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Whether you're coming to join the New Year's Eve revelry, kill some time before a Broadway show, or pick up last minute souvenirs, there's no better place than Times Square. The bright lights will enthrall first-time visitors, while seasoned tourists return for the spectacular energy that can only happen in a place where the world converges in a few city blocks.
Parking and public transportation at Times Square
Times Square is a major transportation hub. Several subway lines travel through here, and major bus lines such as Greyhound and Megabus terminate at nearby Port Authority, which is also a loading point for many airport shuttles. The congestion from cars and pedestrians can make driving difficult, but there are many options for short and long-term attended parking.
Best and worst time to go to Times Square
In the evening, the neon signs make it feel like eternal daytime. Afternoons have New Yorkers spilling out of buildings in search of lunch, and merging with picture-taking tourists in a perfect collision of worlds. Movement during the crowded holiday season (Thanksgiving – New Year's) can be difficult. If shopping is your objective, go early in the day when the stores first open.
Where to eat in Times Square
The two city blocks known as Restaurant Row include cuisine for every taste. Favorites include Becco and Sushi of Gari 46. Nearby, Carmine's family style dining is also popular with the pre-theater crowd. Junior's is famous for cheesecakes, but also has an extensive menu. Don't want a sit-down meal? Num Pang Sandwich Shop offers tasty, filling Asian sandwiches.
Must see/do at Times Square
Retail favorites like H&M are grandiose in size, and entire stores are dedicated to Disney, M&M's, and Hershey's. When you're not shopping, the dazzling Broadway marquees, flashing neon signs, and street performers all compete for attention, so you won't know where to look first. Grab a chair in one of the pedestrian plazas, or sit on the famous red steps perched above the TKTS Booth and let the electricity of Times Square envelop you.
Other places to visit near Times Square
Nearby is Bryant Park, a pretty, well-kept green space. Sitting just behind the park are the famous marble lions that mark the entrance to the New York Public Library. A couple blocks away, enjoy the architectural wonder of Grand Central Terminal.
Insider tip for visitors to Times Square
The New York Marriott Marquis Hotel is a nice place to stop and catch your breath. Large, clean restrooms are located on the eighth floor, and the up-close view of Times Square from the bar is the best in the neighborhood.
Author's bio: Michele DeBella is a freelance writer based in New York City. She walks through Times Square every once in a while when she needs a dose of its energy. Follow her on Twitter.