With so many tourists visiting the NYC area over the holidays, it is vital to know how to properly navigate key areas. Time Square is home to over 40 theaters in the 13-block theater district, making it one of the most congested spots in the city. If you’re trying to see a Broadway show, it may seem impossible to pick up your show tickets and make curtain time when you’re fighting massive crowds during rush hour. Here is a quick guide with a few tips to navigate the busy area from 41st Street to 54th Street, like a true New Yorker. And don’t worry, you’ll make it to your seat with time to spare!
Always Avoid Times Square!
Whatever you do when walking near Times Square, stay far away from the middle. Along Broadway, from 42nd Street to 47th Street, the sidewalks are flooded with tourists gazing at the city’s oversized building. Not to mention, you will probably have several people try to swindle you into a souvenir photo. Make your life easier and just avoid this entire stretch altogether – unless you want a touristy photo. If that’s the case, don’t do it right before you’re trying to arrive to your Broadway show on time.
Walk the Outskirts
Most Broadway theaters are located between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue. If you’re seeing a show at the St. James, the Majestic, the Golden, the Bernard B. Jacobs, the Al Hirschfeld, the Brooks Atkinson, the Samuel J. Friedman, the Longacre, the Eugene O’Neill, the Circle in the Square, the Gershwin, the Neil Simon, the August Wilson, or Studio 54, then walk along 8th Avenue. Or strut down 6th Avenue for performances located at the Stephen Sondheim, the Lyceum, the Belasco, the Minskoff, the Marquis, the Palace, the Cort, the Winter Garden and the Broadway Theatre.
You only want to cut to your theater once you hit the street where your theater is located. You’ll save lots of time by avoiding Times Square madness (hint Tip 1). If you’re feeling more adventurous, walk along 9th Avenue – you may potentially stumble upon a restaurant to grab a yummy pre-show snack or spot your favorite Broadway performer!
Know the Shortcuts
Another key tip to avoid the onslaught of crowds in the middle of the city is to cut directly through the streets. Beginning on 44th Street, walk between 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue to find Shubert Alley or the Minskoff Theatre underpass, which both will take you from 44th Street to 45th Street. Once you’re in the middle of 45th Street, walk through the Marriott Marquis underpass to get to the middle of 46th Street. At 46th Street, cut through the entrance to the Edison Hotel to walk through the lobby and exit on the other side. For the next few blocks, you’ll have to return to 8th Avenue if you must go further, but once you get close to 50th Street, you can pass through the underpass by the Gershwin Theatre and the Circle in the Square to get to 51st Street.
Hit the Subway
Subway entrances to the C, E, 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R and W trainers are also on or near 42nd Street, but you can exit at 44th Street or 40th depending on where you’re going on the subway. N, R and W trains will let you off at 49th Street or 57th Street. The C, E and 1 trains will take you to 50th Street. For theaters closer to 50th, take the train. If you’re going direct to Lincoln Center, ride the 1 to 66th Street.
Now that you know how to navigate Times Square like a pro, it’s time to find tickets to your next (or possibly first) Broadway show! There are many different shows to see in the theater district, take the time to look around and read show reviews before you purchase Broadway tickets.