I’ve spent an astonishing amount of time in Times Square (more than typical locals).

I worked for a theatrical company there for almost 7 years and I’m also a theatre fanatic who sees multiple shows a week.

Truthfully, it’s an area most locals try to avoid because of the chaotic crowds of tourists, who dawdle and crowd the sidewalks. 

Instead, most locals will gravitate toward downtown when looking for things to do in NYC at night.

But there are plenty of hidden gems for locals to enjoy, and plenty of more touristy options for those that are visiting. 

Below you’ll find all my favorite things to do in Times Square at night.

Just remember if you are a tourist, walk fast, or leave room on the sidewalk for locals who are always in a hurry to get to their next destination.

1. See a Broadway Show


As a self-proclaimed theater nut, it shouldn’t come as a total shock that seeing a Broadway show is at the top of my list.

Catching a Broadway show while in New York is a rite of passage.

The city produces shows with world-class (and sometimes famous) performers, musicians, and dancers, so catching at least one should be a no-brainer.

If you’re feeling lost on what to see, shoot me an e-mail.

I’m always over the moon to chat about theater and make show suggestions!

2. Go Bowling

I didn’t know there was a bowling alley in Times Square until I joined a Broadway Bowling league.

Bowlmor Lanes is now a spot I recommend to all my friends looking for something fun and non-touristy in midtown.

The interior is beautiful, the food and drinks are solid, and the staff are cool to deal with.

This place also gets bonus points for having an arcade and billiards for those who don’t want to bowl another round. 

3. Enjoy Trivia Night

Okay, so trivia night sounds geeky, but it’s a ton of fun, especially after a few drinks.

My friend and I accidentally competed in our first trivia night during a random happy hour, and now it’s one of our favorite activities for a low-key night out.

Below are some of the best spots in Times Square for trivia nights.

Just check ahead to see which night of the week they’re scheduled for!

4. Chill at a Cocktail Bar

Is it just me, or does a heading to a cocktail bar always seem like a brilliant idea?

Times Square has no shortage of options, though not all cocktails are equal.

These are some of my go-to spots for a solid cocktail in Times Square:

5. Hit Up The Museum of Broadway

The Museum of Broadway in NYC The Phantom of the Opera Costumes June 2023

NYC has a pretty iconic theater scene, so it would be a crime to not learn at least a little bit about the history of Broadway while in Times Square.

Lucky for you, The Museum of Broadway is a fun and interactive way to get a peak behind the curtain.

You’ll be able to check out costumes and props, plus take some really cute Instagram photos.

6. Indulge at the Hershey Store

Okay, so truthfully, I’m not a major fan of Hershey’s chocolates, but I still love swinging by this store to grab some pre-theater goodies. 

I’m a sucker for Reese’s peanut butter cups!

This spot has anything type of Hershey brand candy that you’d ever dream of wanting.

You can even get customizable m&m candies, NYC themed souvenirs, and take a chocolate tour.

Hershey’s Chocolate World is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth!

7. Enjoy the View at Top of the Rock

Okay, so technically Rockefeller Center is just outside of Times Square, but the view you’ll get from Top of the Rock will make up for it.

Just stroll a couple blocks east to 30 Rockefeller Center, then ride the elevator up to the 70th floor observation deck to enjoy some of the best views in Manhattan.

It’s best to aim to arrive around sunset so you can watch as the city lights up around you.

8. Head to a Piano Bar

Thanks to the amount of performers that hang around midtown, I truly believe some of the best piano bars are located.

These are the ones my friends and I always end up heading to when we go out in Times Square:

9. Go Swing Dancing

I know you’re probably thinking “who actually knows how to swing dance these days?”

You’re right, unless you have a background in dance, theater, or are over a certain age, you probably do not know how to swing dance.

That’s where Swing46 comes in to save the day.

They’re a jazz and supper club that offers free dancing lessons. You just have to pay a cover fee to dance the night away.

10. Take a Tour of the Theater District

The Theater District in Times Square has a storied history, and with Inside Broadway Tours you’ll get the chance to hear all about it from a theater professional.

They’ll take you throughout the area, explaining the history of some of New York’s oldest theaters, including some pretty cool legends and neighborhood history.

Plus they give insights on being in the entertainment industry. 

If you’re looking for more midtown tours, check out some of these popular options!

11. Enjoy Dinner on Restaurant Row

In case you didn’t know, Restaurant Row is a section of West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Ave. that has enough dining options to fill more than a week of eating out.

These are the spots that are my go-to’s when I’m in town:

12. Hit Up a Dive Bar

Times Square has plenty of mediocre bars and a few stand-out dive bars I will always agree to travel to midtown to hang out in (if I’m not already there seeing a show).

These are my favorite hidden-gem dive bars in Times Square:

13. See Madame Tussauds

Hear me out, a wax museum can be really fun, especially after hitting up a happy hour.

