Madison Square Garden, nicknamed "The World's Most Famous Coliseum," is a huge indoor arena in Midtown Manhattan known for being the home of the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL). Want to experience the magic of the legendary MSG?
1. How to visit Madison Square Garden?
You have two options to get to know the inside of the stadium:
Take a tour of Madison Square Garden
With a tour of Madison Square Garden you can see the inside of the facility. Although you can buy tickets at the stadium souvenir store (Chase Square Team Store) located in the lobby of MSG, if you have the New York Pass, the New York Explorer Pass or the New York Sightseeing Pass this tour is included for free so I recommend getting the tourist card because with it you can visit many other attractions in New York.
Buy tickets for the Knicks (NBA) or the Rangers (NHL)
Buy a ticket for a Knicks or Rangers game to experience the atmosphere and the party of the best sport on the East Coast. In this article I explain in detail how to buy tickets for the NBA in New York...
2. What the MSG Tour is Like
The guided tour of Madison Square Garden begins at the perimeter ring, which has multiple photographs of the history of this stadium that was born around 1874 and was demolished and rebuilt several times. The current MSG is the fourth and opened in 1968.
This part of the tour is very informative because with the help of images, interactive screens and a brief review allows us to learn about iconic scenes from the world of sports, music or social events that have taken place here.
Continuing with the visit, I really liked the giant panels on display because in addition to telling you about the highlighted event, they also show objects related to that particular moment. From Patrick Ewing's equipment the night of "The Dunk" to the photographs and invitations of J.F. Kennedy' s birthday where Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to him.
3. Visiting the skyboxes and The Bridge Level
Then we visit the box area where we have the opportunity to see the inside of these VIP areas for millionaires, artists and politicians. Nothing is missing! Bar, comfortable seats, buffet and privileged views of the field.
Although one of the areas I liked the most at Madison Square Garden is The Bridge Level, at the top of the stadium, which was created in 2011 and has views not suitable for those who are afraid of heights. The feeling of being on the court is barbaric.
4. Visiting the team locker rooms and dressing rooms
From there the group headed to the lower level of the stadium where the locker rooms are located. If you are lucky you can visit them as they are not available on game days. It is very interesting because you can go backstage of the teams and observe what most people never see. The guide explained to us that depending on the team playing they change the shields and that as a superstition, neither players nor visitors are allowed to step on it.
Don't worry if the visit coincides with game day because the guide shows one of the dressing rooms where music stars prepare before going on stage. It is also very exciting to see it and hear some anecdotes.
5. See the MSG court and virtual reality
Before the end of the tour, they also show the court. Sometimes it's a basketball court, sometimes it's an ice hockey court, sometimes it's a stage under construction - there's always the element of surprise! However, they don't allow you to step on it even though you can see it perfectly from the side.
In addition, during the tour of Madison Square Garden there is a very cool experience where through virtual reality glasses you can see live the shows that are held in this stadium and all the work to transform the basketball court into an ice rink or a stage.
6. Browse the souvenir store before you leave
The tour of Madison Square Garden ends where it all ends: in the gift store. Take the opportunity to pick up a jersey or cap of your favorite team so you can wear it when you return to watch an NBA or NHL game.
7. Tour schedule
They usually take place every day from 9:30 AM to 3 PM and when the Knicks are playing from 12:15 PM to 3 PM but before you visit I recommend you check to see if there is an event taking place on the day you were planning to take the tour.
Tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability, as there may be changes without prior notice due to events. It is recommended that you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time at Madison Square Garden. Please note that the Madison Square Garden tour will be closed from February 28 through March 14.
8. Where is Madison Square Garden and how to get there?
- Madison Square Garden is located in Midtown Manhattan, on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets.
- The arena is located just above Penn Station and is easily accessible by public transportation. The closest subway is 34th Street - Penn Station (1, 2, 3, A, C, E).
9. How to buy NBA or NHL tickets at Madison Square Garden?
Buy them in advance on the Internet
If you are passionate about sports and within your trip to New York you have included an NBA or NHL game, my advice is to buy tickets online before you travel.
To get the best place at the cheapest price the key is to buy them the sooner the better. The demand to go to an ice hockey game and especially basketball is extremely high so tickets usually sell out in a jiffy.
Generally, prices increase as the date of the game approaches and the supply decreases, as happens with flights, for example. So if you wait too long to buy them, you run the risk of running out of tickets or having to pay a lot for a seat with a worse view. In addition, another advantage of buying tickets online is that you can choose the seat you like best at Madison Square Garden.
At the stadium box office
I don't think this is the most advisable option in my experience. Let me explain why: to start with, buying Knicks or Rangers tickets once you arrive in New York means that you will have to adapt to the box office schedule, travel to the stadium and wait in a very long queue to buy them. This means you will lose a lot of your travel time waiting in line at the gates of Madison Square Garden.
In addition, getting tickets at the Madison Square Garden box office will take you months later than when you could have bought them at home, there will be fewer options and maybe even at the price of gold. Or they will be sold out due to the high demand of the NBA or NHL.
10. How to choose a good seat for an event at Madison Square Garden?
Obviously it will depend on the budget you have, since the price of the tickets usually depends directly on how close you are to the court. The cheapest ones correspond to the farthest and highest seats as well as those in the corners and next to the wall, while the closer you get to the court, the higher the price goes up.
At Madison Square Garden, the best sector par excellence corresponds to the sides almost at the foot of the court where you can see the game and the players almost like one of the team although they are the most expensive seats. Where there are usually very interesting prices is also behind the baskets or goals, if you want to see the NBA or NHL stars up close without paying VIP amounts.
In any case, when buying tickets online, an image is usually shown with the views from the selected sector in Madison Square Garden for a better idea of which place to choose.
11. How do I receive the NBA or NHL tickets I bought online? Will they arrive on time?
The tickets will be electronic and will be sent to your email so you can access them whenever you need them. The only thing you should know is that, for security reasons, in the United States tickets are usually issued a few days before the game, so it may take a while to receive them (but don't worry, this is normal and they always arrive on time).
Do I have to print them?
Please read the instructions you receive carefully, as it is usually not necessary to print them out. However, if you have received the tickets in PDF format and you prefer to print them but you are already away from home, don't worry. Usually, the hotel will help you print them or you can look for a Staples (a stationery store) or Copy Center (Google Maps will be your ally) to print them near your hotel or the stadium.
What if I don't have internet, how do I access the tickets?
If you don't have a stable connection or you don't have data during your trip, don't worry. You can always download them at your hotel (or at the typical Starbucks) to have them ready when you get to the stadium.
12. When can I go to the stadium on game or concert days?
The days when the Knicks or the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden are special in the city. You can feel it in the atmosphere and there is a greater hustle and bustle of people in the streets of New York than usual.
Many people walk to the stadium because it is located in the heart of Manhattan and take the opportunity to walk around the surrounding area. Others arrive by public transportation so it is important that you take into account the traffic or rush hour to get to Madison Square Garden in a hurry.
On the day of the game I advise you to go at least an hour in advance to go through the security arch, locate your seats, experience the atmosphere before the game with the music and dances of the cheerleaders, listen to the American anthem before the game starts and watch the players enter the court. A show in itself!
13. Is it possible to bring backpacks or cameras?
According to Madison Square Garden's official recommendations, it is not advisable to bring unnecessary backpacks or large items into the stadium. Besides the fact that the space in the seat is not infinite, you will have to pass all bags through the security checkpoint and this will undoubtedly slow down your access to the stadium.
14. Do children pay admission at MSG?
The sport is a very family friendly show that many parents attend with their children, but to the question of whether children pay admission, the truth is that Madison Square Garden's policy says that children who have reached the age of two must have their ticket.
If you are going to the stadium with children under the age of two, bring proof of the children's age with you in case you are asked for it at the gate. Valid forms of identification are a birth certificate or passport.
15. Why visit Madison Square Garden?
You go to New York to have fun and even if you do not like sports and specifically the NBA or the NHL, the truth is that watching a basketball or ice hockey game in the United States is a real spectacle of music, dancing, partying and, of course, sport. A great opportunity to live the experience and the atmosphere of high competition sport that you can not miss at Madison Square Garden.
With a capacity of more than 20,000 people and five floors, we are facing one of the main multipurpose pavilions of the city. Madison Square Garden is a benchmark for sports on the East Coast of the country, as both the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL) play their home games here.
16. Historic events held at MSG
The arena is a living history of American sports and an icon of New York. For decades it was the mecca of boxing and legends such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier and Rocky Marciano fought in its ring. Although boxing matches are still held today, the most important ones take place in Las Vegas at hotels such as the MGM Grand.
However, the history of Madison Square Garden is also linked to major musical events because throughout its history it has hosted concerts by such popular artists as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stone and Queen, among many others.
Its facilities have even been used for political meetings (such as the Republican Party convention in 2004) or religious meetings (such as the great homily given by Pope Francis in 2015).
17. Other interesting options in New York
If you are planning to attend an NBA game, which I highly recommend you do, check the schedule of games that will take place during your trip ahead of time. If you are in New York between October and April, you will most likely coincide with a Knicks or Brooklyn Nets game. Here is an article on how to attend an NBA game in New York.
If in addition to knowing the nooks and crannies of Madison Square Garden you want to know the Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets, I tell you how to do it in my article on how to visit the Brooklyn Nets stadium.
Finally, I can not fail to recommend other teams that play in New York and that when you see them live you will feel totally immersed in a typical American movie. The New York Giants play soccer at MetLife Stadium and you can also see the mythical New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in northern Manhattan. Here is everything you need to know to buy tickets: how to go to an American Football game in New York and how to see a baseball game in New York.
Frequently asked questions
Is it possible to visit Madison Square Garden without an event taking place?
Yes, there is a guided tour of the site that will take you to see its best-kept secret corners.
What events can be attended at Madison Square Garden?
Here you can see the Knicks (NBA), the Rangers (NFL) and the best artists in the world of live music.
How far in advance do I have to get tickets for Madison Square Garden?
If you are interested in going to an event, it is best to do it as soon as possible and online to get the best seats at the best price.
Where is Madison Square Garden and how to get there?
Very easy: Madison Square Garden is in the heart of Manhattan, next to Times Square, so you can get there on foot, by subway or by Uber or cab.