Times Square in New York City is renowned for its bright neon lights, flashy oversized billboards, and an endless number of entertainment options. It is considered the commercial and cultural heart of the city, proudly calling itself the Big Apple. Visitors can find everything from street performers and activists to family-friendly attractions, restaurants, museums, theaters, and bars here.
Did you know it’s the filming location for several late-night TV shows, and One Times Square has hosted the New Year’s Eve ball drop ceremony since 1907?
New York’s most famous landmark is located at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Broadway. Even if you’re not usually into crowded tourist attractions, from a cultural and historical perspective, Times Square is one New York City destination that everyone should experience at least once.
If Times Square is on your list of locales to check out 15 Things to do in Times Square during your trip to New York City, it’s advisable to have some kind of plan of action; otherwise, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed. Keep exploring to see our list of the 15 best Things to do in Times Square, NYC.
Top 15 Things to Do in Times Square
Madame Tussauds New York, an exceptionally popular wax-figure attraction, is renowned globally for its fantastic artistry and mesmerizing replicas of famous individuals from all walks of life. From celebrities and musicians to public figures and historical characters, visitors can see lifelike facsimiles. The attraction is an Instagram addict’s dream come true, offering opportunities to snap selfies with the likes of the Kardashians or Michael Jackson.
Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour
Taking a sightseeing bus tour is one of the most iconic touristy things to do in New York City. Explore Manhattan comfortably on a bus while listening to informative narration about the sites you’re passing by. Hop off at places that interest you, with significant landmarks like Times Square, Chinatown, Broadway, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, and Tom’s Restaurant along the way.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! is an attraction where guests can explore the whimsical and wild world of Robert Ripley, an American cartoonist and collector of oddities. The exhibits feature hundreds of weird and eccentric artifacts, from shrunken heads to taxidermied albino animals. Visitors can engage in solving puzzles and riddles in the Ripley’s Relic exhibit.
National Geographic Encounter
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey offers a spellbindingly immersive ocean experience. While not an actual aquarium, it provides a digital encounter with majestic denizens of the Pacific Ocean, including great white sharks, giant squid, and humpback whales. The experience combines a 90-minute ‘undersea’ voyage with an ‘above the water’ exhibit, featuring interactive and informative displays.
Gulliver’s Gate, named after the character in Gulliver’s Travels, allows guests to experience a miniature world of cities and landmarks from around the globe. From the perspective of a giant, visitors can see familiar sights like the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and more. The intricate miniatures were crafted by skilled artists, making it a must-see in Times Square.
One Times Square
One Times Square, a historic skyscraper, is situated on prime real estate and is renowned for hosting the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop ceremony. Initially designed as the headquarters of The New York Times, it became a focal point of Times Square with its large illuminated and digital billboards.
Late-Night Talk Program
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, a long-running and critically acclaimed CBS late-night talk program, is taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater. While tickets may be challenging to obtain, attending a taping provides free entertainment in the heart of Times Square. Stephen Colbert took over as the host in 2015, and the show has gained popularity for its political content.
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah remains a popular attraction for visitors to Times Square. Taped every weekday in Hell’s Kitchen, the show offers free entertainment with a focus on political humor. Tickets can be reserved online in advance, and attendees can enjoy the lively atmosphere.
The Knickerbocker Hotel, commissioned in 1906 by John Jacob Astor, is a historic Times Square landmark. Featuring a Beaux-Arts facade and modern interior, the luxury hotel offers elegant and spacious rooms with amenities such as luxury linens, designer toiletries, and access to a gourmet restaurant, gym, rooftop bar, and cigar lounge.
New Victory Theater
The New Victory Theater, an off-Broadway theater located in the heart of Times Square, is dedicated to family-friendly performances. Housed in a historic building, the theater offers year-round shows featuring dance, puppetry, opera, circus, and physical theater.
Times Square Church
Times Square Church, a non-denominational place of worship in the theater district, hosts services six days a week in a building formerly used by the Mark Hellinger Theatre. With parishioners from over 100 countries, the church is a significant presence in Times Square.
