Times Square, New York City Travel Guide
Times Square Summary
- Broadway is congested with tourists 24/7.
- Tourist-trap restaurants with ramped-up prices
- Considerable street noise
- Constant street solicitation by comedy-club promoters and discount-ticket vendors
- Difficult, extremely expensive parking
What It's Like
Though once seedy, Times Square was reborn in the mid-'90s as a commercialized tourist haven, lit by 24-hour flashing billboards and themed restaurants like ESPN Zone and Bubba Gump Shrimp. Today, visitors walking the streets are more likely to be accosted by a comedy-club promoter, a rickshaw bicycle operator, or a caricature artist than a mugger. It's crowded, but there's something unquestionably exhilarating -- and convenient -- about staying in the neon-lit heart of the city. Plus, the mayor recently decided to close off much of Broadway to traffic, making it more pedestrian-friendly.
Visitors who don't mind braving the crowds will find plenty to do in Times Square. For starters, it overlaps with Broadway's Theater District. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a zany excursion for kids and adults, and families can hit up megastores like M&M World, Hershey's, and Toys "R" Us --- the world's largest toy store. If that's not enough, there are 38 movie screens (several IMAX among them) and big name retailers like American Eagle Outfitters, Sephora, and the Virgin Megastore. But one of the most attractive parts of Times Square is that it's easy to leave it; more subway lines converge at Times Square than anywhere else in New York.
Where to Stay
Visitors can stay smack in the center of Times Square, near Broadway and 42nd Street, at some of the big chain hotels like the Marriott Marquis, the Hilton Times Square, or the swankier W Times Square; with the address, however, comes inflated rates and constant crowds. Alternatively, there are a number of smaller-scale hotels that dot around the glittering scene, among them are the The Muse, Casablanca Hotel, and The Premier, as well as some more affordable options, such as the Best Western President Hotel.