There's a show for everyone in the world's premier theatre district.

TravelCurious Tip

Even if you're desperate for a show, never, ever buy from 'scalpers' who hang out outside the theatres - your tickets might be forged or stolen, and it's not worth the risk.

A name in lights

Broadway is actually a road that is 15 miles in length, running through Manhattan and the Bronx. The portion it's famous for is a stretch near Times Square, sometimes called the Theater District or the Great White Way - a nickname born from the millions of lights that illuminate its billboards and theatre marquees.

There are a lot of theatres here. 39 of them - many of which are on 42nd Street - are generally regarded as the Broadway theatres, for which distinction they must have 500 seats or more; hundreds of other smaller venues host dance or music. The shows are of the very highest quality, and the vast majority are musicals. The Broadway Musical has been a vastly influential form in theatrical production and in Western culture at large, and here in Manhattan is where it all happens.

The greatest show on earth

Theatre began in New York in the 1750s, with the establishment of a company on Nassau Street; others followed, showing popular Shakespeare plays and ballad operas. Edwin Booth - brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth - famously played Hamlet for 100 consecutive performances at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1865 (not to be confused with the current venue that bears the name, which opened in 1911 and remains a prestigious spot to this day). During the latter half of the 19th century, musicals as we know them began to take shape; The Black Crook is considered to be the first, premiering in 1866. Its five-and-a-half hour length didn't stop it running for 474 performances.

As transportation in the city improved and poverty was reduced, plays became more popular; over the following decades Broadway theatre grew and grew, weathered the invention of cinema, and entered a 1950s golden age following Oklahoma! in 1943. Even today, the core repertoire of musicals dates from this era. More recently conceived successes include The Lion King, Wicked, and the wildly popular The Book of Mormon.

If you want to catch a show, avoid scalpers: booking in advance online is often the best bet (though seats for popular shows can sell out fast!), and on the day you might get lucky at the TKTS Booth in Times Square, which sells tickets at 20% to 50% off full price. Prices vary widely according to seating and demand, but it'll be worth it.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in New York
Times Square
Neon-lit and monumentally busy, this most famous of intersections is a mecca for tourists, shoppers and protesters.
New York City Public Library
This magnificent building holds a collection of over 50 million volumes.
Bryant Park
A green oasis amongst skyscrapers and the hubbub of city life, popular with city workers taking a break.
Rockefeller Center
An iconic complex of Art Deco buildings and public art, commissioned by the Rockefeller family.
Radio City Music Hall
A beloved entertainment venue that has earned the moniker of 'Showplace of the Nation.'
Museum of Modern Art
Gallery devoted to the story of art from the late 19th century to the modern day

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Modern Manhattan
Experience the bustle of Manhattan in this extensive trip around some of  New York City’s finest sights. Journey beyond sightseeing and discover their secrets in the company of your own professional, local guide.   

  • See some of New York's best architectural masterpieces
  • Enjoy the bustle of Times Square
  • Learn about what makes Broadway so special in the theatre world
  • Walk through the art deco Rockefeller Center
  • Step inside the beautiful St Patrick's Cathedral
  • Become absorbed in New York's famous Fifth Avenue
Monuments of New York

In this intimate tour of NYC, you will discover some of midtown Manhattan’s best known and much loved attractions. You will begin at the most iconic transportation hub in the United States— Grand Central Terminal. Catch a perfect view of the gleaming spire of the Chrysler Building, another of New York's Art Deco masterpieces, explore the New York Public Library where you will meet the giant stone lions, and enjoy Bryant Park—a lovely green oasis in the heart of Midtown. You will then continue west to the crossroads of the world —Times Square— to view the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and the myriad neon signs.

Bright Lights and Old School Glamour

Soaking up the bright lights, you will learn about the evolution of Broadway and how theatre  transformed Times Square into one of the most famous destinations in the world. You will have the pleasure of seeing many of the historic buildings in the area dating back to 1900, as you head towards the recently restored art deco masterpiece— Radio City Music Hall. A short walk will lead you to the Rockefeller Center, a magnificent complex of towering skyscrapers. 

As your tour continues, you will see the beautiful, gothic St Patrick's Cathedral, seat of the Archdiocese of New York. Heading north toward Central Park, you will have your chance to be part of the shopping mecca that is Fifth Avenue, abounding in old world glamour. Your tour will finish at the corner of Central Park, near the Zoo and Wollman Rink, where you will be able to explore this green oasis in the very heart of New York City. 
Private Full Day Highlights with Top of the Rock tickets
Explore the Big Apple - from the bustling streets of Downtown Manhattan to the serenity of Central Park.  On this private tour you will:

  • See the best sights of Lower Manhattan, from the National 9/11 Memorial to St Paul’s Chapel
  • Walk around quirky, local Greenwich Village 
  • Experience the bustle of Times Square
  • Enjoy the grandeur of St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Stroll in both Grand Central Terminal and Central Park
  • Finish your tour gazing out on the city from the views from the Rockefeller Center

Your tour begins  at the National 9/11 Memorial and visit Ground Zero— the original site of the The World Financial Center. Here your guide will share with you the history of the World Trade Center and discuss the tragic events of 9/11. You will also visit Saint Paul's Chapel,  which was the base for rescue workers who heroically searched for survivors on that fateful day.

Next you will head towards  trendy Greenwich Village, home to over a century's worth of bohemians, artists, musicians, novelists, poets and intellectuals of New York City. From here you will take the subway to Wall Street in lower Manhattan, arguably the most important financial center of the world. You will learn about some of the most important moments in US history, from the swearing in of George Washington as the first American President, to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement—the foundation of the New York Stock Exchange. 

Bright Lights

You will also have the opportunity to explore the gothic architecture of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was married. Then, you will walk to Grand Central Terminal, the most iconic transportation hub in the United States, with the beautiful celestial ceiling murals. 

Your guide will take you to Times Square in the midtown area to view the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and all the fluorescent neon advertisements. You will then venture to another icon of NYC—the Rockefeller Center. Here, your guide will give you your tickets for the Rockefeller Observation deck and part with you. Cap off your tour with  a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Manhattan and the rest of the Big Apple. 


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