This post explains how to get same-day, half-priced Broadway show tickets through the TKTS Booth system.
We also include the pros and cons of using TKTS to get tickets as well as other ways to get discount Broadway tickets.
- What is TKTS
- How to Use TKTS
- TKTS Booth Locations
- Pros and Cons
- Other Ways to Get Discount Tickets
WHAT IS TKTS?
TKTS is sponsored by the non-profit organization TDF which makes it possible for people to buy tickets to same-day performances at prices ranging between 30% and 50% off regular prices.
TKTS booths sell same-day tickets. But two of the booths do sell next-day matinee tickets.
There are two booths located in Midtown Manhattan: Times Square and Lincoln Center (see below for hours and locations).
The Times Square booth sells only same-day tickets, but Lincoln Center TKTS Booth sells next-day matinee performances.
TIP: The Times Square location has a “Play Tickets Only” express line. Skip the musicals and you will have a much shorter wait in line.
Before you read on, consider listening to an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast that covers discounted Broadway tickets.
This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
HOW THE BOOTHS WORK
Before standing in line at a TKTS booth, do some prep work.
Since not all shows sell tickets via TKTS, look at the TKTS website or their app to see in real-time what shows are available at the TKTS booths.
Before heading out to one of the booths, we highly recommend that you check the website or app.
This will help you avoid any disappointment if you show up at a booth and the show you would like to see isn’t even listed.
The website lists the shows, the discount, and the price with the discount applied.
This can help you see if it is worth trying for tickets that day as well as the different shows and prices at all three booths.
For example on a Tuesday afternoon at 2:15 pm at the Times Square booth, there were about 15 popular Broadway shows available. Most were priced at 50%.
Here are just 2, to give you a sense of prices:
- Aladdin 30% off = $86-94
- Chicago 50% off = $58-83
The Lincoln Center booth had these same shows at the same prices. But this will vary from day to day so check both booths’ listings.
The Times Square booth is by far the most popular and you will wait in line longer.
Both locations offer tickets for Same-Day Matinee and Evening Performances and Next-Day Matinee Performances.
When You Arrive at a TKTS Booth
Once you have arrived at the booth, get on the line and check the board to see what is available and if it is at your price point.
Flexibility is crucial when getting tickets through TKTS.
Pick a few different shows that you’d like to see in case your first or even second choices are sold out before you reach the head of the line.
When it’s your turn at the booth, the booth agent will ask you which show you would like to see and how many tickets you want. (There is a limit of six tickets per person).
TKTS uses a computer-automated system to pull up tickets that are available for that show at that moment. You will be offered the "best available" seats.
“Best available” does not mean the cheapest price, it means the best seats in terms of view. If you like the seats and price, make your purchase.
You will not be able to ask for specific seats. What the agent offers you at that time is what they have.
While shows release tickets to TKTS to sell when they open, sometimes shows release more tickets later in the day, even up to minutes before curtain time.
If the show you want is sold out at the TKTS line, check their website or app up until the last minute. You might just get lucky!
What are obstructed view or partial view tickets?
If the agent offers you partial/obstructed view seats, that means that you won't have a 100% perfect view of the stage.
This may simply be the mezzanine overhang that will cover the very top of the set from your viewpoint.
But it may also be that your seats are behind a structural pillar in the theater blocking much of the view of the stage.
The upside of seats with a partially obstructed view is that they will be cheaper than others. The downside is that you may not have the best Broadway experience.
If you know in advance which shows you want to see, you can look up seating charts for the theaters where those shows are playing.
Theater websites show their seating charts. You can also look at Broadwayworld.com to see seating charts for many theaters.
Click here for an article about the different sections of theaters generally and where the best seats are located.
You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, as well as cash, and TKTS Gift Certificates.
A few Off-Broadway shows may require cash only.
All tickets are subject to a $6 per ticket service charge which goes to the non-profit organization Theatre Development Fund which sponsors the TKTS system.
Improving Your Chances Using TKTS
If you keep the below tips in mind, you will stand a better chance of getting tickets for a show of your choice.
- Best availability is usually for Tuesday evenings and any matinee performance.
- Lines are shorter on bad weather days. If you don't mind rain or snow, go for it!
- Don’t restrict yourself to Broadway musicals! Plays and Off-Broadway shows are also available at TKTS. They often have better availability and, in the case of Off-Broadway, are cheaper.
TIP: If you are feeling spontaneous, sometimes just before curtain time, there is no line at the TKTS booth in Times Square and most theaters are within 2 blocks of the booth. Grab a ticket and head right to the theater.
