Theater District in New York: Everything for the Art Lovers

1:07 pm  |  14.05.2021

The Theater District in New York is the pulsating artery of the city and the hub for entertainment. The neighborhood stretches from West 40th Street to West 54th Street and from West 6th Avenue to the eastern portion of 8th Avenue. Broadway runs right through it and the famous Times Square is part of it. There is no doubt that the vibrant life that is so characteristic of New York originated in this area. In this relatively small area of ​​the city, there are around 36 theaters in close proximity to each other.

Pure Entertainment

The Theater District in New York is not called the heart of Manhattan for nothing. This district owes its name not only to the numerous Broadway theaters that are located there but also to the other greats of the entertainment industry. 

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You can find there recording studios, record labels, theater agencies, or the ABC film studios. However, this has not always been the case. From the 1960s to 90s, Times Square was considered a more dangerous area largely because of the sex shops, strip clubs, sex shops, and sex shows.

In the mid-1990s, the then Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, launched a “beautification campaign” and closed the seedy locales in favor of the opening of many new, tourist-friendly attractions. Walt Disney Co played a key role in redesigning Times Square. They bought the run-down New Amsterdam Theater and renovated it. They also took care of the entire area, which stretches from 42nd Street to 53rd Street and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue.

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Broadway runs right through the Theater District and is the oldest north-south street in Manhattan – it’s an incredible 18 miles long! The part of Broadway that is in the Theater District is known as the Great White Way thanks to its many bright lights and glowing billboards. There is a wide range of Broadway shows to choose from – there is something for everyone.

The Difference Between Broadway and Off-Broadway

The theaters in this neighborhood are divided into two categories: Broadway and Off-Broadway. You shouldn’t see this as a quality difference. The division is just related to the size of the theater and the type of show.

At an off-Broadway show, the number of visitors is one hundred to five hundred and the productions are comparatively smaller and often a little more experimental and daring. Broadway shows have a significantly higher visitor capacity and are mostly classics that have been on the program for years.

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Think of musicals like The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Chicago. Almost all 40 official Broadway theaters are in and around Broadway in Manhattan. As a side note, if a Broadway show is not being performed in one of these theaters, that show cannot be nominated for the Tony Awards!

Broadway Theater

Of course, going to a show is the real highlight, but the theaters themselves are definitely worth a visit. For example, the Winter Garden Theater, which now hosts the most successful productions of all time, was originally built as a horse changing station and then converted into a theater in 1911. 

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The two oldest theaters in New York are the Lyceum and New Amsterdam Theaters, both of which opened in 1903. Despite its three floors, the Lyceum is one of the smallest theaters.

The New Amsterdam Theater is the flagship theater for all Disney theatrical productions on Broadway. 

At the moment Aladdin is being performed there. It is rumored that in this theater there is always a woman in a green dress haunted on stage at night, who probably used to stand on this stage as a showgirl herself. If you are interested in the haunted and ghost stories of the most famous theaters in New York, I would recommend the Broadway Haunted and Ghost Tour. The New Amsterdam Theater is definitely one of the most beautiful of all the theaters in New York.

Broadway Tours

The Broadway tours are a great way to learn more about the neighborhood. You can of course explore the area on your own, but if you’d like to know more about the history, actors, buildings and secret places, I recommend booking a guided walking tour of Broadway.

For true Disney fans, there is a guided tour behind the scenes of the Disney musicals. Learn all about the Disney musicals on Broadway on this tour. You’ll spend an hour and a half exploring Broadway with a guide before heading into the New Amsterdam Theater. Here you have the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes and you will receive information about the musicals Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, among other things. To top it off, you can try on the costumes yourself at the end of the tour!

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Times Square

In the heart of the Theater District in Times Square – New York’s popular tourist attraction with its red stairs, yellow cabs, and many-colored lights. Times Square is one of the most photographed places in Manhattan. The square is often very crowded and full of people. This is not for everyone, and many New Yorkers avoid the area completely.

However, it is also the place where the flagship stores of many stores are and where you can find many famous restaurants and hotel chains. Here I also recommend starting the tour with the Hop on Hop off Bus, as the buses are usually the emptiest. You can only discover the hidden gems of Times Square with a guide. So if you want some insider knowledge too, this three-hour Times Square tour is a great opportunity.

Theater District Hotels

If you are planning to attend several Broadway musicals, it is good to book a hotel nearby. There is a wide variety of hotels to choose from in the Theater District. Good options include the Riu Plaza, Sheraton Times Square, and the New York classic Hotel Wellington.

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