THINGS TO DO IN TIMES SQUARE, NYC

Things to do in Times Square

For me, no visit to NYC is complete without a visit to Times Square. It’s bright lights and busy atmosphere make it a popular tourist spot. But what are the best things to do in Times Square?

We share the best things to in the famous square, including free things to do in Times Square and where to eat in Times Square.

P.S. Don’t forget to head over to Rockafeller to get some stunning views of the city or enjoy the Trolls Experience – perfect for visits with children!

Getting to Times Square?

Times Square is not actually a square but four quarters created on the intersection where 7th Avenue and Broadway meets Midtown Manhattan. However, most people refer the larger neighbourhood as Times Square, from 40TH st. to 52nd St. and 8th Ave to 6th Ave.

There are many subway stations that will get you to the neighbourhood. 

For those catching the subway, you can get off at 42 Street Station, Rockefeller Ctr Station, 49 Street Station and 50 Street Station. 

The hop-on-hop-off buses tend to start and end in this area too. 

Best Things To Do In Times Square

THE RIDE

The Ride Tour things to do in Times Square

THE RIDE is a unique way to explore NYC. This is an interactive experince hosted by proffesional comedians who escore you around Manhattan on a side facing bus. This is a 75-minute trip and expect to see Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, New York Public Library and more.

Website: experiencetheride.com ○ Phone: +1 (212) 221-0853

MADAME TUSSAUD’S

madame tussauds things to do in Times Square

Pose with your favourite celebrities wax model and get your own wax hand! This popular attraction is found on 42nd Street and includes wax figures of Barak Obama, Donald Trump, Helen Keller, the British Royal Family, Whoopi Goldberg, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber; just to name a few. Head here in the evening for a quieter, more romantic experience.

Prices start at $37 and the attraction is open from 10am to 9pm most days.

RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! things to do in Times Square

Located next door to Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s museum holds more than 500 real articfacts along with interactive experiences, photo opportunties, galleries and fun facts for the whole family to enjoy.

There are a few NYC passes which include admission to Ripley’s, including the New York Explorer Pass, the Freestyle Pass and New York City Sightseeing Pass. 

You can also get combo tickets to enjoy a bus or boat tour around the city too.

ROOFTOP BARS

Rooftop Bar things to do in Times Square

There are many bars and lounges around Times Square, allowing you to take in the lights and unwind. Many bars offer ropftop lounges, giving you spectacular views of the NYC skyline.

The best rooftop bar in Times Sqaure is undoubtedly St Cloud with their colourful cocktails and unique Sky Pods offering views in all directions.

Meeting characters things to do in Times Square

MEET YOUR FAVOURITE CARTOON CHARACTER

Whether it’s Captain America, the Statue of Liberty of Elmo, you will see many characters around Times Square. Stop and say Hi and take a photo if you wish, just remember to top these street performers.

Buying Broadway tickets

SEE A BROADWAY SHOW

Whist in NYC, a Broadway show is a must! We have been fortunate to see quite a few shows in New York and I always say the classics are better. BUT if travelling with family, there are some great choices such as The Lion King, STOMP, Aladding or Wicked.

TKTS Box Office is the number one place to buy discounted tickets for the top Broadway shows. Ticketmaster is also perfect if you have a specific show that you must see. This Box Office can be found in the heart of Times Square but head here early to beat the long queues.

Read our post to find out the different ways to get tickets for Broadway!

RADIO CITY STAGE DOOR TOUR

Radio City Music hall

If you love the theatre then you will love this 75-minute Radio City Hall backstage tour, taking you behind the scenes of America’s most famous theatre. You can even get a photo taken with a famous Rockette.

Tickets are also included in the New York City Explorer Pass or can be booked online for $30.

 

OMESCAPE AT TIMES SQUARE

If you are visiting with family or friends, OMEscape is a fun group activity. These are hi-tech escape rooms complete with lazer security systems and immersive themes.

The rooms area available to book from 11am to 11pm every day and cost $31 per person. 

THE NEW VICTORY THEATER

THE NEW VICTORY THEATER things to do in Times Square

The New Victory Theater is NYC’s only full-time performing arts theatre for children. The shows are aimed at children from 1 1/2 to 12 years old. See the full calendar and book tickets if you are visiting with family; shows include plays, dance performances, circu acts, puppets and more.

Even if you haven’t got tickets, head to the theatre lobby to see the props from the current show or take part in one of the performance skill workshops.

