NYC sightseeing at night question

ross_hy

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Hi everyone! I'm excited to be taking my first trip to New York next week. Unfortunately, it's for work and I'll only be there about 36 hours. I'd really like to some quick sightseeing - I hate to go all the way there and not be able to see anything - but it looks like I'll only have free time after 8 PM.

Does anyone have recommendations on places to go/things to see that time of night? I'm staying about a 20 minute walk from Times Square (near Madison Square Park) - is the walk between the two points safe? Would Times Square be a better experience, or the Empire State Building?

Thanks!
 

sharsk8s

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Hi everyone! I'm excited to be taking my first trip to New York next week. Unfortunately, it's for work and I'll only be there about 36 hours. I'd really like to some quick sightseeing - I hate to go all the way there and not be able to see anything - but it looks like I'll only have free time after 8 PM.

Does anyone have recommendations on places to go/things to see that time of night? I'm staying about a 20 minute walk from Times Square (near Madison Square Park) - is the walk between the two points safe? Would Times Square be a better experience, or the Empire State Building?

Thanks!
If you are only there for a limited amount of time I would recommend Times Square since it is quicker and you can see more in a limited amount of time while for the empire state building you would have to spend some time waiting if you are planning on going to the top. Times square is great at night while I am not sure what time the empire state building works until. Yeah the walk is pretty safe as that is a relatively busy and touristy section of the city, I haven't heard of many issues but I would recommend keeping valuables close by.
 

sharsk8s

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Also not far from times square is Magnolia Bakery which is pretty well known. You could also walk on Broadway if you are near times square
 

Spun Silver

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You could walk from Times Square to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice skating, then walk down Fifth Ave to see the shops, and back to your hotel. That's not too far by NYC standards (2-3 miles). It should be safe, although by 9 pm Fifth Ave will be somewhat emptied out. But do you have any particular interests? There are a lot of ways to see NYC in a few hours.
 

ross_hy

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If you are only there for a limited amount of time I would recommend Times Square since it is quicker and you can see more in a limited amount of time while for the empire state building you would have to spend some time waiting if you are planning on going to the top. Times square is great at night while I am not sure what time the empire state building works until. Yeah the walk is pretty safe as that is a relatively busy and touristy section of the city, I haven't heard of many issues but I would recommend keeping valuables close by.
From what I can tell, both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock will still be open when I'm in that area. I'd like to do one of them, but not sure yet which one.

Also not far from times square is Magnolia Bakery which is pretty well known. You could also walk on Broadway if you are near times square
That sounds great! I'm all about some good food. Depending on how much I have at dinner, I might stop somewhere for a slice as well.

You could walk from Times Square to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice skating, then walk down Fifth Ave to see the shops, and back to your hotel. That's not too far by NYC standards (2-3 miles). It should be safe, although by 9 pm Fifth Ave will be somewhat emptied out. But do you have any particular interests? There are a lot of ways to see NYC in a few hours.
Normally, I'd like to go some of the museums, a sporting event, a Broadway show, etc., but since it will be late, I'd like to just walk by some of the sights.

Also are you willing to take the subway or would you prefer to stay within walking distance of your hotel?
I don't mind taking the subway, but I'm within walking distance of enough sights that I probably won't.
 

sharsk8s

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From what I can tell, both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock will still be open when I'm in that area. I'd like to do one of them, but not sure yet which one.



That sounds great! I'm all about some good food. Depending on how much I have at dinner, I might stop somewhere for a slice as well.



Normally, I'd like to go some of the museums, a sporting event, a Broadway show, etc., but since it will be late, I'd like to just walk by some of the sights.



I don't mind taking the subway, but I'm within walking distance of enough sights that I probably won't.
I think you are better of going to times square if you just want to walk around and see somethings. You can spend as much or as little time in that area as you want and walk around broadway and 5th ave. If you do want to get some food I would recommend walking a few blocks away from times square to avoid all the ridiculously expensive tourist restaurants. I have a map of dessert places over NYC that I have tried so let me know if you would want that
 

Marge_Simpson

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I'd avoid Times Square at all costs :eek:
But as a tourist, you'll want to see it, so walk north on Broadway from Madison Square park and you'll get there.
 

Spun Silver

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If you really wanted to, you might be able to fit in a museum, but then the Times Square stroll would have to go.
https://www.timeout.com/newyork/museums/late-night-museums

Another thought: Jazz clubs usually have late shows. Just google jazz in NYC for the night you're available. A lot of the clubs are downtown, but not all, and downtown isn't far from you.

And another: you could stand outside the Metropolitan Opera or the NY State Theater (where the NYC Ballet is performing) around 8:30 and try to get a free ticket from someone leaving at intermission. I used to do that once upon a time. :)

Or go to the TKTS booth at Times Square at lunch and get a discount theater ticket for that night. Even if you have to miss the first act, you could still see part of something fun.

