There are two things you absolutely must do when visiting New York City: go shopping and take in some live theater. Unfortunately, both experiences be fairly expensive. While you can always window shop to save money, tickets for Broadway Shows can put a severe strain on your travel budget.
Happily, there are several tips and tricks that can land you a seat without too much financial damage. Here’s a sampling.
1. Hit Up the TKTS Booth
This booth is located in Times Square and sells tickets for 25-percent to 50-percent off the face value. It takes a bit of planning, but it’s well worth the savings. Besides, you were going to visit Times Square anyway, weren’t you?
2. Wait Until The Morning of the Show
Many theaters reserve some excellent up-front tickets for sale early in the day of the performance. Check what time these tickets go on sale, then arrive about an hour early to stand in line. Keep in mind the line grows shorter the longer the play is into its run. This doesn’t hold true, however, for extremely long-running shows, like “Cats” and “The Lion King.”
3. Check Online for Tickets
You may be able to bypass that queue on the morning of the show by looking online first. Broadway.com posts last-minute deals on the day of the performance starting at 10:30am EST. Requests are accepted until 4:30pm EST and can land you 25-percent off popular shows like Wicked.
4. Take Time in the Middle of the Day
As with movie tickets, tickets for matinee shows are offered at cheaper prices.
5. Attend Broadway on Broadway
Go for free with the annual outdoor Broadway on Broadway Concert Series, being held this year on Sept. 9.
6. Stand Up
Head to the box office for standing-room-only tickets. Your feet might get sore during the show, but you may end up paying as little as $25 per ticket.
7. Avoid the Great White Way
Forget the big-time shows and take-in an off-Broadway production. The tickets are much cheaper and you’ll find some excellent productions. Plus, many Broadway shows go off-Broadway after their debut so you can catch those popular shows for less. Also know that many popular shows tour the nation, so you can catch an award-winning production and avoid the hassle and cost of a trip to the Big Apple. Check with your local performing arts center or visit the Broadway show’s official website for tour details.
8. Use Gift Cards
Ticketmaster offers discount gift cards through such websites as GiftCardGranny.com. With gift cards, you can purchase tickets from the comfort of your home and still save.
9. Check Out a Preview
Usually, attending a preview show is as good as hitting a production during its standard run. You’ll save on tickets and get a jump on the crowds.
10. Use Your Student I.D.
Save on last-minute (aka “rush”) tickets by using your student I.D.
11. Attend Kids Night
Kids Night on Broadway offers free admission for children ages 6 to 18, with one full-paying adult in attendance. This event only happens once a year, so make sure you check the website for the scheduled date.
12. Watch for Daily Deals
Keep an eye on discounted gift certificates to various shows on Groupon, Living Social and Dealery.
13. Register for Special Deals
Theater Mania Insider offers an e-newsletter that allows you to check out user reviews, keep up with the latest shows, and take advantage of special discounts. A Playbill Club membership also offers special promotions.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.