BOWLMOR TIMES SQUARE

BOWLMOR TIMES SQUARE things to do in Times Square

This 48-lane bowling alley is a great place to relax and unwind in the evenings. Complete with an arcade, billiards and different themed lounge areas, this is an idea place to chill out, dine and bowl.

Bowlmor Times Square is located at 222 W 44th St between 8th Avenue and Broadway, opening from 2pm to midnight each night of the week whilst staying open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

HOP-ON HOP-OFF SIGHTSEEING TOUR

Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing Tour things to do in Times Square

If you are short on time, we highly recommend a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. These buses start and end in Times Square but will drive you past major landmarks and neighbourhoods such as Madison Square Gardens, Chinatown, Broadway, Empire State Building and more. 

HEAD TO COMEDY CLUB

Comedy Club in Times Square things to do in Times Square

Check on Groupon for deals at one of the Comedy Clubs in Times Square. Broadway Comedy Club on West 53rd Street shows headline performances throughout the year whilst the LOL Times Square Club is more casual. Carolines is a legendary comedy club with famous comedians like Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld started their careers. 

MIDTOWN COMICS

Midtown Comics things to do in Times Square

Midtown Comics is a fun comic book and toy store that is open to late and a fun way to spend some time in NYC. You will find new releases along with vintage issues in this colourful store. 

The store is open from 8am to midnight on Monday to Saturday then Noon to 8pm on Sundays. 

Free things to do in Times Square

MIDNIGHT MOMENT

Every evening, at 11.57pm, you can watch the midnight moment – the word’s largest digital art exhibition comprised of the huge Time Square billboards syncronising to create whimsical images.

There is a different art display theme each month.

 

HEAR A GOSPEL CHOIR

HEAR A GOSPEL CHOIR things to do in Times Square

Head over to the Times Square Church at 234 West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, to watch a free, fun Gospel service. It is worth noting that these services last around 2 hours, with 60 minutes of the service praising. Services run throughout the day on a Sunday: 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 6pm.

Check the church’s website for more details.

 

SEE THE TONIGHT SHOW

The Tonight Show NBC Studios things to do in Times Square

There are lots of free TV tapings in and around Times Square with the Tonight Show being one of them. The show tapes from around 5.30pm to 7pm and tickets can requested on the website for the Late Show.

You can also request tickets for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Daily Show With Travor Noah.

SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR

Self Guided Walking Tour things to do in Times Square

Download the Free Tours By Foot app to explore Times Square in your own time. The app doesn’t offer audio but it does talk you though the important buildings and places in Tims Square, giving detailed descriptions of the history and significance of Time Square attractions. 

Things To Do In Times Square With Kids

DAVE & BUSTERS

DAVE & BUSTERS things to do in Times Square

Eat, drink and play. Dave and Buster’s is a family-friendly chain bar and arcade, with lots of fun activities to try.

It is essentially a Sports Bar with traditional American food and hundreds of arcade games to choose from. The Time Square venue is colourful and fun, with a premium bar and creative cocktails available.

Website: www.daveandbusters.com    Phone: +1 (646) 495-2015

HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD

A great shop for chocolate lovers, head to Hershey’s. This store has lots of fun merchandise, with even the option to customize a chocolate bar. Make sure to try the free samples!

 
Hersheys store Times Square things to do in Times Square

THE DISNEY STORE

THE DISNEY STORE things to do in Times Square

For family’s or big kids, The Disney Store is an experience in itself. Check out your favourite characters and the detailed decor around the store. There are lots of things to do in NYC with kids and for a big kid like me, seeing the interactive areas of this store is definitely one of them!

Note to self: bring plenty of $$$$

Where to eat in Times Square things to do in Times Square

WHERE TO EAT IN TIMES SQUARE?

Times Square have some great restaurants to visit. Hakkasan is a firm favourite, serving Chinese food as well as the Red Lobster and Gallagher’s Steak House for delicious seafood and a hearty steak. The Wasabi Sushi & Bento is perfect for a Japanese fix and Ellen’s Stardust Diner is one of the most popular and fun restaurants with theatre students and actors singing whilst they wait on your table! (think Glee!!)

