Both tourists and locals alike want to see Broadway shows. Some get “sticker shock” when they are confronted with the retail ticket prices. All of a sudden, a night out at the theatre for two looks like it might run you $400 or more. Never fear, there are multiple ways to get discount Broadway tickets and enjoy some of the best theater in the world without breaking the bank. While you are at it, be sure to check out our Broadway and the Theater District Tour.
TIP: Be sure to also read our post on other ways to get discount Broadway theater tickets. If you are considering purchasing the a tourist discount pass, the New York Pass entitles you to up to 10% on Broadway shows. Read our post comparing the different passes to see if they make sense to you.
And remember, you could always get Broadway show tickets for certain at full or close to full price.
This is the well-known discount Broadway tickets seller run by the Theatre Development Fund. They offer discounted tickets (between 30% and 50% off) and they have multiple locations around the city. NOTE: these are “day of” show tickets, so you can’t stand in line Thursday wanting to get tickets for Saturday. It does eat up some of your day, but it is well worth the discount!
How does TKTS work
There are four booths located throughout the city (see below for full information). There are often lines at the TKTS booths, so be prepared when it is your turn. At the booth there will be a board with available shows. TIP: If you want to have an idea in advance of what might be available visit TKTS website.
You will be asked what show you want to see and they offer you the “best available” seats for that show. This does NOT mean the cheapest price – this means the best seats in terms of view. The booths use a computer automated system to see what seats are available, so you cannot ask about other seats.
If the booth staff says they can offer an “obstructed view” or “partial view” ticket, this means that from that seat you wont have a 100% perfect view of the stage. Often it just means that there is a mezzanine overhang that will cover the very top of the set from your viewpoint. For most shows it isn’t something that will ruin the experience, and these tickets are often MUCH cheaper. It can be a good option for someone on a budget. That being said, “obstructed view” can mean something different from show to show, so don’t be afraid to ask how obstructed it is!
It is essential that you have a list of a few shows that you would like to see. Your first choice may not be available and they like to keep the line moving as quickly as possible. The shows available for discount don’t vary that much from day to day. Don’t expect that tickets will be available for the very best shows of the moment. Still, some great shows are often on the list.
Good to know
IMPORTANT TIP: You can now check via website or app what shows are available in real-time!
You can now check in real-time what is available at any of the TKTS booths! Their website and app are coordinated with the display boards at all four TKTS Discount Booths, so you don’t have to go running to a booth just to find out the show you wanted was gone hours before. This is an essential time-saver!
TKTS Booth Locations (map)
Tip: Recommended Time to Get in Line: at least one hour before they open.
*Check out our new South Street Seaport Self-Guided Tour!
Brooklyn Location – Located in Downtown Brooklyn at 1 MetroTech Center, at Jay St and Myrtle Ave Promenade.
Lincoln Center Location – Inside the David Rubenstein Atrium at 61 West 62nd Street
ESSENTIAL TICKET HUNTER WEBSITES
Playbill is Broadway’s official magazine. Their website has an up-to-date listing of rush, lottery, standing room, and student/young professional discounts below. Find out everything you need to know about what’s playing, get reviews, dates of upcoming shows and when certain shows are closing.
Broadway for Broke People website is great to get information about particular shows such as their performance schedules and which method is will get you the cheapest ticket – such as in-person lottery, rush tickets, Standing Room or digital lotteries. From this website you can click on links to the particular show’s lottery procedure.
TodayTix is a great website to see what shows have rush or lottery tickets that day. They also have a fantastic app where you can enter some of the digital lotteries. Once in the app, choose “All Shows” menu and choose the filter for “Rush/Lottery” This will pull up all shows with current digital lotteries. Make your choices and give it your best shot! Cross those fingers!
Some shows (including those that aren’t available at TKTS) hold a lottery drawing before each show. To participate you must go to the box office These tickets are usually in the front half of the orchestra section and are usually between $25 and $35 dollars. Each lottery may have slightly different procedures in terms of start time and payment accepted so check with the box office of that particular theatre for details.
Sample of shows with in-person lotteries (as of May 2017)
|Beautiful: The Carole King Musical||Lion King|
|The Book of Mormon||Miss Saigon|
|A Bronx Tale||On Your Feet!|
|Cats||The Phantom of the Opera|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||School of Rock|
|Chicago||Six Degrees of Separation|
|Groundhog Day||Sunset Boulevard|
Digital Lotteries (website or via mobile device app)
Some shows have begun offering the ability to enter a lottery on their website or through a lottery app you must download onto your movie device. Each show has its own website or app where you can enter the digital lottery.
Most shows have very specific procedures, so be sure to check the show’s information. You can do this by looking at a few sites which list shows with digital lotteries and contain links to those shows’ websites to enter the lottery. Tickets can cost $25 – $40.
Again, check one of the above essential websites to find out what shows have a digital lottery to enter.
Rush tickets are another inexpensive way to see a show, though it can involve a bit of time spent in line. Like TKTS, you can only get these tickets the day of the show. There are a few different types of ticket rushes, but in general rush tickets are available for purchase as soon as the box office opens (usually 10am.) Many box offices will allow one person to buy 2 tickets, but some only allow one per person, so be sure to check with the box office of your preferred show. As always, check one of the essential websites to find out what shows have rush tickets.
Some Tips For Getting Rush Tickets
Some Variations on Rush Tickets and What They Mean
Student Rush– same as General Rush, but only offered for students. You will be required to show a valid student ID. You can frequently get two tickets per ID, however, and your guest does not need to be a student.
Under 35 Rush– same as General Rush, but only offered to those under 35 years of age. You will be required to present a valid photo ID
Sample of shows with rush tickets (as of May 2017)
|A Bronx Tale||Glass Menagerie|
|Beautiful: The Carole King Musical||Miss Saigon|
|Chicago||School of Rock|
|Come Far Away||Sunset Boulevard|
Some shows will offer day-of-show standing room tickets. This is exactly what it sounds like- you stand in back of the last row of the orchestra. These spots are numbered just like a regular seat would be. Obviously this is not a good option for you if you are bothered by standing for long periods of time (remember- many Broadway shows are well over two and a half hours with intermission.)
If you don’t mind standing, though, this is a great option for someone on a budget. Standing room tickets are often as inexpensive as $27. As with rush tickets, these are limited in number and go very quickly. Many box offices do not sell standing room tickets until 2 hours before curtain, but it varies from show to show. The best thing to do is stop by the box office of the show you would like to see and ask what their procedures are. NOTE: Many shows only offer standing room tickets when the show is sold out.
Attend a mid-week show Prices are highest on Friday and Saturday evenings, so change things up by visiting on a weekday night.
Attend in the off-season Show tickets tend to be less expensive in spring or fall to avoid the peak prices of the summer and winter holidays.
Attend during “Broadway Week” This biannual event happens in January and September, and allows guests to purchase two tickets for the price of one. Check the official New York City website for Broadway Week information.
New York Tourist Pass discounts If you are considering purchasing the a tourist discount pass, the New York Pass entitles you to up to 10% on Broadway shows. To find out if getting a tourist past is right for you, our post New York City Attraction Passes: Which One Is the Best to Buy will help you make that decision.
Buy tickets through a discount site Broadwaybox and Theatermania are two popular discount sites that offer reduced priced tickets. Stubhub and Ticketsnow are also worth checking out. You can sometimes find great deals on Groupon, Living Social and Goldstar – sometimes as much as 50% off.
For activities in the Broadway area, check out or pay-what-you-wish tours or our self-guided tours of the Times Square and Midtown area: