Manhattan/Theater District

The neon lights and bustle of Times Square

Broadway. Times Square. Madison Square Garden. The name says it all: the Theater District is the entertainment hub of the city, and possibly the entire nation. The western half of Midtown Manhattan (to be distinguished from Midtown East), this is where you'll find Times Square, the streets packed with people taking in quite arguably the brightest entertainment district in the world. Despite its gaudy signage and superficial nature, a place where no local would want to be caught dead, it's hard not to be awestruck by it all. This is where the famous musicals of Broadway perform, where many famous TV shows are taped, and where the Knicks and Rangers play to sellout crowds.

It's easy to get distracted by Times Square; even in this city of giant skyscrapers and famed landmarks, the night glow of the Theater District overwhelms everything around it, making the rest of Manhattan look dark in comparison. It draws your attention away from anything else, much like a stage light focused on a theater set. But there is more to this area than bright lights and big-name shows, with revivified neighborhoods surrounding the core entertainment zone. To the south of Times Square lies the Garment District, center of New York's fashion scene, while to the north and west are more residential areas. West of Times Square is Hell's Kitchen, long the site of many smaller theaters and studios, less flashy than their counterparts on Broadway but no less active. There's much to see and do here — just try not to forget about the rest of Manhattan while you're here.


This district stretches from 31st St, through the heavily commercial West 30s up to 59th St (beyond which is Central Park), and lies west of 6th Ave. The West Side is home not only to the famed "Great White Way" (Broadway), but to the emerging business district centered on the now thoroughly Disneyfied Times Square. The Theater District centers on the outlandishly commercial "New" 42nd Street and heads up Broadway and 7th Avenues, melding to the west with the resurgent neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen and its commercial strip on 9th Avenue, and to the north with the newly-built Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. South of Times Square is the Garment District, where most of the city's showrooms and many well-known designers occupy the area between Times Square and Madison Square Garden, the famous sports arena located atop Pennsylvania Station. The area becomes increasingly residential as you go north or west, and more commercial to the east and south. Many of Manhattan's largest hotels (including the Hilton and the Sheraton) are located on 6th or 7th Avenue in this area.

Visitor information

Get in

Theater District Map

By subway

The Times Square-42nd St. subway station is one of the major nerve centers of public transit in New York, with the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R and S (Grand Central Shuttle) lines all stopping there, while a pedestrian tunnel affords a free transfer to the 42nd St.-8th Av. station, which serves the A, C, and E lines. Nearby, though not connected to the Times Square-42nd St. station, the B, D, F, and M lines stop at 42nd St. and 6th Avenue.

South of Times Square, the 1, 2, and 3 lines run under 7th Avenue, the A, C and E lines run under 8th Avenue, the N, Q and R lines run under Broadway, and the B, D, F and M lines run under 6th Avenue, with all lines stopping at 34th Street, near Penn Station. Additionally, the 7 line runs southwest to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, adjacent to the Javits Convention Center. From outside New York City, Penn Station, located underneath Madison Square Garden, is the east coast hub of Amtrak services and is the regional hub for Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit commuter rail services. See the By train section on the main New York City page for more info. Also serving the neighborhood is PATH subway service to Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey, which runs under 6th Ave., stopping at 33rd St., 23rd St., and 14th St.

North of Times Square, the 1, 2, and 3 lines run under Broadway, with the 1 stopping at 50th St. and 59th St-Columbus Circle. The A, C, and E lines run under 8th Avenue, with the C and E stopping at 50th St., before the E branches east to head under 53rd St. to Queens, stopping at 7th Av, while the A and C lines continue north, stopping at 59th St-Columbus Circle. The N, Q, and R lines run under 7th Avenue, stopping at 57th St. (the ideal stop for Carnegie Hall), with the N and R lines also stopping at 49th St. The F train continues along 6th Avenue, stopping at 57th St., while the B and D trains head northwest, stopping at 7th Av./53rd St. and 59th St-Columbus Circle.

By MTA bus

Quite a number of city bus routes serve the area (see the MTA website for a map), but crosstown routes in particular can be subject to gridlock at peak times.

By long distance bus

Manhattan's main long distance bus station is the Port Authority Bus Terminal, between 8th and 9th Avenues between 40th and 42nd Streets. Connections are available on commuter buses to New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, and to long-distance routes through the country and to Canada.

By taxi

Taxis ply the area day and night but can slow to a standstill during rush hour, lunch time, and even mid-afternoon. However, if you need a taxi and are unfamiliar with normal taxi fares, do not hail anything but a yellow cab. Drivers of black limos who offer to pick you up may try to cheat you.

On foot

Walking is the way you can see the most, but even walking can be a problem, particularly on Broadway and 7th Av. between 48th and 42nd Sts. Large numbers of tourists are liable to be standing still and looking up every few feet, and of course, you may be one of them. But if you prefer to take a walk at a steadier pace, take a side street and walk on another avenue.


In Times Square, even the police station has a flashy neon sign on the roof
On the flight deck of the Intrepid



Macy's — "The World's Largest Store"


Times Square can seem infested with glorified, tacky, and overpriced versions of chain restaurants like McDonalds, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Red Lobster, and Applebee's that you can find anywhere else in America. These restaurants are more expensive than their suburban counterparts (a Big Mac costs $6). However, there are better food options available in the area, especially if you get away from Times Square proper and explore other areas in the Theater District.






PEnnsylvania 6-5000

The Hotel Pennsylvania only returned to its original name in 1992, but it has always maintained the city's best-known phone number, immortalized in song by Glenn Miller's band in 1940. The PE6 telephone exchange wasn't named after the hotel, though; they were both named after nearby Penn Station.




Go next

Too many travelers spend all or most of their time in the Theater District and other largely non-residential areas of Midtown Manhattan. From the viewpoint of many New Yorkers, the "real New York" is elsewhere, in the residential neighborhoods uptown, downtown, and even a couple of blocks west of Times Square and the bright lights of the Great White Way. If you want to find out how New Yorkers live, work, and party and feel the pace of the city, go to neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, the East Village, Chinatown, Harlem, the Upper West and Upper East Sides, or just walk to 9th Av.

Routes through Theater District

Bronx Upper West Side  N  S  Chelsea Financial District
END  W  E  Midtown Flushing, Queens
Upper West Side (A & C) / Midtown (E)  N  S  Chelsea Financial District
Bronx Upper West Side  N  S  Midtown Downtown Brooklyn
Long Island City, Queens Upper East Side  N  S  Midtown Downtown Brooklyn
Hoboken Chelsea  SW  NE  END
Jersey City Chelsea  SW  NE  END

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, April 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.