Travel Guide

Times Square

Times Square

Unfolding the magic of Manhattan's heartbeat, Times Square is a place like no other. Brimming with radiant LED screens and eccentric characters, this vibrant spot is an irresistible lure for tourists and selfie enthusiasts alike.

Times Square in a nutshell

Times Square is an iconic hub located at the intersection between 7th Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

Location: It is located right at the junction of Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street.

Key attractions: Various flagship stores like M&M’s Store, Disney Store and Hershey’s Chocolate World; numerous Broadway theaters offering world-class plays and musicals; famous eateries along Restaurant Row; plus several museums around Times Square such as Madame Tussauds wax museum and Museum of Broadway.

Accommodation: Staying near Times Square offers easy access to these attractions plus others across NYC owing to its central location.

Times Square is a spectacle of lights in New York that stands as the most visited site in Manhattan. Known as ‘The Crossroads of the World’, it offers you an enthralling array of bright LED screens and fascinating characters at every corner. The area has seen a remarkable transformation over the years, evolving from an unremarkable square into an architectural marvel under former Mayor Giuliani and Disney’s vision.

Each visit here promises an unforgettable experience, whether it’s your first or hundredth time. It’s not just about visiting; it’s about immersing yourself in this dynamic atmosphere where most selfies are taken - making it a must-visit destination for tourists worldwide!

Brief History

Originally Long Acre Square, Times Square transformed into NYC’s vibrant heart in the early 20th century. Key developments included the IRT subway, electrified advertising, and The New York Times Tower. Renamed in 1905, it birthed the iconic New Year's Eve celebration.

During the Great Depression and WWII, Times Square faced decline, becoming associated with less reputable entertainment. The post-war period saw crime rise, peaking in the 60s and 80s due to drugs and organized crime. However, revitalization efforts in the late 20th century focused on turning 42nd Street into an entertainment hub.

Times Square in 1901
Public domain
Times Square in 1901: A bustling intersection of commerce and transportation, featuring a vibrant streetscape alive with the era’s trolleys and horse-drawn carriages.

Today, Times Square thrives as a cultural and commercial center, symbolizing the world’s crossroads, thanks to redevelopment, tourism, and pedestrian-friendly spaces.

Practical information

Before you set out on your adventure to explore Times Square’s enchanting allure, here are some practical tidbits that will come in handy. From knowing where exactly it is located to figuring out how best to reach there – we’ve got you covered!

Get ready for an exciting journey that leads you right into the heart of Manhattan!

Location

Times Square is located right at the junction of Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street.

The district under Times Square Alliance covers most areas from 40th Street to 53rd Street between 6th and 8th Avenues as well as historic Restaurant Row (46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues).

Getting there

One of the many charms about this place is its pedestrian zone which makes exploring it all more fun! Being a major transportation hub in New York City means you can easily get around whether by subway or bus – or even catch an occasional pedicab!

Check out our articles about New York city transportation and our guide to buying the right Metrocard for some helpful tips on getting around town.

Subway

Almost all subway lines take you to Times Square. Thepurple, red and yellow lines stop at Times Square / 42nd St., while the blue line takes you to Port Authority which is just a few minutes away from this vibrant hub.

  • 42nd Street, Port Authority (8th Avenue): A, C, E
  • 50th Street (8th Avenue): C, E
  • 42nd Street, Times Square: N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3, 7,S
  • 50th Street (Broadway): 1
  • 49th Street (7th Avenue): N,Q,R

Bus

If you prefer taking a bus to get around town then buses M20,M16,M104 and M7 will take you right there!

Sightseeing Bus

Why not make your trip more exciting with a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus? Hop-on hop-off sightseeing tours are excellent for exploring Times Square and other landmarks.

These buses provide flexibility and convenience, dropping you close to the site with less hassle and more sightseeing opportunities along the way.

View more sightseeing bus options

The Ride

A more interesting option is ‘The RIDE’, which starts from Times Square.

The RIDE offers more than just a typical sightseeing tour; it provides a distinctive experience. This technologically advanced bus guides you through an interactive journey across Manhattan.

Consider The Ride as a tribute to the diverse array of individuals that contribute to the complexity, intrigue, and spontaneity of New York City!

 It’s an experience that should not be missed!

Driving

Times Square is best explored on foot so avoid driving if possible. But if need arises for parking whether long-term or short-term during your visit, here are some options:

  • Advance Parking: 253 W 43rd St
  • Central Parking System: 271 W 47th St, 257-259 W 47th St
  • Champion Parking: 251 W 45th St
  • Garage Management Corp :148-154 W 48th St, 225 W 49th St

What to See and Do at Times Square

As you step into this kaleidoscope of lights, sounds, and people from all walks of life, be prepared for an experience like no other. From its towering billboards and iconic landmarks to its lively street performers and world-class shopping destinations - there’s something for everyone!

Costume Characters on Times Square

As you stroll around Times Square, you’ll encounter a multitude of people dressed as popular characters from Disney movies or superheroes from comic books.