ETA: As for eating, I like walking up Ninth Avenue (two blocks west of Times Sq). Between 42 St and Lincoln Center (66 St) there is one cute tiny restaurant after another. It's a really fun area to eat. The other area I love in Manhattan is "Indian row" on 6th St between 1st and A in the East Village. A whole block full of Indian restaurants. I'm sure you could find some theater or music in the E (or W) Village to make it worthwhile to go down there.
 
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Wyliefan

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This is my favorite place to go for pizza in NYC: http://www.johnspizzerianyc.com/

The food is amazing, and the drinks can be pretty spectacular too. One of my friends ordered a Manhattan and got a gigantic one. We still joke about that Manhattan. There was enough there that all three of us were getting a buzz off it. :lol: Also, it's a converted old church, so if you get seated in the main part of the restaurant, there are gorgeous architectural details to look at, especially the ceiling.
 

sharsk8s

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I agree, living in New York I haven't been to times square in years but as a tourist with limited time in the city I understand why one would want to visit it
 

BittyBug

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Times Square is a nightmare :yikes:. Blinding neon lights, wall to wall people, and mostly tourists. :scream:

If you'd like to see architecture in a less crowded area (for NYC anyway) I'd check out the NYC library in Bryant Park. Plus they have a skating rink. And I'd walk past Rockefeller Center and check out their skating rink as well. You might even go skating yourself. :) (The ice is dreadful but it's definitely an experience.)

ETA: To answer your question about safety - NYC is generally very safe but some of the cross streets can be dark and possibly intimidating depending on the street. If you need to cut cross town, Broadway is a good suggestion if it fits with your route (it goes on a diagonal). Also 34th and 42nd are 2-way so more heavily trafficked and better lit. Just be alert and if you start to feel uncomfortable, don't hesitate to cross the street. At night I'll occasionally walk in the street as well (for darker, less busy streets, especially when there are a lot of homeless people in doorways and on the sidewalks).
 
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Erin

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Having done both Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building, my preference is for Top of the Rock if you are looking to do one of them. My recollection was shorter lines, didn’t have the chain link fences to block the view and you can see the Empire State Building in the view of the skyline from Top of the Rock. There are probably a few other reasons I can’t think of at the moment but those are the ones that stick out.
 

Japanfan

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And another: you could stand outside the Metropolitan Opera or the NY State Theater (where the NYC Ballet is performing) around 8:30 and try to get a free ticket from someone leaving at intermission. I used to do that once upon a time. :)
If someone is leaving at intermission, wouldn't it very possibly be because the show isn't very good?
 

Spun Silver

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If someone is leaving at intermission, wouldn't it very possibly be because the show isn't very good?
Oh, not necessarily. Tastes vary. Some people go to these things for show and bow out early. I've left early just from exhaustion. Things happen. And when you live in NYC you can get a bit picky and blasé about performances -- there's always so much to see, if something isn't perfect or you're not in the perfect mood, there will (almost) always be something else later.
 

alexikeguchi

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Oh, not necessarily. Tastes vary.
LOL when I saw The Book of Mormon, there were some out-of-towners (Kansas IIRC) who were shocked by the language and themes and left at intermission. This was within the first year of the Broadway run, when tickets were seriously hard to come by and cost $$$... You'd think they would have done a little research first.
 

nyrak

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Having done both Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building, my preference is for Top of the Rock if you are looking to do one of them. My recollection was shorter lines, didn’t have the chain link fences to block the view and you can see the Empire State Building in the view of the skyline from Top of the Rock. There are probably a few other reasons I can’t think of at the moment but those are the ones that stick out.
Totally agree, Empire State Building is iconic but I enjoyed Top of the Rock more....shorter lines, less crowded, more room to move (3 levels) and IMO better views.
 

ross_hy

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Thanks to all for the advice! Unfortunately, the weather was not all that cooperative today. My first stop was Rockefeller Center where I planned to go up to the observation deck. Upon arrival, I was advised that there was no visibility and that going to the top was not advised. So, I moved on to Times Square, which was fascinating. I also walked past some of the Broadway theaters on the way back to the hotel. I wasn't really hungry so I didn't stop for more food.

I would definitely love to come back when the weather's better and I have more time. Better start saving miles and points now!
 

sharsk8s

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Thanks to all for the advice! Unfortunately, the weather was not all that cooperative today. My first stop was Rockefeller Center where I planned to go up to the observation deck. Upon arrival, I was advised that there was no visibility and that going to the top was not advised. So, I moved on to Times Square, which was fascinating. I also walked past some of the Broadway theaters on the way back to the hotel. I wasn't really hungry so I didn't stop for more food.

I would definitely love to come back when the weather's better and I have more time. Better start saving miles and points now!
Yeah the weather today was awful. I know it was mostly rain in the city but the suburbs are full of slush. So unfortunate that you weren't able to get the full experience.
 

Rob

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When I was a teenager in NY, we used to go second acting all the time. They didn't check tickets on the way back in so we would loiter around till the lights dimmed and find an empty seat. Ushers never bothered us back in the old days.
 

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