A trip to New York is not complete without experiencing a Broadway show. Shows on Broadway are in tiny theaters where every seat in the house is a great one, so their prices can be steep. But there are ways to get cheap Broadway tickets, even for the most popular shows.
People often talk about buying rush and standing room only tickets as the best way to save when you want to see a Broadway show. The best advice I can give when it comes to those two are, avoid them! I love Broadway and I certainly don’t always $100+ to spend on a three-hour show. The bad thing about rush tickets is that you have to stand in line all day in Times Square and tickets are still not a guarantee. They go on sale right before the performance which doesn’t work out if you’re visiting and you have a lot that you want to do. You could stand in line every day you’re in town and still not get tickets. You wasted all that time that you could have spent enjoying the Big Apple. Even worse are standing room only tickets. Who wants to wait in line all morning to then keep standing all throughout the show? But fret not, there is a better way!
The Theatre Development Fund has booths set up, called TKTS booths, which sell Broadway and off-Broadway tickets cheap. There is one in Times Square that usually has more of a line. The other two are located by South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan and in Downtown Brooklyn. If you’re visiting and you’re spending your time primarily in Manhattan, you might have to travel a little more to get to the other two booths, but it’s well worth it. They are usually empty because not as many people want to go out of their way to get tickets if they’re already in Times Square but they’re no more than a 20 minute commute on the subway and you can potentially save yourself hours of standing in line. If you’re set on buying your tickets from the TKTS booth in Manhattan, you can still save yourself some time if you want to see a play and not a musical, by going to the Play Express line which tends to move a little faster.
You can check the TKTS Live Feed which tells you excatly which shows are available at any given time. This will allow you to do some research and compare prices before you even go to the booths. This is also helpful because you won’t always find the same shows available at all booths. You can get tickets for up to 50% less than their actual price. The tickets you get from TKTS have either not been sold or claimed, which means you can usually get great seats. I got tickets to Rent and Chicago through TKTS. We had front-row orchestra seats for Chicago and very nice aisle seats for Rent.
The best part about the booths at South Street Seaport and Brooklyn is that you can buy tickets for day-of-performance shows or the next day’s matinee shows so you can pick up your tickets in just half an hour and plan the rest of your day or the next day. At the Times Square booth, you would be limited to only shows for the same evening. Going to the other two booths gives you a little bit of flexibility as long as you don’t mind seeing the matinee. But either way, you’ll have real seats instead of having to stand and there’s no rush. Enjoy Broadway the right way!