It’s true that many New Yorkers will do anything to avoid the jam-packed masses and camera-flashing tourists of Times Square. This bustling intersection’s central location near many top sites makes it one of the most popular areas to base a New York vacation.
Fortunately, it’s possible to stay in this area and avoid the pricey tourist traps that give it a bad rap. Follow these tips to make the most of a Times Square stay and experience the city like a local.
- Don’t limit yourself to Broadway shows: Visitors and locals alike love to take in the latest shows. For a more intimate theater experience, look beyond the blockbusters on Broadway. As Travelzoo Deal Expert Kristyn Schiavone explains, the term “off-Broadway” doesn’t mean the show has been “kicked of Broadway,” as some patrons think. “Off-Broadway has nothing to do with the quality of the show,” says Schiavone. “It simply means the show is housed in a smaller venue, seating anywhere from 100 to 499 audience members. By contrast, New York’s largest Broadway theater, the Gershwin Theatre, seats nearly 2,000.” Off-Broadway shows can also offer significant savings.
- Take advantage of the location: There’s a reason Times Square is a tourist mecca while other attractions like the High Line are often pleasantly uncrowded. Seven subway lines and many bus routes converge here, and it’s within a 15-minute walk of top sites like Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the New York Public Library and Grand Central. So get out and explore attractions around the city. When you come back, use the density of hotels to your advantage. A high number of hotels can mean competitive pricing, including these hotel deals that drop rates by as much as 50%.
- Skip the chain restaurants: This city has more restaurants than the number of meals an average person eats in an entire year. Although many chain restaurants like Applebee’s have prominent Times Square locations, there’s no excuse to choose somewhere you could find in your hometown. Ask locals for tucked-away gems, like the Japanese small plates at the below-ground Sake Bar Hagi. Check Travelzoo’s restaurant deals for more dining options recommended by locally based deal experts.