Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
This post explains how to get same-day discount 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.
TKTS is sponsored by the non-profit organization TDF who 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 three booths located in NYC: Times Square, South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center (see below for hours and locations).
The Times Square booth sells only same-day tickets, but the booths at Lincoln Center and South Street Seaport also sell 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 on line.
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 3, to give you a sense of prices:
The South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center booths had these same shows at the same prices. But this will vary day to day so check all three booths’ listings.
Note: The Times Square booth is by far the most popular and you will wait in line longer.
Also, Times Square does not sell tickets for next-day matinees, but South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center booths do. These are also listed on the websites.
Once you have arrived at the booth, get on 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!
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 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.
If you keep the below tips in mind, you will stand a better chance of getting tickets for a show of your choice.
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.
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.
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 to 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.
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.
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 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 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.
Our post, How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets, has more information and a video about using the rush method to get tickets.
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 at 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.
For additional information, please see our detailed post on how to get Discount Broadway Tickets.
Located under the red steps in Father Duffy Square at 47th and Broadway. Nearest subways are 1,2 and 3 trains, N, Q and R trains and 7 trains to Times Square Station; A, C and E trains to 42nd St Port Authority Bus Terminal, N, Q, and R trains to 49th St.
Located at the corner of Front and John Streets. Nearest subways are J, Z, 2,3, 4 and 5 trains to Fulton Street.
Inside the David Rubenstein Atrium at 61 West 62nd Street. Nearest subways are the A, B, C, D 1 to 59th Street/Columbus Circle 1 to 66th Street/Lincoln Center.