They are street performers who love posing for photos with tourists. While they do appreciate tips after taking pictures (usually $1-2), it isn’t obligatory.

Mickey Mouse at Times Square
While enjoying Times Square, you may encounter character who are available for photos. While tipping them is customary, it is not mandatory. Any inappropriate behavior can be reported to the NYPD.

Remember, your comfort matters most; if anyone makes you feel uneasy, don’t hesitate to speak with a nearby police officer.

The Naked Cowboy

Among the myriad personalities that call Times Square home is one particularly famous character: The Naked Cowboy!

Come rain or shine – even in winter’s bitter cold – this spirited guitarist can be found strumming tunes in his trademark attire: cowboy boots, hat…and not much else! His fearless performances have made him a beloved fixture in this part of town.

Times Square cowboy
Meet the famous Naked Cowboy, a Times Square staple known for strumming his guitar clad only in cowboy boots, hat, and briefs, adding a unique and memorable twist to the bustling street scene of New York City.

New Year’s Eve on Times Square

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st each year, all eyes turn skywards to watch the renowned Ball Drop ceremony signaling the start of a new year.

Planning your visit during this time? Be sure not miss out on joining one of many exhilarating ball drop parties held here annually!

Alt description
Author / License
Experience the magic of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, where a dazzling explosion of confetti colors the sky at midnight, celebrating the start of a new year amidst the iconic backdrop of the New York City skyline.

Additionally, during these celebrations confetti sprinkled with wishes and resolutions penned by visitors flutter down onto partygoers below - you too can participate by writing yours at the Wishing Wall on Times Square. Don’t forget to snap a picture with the year sign displayed beneath the famous ball!

Times Square Billboards

Times Square’s spectacular billboards, lighting up this part of New York round-the-clock, showcase advertisements from some of the world’s top brands. Advertising here comes at a steep price - ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 per day!

Every night between 11:57 pm and midnight, enjoy ‘Midnight Moment’ – when all billboards synchronize into an awe-inspiring digital art display that changes monthly.

Times Square billboards
Times Square, a canvas of digital billboards, offers visitors the unique opportunity to display a personal video or image on one of its towering screens for a brief, memorable moment, all for a small fee.

But did you know you can also feature on one? Yes! The TSX Broadway building offers everyone a chance to shine brightly for 15 seconds on their massive screen. This could be your unique way of marking an important occasion or simply indulging in some good fun.

Get on a Times Square Billboard

Imagine seeing yourself on one of those dazzling screens in Times Square! At TSX Broadway, you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broadcast your video for 15 exhilarating seconds.

Shopping on Times Square

If shopping is more your style, Times Square won’t disappoint. Apart from numerous souvenir shops dotting the area, it’s home to flagship stores of many popular brands. Not just regular outlets but genuine attractions that promise an unforgettable shopping experience.

Among these are M&M’s Store offering chocolates in every imaginable color; Disney Store packed with enchanting merchandise across two floors including a magnificent fairytale castle; and Hershey’s Chocolate World tempting chocoholics with its mouth-watering treats.

For fashionistas there’s H&M, Forever 21 or Gap along with American Eagle Outfitters and Sephora - all significantly larger than usual outlets and open until around midnight making ‘shop ’till you drop’ literally possible!

Watch a Broadway Show

Times Square is synonymous with Broadway and its theaters showcasing a plethora of plays and musicals. Your New York visit isn’t complete without experiencing the magic of Broadway!

Be it timeless classics like Wicked, The Lion King, and Come from Away or something new, you’re in for a treat. Secure your tickets online for a seamless experience or try the TKTS booth for a chance to get tickets for same-day performances.

Hershey’s Chocolate World

At Hershey’s Chocolate World, let your sweet tooth run wild with an array of delectable treats that this iconic brand offers. Personalize a chocolate bar wrapper, make your own candy mix from up to 12 different products at the candy machine or enjoy gooey s’mores made-to-order.

Museums around Times Square

For culture enthusiasts or those looking for indoor activities on rainy days, museums around Times Square offer engaging insights into various aspects related to this area’s history. Among others, these include:

  • Madame Tussauds wax museum
  • Museum of Broadway celebrating the rich history of Broadway theater
  • RiseNY offering an immersive experience

Musical lovers can explore up to 40 theaters near Times Square where Broadway musicals are performed every night - ranging from long-standing hits like The Lion King and Chicago to fresh productions.

See a live taping of a daytime or late-night talk show

Experience the thrill of attending live tapings of popular shows like ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ right in Times Square! Or join the audience for ‘Saturday Night Live’ at nearby Rockefeller Center. Tickets for these shows are free but demand is high - so plan ahead!

Times Square Experiences

Experience the best of Times Square by booking one of these carefully curated experiences. From the comfort of a guided tour, you can learn about the rich history and iconic landmarks that define this bustling hub.

