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Tips and Fun Facts About Times Square, New York

By Isai Montiel |

Visit the popular square in New York that generates earnings of 23 million dollars on luminous billboards: Times Square.

New York is the most visited city in the USA with 9,285 million visitors per year. How could we not feel attracted by all its wonders, its Cosmopolitan environment and its shopping opportunities? We’ve taken you to visit Central Park. We’ve also taken you to the top of the One World Trade Center Observatory and the Empire State. And, evidently, we’ve led you to the feet of New York’s most iconic monument: the Statue of Liberty. Today we’ll fill your trip will millions of lights by visiting the popular Times Square.

When going on vacation it’s common to want to flee to a relaxing place where you can forget about your busy routine. However, if you prefer the dynamic life of a city with tall buildings, huge billboards and lights everywhere: New York’s Times Square is your thing.

This square is located in the heart of Manhattan, between 7th Avenue and Broadway. Without doubt, it’s a fun place that leads to theaters where you can enjoy magnificent plays. It also invites you to do some shopping and walk surrounded by luminescent billboards placed on all the buildings.

Origin of Times Square

The New York Times inaugurated its offices in Times Tower (One Times Square), in 1904, on 43rd Street, at the crossroad between 7th Avenue and Broadway. First, the square located in front of the building was called Long Acre Square, but then it changed its name to Times Square in reference to the popular newspaper offices’ location.

Luminous Billboards and Entertainment

If you think about the most popular characteristic of Times Square, you probably think about luminous billboards.

From the early 20th century, the area was known as The Great White Way given the amount of theaters that announced plays on huge white billboards framed by light bulbs.

The First Billboard in Times Square

In 1928 they installed the first illuminated billboard on the fourth floor of Times Tower. It was the Motograph News Bulletin or Zipper, it measured 116 meters long and it had 14800 light bulbs. The first piece of news they showed there was the victory of Herbert Hoover when he ran for president.

Times Square Changes Light Bulbs for LEDs

Nowadays you can no longer find billboards with light bulbs in Times Square. You’ll only find huge screens that are on 24/7. This is because in the late 20th century, NASDAQ building promoted changing light bulbs for LED screens.

NASDAQ Billboard

How Much Does a Billboard in Times Square Cost?

Although you’ll find a lot of publicity in Times Square, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheap to promote a brand there. The cost per month is nearly 2.5 million dollars! Imagine how much the Walgreens billboard costs considering that it’s the biggest one. Or else, picture how much the Coca-Cola billboard costs given that since 2017 it’s in 3D!

3D Coca-Cola billboard

The Most Amazing Stores in Times Square

Since mayor Rudy Giuliani restored Times Square in 1994, he promoted it as a business area. Thus, the following year, Disney opened a store there. This helped reduce prejudice against the area, which used to be considered dangerous, as it had been presented in the movie Taxi Driver.

If you love chocolate, visit the M&M’s World store or Hershey’s Chocolate World. In the former you will find a sculpture of the green M&M disguised as the Statue of Liberty and you’ll be able to create M&M’s with special messages printed on them. In the latter, you’ll get the chance to personalize a chocolate wrapping.

green M&M disguised as the Statue of Liberty a

Attractions Near Times Square

In order to allow your eyes to rest after looking at so many lights, visit these incredible attractions:

  1. Gulliver’s Gate Museum. Here you’ll feel like a giant as you walk along models of different cities from each continent. You’ll even find a model of Times Square!
  2. Madame Tussauds Museum. It houses wax figures that represent celebrities. It opens from 10:00 to 20:00h from Sunday to Thursday, and from 10:00 to 22:00h on Fridays and Saturdays.
  3. National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. Here you’ll explore the depths of the Pacific Ocean through 3D animations of marine fauna and its ecosystem. It opens from 10:00 to 22:30h from Sunday to Thursday, and from 10:0 to 23:45h on Fridays and Saturdays.
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Monuments Near Times Square

Visit the monument to father Patrick Duffy, located near Times Square between 46th and 47th St. You’ll find it in front of the FKTS stairs on Duffy Square.

Patrick Duffy Statue

A few feet away from the Patrick Duffy monument you’ll find another statue. It represents composer and playwright George M. Cohan, who promoted musical theater and who’s known for writing “Give my regards to Broadway”, which was played on his first Broadway musical Little Johnny Jones.

If you have more time, go to the Holy Cross Church where Patrick Duffy worked after World War I. It’s located near Times Square, south of 42th street.

Broadway Historic Theater

DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, knows that Broadway is an iconic attraction in New York. If you like theater and you want to feel as if you were traveling in time to The Great White Way, visit a theater that still uses white billboards with light bulbs.

The Town Hall

On 43rd St you’ll find The Town Hall, founded in 1921 by suffragists. Nowadays it houses several events such as the New York Comedy Festival.

The Best Broadway Recommendatios

The Broadway classical: King Kong

Do you want to see spectacular props, scenery and special effects? Then you must see the Broadway classical: Phantom of the Opera. Also, surprise yourself with new plays such as Aladdin with its magic carpet or the huge and realist King Kong. Trust us, it will awe you!

In order to find the best prices, travel to New York in January, when they host the New York Week. That’s when most tourist attractions and Broadway Theaters offer great discounts or 2×1 tickets.

New Year on Times Square

Times Tower was inaugurated on New Year’s Eve 1904. This gave birth to the New Yorker tradition of celebrating New Year there. Three years later, they began using the famous “Times Square Ball”.

Nowadays, before the ball drop at 23:59 they also broadcast a show with worldly known artists. If you travel to New York for this event, we recommend arriving at noon considering that nearly 1,000,000 people gather there. Take into account that backpacks and umbrellas are now allowed at the square and that there are no restrooms nearby.

We’re sure that this description of Times Square’s most emblematic features will help you enjoy a great day in the area. Don’t miss the chance to visit the wonderful Times Square!