Seeing a show on Broadway is like a right of passage for most tourists visiting the city. For me, it is always high on my list and I have been very fortunate to have a partner (who hates musicals) who still treats us to a show when we’re in NYC. However, one thing that can be tricky when visiting New York (especially in the busier seasons), is managing to get tickets at all and get tickets at a decent price. So as the thoughtful theatre lover that I am, I have shared some top tips for buying Broadway tickets in New York City.
Is it better to buy Broadway tickets in advance?
Yes – If there is a particular show you want to see or you are short on time, then try to book your tickets as far in advance as you can. Ticket prices rise the nearer to the show day.
If you don’t have long in NYC, it is also advised to book tickets in advance to save time waiting in the TKT queue or outside of the theatre. It can be notoriously long.
So, if you don’t have a tight budget, your short on time and you have a certain show you want to see, book online in advance.
For booking tickets in advance, Ticketmaster is the first website to check. You won’t get many great deals here but it can show the full availability of popular shows. For discounted tickets, try BroadwayBox, TheaterMania and GoldStar. For last minute online bookings, check out TodayTix or StubHub – you can often find some greatly reduced tickets on StubHub nearer the time of a show.
These are the best websites to buy Broadway tickets – personally, I price compare across them all for my given show and date but you can also subscribe for updates and discounted which can help to get a great deal!
Can I get Broadway tickets on the day? – Returns or RUSH tickets
If the show you desperately want to see is sold out, you can head to the theatre several hours before to see if there are any tickets available at the door. Some people may have returned their ticket if they are unable to make the show, meaning a small handful may be available at the box office. If a show hasn’t sold out then the theatre may also have RUSH tickets (which sometimes require a student card for purchase), these can sell for around $25. Theatres open around noon on most days so aim for 11.45am!
Buy Broadway tickets at TKT booths
If you’re not too fussed about what show you want to see, you can head to a TKT booth in Times Square for discounted theatre tickets for the same day. This booth is notorious for having very long queues so think about heading to the TKT booth on South Street Seaport (a few blocks up from Battery Park where you can depart for Statue of Liberty visits) or the booth at Lincoln Center – see the map above!
Theatre Box Office
To avoid service fees, you can buy tickets directly from the Theatre Box Office but they don’t always offer the best price. Box Offices are usually open between 12am and 8pm so visit the theatre of your chosen show directly but get there early, the earlier you arrive the better the deal you can find.
The Playbill website has a whole section of discounts that are available for various shows. Browse the offers, print of the discount vouchers and use these at the Theatre Box Office to save money on your tickets.
Standing Room only
A more unusual option but if you are desperate to see a show, you can opt for a Standing Room only ticket. These are sold often when shows are already sold out but are literally a standing area. You may be able to sit in a spare seat that is unoccupied after the interval or intermission. These aren’t available for all shows.
You can visit the theatre during the day of a show and enquire about standing tickets.
Some productions offer a ticket lottery for those looking for same day tickets. This means you can get discounted tickets but may not be guaranteed tickets until later in the day. Check the TodayTix app or the guide on playbill.com to see what your chosen production/theatre offers.
A full list of lotteries available can be found at the Broadway Direct Lottery website.
Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway
You can opt to save a lot of money by seeing a show off Broadway, meaning the show may have a smaller budget or may be less popular but in my experience are still just as good.
Broadway Roulette is a popular new option for those looking to see a show but who don’t mind which show you watch. You pay a set price (usually $49 or $59), choose a date you are available and then there are a few options such as family-friendly or any, musical or musical and plays. Then the roulette will choose which show you see.
Guide to the best Broadway shows
Not sure what to see? Here is our quick rundown of some of the best shows on Broadway!
- Child-friendly – Matilda, The Lion King, Frozen are all great shows to take young children to.
- Comedy – For some crude comedy, check out Avenue Q or watch The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls or The play that goes wrong for some laughter and love.
- Top rated – Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Chicago, Pretty Woman, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are the most popular shows on Broadway this year (2019).
- Newest shows – February 2019 saw the start of ‘Kiss me, Kate’, ‘King Lear’ and ‘Be More Chill’. March introduced ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ whilst ‘Moulin Rouge’ will open on the 25th of July.
Tips for watching a Broadway show
- Broadway week – If you visit NYC during Broadway week, you can take advantage of the 2-for-1 tickets available for most shows.
- Print your tickets – Not all theatres will accept an email confirmation or print of the tickets for you, so print them in advance before coming to NYC or ask your hotel to help you print them.
- Food and Drink – Like most events around the world, expect to pay premium prices for food and drink at Broadway shows. If you’re on a budget, pick up some snacks (the less rustling needed the better) and a bottle of drink from a nearby convenience store to avoid the high prices. Equally, if you choose to purchase drinks in the Theatre, mixers are more expensive than wine and beer.
- Avoid bringing extra bags – We all love to shop in New York City but leave the bags at the hotel. Seat space is tight with very little room for shopping.
- Ticket pick up – If you have ordered tickets online at short notice, the chances are you will have to pick up tickets from the box office. Do this during the day to avoid long queues in the evening.
- Arrive early – These shows can be super busy so check your show start time and arrive at least 30 minutes before the show starts.
- Use your time before the show – Use the toilet, browse and buy your merchandise before the show starts. Queues are long during the intermission so always get what you want before.
- Listen to the Ushers – Ushers will tell you which way your seat is, meet them at the stairway and follow their guidance; no one wants to walk for ages up the wrong flight of stairs.
- Settle down – Take off your coat, put your bag under the chair, open your sweets, sit down and get all the rustling out the way BEFORE the show starts. You don’t want to be the person everyone gives grumpy glances towards during a performance.
- Stagedoor – If you want to meet a performer, head to the stage door after the show. They will often sign your Playbill but can take a while to come out after the show.
- Early dinner – Reserve dinner in advance and aim for 2 hours before the show starts. Nothing is worse than having to rush down your pre-theatre meal.
Well, I hope you can get some tickets for a Broadway show and please share your experiences in the comments below! Any awesome shows you would recommend?
Heading to NYC? We have some posts and resources to help you plan the perfect trip:
- 20 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY
- NEW YORK CITY GUIDE
- MIDTOWN MANHATTAN WALKING TOUR, NEW YORK CITY
- What To Do & Where To Eat in Magical Times Square – New York City
- CATCHING A GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM, NEW YORK CITY
- CLIMBING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY CROWN
- WHERE TO STAY IN NEW YORK CITY? HILTON TIMES SQUARE
- 30 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE TRAVELING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA