Did you know that there’s a place where you can see Rihanna, Brad Pitt, Iron Man, and the Kardashians, all on the same day—guaranteed? It’s not a trendy nightclub or a chic restaurant —it’s Madame Tussauds New York, home of the world-famous wax figures bearing the likenesses of some of the world’s most recognizable luminaries. You’ll find Madame Tussauds in cities around the world, but the location in New York City’s Times Square has a special allure, with over 200 wax figures, including some of the newest and most celebrated offerings in the worldwide collection, and a wide array of interactive and hands-on exhibits exclusive to this location. The experience is something like visiting a specialty indoor amusement park right in the heart of Times Square. Put simply, Madame Tussauds offers plenty of flat-out fun and makes for a memorable way to spend an hour or two when you’re in the area.
What Can You See at Madame Tussauds New York?
The Times Square location boasts five floors, with attractions focused on everything from high fashion to the Oval Office. It’s fun to rub elbows with celebrities at the Glow Gala, which uses projection technology and lighting design to recreate a Met Gala-like ambience, complete with A-listers like Lady Gaga, RuPaul, and Justin Bieber, all set to a New York City-inspired soundtrack. Or try out your runway strut at Madame Tussauds New York’s Fashion Experience with Alessandra, in which participants get “coached” on how to walk the catwalk by a likeness of supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio.
What would a New York City locale be without a nod to its vibrant theater scene? When you step into Madame Tussauds New York Presents Broadway, you’ll find an interactive experience that lets you become part of the cast and even try on costumes. Or get ready for your closeup with iconic hosts like Oprah Winfrey and recreations of TV sets including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, before moving on to silver screen legends of today and yesteryear.
Daring visitors might venture into Warner Bros. Icons of Horror, one of the newest attractions at Madame Tussauds New York, where you can relive scenes from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s horror films, from the iconic possessed doll headlining Annabelle to the terrifically creepy clown Pennywise from IT (there’s an option to bypass this section if you prefer to skip the heart-pounding thrills, or if you’re visiting with children). Or for another adrenaline-pumping adventure, head to the Marvel Universe 4D movie: a cinematic experience with incredible special effects featuring superheroes including Thor, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
Next, you can mingle with figures honoring athletic legends like Serena Williams, Babe Ruth, Eli Manning, Tiger Woods, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
On your next visit, look for some of the most recent additions to the Madame Tussauds wax figure collection, including Harry Styles, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Awkwafina, Billy Porter, Megan Thee Stallion, Matthew McConaughey, Bad Bunny, and a revamped Beyoncé figure to pay homage to her 2018 Coachella performance.
Friendly employees are stationed throughout the space to guide you to your next stop, which is useful during the visit. They'll also help you find your way to any special exhibitions if you’d like to add them on (the lowest-priced ticket level includes all the Madame Tussauds wax figure halls as well as the Marvel Universe 4D movie, though screening the superhero mini-film is optional). There’s an option to get a souvenir wax mold of your own hands (prices start at $16.50), and towards the end of the tour (right before entering the Marvel Hall of Superheroes), there’s a cafe where you can fuel up with snacks and beverages. You’ll know you’ve reached the end of the fun-filled odyssey when you hit the gift shop, where you can pick up T-shirts, mugs, and other trinkets to take home.
The Fascinating History Behind Madame Tussauds New York
Madame Tussauds traces its origins back to the 18th century in France. Founded by Madame Marie Grosholtz (later known as Madame Tussaud), a skilled wax sculptor, the museum's history began with her early work creating wax likenesses of French royalty, including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. Madame Tussaud honed her craft under the tutelage of her mentor, Dr. Philippe Curtius. During the French Revolution, she was compelled to create death masks of executed aristocrats, a practice that both showcased her talent and exposed her to the tumultuous events of the time.
Madame Tussaud later brought her wax figures to London in the early 19th century, establishing the first permanent exhibition and laying the foundation for the global phenomenon that is Madame Tussauds today. The second outpost opened more than one hundred years later in Amsterdam in 1972, while America’s first branch opened in Las Vegas in 1999, and Madame Tussauds New York debuted just a year later in 2000.
How are Madame Tussauds Wax Figures Made?
Celebrities are often very involved in the wax figure-making process. They may help to choose the pose and costume, working with Madame Tussauds wax figure artists to capture measurements, hair color, eye color and skin tone. Many celebrities donate the clothes that dress their (wax) figures; stars’ stylists and hairdressers are consulted to make sure everything down to the shade of nail polish and lipstick is correct. They may even help to decide what kind of interactive experience the guest will have with their likeness.
As remarkable as the figures are themselves, even more remarkable is how they’re made. While new techniques are always being explored, the basic process of creating a wax figure still uses processes pioneered by Madame Tussaud herself more than 250 years ago. More than 150 measurements of a subject’s face and head are used to give the sculptors the info they need to create accurate portraits, and more than 250 measurements are used to create a figure. The craftsmanship behind the finer details of the wax figures is remarkable: for example, each strand of hair is inserted by hand individually, while red silk thread is used to recreate veins in the eyes.
Is It Worth It to Visit Madame Tussauds New York?
Absolutely. I found it to be a fun celebration of pop culture that gives you the feeling of being up close and personal with celebrities. But my favorite part of the experience was being able to observe the truly incredible craftsmanship that goes into each of Madame Tussauds wax figures. It also offers some truly great Insta-worthy moments. Even though you know the figures aren’t real, you’ll still get a thrill when you’re there—you truly feel like you’re at the center of an incredible technicolor party with your favorite celebrities and superheroes. As a Marvel (and especially Loki) fan, I'm partial to the Marvel experience. It’s like reliving your favorite Marvel movie moments—but this time, you’re part of the action. There’s also so much to choose from that it’s easy to please anyone—and everyone—in your group. Wax on!
Sunday-Thursday, 10:00 AM-8:00 PM
Friday, Saturday, 10:00 AM-10:00 PM
Admission + Marvel Universe 4D
If booked online:
Adults: $38.99 per person
Children (ages 2-12): $19.99
Includes all of the above, plus extras like the custom cast wax hand mold (must be age 5 and up).
If booked online:
All ages: $59.99 per person
Note: Children ages 1 and under receive free admission to Madame Tussauds New York.
How to get there:
1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, or S subways to 42nd Street Times Square.
A, C, or E subway to 42nd Street Port Authority
B, D, F, or M subway to 42nd Street Bryant Park
To Eat: No shortage of options around Times Square: For large (or hungry) groups, try Carmines on 44th Street for huge, shareable platters of Italian food; or Brooklyn Diner on 43rd Street if you’re leaning towards classic comfort food.
To Do: Try the Museum of Broadway for theater fans; hop on The Ride, a custom-designed bus that whisks visitors around the city streets with a theatrical performance; or indulge a sweet tooth at M&M’s New York, where you can sample seemingly endless varieties of the popular candy.
For additional info:
Madame Tussauds New York, madametussauds.com/new-york