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?
Visit Madison Square Garden with a guided tour or buy tickets
You have two options to get to know the stadium from the inside:
Take a tour of Madison Square Garden
By booking a guided tour you will have access to Madison Square Garden and see the inside of the facility and all areas. Tickets can be purchased at the Chase Square Team Store located in the MSG lobby.
Please note that if you purchased one of the New York City Tourist Cards, this tour is included free of charge. If you can afford it, I recommend buying a New York Sightseeing Card as it will allow you to visit many other New York attractions.
Buy Knicks (NBA) or Rangers (NHL) tickets
Buy a ticket to a Knicks or Rangers game to experience the atmosphere and party of the best sport on the East Coast. This way, you'll be able to access the stadium and visit many of its sections, in addition to having fun watching a world-class game.
How is the tour of Madison Square Garden?
TheMSG tour starts at the perimeter ring, which features multiple photographs of the history of this stadium that was born around 1874 and was torn down and rebuilt several times. The current MSG is the fourth MSG and was opened in 1968.
This part of the tour is very informative because with the help of images, interactive screens and a brief description it allows us to learn about iconic scenes from the world of sport, music or social events that have taken place here.
Continuing with the visit, I really liked the giant panels on display because as well as telling you about the main event they also show objects related to that specific moment. From Patrick Ewing's equipment on the night of "The Dunk" to the photographs and invitations from J.F. Kennedy' s birthday where Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday to him.
A visit to the boxes and The Bridge Level
Afterwards, we visit the skybox area where we have the opportunity to see the inside of these VIP areas for millionaires, artists and politicians. There's nothing missing! Bar, comfortable seats, buffet and privileged views of the court.
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 that are not suitable for those who are afraid of heights. The sensation of being on the court is barbaric.
Passing through 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 enter the backstage of the teams and see what most people never see. The guide explained to us that depending on which team is playing, the shields change and as a superstition, neither players nor visitors are allowed to step on it.
Don't worry if the visit coincides with a match day because the guide shows you one of the dressing rooms where music stars prepare before going on stage. It's also very exciting to see it and hear some anecdotes.
Madison Square Garden tour and visit schedule
Tours are normally held daily from 9:30 AM to 3 PM and when the Knicks are playing from 12:15 PM to 3 PM but before booking a tour of Madison Square Garden I recommend that you check to see if there are any events taking place on the day you plan to tour.
Tours are offered on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability, as changes may occur 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 28 February to 14 March.
See the MSG court in virtual reality
Before the tour ends, they also show you around the arena. Sometimes it's a basketball court, sometimes it's an ice hockey court, sometimes it's a stage under construction - there's always the wow factor! However, you are not allowed to step on it, although you can see it perfectly from the side.
Also, during the tour of Madison Square Garden there is a very cool experience where through virtual reality glasses you can see live shows that take place in this stadium and all the work to transform the basketball court into an ice rink or a stage.
Check out the souvenir shop before you go
The tour of Madison Square Garden ends where it all ends: in the gift shop. Take the opportunity to pick up a jersey or cap of your favourite team so you can wear it when you return to watch an NBA or NHL game.
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 underground is 34th Street - Penn Station (1, 2, 3, A, C, E).
How to buy NBA or NHL tickets at Madison Square Garden?
Buy them in advance online
If you are passionate about sports and you have included an NBA or NHL game in your trip to New York, my advice is to buy your tickets online before you travel.
To get the best seat at the cheapest price, the key is to buy them as soon as possible. The demand to go to an ice hockey and especially basketball game is extremely high so tickets usually sell out in no time.
Generally, prices increase as the date of the game approaches and the supply decreases, just like 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 too much for a seat with a worse view. 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
It doesn't seem to me to be the most advisable option in my experience. Let me explain why: first of all, buying Knicks or Rangers tickets once you arrive in New York means that you will have to adapt to the ticket office opening hours, travel to the stadium and wait in a very long queue to buy them. This means you will waste a lot of your travel time queuing outside Madison Square Garden.
Also, getting tickets at the Madison Square Garden box office will be months later than when you could have bought them at home, there will be fewer options and they may even be priced like gold. Or they will be sold out because of the high demand for NBA or NHL tickets.
How do you choose a good seat for an event at Madison Square Garden?
Obviously it will depend on your budget, as the price of 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 as you get closer to the court 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. There are also very interesting prices 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 section in Madison Square Garden to give you a better idea of which place to choose.
How do I receive the NBA or NHL tickets I have purchased online and will they arrive on time?
The tickets will be electronic and will be sent to you by email so that you can access them whenever you need them. The only thing you should know is that, for security reasons, in the USA 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 out?
Please read the instructions you receive carefully, as it is usually not necessary to print them. However, if you have received your 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 to 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 a typical Starbucks) to have them ready when you get to the stadium.
When to go to the stadium on match or concert days?
When the Knicks or the Rangers are playing at Madison Square Garden, there's a special feeling in the city. You can feel it in the atmosphere and there are more people on the streets of New York than usual.
Many people walk or rent a bicycle to the stadium in the heart of Manhattan and take the opportunity to walk around the surrounding area. Others arrive by public transport so it is important to be aware of 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 get through the security arch, find 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 spectacle in itself!
Is it possible to enter with backpacks or cameras?
According to Madison Square Garden's official recommendations, it is not advisable to bring backpacks or unnecessary large items into the stadium. In addition to the fact that seating space is also not infinite, you will have to take all bags through security and this will undoubtedly slow down your access to the stadium.
Do children pay admission at MSG?
The sport is a very family-friendly spectacle that many parents attend with their children, but to the question of whether children pay admission, Madison Square Garden's policy states that children who have reached the age of two must have a 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 entrance. Valid forms of identification are a birth certificate or passport.
Why visit Madison Square Garden
You go to New York to have fun, and even if you don't like sports, particularly the NBA or 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 cannot miss at Madison Square Garden.
With a capacity of more than 20,000 people and five floors, this is one of the main multi-purpose halls in the city. Madison Square Garden is a major sports venue on the East Coast of the country, as it is home to both the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL).
Historic events held at MSG
This venue is a living history of American sport and a New York icon. For decades it was a boxing mecca and legends such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier and Rocky Marciano fought in the ring. Although boxing matches are still held there 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, as throughout its history it has hosted concerts by such popular artists as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Queen, among many others.
Its facilities have even been used for political meetings (such as the Republican Party convention in 2004) or religious ones (such as the great homily given by Pope Francis in 2015).
Other interesting options in New York
If you're planning to attend an NBA game in New York, which I highly recommend, check the schedule of games taking place during your trip ahead of time. If you're in the Big Apple between October and April, you're likely to catch a Knicks or Brooklyn Nets game.
So, if you want a complete experience, as well as getting to know the nooks and crannies of Madison Square Garden, you can also visit the Barclays Center, home stadium of the Brooklyn Nets and watch them play.
Finally, I can't fail to recommend other teams that lead the sport in New York and that you'll feel totally immersed in a typical American film when you see them live. These are the New York Giants who play American football at MetLife Stadium and baseball stars like the legendary New York Yankees at their stadium in northern Manhattan.