Originally called Longacre Square, in 1904 this neighborhood became known as Times Square. It is often debated as to whether it was at the bidding of New York Times owner Alfred Ochs when the New York Times headquarters were built on 42nd Street where Broadway and 7th Avenue meet or whether the owners of the independently owned subways in the neighborhood made the change happen. The year 1904 was an important one in the history of Times Square, as it was then that the first New Year's Eve celebration was held there.
More than 26 million people visit Times Square each year, some to attend the area's many Broadway shows, others to dine, and all to experience the glowing lights and energy of this famed area.
Wondering what to do when you visit Times Square? Here are eight of the best things to do in Times Square.
How to Get to Times Square
Times Square is bordered by 40th Street on the south, 53rd Street on the north, 9th Avenue to the west, and 6th Avenue to the east. Times Square is one of the easiest places in Manhattan to get to thanks to the well-connected subways. You can take the A, C, E trains to 42nd St./Port Authority, the 7 train to 42nd St./Times Square, the N, R, W trains to 42nd St/Times Square, or the 1, 2, 3 trains to 42nd St./Times Square. You can also tell any cab driver to take you to Times Square, but you'll definitely pay much more for the fare than for the subway ride.
Times Square Architecture
The advertising (the first electric billboard was erected in 1917) overwhelms most of the architectural aspects of the area. The facade of the most famous building, 1 Times Square, is covered in billboard advertisements.
Times Square Tours
One of the best ways to check out the area is by taking an informational (and fun!) tour. To learn fun facts about the past, try the Historic Times Square tour with Big Onion. Other great options include: 42nd Street Tour with Paul Rush Walks, the self-guided Walkin' Broadway audio tour, and Times Square Exposé, a free walking tour on Fridays at noon.
Where to Eat in Times Square
Times Square is filled with many casual restaurant chains as well as upscale restaurants for the theater crowd. Before a show, grab a table at Toloache, a delicious Mexican eatery, or Danji for Korean cuisine. One of the most iconic restaurants in Times Square is Carmine's, an Italian institution that's been open since 1992.
Times Square Attractions
There are plenty of fun things to do in Times Square (beyond Broadway shows). Some favorites include:
- Madame Tussauds - the famed wax museum, and a favorite for kids
- TKTS Booth - score discount tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway productions
- Ripley's Believe It Or Not! - 500+ unusual and entertaining exhibits
- One Times Square - 1475 Broadway at 7th Avenue (42nd/43rd)
- New York Times Building - 229 West 43rd St. between &th & 8th Avenues