It is estimated that 80% of the 47 million tourists that visit New York City
each year visit Times Square.
Surrounded by a gazillion, glaring neon-signs advertising almost every
international consumer brand you have ever heard of, Times Square is an amazing sight.
For tourists, arriving at Times
Square is somehow uniquely meaningful, as if it proclaims your “official” entry to
New York and in some strange way, reminds one of the welcome of an old
friend you have been aware of your entire life, but never met.
Times Square received its current name in 1904 after the New York Times
newspaper moved its headquarters to
the building now known as One Times Square, which is the location where
the ball drops during the countdown to the New Year at Times Square.
Information on the New Year's festivities can be found at the official website of
New Year's Eve at Times Square.
Although it had an unsavory reputation until approximately twenty years
ago, Times Square has been
revitalized and is one the leading tourist areas in New York City. The
list of stores, snack shops, restaurants (over 200) and modest attractions is never-ending and
the flashing lights add a buzz that helps make Times Square a favorite with
It's not so much
that there is anything truly unique to do at Times Square, it's just that
the fun things to do are in such abundance that it makes your head swirl. Of course, the crowd, the buzz and the fun that you can have while exploring
add to the magnetism of the area.
To help you take it all in, the city has made the center of Times Square
pedestrian only and built tiered seating in the center of
the pedestrian area, so that you can take a rest and snap a photo or two
while you gather the resolve to continue your exploration.
Just one more Times Square tidbit - The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
traditionally passes down 7th Avenue through the Times Square area.
For 2012 it has been proposed that the Parade will turn on 6th Avenue
instead, bypassing Times Square and its hotels, which were prime viewing
platforms. Needless to say, the proposed change is being debated.
Check local websites for details on the actual parade route.
heart of Broadway (sometimes called “The Great White Way”) and the city’s Theatre District surround Times Square, although most theatres
are located between Broadway and Eighth Avenue from 40th Street
north to 53rd. Not only are the shows top rate, but many of the
facilities are stunning.
You can find a detailed map containing the locations and
names of the Broadway theatres and many of the shops in the Times Square
this page of the official Times Square website (the map, which is
downloadable as a PDF is titled District Map and is near the bottom of the
page on the website referenced).
There is a
TKTS booth under the tiered seats in the center of the
pedestrian area at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and it is here that you can
buy discounted tickets for performances of Broadway and off-Broadway plays
and musicals on that day (advanced reservations are not available at this
booth). TKTS is part of the
Theatre Development Fund that supports theatrical arts and enables
diverse audiences to attend live theatre and dance events.
Nearby, at the 6,000 square-foot Times Square Visitor Center
(housed in the Embassy Theater) you can
purchase tickets in-advance for Broadway shows, memorabilia related to your
visit, as well as city tours and find information on many of the tourist
attractions in New York City. The Times Square Visitor Center is
located on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets. Opening hours are 9
a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
The official website of the Times Square Alliance can be found
here and it is almost as busy as the Square
A new addition to the Times Square area is the
Discovery Network's Discovery Times Square. Known as Discovery TSX,
this is a large exhibition center that bills itself as "More than a Museum"
and the high ticket price may be proof of that statement.
Located in a large space that once housed the printing
presses used to publish the New York Times, the Discovery TSX is a showplace
for exhibitions custom packaged by the Discovery Network. By all accounts
the exhibits are fantastic and very popular. More information on
what's on can be found at the official
Discovery TSX website.
Discovery Times Square is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
although the last entry is one-hour prior to closing. You can find
Discovery at 226 West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue,
directly across from Shubert Alley.
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.