Visit Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of New York’s most famous landmark buildings and a major tourist attraction. Empire State Building immediately became a landmark and an icon for NYC when it opened in 1931. There are actually two observatories on top of the Empire State Building, but both offer amazing views, amazing, isnt it? On clear days, you can see up to 80 miles, looking into the neighboring states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Unfortunately, heading to the top of the Empire State Building. But it is a must tourist attraction, even if you do not head to the top of it.
Best Things To Do In New York City
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New York is so big and so diverse a place that you could live here four lifetimes and not experience all the amazing things the city has to offer. Even figuring out where to start your NYC trip is a daunting task. But we want to help you cut down the impossibly long list of ways to spend your day. Whether you’re a local realizing you’ve yet to fully explore the city’s parks and history, or an out-of-towner who doesn’t know the Met from the MoMA, these quintessential stops will help you catch a glimpse of the city’s beating heart.
Hotels Near Times Square
Before we jump into the best things to do in Times Square, lets address accommodations.
Planning a trip to New York City can be overwhelming, especially given the number of hotel options.
If youre looking for a centrally located hotel near Times Square though, make sure you book the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square.
With most hotels in New York City, you can expect the room to feel cramped.
Even the standard rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square are surprisingly spacious though.
The one perk to staying at a hotel near Times Square too, is that youll be right in the middle of the action.
You dont have to walk far at all to reach some of your favorite stores, restaurants, activities, and more.
This hotel is also very centrally located to other areas in the city that youll likely want to explore, which is great.
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Eat Famous Cheesecake At Junior’s Restaurant
It needs not be said that this restaurant serves lots more than cheesecake, but to New Yorkers the name Juniors is synonymous with cheesecake. There was a time when both locals and visitors to the city had to head to Brooklyn for a slice of the rich cheesecake that has induced many to break diets and new years resolutions.
Now, with the opening of the Broadway District branch in the middle of Times Square, the worlds best cheesecake is closer to those in Manhattan and has proven to be one of the few things in Times Square that New Yorkers would even brave the tourist crowds for.
Cheesecake lovers get to choose from more than 15 varieties of cheesecake that includes red velvet and carrot cake cheesecake. There is even a sugar-free version for diabetics and happy birthday versions.
For those who need to eat a meal before dessert there are American classics like burgers and steaks, and a bar. Juniors is located at the corner of Broadway and 45th Streets in the middle of some of Times Square’s best shopping.
Where To Stay In Times Square
We are not kidding when we say that we love staying in Times Square. When staying nearby you are within walking distance to so many top New York Attractions when staying in Times Square. After a full day out sightseeing, we really love coming back to the neon lights of Times Square. Plus, once we get into the hotels that weve stayed in, its all peace and quiet.
- The Intercontinental is classy and chic, quiet and serene. It has all the perks of a high end hotel with turn down service, door men to hail taxis for you, and valet parking for your car. Check out the Intercontinental Times Square for bookings.
- Staybridge Suites What we love about Staybridge Signature Suites is that there is a kitchenette so you can cook meals and store food. If you are doing business in New York or booking an extended stay, Staybridge Suites could be the perfect choice with a full modern kitchen in every suite. for prices and availability.
- Holiday Inn Times Square You cant go wrong with a Holiday Inn. And the Holiday Inn Times Square location offers boutique-style accommodation at affordable prices. The rooms at the Holiday Inn were smaller than the other hotels but they were elegant and stylish. Check it out for more details and availability.
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How To Get The Best Bang For Your Buck:
The Big Apple from Times Square to Downtown and the surrounding boroughs is certainly not averse to visitors, as we all know. To accommodate the millions of snap-happy tourists who make the journey every year, a host of notable attractions and businesses like major museums, landmarks, boat trips, observation decks, and bus tours have joined forces to offer New York City tourist passes.
Depending on your duration of stay and what exactly youd like to see, theres almost certainly a budget-friendly tourists ticket to fit your needs.
Read our New York City pass price comparison guide.
Top Of The Rock Observatory
Get a unique perspective on New York City with a visit to the iconic Top of the Rock. With nearly uninterrupted panoramic views of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, this special attraction is a must-do for all visitors to NYC. This gorgeous art deco skyscraper is worth visiting for its own merits, too, with a beautifully appointed lobby. This is my favorite thing to do near Times Square.
