So you’re planning a trip to New York City, and you want to see a show on Broadway. If you don’t have barrels of money, this can get expensive really fast. Here are a few ways to get great deals on tickets to Broadway shows!
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The first time I went to New York City, I went with my high school chorus and our teacher made a point to get us tickets to see a few shows. I remember loving The Lion King so much that I cried, right there in the theater, as the animals flooded the aisles during the opening number. I’ve been hooked every time.
But shows get expensive fast, and I’d rather pay less for three shows than
The Best Ways to Get Cheap Tickets to Broadway Shows
This is my favorite way to get tickets to Broadway shows. It gives you the best deals for the least amount of time spent chasing tickets down.
Theaters use the lottery to fill up last minute, especially the orchestra level seats that are really obvious if they’re empty. This means you can get good or great seats!
The biggest upside? These tickets are crazy cheap. They average $30-40 per ticket for 1-2 tickets, which is the best deal you’re going to see for the big shows. On my most recent trip to NYC with my mom, we each signed up for 4-5 shows each day. Of the three shows we saw that trip, we won
Each show has a different timeline of when they ask you to register for a particular show’s lottery – some do day of, others the day before, and big shows like Harry Potter & the Cursed Child make you do it weeks in advance. You’ve got to be on the ball to make sure you get all your lotteries in at the right time for the days you’re in town!
- You’re the least likely to get tickets this way compared to other methods. While some shows make a point to set aside great seats for the daily lottery (one more reason to love Hamilton), it’s no guarantee of good seats. Even if you get tickets, you could end up with partially obstructed seats.
- It doesn’t work for groups. Every show gives you the option to register for one or two tickets, so if you have 3 or more that want to see something, it’s no good.
- You have to be organized. It’s not a time-consuming process – no waiting in lines! – but you’ve got to know when to sign up and keep an eye on your email the day of to claim your lottery tickets.
To get lottery information, all you need to do is google “[show name] lottery” to get the website. Make sure you read the details on timeline so you know when to register!
This one feels like a rite of passage for seeing New York City. You can go wait in line for a TKTS booth every afternoon. It’s essentially last call for all shows’ ticket sales.
When you get to the front of the line, you ask what’s the availability for X show and they’ll tell you options and price points. There’s a board that lists what shows are available that day, but you should have a top three or four ready in case they’re obstructed seats or still too expensive. For example, there might still be seats available for Mean Girls, but 30% off means they’re still $100 each and not the deal I was looking for. Meanwhile, another show has seats midway back on orchestra level for only $50 each.
The two downsides are that you don’t have as much control over what you see, and you have to spend precious time waiting in line that you could spend doing other fun New York things.
One way around this is to go to one of their other booths! The one in Times Square is massive and iconic and often convenient if you’re doing most of the touristy fun, but the lines are a ton shorter with all the same ticket options if you go to the booths by the South Street Seaport or Lincoln Center. We headed to the seaport district location one afternoon because we were nearby, and only waited 10 minutes before getting tickets to The Phantom of the Opera!
Local Box Office
You can occasionally get better deals the day of or a few days in advance by showing up to a show’s box office. These deals aren’t amazing, but this is a good way to go if you really want to see a specific show. On my last trip, we checked in with a few box offices but didn’t end up buying anything through them because the deals we’re good enough for our budget.
Other tips for getting cheaper tickets
The day of the week and time of year matter a lot when it comes to ticket sales. Midweek is much less expensive, with Wednesday often being the best deal. If you can swing a midweek trip, you’ll find better deals on almost anything.
Seeing shows in the offseason also helps with prices. Earlier in the year (think January through March or April) tends to be a slower season for ticket sales, which means there are more deals.
Another tip: if a show was nominated for a Tony but didn’t win, they often go on sale immediately after. But the opposite is true if they did win. So keep that in mind.
In general, I find that the best way to get the best deal is to be flexible on what you want to see. There are so many fantastic shows running at any given time that you’re sure to have some great options even a few hours before curtain.
Lucky for me, my mom is also obsessed with musicals and we’ve seen shows every time we’ve been to NYC together. Seeing a show on Broadway is my favorite thing to do in New York City. The only time went but didn’t see a show was the time was in the city for 12 hours!!
If you’re like me and want to see a show (or three) while you’re in the city, I hope these tips help you find great tickets to Broadway shows!
Need more help planning your trip to New York City? Try my New York page for more tips and ideas!