Discover Times Square Attractions in a New York Minute

Follow our guide to experiencing the best and brightest at the heart of the Big Apple

 

Officially defined as the space between 42nd and 47th streets and Broadway and 7th avenue, Times Square draws more than 300,000 people a day to wander its neon-lit blocks. In addition to the essential people-watching and selfie snapping, a definitive Times Square attractions to-do list includes splurging on Broadway shows, gazing at the bright lights and munching on delicious cheesecake. Read on for the full itinerary—then go ahead and book your stay in New York City!


See a Broadway show


There's no better way to mark your visit than to catch a show on Broadway.

Beyond the multi-megawatt billboards and supersized crowds, Times Square also packs a cultural punch. With more than 40 theaters hosting a variety of musicals, plays and special events, Broadway shows are definitely one of the top things to do in Times Square. The problem? Scoring a seat without breaking the bank. The hardest tickets in town remain the smash hits (think shows like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen or solo shows by artists like Bruce Springsteen), and for a lucky few, there are in-person lotteries held daily (snowy and rainy days are your best chance for a ticket).

For longer-running shows, including family favorites The Lion King and Wicked, you can book ahead via the TodayTix app (up to 30 days in advance) or get in line for discounted day-of tickets at the TKTS booth beneath the bleachers in Times Square. Save up to 50 percent on same-day shows or use the Plays Only window for tickets to nonmusical events. Once you’ve scored your ticket, join in the ritual of standing in line in eager anticipation outside the theater—but know you can also arrive just ahead of curtain rise and skip the wait. Pro tip: Remember to grab a preshow bite—pizza from Kiss My Slice on 40th Street is a sure bet!


Meet the street vendors

Traditional travel smarts tell us to be wary of street vendors, but here, engaging with the cast of caricaturists, buskers, magicians, comedians, actors in superhero costumes and more is a Times Square attraction! If you have to choose, go with one of the collection of caricaturists sharing their talents and buy one of the best keepsakes found in Times Square for a fixed price. Overall, treat the experience like an outdoor variety show and cheer on the dance troupes, illusionists and comedians you enjoy.


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Lights, camera, selfies in Duffy Square


Feel like you're king—or queen—of the world at Duffy Square!

At the northern end of Times Square, just behind the statue of Father Duffy, the Duffy Square bleachers let you take in the scene for the spectacle it is. Your fellow visitors are as much a part of the show as the lights and billboards, so sit back and play a game of “count the selfie sticks,” keep an eye out for secret proposals and, for early birds, watch the crowds go wild outside the Good Morning America studio. The best time to take a seat at this Times Square attraction, however, is after dark, when the billboards shine at their brilliant best, and the buzz from the crowds, taxis, street vendors and traffic cops reaches a crescendo.


Make it coffee and cheesecake at Junior’s

A Brooklyn institution, Junior’s is now a Times Square attraction with its Manhattan outpost at Broadway and 45th Street. The classic diner decor is all 1970s oranges and yellows, with vinyl chairs, cozy booths and barstools. Save money on breakfast with bottomless coffee and eggs come any style, and no matter what time it is, you must try a slice of their famous cheesecake. The restaurant doubles in size during the warmer months, when tables extend onto the sidewalk and outdoor deck, but at any time of year there’s a wait, so don’t arrive hungry. Or, grab a premeal snack at the to-go counter next door and consider it your appetizer.


Explore Times Square on two, three or four wheels

For travelers who prefer to get the perfect picture on the go, there are ways to see Times Square attractions beyond traveling by foot. Big Bus Tours pass right by Duffy Square along Broadway on both their Uptown (blue line) and Downtown (red line) routes, as well as the special nighttime (yellow line) tour. Just remember to head up to the open top deck to catch the best scenes. For something more intimate, pedicabs ride all over Times Square ready to be hailed. Listen for the bicycle ring as you wait. Unregulated for years, pedicab drivers now have to display their per-minute rates (around $5 per minute), and riders should check the amount is correct before setting off. Alternatively, New York’s popular Citi Bike program has several bike stations just beyond Times Square’s pedestrianized zone, so you can set off on a sightseeing loop away from the foot traffic. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $3, while full-day passes for unlimited 30-minute rides within 24 hours are $12. Be aware: You’ll be in the thick of the real traffic—taxis, trucks and police vans included—so novice riders might feel safer in a pedicab.

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