Getting In: Top of the Rock tickets are available on the Go New York Explorer pass.
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Get Your Free Map Of Our Times Square Attractions
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Every time we hear about people talk about New York, they always say, Avoid Time Square. But we love Times Square. We love staying in the hotels of Times Square, we love walking around Times Square at night and we love the energy and excitement of the worlds most famous block of neon lights. The amount of things to do in Times Square alone is makes New York worth visiting. Yes, there are many things to do in New York and we have an entire itinerary to help you plan your New York travels. But if its your first time to New York, youll want to check out all these Times Square attractions in the city that never sleeps.
Nyc Insider Free Event Picks By Month
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Kids Night on Broadway , Broadway Week
Chinese New Year Parade & Festival, Top of the Rock Winter Starlight Music Series , Broadway Week
Free Things to Do in New York in Summer Whether you want free tennis, an outdoor concert, a movie under the stars or free opera outdoors in the park, we have you covered with over 100 FREE things to do in NYC in summer.
Annual Museum Mile Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, Philharmonic in the Park, Taste of Times Square, Pride Week, Midsummer Night Swing , Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series, Bryant Park Film Festival, River to River Festival, Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series, Bryant Park Film Festival
July 4th Fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park, Midsummer Night Swing, Met Museum Roof Martini Bar, FREE Broadway in Bryant Park, Riverflicks Movies in Hudson River Park, Free Fitness in New York City, Lincoln Center Festival
U.S. Tennis Open Qualifying Rounds, Central Park Film Festival, Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival, Met Museum Roof Martini Bar, Shakespeare in the Park, Bryant Park Film Festival
U.S. Tennis Open Free Day, Feast of San Gennaro, Broadway Week , Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, African American Day Parade
Columbus Day Parade, Annual Open House
Ice Skating at Bryant Park, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Watching the New York City Marathon, Holiday Window Displays, Winters Eve at Lincoln Square
Back to Topof Free Things to Do in New York City
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See Shakespeare In The Park
You dont have to fork over a ton of money to see a great theater performance. Each year, the Public Theater hosts Shakespeare in the Park, a summer series at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The series draws celebrity names, and offers the chance to score free tickets for each days performance through a lottery system.
People Watch In Times Square
The Crossroads of the World is a must-see during a trip to the Big Apple. Named for The New York Times, whose One Times Square address was the newspapers headquarters from 1904 to 1913, Times Square is busting with attractions 24/7. Sit on the giant red staircase or pull up a seat in one of the pedestrian zones, the perfect perches for people watching. If you time your visit right 11:57 p.m. nightly to be exact you will be treated to Midnight Moment, an art display in which more than 15 screens simultaneously shut off their advertisements and display a coordinated work of digital art until the clock strikes midnight.
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Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
Explore Manhattan on this super convenient and fun bus tour. You can relax while listening to informative narration and learning about the sites you’re driving past. Then, hop off at any place that piques your interest. Major landmarks and neighborhoods youll see on this bus tour include Times Square, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, Chinatown, the Broadway Theatre District, and much more. Another fun option from Big Bus is the 2-hour nighttime tour, which showcases the city through amazing panoramic views.
Getting In:Hop On Hop Off Big Bus New York Bus Tour tickets are available on the Go New York Explorer pass.
Be On Good Morning America
One of the coolest things to do in Times Square that we absolutely, 100% recommend is going to see a Good Morning America Show.
Believe it or not, tickets are actually freeyou just have to snag em before theyre gone.
Oh, and dont forget to get in line at least 30-45 minutes early!
Not everybody always get in, as the producers rearrange the set and the chairs often.
You want to make sure youre at the front of the line to ensure you actually get entrance to the show.
Overall, going to see a Good Morning America show is a fun way to see the behind the scenes of this program and also get to interact with the anchors.
If youre lucky, you might even get to take pictures with one of them after!
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Garment District / Fashion Center
The Garment District, also called the Fashion District or Fashion Center, is home to many of the world’s most famous fashion designers and showrooms. The area is an amazing resource for fabrics, beads and trims, however, unless you are trade, don’t expect to walk in off the street to designer showrooms. The best way to possibly get access to private showrooms is through a private tour or a NYC Sample Sale.
