Bright, bold, busy, and buzzing. Times Square is at the centre of all the main entertainment action in New York. It’s known as the ‘crossroads of the world‘ and more than a third of a million people pass through the square every day. The backdrop for a thousand movie scenes and home to quality street art and performances, it’s the ideal place to spend some time people watching at a sidewalk café. From arts, theatre and food to music and shopping, you’ll find lots to see and do whether you’re visiting as a couple, or with the kids.
Try something different
The pedestrianized plaza is the place to head for pop-up events or to catch street performers, but all around Times Square you’ll find plenty of permanent exhibitions and amusements too.
If you’ve always wanted to have a go at American Football, book a ticket for the NFL Experience. Here you can get stuck into immersive displays and a state-of-the-art 4D cinema, which will make you feel like you’re really there. You can also learn how to create a winning game strategy, pitch your skills against the pros and see some top memorabilia.
The Rockerfeller Center is also just a step away. Made up of 19 commercial buildings, it’s home to major landmarks including Radio City Music Hall, the Rink at Rockerfeller Center (if you want to pull on your ice skates during a winter break in the city), and Top of the Rock, for a 360 degree view of the New York skyline.
Take in a Broadway show
Times Square is on the junction of Broadway. That means you’re never far from the hottest shows or a ticket booth trying to sell you tickets. Check out some of the long-running favourites, like Chicago or The Lion King. Or book your seats for one of the latest shows to take centre stage in Theatreland. Only the very best shows make it to Broadway, so you can be guaranteed that you’ll be in for a treat.
The Broadway shows are not the only entertainment you’ll enjoy. The plaza is well known as the place to watch some top street entertainment too. From magicians to musicians, you can lose track of time as you enjoy a slushie in the street.
As well as plenty of places to entertain you, there are also lots of opportunities to do some serious shopping. The stores are huge, so you can easily end up spending half a day hunting out souvenirs in just one store. You’ll find all the biggest USA brands, from Disney Store to Hershey’s Chocolate World, as well as international favourites.
Times Square hosts lots of seasonal celebrations. In the run up to Christmas, you can marvel at the huge tree that takes pride of place in front of the Rockerfeller Centre. Times Square is also central to how New Yorkers celebrate the New Year. Look up to the roof a minute before midnight on 31st December and you can ‘watch the ball drop’. It takes 60 seconds to descend 43m down a special flagpole and is the equivalent to London’s Big Ben bongs.
If you’re lucky enough to be in New York for Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), Times Square is a great place to head to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade skirts the corner of the square along 59th Street. After watching the parade, head back to the square to continue the festival feeling.
Visiting with children
Times Square New York offers lots to keep the kids happy too. Once you’ve dragged them out of M&Ms World, they’ll love learning more about sea creatures at the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. This digital experience is an brilliant way to get up close to some of the giants of the oceans, right in the heart of Manhattan.
Another firm family favourite is Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium. From real shrunken heads to miniature replicas of New York landmarks, the place is chock full of the weird, the fascinating, and the downright odd.
After a morning of shopping or being entertained, you’ll need some refreshment. Luckily, there’s no shortage of places to grab a bite to eat in Times Square. From American classics in the fast food joints to local independents, you’ll find a wide choice of food on offer to suit every budget.
It is also home to some of America’s best-loved chains like the Hard Rock Café. Here you can admire priceless rock-and-roll memorabilia as you dine. As the night falls and the neon signs really come into their own, you’ll also discover some excellent places to grab a drink. From lively Irish bars to sophisticated cocktails, there’s plenty of choice for your pre and post-theatre drinks.
Times Square is in the Midtown Manhattan area of New York City. It’s served by it’s own subway station, as well as public buses and the city’s hop-on-hop-off tourist buses. If you’re looking for an iconic yellow with black and white checkerboard taxi, you’ll find them lining up ready to take you to your next destination.