BEST RESTAURANTS IN TIME SQUARE

Where to eat in Times Square things to do in Times Square

Cheap eats in Times Square

Cheap options ($5 – $10)

  • Shakeshake – Counter service for burgers
  • Chipotle – Fast-food Meican chain restaurant with some space to sit
  • Maoz Falafel & Grill – Middle Easter vegetarian restaraunt with salads and sandwiches
  • Patzeria Pizza – NYC Pizza to go; pay by the slice
  • Xi’an Famous Foods – Fresh handmade noodles and stewed pork burgers

Affordable restaurants in Times Square

  • Piccolo Cafe – Counter service for breakfast items as well as salads and paninis
  • Times Square Diner – Endless food options, open 24 hours a day
  • Pongsri Thai – Authentic Thai food at affordable prices
Where to eat in Times Square things to do in Times Square
Where to eat in Times Square things to do in Times Square

Moderate restaurants in Times Square

  • John’s Pizzeria – Coal-oven pizza pies; known as the best in NYC
  • Carmine’s – Italian-American styled family portioned meals
  • Virgil’s – Best barbeque meals in the neighbourhood
  • Sake Bar Hagi – A Japanese eatery for the young and cool

Pre-theatre Prix-Fixe menus – On West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenure, is restaurant row. This is a block of around 20 restaurants offer a wide variety of cuisines. They also offer pre-theatre set menus at decent prices and are timed so that you don’t miss your performance. Make sure you book ahead and check out some of the best restaurants such as Hourglass Tavern and Becco.

Things to do Near Times Square

BRYANT PARK

Bryant Park things to do in Times Square

Located just one block from Times Square, Bryant Park is a calming green oasis in the heart of Manhattan. There are activities here throughout the year, live music, board games and ping-pong tables but also an open library, allowing you to take a book and read during your ‘chill-out in the park’ time.

The park is between 40th and 42nd Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues.

TOP OF THE ROCK OBSERVATORY

top of the Rock Observatory things to do in Times Square

Head to the top of Rockefeller Center to enjoy panoramic, uninterrupted views of New York City. The famous building is under a 5 minute walk from Times Square and we recommend heading here for sunset. 

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART things to do in Times Square

MoMA is a stand out art museum in New York City. They have a vast collection of contemporary art from world-renowned artists. The museum is around a 12 minute walk or you can catch subway line F, R or E. 

What is your favourite thing to do in Times Square? Let us know in the comments!

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22 Comments

  1. I LOVE Times Square. I know that people think it is overrated and just for tourists but I’ve always loved the hustle and bustle. The bright lights are just the right amount of big-city overwhelming! Love this guide on all the awesome things to do. The M&M store has always been my personal favorite 🙂

  2. I’ve been to NYC once, way back in 2009 on a trip with school! We went to Times Square and I thought it was amazing. I’d love to visit again. Thanks for the heads up on what to do!

  3. Totally agree, a visit to New York has to include a visit to Times Square! I love this post though because when I’ve been before I just sort of wandered aimlessly around. It’s good to have some more info on what to see! My favourite thing I did in New York was take a limo ride home because we bargained it down to be cheap and got him to drive through Times Square at 4am!

  4. My first visit to NYC I stayed just off Times Square so spent a lot of time around there. I think I went in the Hard Rock Cafe for tea one night. My last trip to NYC was in August and there were so many tourists there I didn’t spend hardly any time there. It is a great place though and I would love to see NYE in there 🙂

  5. The pictures look absolutely lovely.There’s so much to do in and around Times Square.I would love to check out The Ride and The Hershey’s store apart form going on a food trail.

  6. I really enjoyed this post! It’s a HUGE dream of mine to visit New York but I actually didn’t know much about what was actually in Times Square- so I loved reading about everything! All of the options sound so fun- seems like I could easily spend a whole day just in that area!

  7. NYC is truly a great place and Time Square having so much to do is a wonderful place to visit. My ultimate favorite place though for Hershey, is Hershey Pennsylvania where even the street lights are shaped like hershey kisses 🙂

  8. I love NY and Times Square and want to do all of these things! It’s been years since I was there tho so thanks for the heads up on whats available right now. It will be helpful when I’m planning!

  9. NYC looks like such a fun place. I have never been here but now want to plan a trip soon. The amount of chocolate goodness is awesome! Are there any restaurants that you would recommend for us vegetarians? Also, are there any free attractions that could help a budget traveller?

  10. There is so much to do and see just at the times square. I never knew it. I have never been to NYC but I would definitely one day. And then I will visit all these spots as soon as I arrive in the city

  11. I love Time Square! It is such a hub for all things fun and all things vibrant! I love a good Hard Rock Cafe visit anytime! There really is so much to do there.


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