Each option promises a unique and memorable adventure. Don’t just visit Times Square—immerse yourself fully in its energy and excitement. Secure your spot now and transform your trip into a truly spectacular journey!

Tips to Visit Times Square

  • Start your New York journey with an evening stroll around Times Square followed by dinner at local favorite John's Pizza.
  • Beware pickpockets! Keep valuables secure or leave them in hotel safes.
  • Remember costume characters expect tips after photos. If they act aggressively, alert the NYPD.
  • For meal times, consider exploring nearby Koreatown to avoid tourist traps around Times Square.
  • Avoid walking alone on darker streets near Times Square after dark.
  • Opt for large stores over brightly lit souvenir shops unless you’re after unique souvenirs.
  • To improve your chances of securing discounted Broadway tickets, visit the red TKTS Booth at Duffy Square early in the day.
  • Don’t miss ‘Midnight Moment’ – a synchronized digital art display across all electronic billboards in Times Square at 11:57 pm every night.

Frequently Asked Questions

Times Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York, known as ‘The Crossroads of the World’. Its bright LED screens, vibrant atmosphere and many sights make it a must-see on any trip to New York.

Times Square is the lively intersection between 7th Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

There are many flagship stores and souvenir shops including M&M’s Store, Disney Store and Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Yes, when you stay around Times Square, you’re in the heart of Manhattan with easy access to various city attractions.

You are not required to tip them but if you take a photo with one of them a tip is expected.

If they behave aggressively or inappropriately contact the NYPD.

A wide range of events happen every day throughout NYC including public art projects and various cultural events which can be found at Official NYC Information Centers located throughout the city.

Visit our 'New Year's Eve’ article for details about all your New Year-related queries.

The TImes Square TKTS booth is located on Duffy Square at 47th St. & Broadway selling same-day discounted tickets for numerous shows.

It accepts credit cards, cash, or TKTS Gift Certificates.

There are many including Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Dave and Buster’s, Hershey’s Times Square, M&M’s Store and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium.

Yes! At TSX Broadway you can broadcast your video for 15 seconds on their massive screen.

You can book online and read more about it in our dedicated article.

You can book tickets online to attend live tapings of shows like ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’.

Remember that tickets are free but demand is high so plan ahead.

There are numerous restaurants catering to all tastes in and around Times Square including themed ones like Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump.

For more options check our Dining Guide.

Some popular ones include Madame Tussauds wax museum; Museum of Broadway; RiseNY offering an immersive experience; National Geographic etc.

Opt for larger stores over brightly lit souvenir shops unless looking for unique items.

Explore nearby areas like Koreatown for meals instead of dining at expensive places right on the square.

Where to Stay Near Times Square

If you’re looking for accommodations in New York City that offer easy access to major attractions while immersing you in the city’s vibrant energy, consider booking one of the hotels near Times Square.

This prime location keeps you within walking distance from other key sights. Moreover, being in the heart of Manhattan means easy access to numerous subway stations for convenient city exploration.

Restaurants on Times Square

Times Square offers a smorgasbord of dining options catering to every palate and budget. From themed restaurants such as Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., offering lively atmospheres along with their food, to smaller eateries tucked away in quieter corners - you’re sure to find something that suits your taste buds.

For those traveling with kids, Times Square also hosts several family-friendly restaurants that offer more spacious interiors making dining out less stressful. Don’t forget to check out Restaurant Row on West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, home to some of NYC’s most famous culinary institutions. For comprehensive listings refer to our Dining Guide.

Other Nearby Attractions

There are plenty of landmarks near Times Square worth exploring. The area is teeming with a multitude of other attractions that can enhance your New York City experience. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or a culture vulture, there are plenty of sights just a stone’s throw away from Times Square.

One Times Square Viewing Deck

Enjoy panoramic views of New York City from One Times Square Viewing Deck - a unique way to take in the city’s mesmerizing skyline.

RiseNY

An immersive flying theater ride showcasing NYC’s iconic landmarks in an unforgettable way.

Madame Tussauds

Get up close and personal with over 200 life-like wax figures of celebrities, politicians & icons from the worlds of film, TV & music.

Broadway

Experience world-class theater at Broadway featuring some of the best plays & musicals ever produced.

Top of the Rock Observatory

Take an elevator ride to the Top of the Rock Observatory on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center for stunning city views.

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Rockefeller Center

This complex houses numerous shops, restaurants & attractions including an outdoor skating rink in winters & a beautiful sunken garden in summers.

Radio City Hall

Visit this iconic entertainment venue known for its annual Christmas Spectacular starring Radio City Rockettes.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Explore one of the world’s largest and most influential museums dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

Other Recommended Experiences in New York City

View all tours & experiences

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Explore Our Comprehensive Travel Guide

On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Brief History
  3. Practical information
  4. What to See and Do at Times Square
  5. Times Square Experiences
  6. Tips to Visit Times Square
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Where to Stay Near Times Square
  9. Restaurants on Times Square
  10. Other Nearby Attractions