few months. Musicals are generally scheduled for long runs while plays are generally scheduled for a limited run.
If you have one chance to see one Broadway show, it’s suggested that you choose a classic like Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin or Wicked.
There are a number of fun and fascinating museums and exhibitions in and around Times Square. They include:
- Madame Tussards – Madam Tussards is a famous wax museum that displays wax sculptures of famous and historical figures, as well as popular television and film characters. The main Madame Tussards is in London but the New York branch is one of several branches which exhibits many of the same famous sculptures as that found in London.
- Gulliver’s Gate – In the famous 18th century book Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver finds himself in the Land of the Little People where he is a giant in a world inhabited by people the size of his toe. Gulliver’s Gate is a replica of that imagery as interpreted by the museum’s creators to show our real world in miniature form. In addition to the experience of making your way through the little people’s world you can watch artisians build and expand the exhibit.
- Museum of Modern Art – MoMA is New York’s beloved Museum of Modern Art which is located just a few blocks north of Times Square. MoMA plays a major role in the world of art in collecting and developing modern art. It is believed to hold one of the largest and most influential collections of modern art in the world.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City is one of New York’s best-known attractions, giving audiences a place to view stage shows, concerts, movies and special events. There are tours of Radio City on a first-come first-serve basis but if you really want to experience Radio City, get tickets for a performance!
Don’t forget to try some of eateries for which Times Square is famous. There are restaurants, cafes and bars for any budget including the famous Pera Mediterranean Brasserie, Carmine’s Italian, Virgil’s BBQ, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and the Haru Sushi Japanese.