The City That Never Sleeps: 11 Things to Do in Times Square
Here's your guide to the best things to do and see during your visit to Times Square, NYC.
New York City is a place of great opportunity, with adventure hiding around each corner. All five boroughs have a culture entirely their own, unique in all aspects. The amount of talent residing in New York is almost mind blowing. Between art shows, theater, concerts, and great restaurants, it's near impossible to find yourself bored in this city.
One section of NYC that's unique in its range of activity is Times Square. The most visited tourist attraction in the world, millions of tourists flock to Times Square every year. With an ever-busy intersection filled with bright lights and speeding yellow taxis, Times Square is awe-inspiring. In fact, many find themselves shocked by the mere size of it all.
It would be impossible to explore everything that Times Square has to offer, so we’ve rounded up some "can’t miss" things to do while visiting the "Crossroads of the World."
1. Watch the Ball Drop - New Years Eve
Since New Years Eve of 1908, the ball drop in Times Square has been a yearly tradition. Millions of Americans celebrate the new year by turning on the TV at midnight to watch the ball descend. Those brave enough to face the crowds (and the cold) will make the trek to Times Square to be in the center of all the action at the stroke of midnight - it's a one-of-a-kind experience!
It’s exhilarating to stand among many thousands of people, watching as the crystal ball descends for the final 60-seconds of the year. It's like seeing out the past and welcoming the future. Attending New Years Eve in Times Square is an experience well worth braving the December/January cold.
2. Tour Broadway
The NYC Theater District is Time Square’s claim to fame. One of the most creative sections the city, the Theater District is occupied by theaters (of course), recording studios, and music row. Broadway is the most recognizable of part of the district. Nicknamed "The Great White Way," Broadway is a place where many talented artists go to find fame and fortune. Broadway Tours is an hour and 45 minutes of exploring the ins and outs of the Theater District. Theater lovers are sure to fall in love with this section of Times Square.
3. Go Shopping
When you enter Times Square, you will quickly become aware of the incredibly large billboards everywhere you turn. With huge neon signs in every available space, it’s obvious that Times Square is a shopping destination; and for good reason. Times Square has over 300 stores to choose from with something for everyone ready to do some serious shopping.
4. Check Out the Museums
One of the greatest things about New York is the vast number of museums, and Times Square has no shortage of them. Here are a few worth visiting:
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Museum of Modern Art is one of the finest museums in New York City. Some of the most innovative and thought-provoking pieces can be found inside its walls. Children under 6 are admitted free and students with ID receive a discount upon entry.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
For those more interested in space and ships, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is the perfect museum to visit. This historical museum pays tribute to US history from a different angle. The non-profit organization honors our country’s heroes and takes a look at the history made along the way.
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
New York City is home to many celebrities, but catching a photo with one - or even a glimpse - can be near impossible. Madame Tussaud’s is a close second if you want to see your favorite stars up close. This famous wax museum houses incredibly life-like wax replicas of famous historical and contemporary individuals - the accuracy is almost scary.
With over 100 wax statues, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon making your way through this museum. You may even trick your friends or family into believing that your photo of Beyoncé is the real deal!
International Center of Photography
Photography is such a beautiful form of art; the different uses of light and focus can turn the most simple image into an artistic masterpiece. The International Center of Photography takes an intimate look at the process of film and all that goes into creating magnificent photographs.
Serving as a school, museum, and research center, there is plenty to learn at this destination. For a small fee, you can experience all the center offers. Admission is free for members and children under 12.
5. Visit the Empire State Building
This world-famous skyscraper is a central component of the New York City skyline. The 102-story building stands tall amongst several other buildings that make up the picturesque skyline. Standing high above other buildings, the Empire State Building can be one of the best places to catch a great view of the city.
There is a museum located inside in where you can learn about the history of the building as well as gain some comprehensive information on New York City. There's an observation deck which is open for visitation; this deck offers a 360-degree view and is undoubtedly one of the best ways to view the enormity of the city.
6. Take a Look at the Massive Billboards
Times Square has no shortage of giant billboards and other modes of advertising. With all the lights and bombardment of images, it can be exceptionally beautiful to visit Times Square - especially at night. Once the sun has set, the square is illuminated by all the lights from the countless billboards that line the intersection.
Bonus: Although it's not a vintage sign - as are some billboards in Times Square - the 2004 Coca-Cola sign is immense and considered to be a major tourist attraction. Well worth checking out!
7. See the Home of MTV - 1 Astor Plaza
If you grew up watching MTV, then you'll be interested in visiting 1 Astor Plaza in Times Square. You can probably recall getting home from school to have a snack while turning on MTV to catch that day’s episode of Total Request Live, an incredibly popular music program during the late 90s and early 2000s. A visit to this iconic space will be a nostalgic stop on your tour of Times Square.
8. Find Filming Locations from Popular Movies
Times Square has been featured in countless films, and you can make a day of visiting these movie locations. Make a list of your favorite movies and spend the day looking for the places where your favorite film stars have been. Some famous movies that feature scenes from Times Square are "Vanilla Sky," with Tom Cruise, "I Am Legend," with Will Smith, and plenty of scenes from "Sex and the City."
Put yourself in the shoes of movie stars and take a look at Times Square from their perspective.
9. Check Out NY Times Tower
This tower has made its way into the permanent landscape of Times Square and is the publishing hub of the New York Times. The grand floor atrium is a site all its own, with large floor-to-ceiling windows that illuminate it with natural light. Furthermore, the building is considered a "green building," meaning that it's successfully increasing its energy efficiency.
10. See a Show at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is one of the most famous concert venues in New York City. It is certainly worth a visit while you are in the area, even if you can't catch a show. If you want to see a Carnegie production, we highly recommend you research the available shows and catch one while in town. The venue is completely stunning and the talent that books this space will blow you away every time.
11. Eat at Num Pang
New York City is overflowing with incredible restaurants; you could dine out for dinner every night for a year and never repeat a restaurant - just to put it into perspective. Talented chefs from all over the world come to New York to make it big in the city.
One of our favorite Time Square spots for lunch is Num Pang. This simplistic, to the point sandwich joint, embodies the New York spirit. A great spot for a quick lunch, it's an equally enjoyable place to grab a seat and relax while you eat.
This shop covers all the basics in the sandwich department and also offers noodle bowls, salads, soups, and main course dishes; there is little that Num Pang is lacking (our favorite is the peppercorn catfish). The menu rotates seasonally so you can always expect a new and delicious menu time every time you visit.
148 W 48th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave), New York, NY
Every vacation or quick getaway can be a positive experience if you have a game plan. This list will help you decide where to go and what to do on your adventure to one of the most iconic places in the world: Times Square, New York City.
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