Okay, so here’s the thing. It’s not that easy to get cheap broadway tickets these days. It’s actually more luck than anything else. If you want to get cheap tickets to a broadway show you are going to have to put in a bit of work and be prepared to be disappointed. I this blog post I’m going to share a few secrets to getting the best deals on Broadway shows in NYC.
Most of the big shows on Broadway never have discounts. If you think you will ever find discounted tickets to big shows like Hamilton, The Lion King, or Wicked think again. So if you are determined to go and watch one of these shows then you have two options, play the Broadway Lottery (more on this coming up) or pay full price for your tickets but book through a third party like Musement who will guarantee you a price match. This means if you find the ticket for cheaper anywhere else they will refund the difference. This way at least you know you will be paying the lowest price possible. You can check their site for the latest deals on Broadway shows and a lot of other attractions here.
Tickets for Hamilton start at $279 and go right up to almost $2000 which is quite frankly INSANE. So if that is completely out of your budget then there is only one way you are going to get to see Hamilton, you need to play the Broadway Lottery.
A little Backstory (feel free to skip ahead)
I was hanging out in NYC one weekend with Roaming NannyRoaming Nanny and we decided we wanted to see a Broadway show last minute. So we did all the things we knew to do. We went to the TKTS booth downtown (the one most people don’t know about) and there was nothing for under $60, and nothing we were that bothered about seeing.
Undefeated we decided to try our luck and at 1:30, just before the matinees were due to begin at 2 pm we ran around to as many Broadway Theatres as we could in that 30 minutes literally begging them to give us a ticket for under $50. Not one of the 5 theatres we managed to get to would give us any discount at all, they would rather have empty seats it seems than help a couple of broke bloggers out…
Feeling defeated we wandered into an Irish pub to drown our sorrows and make a backup plan. We told our story to the two girls serving us our pints and they rewarded us by telling us about the broadway lotteries. HOW had we never heard of this before?!?
P.S. Thanks to those girls I entered the Wicked Lottery in person and I WON!
What is the Broadway Lottery?
The Broadway lottery is a simple concept. You enter the lottery for the chance to win cheap tickets. But there are some downsides. Firstly many of them are the same day, or the next day and the odds are slim. This means if you want to book in advance this isn’t a good option. It can also take time to enter which can eat into your vacation time.
However, if you are on a tight budget and not seeing a show won’t ruin your vacation in New York. Or you are local/ in town for a few weeks so have time, this is a great option.
How to enter the Broadway Lottery
So here’s the thing, each show has a slightly different way of doing their lottery. For example Wicked you have to be there in person at the theatre to enter. You write your name on a piece of paper and then have to be physically present at the theatre for the draw with an ID and cash to pay for the tickets if you win. If you aren’t there or don’t have your ID or the cash you will be disqualified. I was actually lucky enough to win the Wicked lottery and got amazing seats for $20… and yes, I did yelp and jump up and down.
Most other lotteries you can do online and they are all around the same time. You enter electronically and then once the lottery closes you will get an email telling you if you win. You then pay for your tickets online and collect them at the box office.
Many of the Broadway lotteries are managed through Broadway direct, but there are other platforms too. Most of the shows won’t make this information super accessible on their websites, as obviously they want you to pay the full price for the tickets.
For all of the latest information about Rush Tickets and Lotteries click here.
This is the latest way to get discounted tickets ($49-59) is by playing Broadway Roulette. You pay your money and then find out later what you are going to see. You have no control over the tickets you get, so you could end up spending money to see something you don’t want to see, or have seen before. If you really don’t mind what you see and it’s your first time watching a Broadway show then this could actually be a fun thing to do. But I’m not 100% convinced!
How to get same-day discounted Broadway tickets
This is the way most people already know about. You wait in line at one of the TKTS booths and buy tickets there. There are several booths across Manhatten and Brooklyn. Most people only know about the main one in Times Square. That, or they are too lazy to go to one of the others. But the thing is the one in Times Square always has huge waiting times and you can only get tickets there for the very next performance. If you visit one of the others there is normally little to no waiting time and you can get tickets a bit more in advance.
I recommend going to the one downtown on South Street Seaport as you can get same day and next day matinee tickets. Plus the line is always so much shorter. It opens from 11-6pm Monday to Saturday.
It’s worth checking online to see what they have before going down though as the last few times I’ve checked there has been nothing I’ve wanted to see and the discounts have been minimal.
One way you can get a decent discount on Broadway tickets is by becoming a TDF member. The membership is $40 a year, but you can easily save a lot more than that if you are booking tickets for a group as the discount is up to 70% with tickets costing between $11-$49. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to join though. You will need to fit into one of these categories:
- Full-time students
- Full-time teachers and school faculty
- Recent graduates (26 years of age and under)
- Full-time union members
- Retirees (no longer working and 62 years of age or older)
- Individuals on federal disability
- Full-time government employees/civil servants
- Full-time staff members of not-for-profit organizations
- Full-time non-exempt employees (full-time and eligible for overtime pay)
- Full-time arts professionals
- Members of the armed forces
- Full-time clergy
And that brings me to the conclusion of this post! So to summarise if you don’t have much money and don’t mind running the risk of not seeing a show, play the Broadway Lottery. If you want to see a show for the best price possible book your ticket on Musement. But if you don’t care what you see and don’t mind waiting in a long line spending between $60-$200 then go to the TKTS booth downtown.
I really hope this post helps you get to see your chosen show on Broadway, it really is a magical experience!
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.