Times Square, New York's hottest spot

A hive of activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Times Square is probably the best-known square in the world. Famous for its immense buildings covered in illuminated, flashing and interactive advertising hoardings, it is one of the busiest and busiest places in New York, with millions of tourists and New Yorkers passing through every year. There are also myriads of yellow taxis, symbols of the Big Apple, coming and going non-stop. There are, of course, shops, restaurants and theatres, making it the ideal spot for a colourful evening out. If it's your first time in New York, you absolutely must visit to get a feel for the unique atmosphere. Generally speaking, even after dozens of trips, you just can't resist returning.

© Luciano Mortula - LGM / Shutterstock
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The history of Times Square

Before the 20th century, Times Square was just another square, known asLongacre Square. It was on 8 April 1904 that the place took on the name we know today, following the establishment of the offices of the New York Times on the square.

Times Square then developed rapidly, with theatres, music halls and luxury hotels all springing up within a few years. At the time, it was the cultural heart of New York, but the stock market crash of 1929 brought this meteoric rise to a halt, and Times Square became a notorious centre of crime and corruption until the 1990s.

Times Square in the 1900s.

- © Everett Collection / Shutterstock

From 1994 onwards, the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, set about saving the district. Prostitution, crime and misdemeanours were eradicated, security was restored and Times Square gradually regained its former splendour. Today, Times Square is once again the vibrant heart of the Big Apple.

Why visit Times Square?

Enjoying New York's hustle and bustle

We've all heard of Times Square or seen photos of this legendary square. Seeing these huge advertising screens in real life, lighting up the night as if it were daytime, is something else. You feel very small in front of this light show and you don't know which way to look because there are so many signs.

Times Square from above.

- © Stuart Monk / Shutterstock

Times Square is buzzing with activity: busy New Yorkers, astonished tourists and street performers are the main players in this lively and effervescent spectacle that takes place every day between the giant screens. To get a better view of all the action, climb the red steps to the roof of the TKTS bandstand.

See a musical

The TKTS box office is also where you can buy tickets for shows and musicals in and around Times Square. That's right, you're in the theatre district, on the famous Broadway!

Book your ticket for a musical! New York

Book your ticket for a musical!

If you only had one show to see in your life, it would be a Broadway musical: don't miss your chance if you go to New York!

All year round, dozens of shows are staged in the area, from The Lion King to Phantom of the Opera to West Side Story: there's something for all ages and tastes. It would be a shame to pass through Times Square and Broadway without seeing a musical... give it a try!

Treat yourself to a shopping session

Times Square is also a temple to shopping! The square is surrounded by huge shops and souvenir shops. When it comes to fashion, you can choose between a giant H& M, Levi's Store or the huge Forever 21.

Le magasin M&M’s World sur Times Square.

- © NYC Russ / Shutterstock

Beauty addicts can head to Sephora or M.A.C. Cosmetics. When it comes to food, there's something for everyone! Don't miss M&M's World, with its unique and endless varieties of the colourful sweet. There's also Hershey's Chocolate World, selling chocolate and typical American sweets. The Disney Store is also well worth a visit!

Our favourite hotel with a view of Times Square

Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel 4* New York

Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel 4*

The rooms and bar-restaurant of this superb 4-star hotel offer breathtaking views over Times Square!
£234 / night

Practical information for Times Square

Nicknamedthe "Crossroads of the World", around 365,000 people pass through Times Square every day, making it a must-see on your first trip to New York! We recommend you spend half an hour there, or more if you want to go shopping or indulge in a musical.

🚌 How do I get to Times Square?

Located in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square is very well served by public transport:

  • lines 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R and W: Times Square station
  • lines B, D and E: 7 Avenue Station

For a 100% New York experience, you can also take one of the famous yellow taxis to Times Square.

Times Square is the perfect place to celebrate New Year's Eve.

- © Simon Dux Media / Shutterstock

👉 When to go to Times Square?

Plan your visit for the morning if you want to enjoy a rather quiet Times Square, but if you prefer to experience all the excitement, the evening is the time to go. Events are often organised on the square: New Year's Eve and the New Year's Eve ball drop are the best known, but you can consult the calendar of events to make sure you don't miss a thing!

A few tips for your visit

  • The TKTS Kiosk is offering tickets for the same day's shows at up to 50% off, in fact these are the day's unsold tickets: a great way to see a musical at a reduced price.
  • Be careful, nothing is free in Times Square: if someone in fancy dress offers to take a photo with you, you'll have to pay a few dollars.
  • As everywhere, be careful with your belongings and stay alert.
  • Grand Central Station is only a few steps away, so don't hesitate to make a diversion!
by Faustine PEREZ
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