- To Do: Fashion Walk of Fame, Museum at FIT, Parsons School of Design
Union Square Flatiron Nomad Gramercy
Union Square , the Flatiron District and NoMad all have a mix of residence and business tenants. Additionally, colleges such as NYU, The New School and FIT dominate the area, making it very fun and lively. It is one of the best dining and nightlife areas in Manhattan, with something for every palate and budget and offers fabulous hotels of all kinds.
- To Do: Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park, Eataly, Union Square Park & Greenmarket, Harry Potter Wizarding World
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Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon
Attending a taping of a live TV show is one of the top ten free things to do in NYC. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is a popular American late-night NBC talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. The show, which premiered in 2014, is the seventh incarnation of NBCs Tonight Show and is produced by Universal Television and Broadway Video. Jimmy Fallon is its sixth host. The show is recorded at Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center in New York City, the same place where The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was recorded until 1972. Attending the filming of the show is free but the tickets are highly sought after and difficult to obtain. There is often a waiting list for them.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC
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Riu Plaza Manhattan Times Square
The Hotel Riu Plaza Manhattan Times Square, not to be confused with the Riu Plaza New York Times Square on 46th St, is HUGE with more than 650 rooms with mini-fridges and free Wifi. A huge hotel means super competitive rates at a hotel opening at the end of a pandemic in Times Square nevermind their sister hotel down the street also has 600+ rooms to fill! Reservations open August 2021.
Back to Top of New Hotels in Manhattan
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Experience Ripleys Believe It Or Not
Ripleys Believe it or Not is a great blend of history and thrill. This museum boasts 20 galleries and 500 rare artifacts such as the Tibetan skulls and shrunken heads.
There are also interactive activities that will surely excite you. One of these is the Black Hole, where you will witness your fellow visitors being lost along with your fellow visitors.
Go To The Tkts Discount Booths
Going to the TKTS Discount Booths is advisable before buying tickets to watch theatre performances. Watching theatre can be pretty expensive, especially if youre a tourist with other itineraries.
The TKTS Discount Booth aims to make theatre accessible by offering 20-50% discounts on regular ticket prices. In fact, its flagship location is in Times Square.
Checking the TKTS website is advisable before going to the discount booth to ensure that there are still available discounts on your preferred shows.
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Experience Being On Top Of The Rock
New York City is filled with bright lights flashed by multiple buildings and decorations. The Top of the Rock observation deck provides a platform where people can admire bright lights in Manhattan.
You can also view the citys spread out landmarks all at once, such as Times Square, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. Top of the Rock is located on top of the Rockefeller Center.
Dave And Busters Times Square Sports Bar:
Food and a sports bar are the attractions at Dave and Busters chain of food outlets. Let your hair down and try the super cocktails, 20 beer taps or the premium bar while you watch HD TV with surround sound at the Times Square New Yorkoutlet. The Belgian waffle sliders, chicken crispies and smoked on apple-wood bacon are all-time favourites with the regulars to this pub. Spend some time bowling, playing billiards or electronic games like Fireteam, Raven and Halo.
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Bric House And Bric Celebrate Brooklyn Concert Series
Flanked by the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Mark Morris Dance Theater, the BRIC media center is in the middle of the thriving Brooklyn art scene and a leading presenter of no-cost cultural programming in the borough, with free admission to two performance spaces and a gallery.
In the summer, the organization curates the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! series in Prospect Park, with a majority of the concerts and performances which in the past has included tUnE-yArDs, Ailey II, Chaka Khan and Janelle Monae free of charge, with no ticket necessary.
Visit Madame Tussauds Wax Musuem
Weve all seen Facebook posts of at least one of our high school friends posing with Rihanna during their epic trip to NYC.
While the wax figures at Madame Tussauds arent likely to fool anyone into thinking you met Pink , its still a pretty cool tourist attraction.
Also, theres now a Dylans Candy Bar located inside!
That alone makes it worth the trip.
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Tour The Federal Bank Of New Yorks Gold Vault
Set in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the Gold Vault, which holds around 497,000 gold bars weighing a total of about 6,190 tons. Much of the gold arrived during and after WWII when countries wanted to store their gold in a safe spot. The vault remains the worlds largest known depository of monetary gold, and you can visit during a free hour-long tour Monday through Friday. Tours fill up quickly, so reserve your space on The Federal Reserve Bank of New Yorks website in advance.