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Top 10 Things to Do in Times Square, NYC

Times Square is one of the most exciting places to be in the world. This part of Manhattan Midtown West in New York City is filled with digital billboards, packed with tourists, and has so many fascinating things to see and do. No trip to New York City is complete without spending a day in Times Square, so here’s a list of the best things to do here!

Do a Self-Guided Walking Tour Young woman tourist sightseeing at Times Square
Credit: Young woman tourist sightseeing at Times Square by © MNStudio | Dreamstime.com

Do a Self-Guided Walking Tour

One of the best ways to get to bearings in Times Square and determine how you want to spend your day is to do a self-guided walking tour. Free Tours by Foot offers an interactive, GPS-enabled audio tour app that hits all the highlights of New York City so you can get a sense of what Times Square is all about. Some stops include Times Tower and the Time Ball, the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza, Palace Theater, and St. Malachy’s Catholic Church. This is also an excellent opportunity to simply wander around and people-watch, especially as you pass by street performers of all types who are pulling out their best acts for tips.

Grab a Snack at a Food Cart A stack of freshly baked pretzels on an outdoor food cart in Times Square
Credit: A stack of freshly baked pretzels on an outdoor food cart in Times Square by © Joneil | Dreamstime.com

Grab a Snack at a Food Cart

Times Square is also a great place to grab a snack or light meal because there are many food carts and food trucks that set up shop here. Some of the best-known food trucks in Manhattan are the Kwik Meal Cart, The Halal Guys, Biryani Cart, and Nuts 4 Nuts. Pretzels are popular choices at food carts, as well as hot dogs, noodles, and so much more. You’ll also find a good number of food trucks in the Times Square Area, such as the Coney Shack, Steak Freak, and the Yumpling Food Truck. Eat like the New Yorkers do – on the go and in support of local businesses!

Watch a Broadway Show Broadway show signs in Times Square
Credit: Broadway show signs in Times Square by Kamal Hamid via Flickr

Watch a Broadway Show

Times Square is also the place to be if you’re looking to catch a Broadway show during your time in New York City. You’ll see lots of ads for the current Broadway shows while walking through Times Square and might want to stop by the TKTS booth on Duffy Square for your tickets. There are lots of theaters in the area to check out, including the Ambassador Theatre, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, and Circle in the Square Theatre.

Relax in Bryant Park Buildings at Bryant Park in New York City
Credit: Buildings at Bryant Park in New York City by © Leonid Andronov - Dreamstime.com

Relax in Bryant Park

Located between 5th and 6th Avenues and 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is a wonderful place to take a break from all the bright lights and big crowds. This 9.6-acre park is Manhattan’s town square and has gardens, a merry-go-round, and lush green spaces to relax and enjoy a nice day. In the summer, you can join a movie night in the park, while other things to do here include Pilates classes, juggling demonstrations, and Tai Chi sessions. The park is a Wi-Fi hot spot with free internet and an oasis of peace among the skyscrapers.

See the Daily Show with Trevor Noah Trevor Noah show sign
Credit: Trevor Noah show sign by Elvert Barnes via Flickr

See the Daily Show with Trevor Noah

The Daily Show is filmed right here in Times Square, and tickets are available to the public for tapings. It’s not impossible to get tickets, although it is usually challenging. Visitors can go on the ticket booking website to get free general guaranteed tickets and then check in between 4pm and 5pm along 11th Avenue at the studio (733 11th Avenue). You can also get first-come-first-served tickets that do not guarantee entry. Check-in for these tickets begins at 5pm along 52st Street at the studio. Audience members must be at least 18 years old, all tickets are free, and shows are overbooked to ensure full capacity. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon are other popular shows that you can try to get tickets to see a taping.

Check Out Gulliver’s Gate Gullivers Gate display
Credit: Gullivers Gate display by Ethan Wolff via Flickr

Check Out Gulliver’s Gate

Admittedly, there are lots of museums around Times Square, but Gulliver’s Gate is one of the most unique and enjoyable for all ages. This is a museum of miniatures that is in Times Square and features hundreds of tiny buildings with bridges, cars, and characters. The attraction is named after the main character of Gulliver’s Travels and will entertain and impress you with the skillful work of miniature artists. It is open daily from 10am to 8pm.

Experience the Rockefeller Center Observation Deck Observation deck of Rockefeller Center in NYC
Credit: Observation deck of Rockefeller Center in NYC by © Natalia Bratslavsky | Dreamstime.com

Experience the Rockefeller Center Observation Deck

It’s easy to get caught up in all the action on the ground in Times Square, but it’s also interesting to elevate your experience and check out the Top of the Rock. This is what the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center is called and where you can see panoramic views of the city and top landmarks, like the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The observation deck is open from 8am to midnight daily.

See or Stay at the Knickerbocker Hotel Looking up at the Knickerbocker Hotel
Credit: Looking up at the Knickerbocker Hotel by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

See or Stay at the Knickerbocker Hotel

A famous Times Square landmark is the Knickerbocker Hotel, which was created by John Jacob Astor in 1906. This iconic hotel is an impressive work of architecture and elegantly designed. It is a premier luxury hotel, so if you’re looking to splurge, why not see if you can book a room overnight here while you’re in Times Square.

Go Ice Skating Family ice skating together
Credit: Family ice skating together by © Pavel Ilyukhin | Dreamstime.com

Go Ice Skating

In the wintertime, there’s nothing more perfect than going ice skating near Times Square. The Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink is steps away from Times Square and an annual tradition that the city loves. It typically opens in October for the season. Bryant Park also has a winter ice skating rink to check out nearby.

Celebrate a New Year Recording artist Carrie Underwood onstage during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve at Times Square
Credit: Recording artist Carrie Underwood onstage during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve at Times Square by bigstock.com

Celebrate a New Year

New Year’s Eve is the most special time to be in Times Square, so if you’re up for big crowds and epic partying, then plan your trip to Times Square for December 31. This event is famous for the ball drop at One Times Square when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. At this celebration, you’ll get to experience top celebrity performers, live music, confetti, handouts, and a pyrotechnic display you’ll never forget.

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