Taking a Madison Square Garden tour is the best way to see this famous coliseum-style arena up close. Madison Square Garden (MSG) is a world-renowned performance venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in athletics and is home to the New York Knicks basketball team, the New York Rangers hockey team, and the New York Liberty women’s basketball team.
In addition, MSG regularly holds concerts, comedy shows, and political events, and it has several exhibits chronicling its 130-year history.
You can explore MSG on your own when you attend an NBA game or concert, but if you don’t plan on going to an event, the Madison Square Garden all-access tour is a great alternative. Personally, we don’t prioritize sporting events, so being able to take a guided tour of the facilities was super convenient.
After all, MSG is part of the fabric of the Big Apple, so visiting the arena is crucial to any New York experience. During the tour, you’ll get a peek at the backstage preparations, player locker rooms, luxury VIP box seats, and other exclusive areas. Below, I’ll let you know what to expect from the tour as well as important information like ticket prices and schedules.
If you’re ready to book and want to skip our Madison Square Garden tour review, you can book your ticket online here. Keep in mind that the tour is included in several New York city passes like the New York Pass, so if you plan on visiting some other attractions, I recommend getting one of these tourist cards.
Why take a tour of Madison Square Garden?
Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous places in NYC and is well worth visiting, especially if you love music or sports. This huge performance venue has 130 years of history and has a prominent place in New York City’s culture.
It’s also an important part of New York’s sports scene, particularly professional basketball and hockey. MSG has hosted several All-Star Games for the NBA, WNBA and NHL, and it’s where Stephen Curry broke the NBA’s all-time record for three-pointers in 2021, scoring his 2,977th three-pointer.
Over the years, the Madison Square Garden arena has seen musicians, comedians, politicians, and other top performers take the stage. Elton John says MSG is his favorite performance venue, and he once held the record for most shows here. Billy Joel now holds that record, with 134 shows.
It’s not hard to see why celebrities love this place. MSG’s coliseum-inspired shape and rich history make it one of the most unique venues in the world, and taking a Madison Square Garden tour is the best way to see its most exclusive areas.
The Madison Square Garden all-access tour
During the all-access tour of Madison Square Garden, you’ll follow a professional guide to see several backstage areas and interesting exhibits.
In the Main Concourse, you’ll see the Garden 366 Retrospective, a visual exhibit showcasing one important cultural moment for every day of the year, including February 29th. The oldest event is from 1879 when the arena first opened, and this Hall of Fame is subject to change as new moments occur.
Another thing you’ll see is the Defining Moments exhibit, a documentary-style collection of memorabilia, including articles, photographs, and recordings chronicling the 130-year history of Madison Square Garden. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of key moments from the past, like John Lennon’s final performance before his death, Wayne Gretzky’s retirement from professional hockey, and the legendary 1971 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
This backstage tour of Madison Square Garden continues with a visit to more exclusive areas like backstage, the luxury suite, and the Chase Bridge, a catwalk-style overhang under the roof with two rows of seating. From here, spectators get the most unique aerial view of the arena, which is why they’re considered the best seats in the house.
Finally, each tour includes a bonus surprise visit. Depending on the day, it could be the ice rink, a new stage setup, the locker room, or another exclusive area that’s normally closed off to the public.
- Highlights: Access to exclusive areas, free photo souvenir, live guide, and virtual reality experience
- Duration: 1 hour
- Price: $46
Madison Square Garden tour price
The price for the Madison Square Garden tour is $46 for adults and $41 for kids 12 and under. The price includes your entry ticket to MSG, a live professional tour guide, and a guidebook, which is available in several languages.
Don’t forget that if you have a New York city pass, you can get a discount on your Madison Square Garden tour ticket. I recommend the New York Pass, which includes the all-access tour and other top attractions in NYC like the Empire State Building.
Madison Square Garden tour schedule
Currently, you can tour Madison Square Garden 7 days a week. The tour runs every 30 minutes from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. However, on days when there is a New York Knicks game or other event, the tour hours are 12:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
I recommend purchasing your Madison Square Garden tour tickets online here since reservations are required and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you don’t buy them online in advance, you’ll have to make sure you get to the MSG box office early to secure your spot.
Our experience and review of the Madison Square Garden tour
Visiting Madison Square Garden is totally worth it, even if you aren’t a huge sports fan or music lover. At the end of the day, the arena is one of the most impressive places in the Big Apple and a crucial part of its cultural significance and history. If you’re not going to attend a game or event at MSG, the tour is a great alternative that will allow you to explore the famous performance venue.
I also think the Madison Square Garden tour is great for all ages since there are parts of the tour that will appeal to everyone. Whether you want to learn more about its history or you want to see the expansiveness of the arena, you’ll walk away satisfied.
However, I do wish that the tour was a bit longer, so we had more time to take photos. The tour is only an hour, so the guides are pretty strict about moving everyone along. Also, I highly recommend getting the New York Pass so you can save money on your Madison Square Garden tour tickets and save money on other nearby attractions like the Empire State Building.
FAQs about Madison Square Garden tours
To wrap up, here are the answers to some common questions about touring Madison Square Garden:
Madison Square Garden is located above Penn Station, between West 31st and West 33rd Streets.
The Madison Square Garden tour costs $46 for adults and $41 for kids 12 and under. You can use your New York Pass to get in for free.
The Madison Square Garden tour lasts for 1 hour.
The Madison Square Garden arena has a total capacity of 20,789 people. For basketball and hockey games, it holds about 19,500 spectators, and the Theater at MSG holds up to 5,600 concertgoers.
Madison Square Garden is close to popular attractions like Macy’s Herald Square and the Empire State Building. Various subway trains go to 34th Street/Penn Station, or you can get off at 34th Street/Herald Square and walk one block west to Madison Square Garden. From New Jersey, take the PATH train to 33rd Street/Avenue of the Americas.
If you plan on taking the Madison Square Garden tour, make sure you go during tour hours, which are 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you’re visiting on a day when there is a Knicks game or other event, be sure to double-check the tour times since they usually change.
That’s everything you need to know about visiting Madison Square Garden. If you have any other questions, or you want to share your experience taking the Madison Square Garden tour, leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to hear what you think!
Safe travels and enjoy exploring this famous arena!