7-Day Fast Pass
TKTS has an amazing offering for those who want to see more than one show within the same week.
If you buy a ticket at the Times Square TKTS booth, you can skip the line if you go back to the Times Square booth to buy tickets to another show.
Just bring your ticket stub and head straight to window #1 to buy tickets.
PROS AND CONS OF USING THE TKTS BOOTH SYSTEM
First the downsides of going the TKTS route.
Broadway shows are expensive, so while the discounts at a TKTS booth will save you money, other options such as the lottery or rush systems explained in this post, offer bigger savings.
For example, full-priced Frozen tickets cost from $58 (way up in the balcony) to $199 (orchestra seats). At the TKTS booth, Frozen tickets are 20% original prices.
But since shows usually send over their most expensive seats, TKTS tickets to Frozen will cost you between $99-110.
In contrast, other options explained in this post, like Rush or Lottery tickets can cost as low as $27! But there is no guarantee you will get tickets.
The pros of getting tickets at a TKTS booth are that you are practically guaranteed to get tickets for some show at discounted prices.
But there is no guarantee you will get tickets to the show of your choice, but if you are flexible and open to several different shows, especially those with 50% off tickets, TKTS is totally worth the while.
Another benefit is that if you suddenly decide you want to see a show that night, just get in line at a TKTS booth and a few hours later you will be enjoying a Broadway show for less than full price.
Lastly, if you want to see more than one show during your visit, the TKTS 7-Day Fast Pass explained above will save you a lot of time when you go to get tickets for that second show.
OTHER WAYS TO GET DISCOUNT TICKETS
In addition to trying at the TKTS booth, here are other ways you can try for discount Broadway tickets.
Each of these methods has different time frames and instructions, so read each section closely to see which is best for you and your schedule.
For an overview of all the ways to get discounted theater tickets, see our post How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.
Discount Ticket Websites
First, you can sometimes find great deals (as much as 50% off) on Groupon, Living Social and Goldstar.
Two popular discount sites that offer reduced-price tickets. Broadwaybox or Theatermania.
You should also look at StubHub and TicketsNow.
As the name suggests, ticket lotteries allow you to enter a lottery for specific shows and if your name is picked you can get deeply-discounted tickets for that night’s performance.
There are two kinds of lotteries: in-person or digital.
In-person lotteries require that you go to the theater of the show you want to see, hand in a slip with your name on it and return later to see if your name gets picked.
Digital lotteries are entered through an app or website.
Some shows, like The Lion King, have their own lotteries, but most shows that do participate in lotteries do so through these websites: Broadway Direct, Lucky Seat, Telecharge, and TodayTix.
For an in-depth guide on using the digital and in-person lottery systems, see our post, Broadway Show Ticket Lotteries.
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 on the day of the show.
There are a few different types of ticket rushes, but general rush, tickets are available for purchase as soon as the box office opens (usually 10 am.)
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.
To find out which shows are offering rush tickets, check out Broadway for Broke People website and the Broadway World website.
Our post, How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets, has more information and a video about using the rush method to get tickets.
Standing Room Only
Some shows will offer day-of-show standing room only tickets.
This is exactly what it sounds like. You stand behind 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 unable or don't want to stand for two or more hours. Some shows may run even longer.
Additional information on shows with SRO tickets can be found on the Broadway for Broke People website and the Broadway World website.
Also, it is also advisable to check with the box office for individual shows.
OTHER TIPS ON GETTING DISCOUNTED TICKETS
- New York Tourist Pass discounts - If you are considering purchasing a tourist discount pass, the New York Pass entitles you to up to 10% on Broadway shows. To find out if getting a tourist pass is right for you, our post, New York City Attraction Passes: Which One Is the Best to Buy will help you make that decision.
- Attend mid-week shows - 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 is a biannual event that 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.
For additional information, please see our detailed post on how to get Discount Broadway Tickets.
Where are TKTS Locations?
TKTS at Times Square
Located under the famous red steps in Father Duffy Square at Broadway and 47th Street. (directions and map).
Offers tickets for Same-Day Matinee and Evening Performances and Next-Day Matinee Performances:
- Monday/Tuesday/Friday 3 pm - 8 pm
- Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday 11 am - 8 pm
- Sunday: 11am - 7 pm
If there is a matinee performance for sale on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, the booth will open at 11 am. Check the electronic boards or the TKTS app for show schedules.
TKTS at Lincoln Center
Located in the David Rubenstein Atrium at 61 West 62nd Street (directions and map).
Offers tickets for Same-Day Matinee and Evening Performances and Next-Day Matinee Performances:
- Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday 11 am - 8 pm