Times Square, The Heart Of New York
Impossible to visit the city of New York without going through Times Square ! The famous square is an integral part of New York City and its history. It is an emblematic site with an extraordinary atmosphere!
It’s not called the theater and light district for nothing and that’s why it’s one of the first things you have to see when you arrive in New York City and no matter what time your plane lands
Why Go To Times Square?
Everyone knows Times Square and its famous 27 red steps that house the TKTS ticket office . This square located in the Manhattan district, between 7th Avenue and Broadway, is also called the Cross of the World. This is the ideal place in New York to realize the excesses of the Big Apple : you will see tall buildings and huge bright advertising screens displaying large images of all kinds.
Of course, it’s also an iconic filming scene that many films and series that you surely know have used: Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, Elusive, Spider Man 3 with Tobey MaGuire or the Glee series.
With all this information, you don’t know where to turn? No worries ! I will now tell you about all the things to see and do in New York, in Times Square
What activities to do in Times Square?
Are you leaving soon? Don’t forget to book all your activities in advance ! Depending on when you go to New York, the crowds may be more or less strong. If you really want to see a particular Broadway musical, for example, you better not wait too long because tickets for the shows sell out very quickly.
For the museums around Times Square, you can even book a time slot on the official sites, which will ensure your visit at the time you choose! The advantage of Times Square is that it is at the heart of everything. Nearby you will find Central Park as well as the MET and its collection of works of art
What To See And Do In Times Square?
As I told you, don’t hesitate for a second to go to Times Square once you arrive! No matter the time, start by climbing the steps to realize the grandeur of New York. You will also quickly spot characters with whom you can take pictures
The one you shouldn’t miss is the Naked Cowboy who , as his name suggests, is a cowboy walking around in white kangaroo briefs, boots, hat and guitar
If you take photos with this character, be aware that tipping is now mandatory, and has been since 2016. You will have to pay 2 or 3 dollars to take a photo. Note that the more characters in your photos, the more you will have to pay!
Musical At Broadway
It is at nightfall that the district is most dynamic. Many musicals await you on Broadway, in the heart of Times Square, after dark. Take your pick from the most famous: The Lion King, Cats, Aladdin or even the unmissable Phantom of the Opera. These are on view all year round.
Of course, you can also take tickets for more recent productions likethe famous musical Wicked, Hamilton, Chicago, Frozen or even Diana. Even if you are not perfectly bilingual in English, the show will still be an exceptional experience.
What To Do In Times Square? A Shopping Spree!
Many brand stores are located in Times Square. Some are real attractions for young and old! You can’t pass the crossroads of the world without entering M&M’s Store where the goodies from the New York City special collection and the M&M’s arranged by color will leave you speechless. Don’t miss the Disney Store, even grander than the one in Paris, or of course the Levi’s Store.
For clothes, you will find H&M, Gap or American Eagle Outfitters. Note that for a minimum purchase of $10, you can have your photograph taken on the top floor of the store. These photos will appear a quarter of an hour later on the store’s exterior screens. This will be your little moment of glory in Times Square!
For a long time, there was also a giant Toys’ R Us in Times Square, but this no longer exists, to the regret of children and to the delight of parents
Attend The New Year’s Celebration
If you are in New York in December or January, you obviously have to go to Times Square to attend the New Year’s Eve celebration on the night of December 31st to January 1st!
The square will be crowded with people: 1 million people will be gathered to wait for the countdown, while watching on a screen the celebrations in other countries of the world. A concert is organized every year, and a few minutes before midnight, a large ball, the Waterford Crystal, is hoisted on the roof of the building located at 1, Times Square (this is the former premises of the New York Times Magazine).
The experience is just amazing! The event is broadcast live on television and watched by millions of people with, on the poster, big names in music from all over the world
Times Square Guided Tour
Know that it is possible to discover this place during a guided tour! Most city tours include this square in their program, due to its importance and notoriety. Other guided tours of about 2 hours focus exclusively on Times Square and Broadway, which is just around the corner.
This is the case of the guided tour that I propose to you here. Having a local guide with you will allow you to discover the history and the various secrets of the square and the city in greater depth. And your guide will be able to share his tips and tricks for the rest of your stay!
The price of this visit is around 37€
Most of the restaurants in Times Square are themed restaurants like Planet Hollywood, located at 1540 Broadway, or the Hard Rock Café. You can eat salads, fries, hamburgers, sandwiches and many other good dishes!
If you’re craving seafood and fish dishes, head to Bubba Gump, inspired by the movie Forrest Gump at 1501 Broadway—New York City. For the little anecdote, this place was my first stop, my first time in New York, and I was not disappointed.
You can also buy take-out food from a food truck or even opt for a romantic meal in a chic restaurant like Le Bernardin, which offers French specialties, or the R Lounge, with typical American cuisine. Unless you like Italian cuisine more, in which case opt for the restaurant La Masseria.
Another must-see in New York, and that you will find not far from Times Square, is the famous Shake Shack, a fast-food chain born in New York, in full development. We are still waiting for him in France…
To find other good addresses in New York, you can obviously take a look at Tripadvisor where you will find the opinions of tourists and locals.
The Museums Of Times Square
Of course, you will also find some must-see New York museums in Times Square:
- The Madame Tussauds museum, the equivalent of our dear Grévin Museum, in which you will find a collection of stars in wax statues different from that of Paris.
- Ripley ‘s Believe It or Not !, unfortunately closed permanently.
- The Broadway Museum.
French holiday activity sites do not offer visits to these museums. I therefore advise you to inquire on their official website, or even on Trip advisor, to learn more.
How To Get To Times Square?
Times Square is located in Manhattan, between 42nd Street and Broadway. Its exact address is: W 46th Street & Broadway Ave, New York, NY 10036.
To get there from your hotel, the easiest way is to take the New York City Subway. Several lines stop in the area: R, N, W, Q and 1, 2, 3 and 7. You can get off at “Times Square — 42nd St” or “Times Square — 49th St” station.
Where to spend the night in New York?
Are you going to visit New York soon and do not yet know where to sleep in New York ? If you want to sleep in Times Square at all costs , your hotel budget is likely to explode…
That’s why I advise you to sleep a little further. The Lucerne Hotel is an ideal accommodation located in northern Manhattan, between Central Park and the Hudson River. The hotel also offers a ticket reservation service, a real luxury for your visits.
In addition, the place has a gym, a French restaurant and meeting rooms. Count around 230 € per night, for 2 people.
The Times Square History
Times Square, which is today one of the most famous squares in the world, was at the end of the 19th century a very popular place for horse rental companies. It was then called “ Longacre Square ”. The square did not take on its current name until 1904, when the famous newspaper ” The New York Times ” set up its offices in a tower located at No. 1, Times Square, New York. This tower was later called the Times Building.
From the 1920s, Times Square was a lively district known for its performance halls, music halls, theaters and hotels. It was also an advertising paradise: the first advertisement was displayed on the wall of a bank, at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway. Subsequently, the biggest brands jostled for advertising space.
However, from the 1950s and into the 1990s, Times Square experienced a dark period. The square was nothing more than a place of debauchery where prostitution and delinquency reigned. The new mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, decided to renovate it in order to make it one of the most dynamic areas of the city. Successful bet !
With its year-round entertainment and large gatherings, Times Square has become one of the most famous places in the world, and one of the busiest.
What You Need To Know About Times Square?
- Every day, approximately 365,000 people pass through Times Square.
- You don’t need tickets to just go to Times Square.
- On December 31, a million people meet there. They were 2 million at the time of the transition to the year 2000.
- Times Square is a non-smoking place. You could be fined $50 if caught red-handed.
- How much energy do you think Times Square uses? Well, it consumes no less than 161 megawatts of electricity when it is at its peak!
- Every evening at 11:57 p.m., the screens darken and broadcast art images for 3 minutes. We call this moment the Midnight Moment ! As usual in New York, you will be amazed.
- Between 7th Avenue and Broadway, a sound system broadcasting background music is hidden under the subway entrance.
That’s it for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that it will help you prepare for your visit to the Big Apple. Of course, I obviously recommend that you also take the time to discover other unmissable places in the city, such as the financial district of Wall Street, Central Park, or even the view from the top of the Empire State Building.