Dave & Buster’s Sports bar
Dave and Buster’s, a popular family-friendly chain, combines a sports bar and grill with an arcade. The Times Square location features a premium bar, a diverse menu, and a variety of arcade games, making it a lively and entertaining spot for visitors.
If you are a shopping lover then must visit Times Square. This place is famous for shopping. There are fun novelty stores around Times Square. Before we start, we share some tips for visitors Firstly, some characters may ask for tips for photos, but it’s not necessary to give them money. Secondly, check food vendor prices before buying; they should be posted. Lastly, skip chain restaurants for local seafood spots.
Times Square is definitely worth checking out, especially late at night, with its iconic New Year’s Eve ball drop spot. But be aware of impostors trying to get money from you. Famous stores in Times Square must-visit stores like the M&M Store, Hershey Shop, Lego Store, and more.
Seeing a show on Broadway is often a rite of passage for tourists in New York City, and now that Broadway is reopening, there’s no better time to catch a show. we’ll be sharing tips for catching a Broadway show in the city. Firstly, let’s explore where to get tickets. Standard methods include purchasing them from platforms like Ticketmaster before your trip. However, for cost-effective options, consider visiting the ticket booths in Times Square or South Street Seaport for discounted same-day tickets.
The helicopter tour over New York City provides a breathtaking aerial perspective. From Brooklyn to Manhattan, the tour showcases iconic landmarks like The New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street, and the Chrysler Building, which stands alongside the Empire State Building. Flying over Yankee Stadium captures the hustle and bustle as preparations are made for an upcoming game. Ellis Island, once an Immigration Processing Center, and Madison Square Garden come into view, offering a historical glimpse. Witnessing passengers’ reactions as they marvel at Manhattan from above is the highlight for the guide.
FAQ: Things to do in Times Square
Here is a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about things to do in Times Square, New York City:
Q1: What makes Times Square famous?
A1: Times Square is famous for its bright neon lights, oversized billboards, and a plethora of entertainment options. It’s considered the commercial and cultural heart of New York City.
Q2: What landmarks are found in Times Square?
A2: One Times Square, the iconic location for the New Year’s Eve ball drop ceremony, Madame Tussauds New York, the historic Knickerbocker Hotel, and the New Victory Theater are among the notable landmarks in Times Square.
Q3: What are some must-see attractions for visitors?
A3: Visitors should explore Madame Tussauds for lifelike wax figures, take a sightseeing bus tour for a comprehensive city experience, and visit Gulliver’s Gate to see miniature replicas of global landmarks.
Q4: Are there family-friendly activities in Times Square?
A4: Yes, families can enjoy attractions like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! for oddities and interactive exhibits, Dave and Buster’s for a combination of sports bar and arcade fun, and the New Victory Theater for family-oriented performances.
Q5: Can visitors attend TV show tapings in Times Square?
A5: Yes, both “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” at the Ed Sullivan Theater and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” offer tapings that are open to the public, providing free entertainment options.
Q6: Are there unique experiences for ocean enthusiasts in Times Square?
A6: Absolutely, the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey provides a mesmerizing digital encounter with marine life, making it a unique and immersive experience.
Q7: What is the history behind One Times Square?
A7: One Times Square, initially constructed as the headquarters for The New York Times, is famous for hosting the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop ceremony since 1907. It has remained a prominent Times Square landmark.
Q8: Is there a recommended hotel in Times Square?
A8: The Knickerbocker Hotel, commissioned by John Jacob Astor in 1906, is a historic and luxurious hotel in the heart of Times Square, offering elegant rooms and various amenities.
Q9: What cultural and performing arts options are available in Times Square?
A9: Visitors can experience diverse performing arts at the New Victory Theater, and there’s a non-denominational place of worship, Times Square Church, hosting services in the theater district.
Q10: How can visitors make the most of their time in Times Square?
A10: To make the most of their visit, travelers are recommended to plan ahead, consider taking a sightseeing bus tour, and explore the diverse range of attractions, from iconic landmarks to unique entertainment options.
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