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A Visitors Guide to Times Square NYC

Times Square Sights, Attractions, Family Entertainment, Tours & Map

Times Square New York CityTimes Square surrounds the most famous intersection in New York, 42nd Street and Broadway.  The area is shaped like a bowtie, extending from that intersection and continuing generally between 42nd and 47th Streets and between 6th and 9th Avenues.  Times Square got its name back in 1906 when the New York Times Tower was built, which was the original home of the New York Times newspaper.  By 1914, the area was bustling with performance theaters, but throughout the Great Depression and beyond, the area became less desirable.  Criminal elements flourished and not until the 1990's was this area really cleaned up.  It has been transformed from "seedy" to "glitzy".  Great strides have been made to make Times Square a tourist-friendly, even family-friendly, neighborhood. And while Times Square is certainly not upscale, it's an area every visitor will want to see, it is home to some of the most popular Broadway shows running in New York, and it's the location of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop that we all see on TV.

The Sights

At Times Square, amidst all the bright neon signs, you'll see modern buildings mixed with classic structures, renovated theaters and swarms of people.  The hustle and bustle of pedestrians will overwhelm you.  In fact, the area is no longer open to car traffic.  Instead of honking horns and exhaust fumes, you'll see a lot of seating for having a coffee and people-watching.  Take note that in February, 2011, a new ordinance was enacted to prohibit smoking within Times Square. The Times Square Alliance now provides free Wi-Fi service in the area.

Perhaps your first stop should be the Times Square Visitor's Center & Museum.  Here you can get a Times Square map, free brochures and answers to all your questions.  You can buy Broadway tickets, as well as Gray Line New York bus and boat tour tickets.  There is a gift shop onsite, as well as an exhibit area featuring the Centennial Ball Light Show, the New Year's Eve Wishing Wall and other Times Square and Broadway exhibits.  Just steps away from the Visitor's Center, atop the TKTS booth, you'll see the wide red glass staircase which offers you a bleacher seat for a great view of Times Square. 

Well-known buildings you'll want to check out are:

  • One Times Square (1904)
  • Paramount Hotel (1928)
  • The Brill Building (1931)
  • Palace Theater (1913)
  • Lyceum Theatre (1903)

In the morning you can head to the ABC Studios at 44th and Broadway to see a broadcast of Good Morning America (7:00-9:00am).  In the summer months, they feature outdoor concerts.  If you order Good Morning America advance tickets online, you'll also get a tour of the studio.  MTV Studios are located at 1515 Broadway.  Music buffs will want to take a walk down 48th Street, known as Music Row, to peruse shops selling new and vintage instruments, sheet music, karoake gear and more.

Family Fun

Times Square offers plenty of opportunities for families visiting New York.  The flagship store for Toys R Us features an indoor ferris wheel, a 4,000 square-foot Barbie dollhouse, interaction with costumed characters, special events and more toys and games that one can imagine.  At Discovery Times Square you'll find unique exhibits, a retail store and the Cake Boss cafe.  Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum features life-like wax figures of celebrities, fictional characters, historical figures, politicians, sports stars and more.  They are open every day of the year.  Just next door, Ripley's Believe It Or Not showcases the oddest assortment of exhibits you'll ever see.  Your self-guided tour will take you through this "museum" of weird, funny and uncanny.  You can satisfy your chocolate cravings at M&M World and Hershey's Time Square which are across the street from each other.  Both offer the widest assortment of their signature chocolates.

Shopping / Dining / Entertainment

Shopping in Times Square isn't at all unique; you'll see many of the national chain retailers and lots of souvenir shops.  Some of the larger stores include Disney, Levis, Sephora, Virgin Megastore and Toys R Us.

Dining is a mixed bag.  You'll encounter several chain restaurants and fast food outlets, but also many unique establishments at all price levels.  There are far too many to list here, but we'll mention a few.  One of the most famous is Sardi's Restaurant & Grill, a hot spot for pre- and post-theater goers.  Juniors is known for its cheesecake, but also offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items.  For brick-oven New York style pizza, John's Pizzeria will satisfy your cravings.  They also offer a number of pasta dishes and sandwiches.  On Restaurant Row, located on 46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue, you'll find about 30 restaurants. 

For entertainment, of course number one is the Broadway shows.  There are also a number of clubs featuring live entertainment.  One hot-spot is B.B. King's Blues Club, with live music, lunch, dinner and drinks.  They also offer Saturday Beatles Brunch (entertainment by Strawberry Fields Beatles tribute band) and Sunday Gospel Brunch (with the Harlem Gospel Choir) each weekend.  The area has several comedy clubs, such as Caroline's on Broadway with acts every day of the year.  How about a little bowling?  Bowlmor Lanes is a 90,000 square-foot facility with 50 lanes, a restaurant/sports bar and nightclub. 


The Times Square Alliance, located at the Times Square Visitor's Center, offers free walking tours each Friday at noon.  To add a lot of Broadway Theater content, you may enjoy the NYC Walking Tour: Broadway History & Culture; this tour is currently offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays and costs about $35.

See For Yourself

You've seen the New Year's Eve Ball Drop on TV.  You've seen the illuminated Coca Cola and Budweiser signs in countless movies.  You've seen the crowds gathered outside the ABC Studios when watching Good Morning America.  It's time you saw these things and more for yourself!  When you visit New York, be sure to set aside some time to experience Times Square.

Local Hotels

  Check out our selection of Hotels near Times Square.

Official Website of Times Square

Official Web Site of Times Square

Map of Times Square Points-of-Interest

Click on the marker on the map or on the name in the side listing for more info. The  map can provide directions along with the address of the point-of-interest. The map can be zoomed in or out, or repositioned by dragging it.

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