Have a few drinks, then head to Madame Tussauds to take a bunch of epic photos with the wax versions of celebrities. 

Then post the best one and see how many Instagram friends think you’ve just met the hot celebrity your photo shows you standing next to.

14. Catch a Late-Night Movie

Times Square has two wonderful movie theaters located across the street from one another, just head to 42nd Street!

You’ll be able to see almost any movie that’s currently out, even if it’s late at night.

Normally both the AMC and Regal E-Walk theater’s last showing happens around 11 pm, making it the perfect after-dinner activity. 

15. Relax at a Wine Bar

One of my favorite pre-theater activities involves hitting up a wine bar and indulging in a glass or two of vino with a cheese plate.

These are some of my favorite wine bars in the area:

16. Listen to Some Live Music

Are you in the mood for some music and prefer to skip seeing a Broadway musical?

Times Square has plenty of options for live music without the glitzy costumes and dancing showgirls.

Head to one of these popular spots to listen to some quality tunes:

17. People Watch on the Steps

There are thousands of people that pass through Times Square each day, making it an ideal place to do some people watching.

Grab a seat on the famous red steps at Duffy’s Square and watch the world go by. 

You’ll see plenty of people in costumes (likely harassing people for money), frustrated locals trying to get through the crowd of slow walking tourists, and people from all over the world, stopping to look up at the epic sight of tons of colorful billboards flashing. 

You may even glimpse the famous Naked Cowboy if you’re really lucky!

18. Enjoy the View at a Drink with a View

NYC is one of the best cities for rooftop bars, especially if you’re looking for a beautiful view.

To get away from the crowds on the streets and elevate your evening, head to one of these sky-top bars:

19. Sing Your Heart Out at Karaoke

After a few drinks, and seeing a catchy Broadway musical, I’m always ready for a night of karaoke (normally singing show tunes). 

If you’re dying to show off your vocal skills while in Times Square, these are the karaoke bars to sing your heart out at:

20. Go Shopping

One of the best things about hanging out in Times Square is that almost everything is open later than normal, including shopping.

I can’t tell you how many times it has saved me at the last minute when I needed a last-minute outfit upgrade for a date or opening night invite. 

For a complete list of stores and hours, head to Times Square’s official website.

21. See The Late Show or SNL

Okay, how many of you knew that most late-night shows get taped in front of an audience during the day?

Almost all of them typically will film earlier, except for The Late Show and SNL

Both shows have competitive ticket lotteries but are so worth it if you can get in, especially SNL.

I got lucky and scored tickets when Adam Driver and Halsey were hosting in 2020.

I’ve had a lot of pretty epic experiences while in NYC and seeing SNL film was easily one of my favorites.

22. Check Out the “Midnight Moment”

Midnight always seems to be a magical time of the evening in stories, just think of Cinderella or Midnight in Paris, for example. 

Midnight in Times Square may not transport you in time or leave you running from your Prince Charming (unless you’re really dramatic), but it will give you a show.

From 11:57 until midnight, you’ll gaze at the electronic billboards in front of you, flashing digital artwork from around the world.

This “Midnight Moment” show has been running since 2012 and is the world’s largest and longest-running showcase of digital artwork.

23. Have a Photoshoot

These days, did you even go to Times Square unless it’s posted for all to see on social media?

Even as a New Yorker, one of my favorite things to do with friends was to have little photoshoots all over the city.

Times Square is one location we never got around to tackling before I set out to travel, and I regret it.

While you’re in the city, have a drink, style yourself, and have a mini photoshoot.

Then tag me to show me your favorite photo!

24. Complete an Escape Room

As a local in Times Square, sometimes the ultimate escape was just getting away from the massive crowds.

If you’re looking for a more entertaining way to escape the busy streets of midtown, check out an Omscape escape room. 

Their games are fun and creative, the staff is friendly, and they even have a laser room!

25. Indulge in Late Night Cookies

Times Square has plenty of sweet offerings, but none of them compare to Schmackary’s cookies.  

They’re typically open until at least 10:00pm, making it my favorite place to go for a late-night snack if a show gets out early enough.

I’ve even run into actors from shows, picking up cookies—this place truly is a local gem!

These cookies are so delicious that I had no problem walking away with a dozen every time I’d visit their store in NYC. 

Full disclaimer, I love this place so much that I’m already debating if I should pay way too much to ship myself a dozen cookies while I’m in Florida. 

Trust me, if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to follow my lead here and get extra ones for the week.

I very much doubt you’ll regret it, and if you do, just ship the remaining cookies to me!


This part of New York, especially at night, has its own buzzing energy that’s so contagious. 

After all the years of frustration and stress trying to get through the crowds, I never thought I’d admit this, but I kind of miss the chaos of Times Square. 

There’s truly nothing else like it in the world, and spending time here is an experience I believe everyone visiting the city should have.

I hope you’ve found plenty of inspiration for your next visit to Times Square. Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to checking out!


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