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Unraveling Times Square: 10 Things To Do And See
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Unraveling Times Square: 10 Things To Do And See

Picture of Dakshayani Shankar
Updated: 11 June 2018
Choosing what to do in the world’s busiest district may seem like a pretty strenuous task. However, Times Square in New York is an eclectic mixture of the funny, the scary, the glamorous, the new and the traditional. From museums rich with culture and classic Broadway shows to shopping destinations, The Culture Trip takes you on a stroll down Times Square’s ten best destinations.
Broadway Ads in Times Square | © Broadway Tour/Flickr
Broadway Ads in Times Square | © Broadway Tour/Flickr


Home to some of the greatest Broadway hits past and present such as The Phantom Of The Opera, Times Square boasts the world’s longest and largest theater strip for theatergoers. Shows occur daily and celebrities can be found performing in these shows. Think Glee’s Matthew Morrison in Finding Neverland or Vanessa Hudgens in Gigi. The TKTS discount booth is also located in Times Square, giving you ample opportunity to purchase tickets at half the original price on the day of the show. If you are interested in running into a celebrity, waiting by the stage door at the end of shows usually gets you an autograph, and sometimes, a selfie!

NBC Studio Tours

If you have always wanted to catch Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon live, or wanted to produce your own television segment with NBC’s staff, look no further than participating in NBCs tours. At just $33 dollars for general admission, the tour allows visitors to go behind-the scenes of hit shows, such as Saturday Night Live, learn from NBCs specialized film staff on the production process and even script, star and produce your own show. Tours are open year round from 8:30 AM to 2 PM on weekdays and 8:30 AM to 5 PM on weekends. Want a memorandum after the tour? Head down to the NBC Studios Shop for an array of exclusive items from shows past and present that you may treasure forever!

NBC Studio Tours, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY USA, +1 212 664 3700

Courtesy of Madame Tussauds
Courtesy of Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds

Ever wanted to rub shoulders with Angelina Jolie or sign the US Constitution with Benjamin Franklin by your side? Well, your dreams will come true at Madame Tussauds. The gallery hosts realistic wax figures of prominent individuals in six different categories, from World Leaders to Cinematic 4D experience. You can touch them, record a video next to them and even host dancing competitions with them. Throughout the year, certain wax figures are taken off for regular maintenance so it would be advisable to peek at Madame Tussaud’s update page before visiting.

Madame Tussauds, 243 West 42nd Street, Times Square, New York, NY USA, +1 866 841 3505

Image Courtesy of the Empire State Building
Image Courtesy of the Empire State Building

Empire State Building

A trip to New York is usually not complete without a visit to the most popular observatory deck in the world – The Empire State Building. In the lobby, visitors can expect to be greeted by Art Deco murals, engraved in 24-carat gold and aluminum leaf that pays homage to the mechanical age. Once security has been cleared, visitors can peruse through ongoing exhibitions like the Sustainability Exhibit and The Dare to Dream exhibit to gain a better idea of how the Empire State Building is run. Finally, the two observatory decks on the 86 and 102 floor provide ample opportunity for groundbreaking NYC views and NYC pictures. So make sure your camera works.

Empire State Building, 338-350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY USA, +1 212 736 3100

Macy's | © Kan Wu/Flickr
Macy’s | © Kan Wu/Flickr

Macy’s in Herald Square

Macy’s is just as much of a New York icon as the Empire State Building is. Comprised of 11 levels of the latest, chic but affordable fashion, Macy’s brings every shopper or shopaholic’s dream to life. It covers an entire block, features a Visitor’s Center on its Mezzanine Floor and boasts a slew of divine restaurants that will leave you rejuvenated to hunt after the next batch of clothes. If clothes shopping isn’t what you love, check Macy’s website or Facebook page frequently for celebrity events, such as the recent Meet and Greet with Kendall Jenner.

Macy’s Herald Square, 151 West 34 Street, New York, NY USA, +1 212 695 4400

St. Patrick's Cathedral | © Ed Schipul/Flickr
St. Patrick’s Cathedral | © Ed Schipul/Flickr

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Want to take a break from all the chaos of Times Square and soak the rich divine art, architecture and spirituality of an iconic building? Try Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Seat of the Roman archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, this Roman Catholic Church boasts architecture that rivals those in places like Florence and Paris. Its artwork, the Pietà is three times larger than Michelangelo’s Pietà, and Tiffany and Co. designed its altar. However, if you are seeking a more spiritual experience, the Cathedral hosts a number of masses during the week, with live music at certain times of the day.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, 14 East 51 Street, New York, NY USA, + 1 212 753 2261

Museum of Modern Art

Home to Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Picasso’s sculptures, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a haven for art lovers, interested in glimpsing the modern and the beautiful, but also the unconventional. Certain paintings and sculptures, such as those by Picasso, are held at the MoMa permanently. However, sculptures and paintings sourced from other museums, like Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II and Martin Scorsese’s poster collection are available to the public for a certain time period. It would be advisable to check on the museum’s exhibitions page before visiting a particular exhibition.

Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY USA, +1 212 708 9400

Jurassic Park and T-Rex in the Times Square Toys-R-Us | © Ben Sutherland/Flickr
Jurassic Park and T-Rex in the Times Square Toys-R-Us | © Ben Sutherland/Flickr

Toys ‘R’ Us Store

Since its opening in 2001, the world’s largest toy store, Toys ‘R’ Us continues to occupy a special place in many New Yorkers’s hearts. Whether you are an adult or a child, the 110,000 square feet of space, filled to the brim with toys, an indoor 60-foot Ferris wheel, life size Barbie dollhouse and 20-foot animatronic T-Rex dinosaur, promises bucket-loads of fun and a lifetime of memories. Unsurprisingly, the world’s largest toy store also comes packaged with Personal Shopping Assistance to relieve one of gift-wrapping stress. Don’t forget to mingle with the popular costumed characters present in the store!

Toys ‘R’ Us Times Square, 1514 Broadway, New York, NY USA, +1 646 366 8800

Where's William Shatner? Star Wars VI | © JD Hancock/Flickr
Where’s William Shatner? Star Wars VI | © JD Hancock/Flickr

Discovery Times Square

Not a fan of art exhibits, but rather more educational ones? Try Discovery Times Square for the full immersive, educational experience. As New York City’s first large-scale exhibition center, Discovery hosts unique and epic seasonal exhibitions that connect viewers to some of the world’s most monumental cultural periods or stories. The center has previously hosted the Harry Potter exhibition, The Titanic: Artifact exhibition, and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. Still not convinced? Well, Hunger Games and Star Wars fans are in luck because the center is currently hosting exhibitions on the life of Panem and Star Wars.

Discovery Times Square, 226 West 44 Street, New York, NY, + 1 866 987 9692

Times Scare

Horror fans are in for a scrumptious treat at Times Scare. A three story complex complete with elegant macabre décor and custom built haunted mansion designs, the Haunted Mansion, a former crematorium in the roaring 20s, brings some of New York City’s darker pasts face-to-face with viewers. As guests walk through the sprawling corridors, live actors and state-of-the art equipment will greet them, guaranteed to haunt them for a lifetime. If you need some liquid courage before the visit, you could visit the Mansion’s Kill Bar first for some glitzy cocktails set to prepare you for a terrifying walk ahead!

Times Scare, 669 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY USA, + 1 212 586 7829

By Dakshayani Shankar

Currently pursuing journalism and French at NYU, Dakshayani is a passionate arts and animal rights foodie who loves uncovering new things about New York’s vibrant food and arts culture. When not reading French literature, she peruses through exhibits at the Met or looks for new dessert bars with her friends.