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How to Catch a Broadway Musical on a Budget with TKTS in New York City

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Catching a Broadway musical is often described as a must-do when visiting New York City. We can’t argue with that. The cost to cross this off of your bucket list can be pretty high though. We’re talking about US$100 to US$200 per person for a couple of hours of Broadway music and acting. Not to worry though, with TKTS in New York City you can catch a Broadway musical without breaking the bank.

Keep reading to find out how to catch a Broadway musical on a budget with TKTS in New York City. It can save you a lot of money!

What is TKTS?

TKTS is an organisation selling discounted tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, both in London and New York City. Whereas London has just 1 location, New York City has 4 TKTS Discount Booths throughout the city. All locations sell the much desired same-day discount tickets to evening performances. Some of them sell next-day discount tickets to matinee performances as well, or full-price tickets to future performances.

Those performances include plays, musicals, dance, and music performances.

Why you should buy your tickets at TKTS in New York City

The main reason people buy their Broadway musical tickets at TKTS in New York City is the 20 to 50% discount off regular prices. That means you can save up to US$100 per ticket. That’s worth waiting in line for, right?

That’s not all though. TKTS is part of the Theatre Development Fund, a not-for-profit organisation supporting the live theatrical arts and enabling diverse audiences to attend these shows. They strive to make theatre available for everyone, including students and people with disabilities.

The US$5 service fee you pay per ticket bought at a TKTS Discount Booth covers not only the cost of operating those booths, but supports TDF as well. I believe one of the friendly staff at the TKTS Discount Booth explained it to us like this: for every 10 tickets sold, a kid can go to a Broadway show.

East River Waterfront Esplanade near the TKTS South Street Seaport boothEast River Waterfront Esplanade near the TKTS South Street Seaport booth

Where to find TKTS Discount Booths

There are 4 TKTS Discount Booths throughout New York City. Their flagship, and busiest, location is on Times Square. We bought our tickets at TKTS South Street Seaport, only a 10 minute walk from Brooklyn Bridge. While you’re there, you might as well take a walk along the water over the East River Waterfront Esplanade and look for some geocaches.

There’s another TKTS Discount Booth on the other side of the river in  Downtown Brooklyn and one at Lincoln Center, near Central Park, right next to Broadway Street.

For up-to-date information on opening hours and locations of TKTS in New York City, check out the TKTS website.

Buying a ticket at a TKTS Discount Booth

You can choose your TKTS Discount Booth depending on the kind of tickets you’re looking for, the opening hours and the location of the booth. We were spending the day exploring the Financial District, so  TKTS South Street Seaport seemed like the obvious choice. It wasn’t too busy, but if you like to have a choice between performances, best arrive at the TKTS Discount Booth at least 20 minutes before opening.

We recommend doing a little research beforehand about which Broadway musicals (or other shows) you’re interested in seeing. It’s not known before the TKTS Discount Booth opens which shows are available for discounted tickets though, so don’t set your mind on just one. The friendly TKTS staff will go through the queue and help you with your decision and other questions if needed. You can see the real-time listings on the TKTS website or in the official TKTS app. There, you see the Broadway shows that are displayed on the electronic boards at the TKTS Discount Booths, as if you’re standing in line.

When you’re in line at the TKTS Discount Booth and have decided which musical you want to see, there’s nothing left to do than hoping there are still tickets available when it’s your turn. Order and pay at the ticket window and BOOM, you have discounted tickets to a Broadway musical! You know your seat locations as well btw. If you’re lucky you even get to choose them from what’s left.

These TKTS discounted seats had a great view!These TKTS discounted seats had a great view!
Ready for Matilda the Broadway MusicalReady for Matilda the Broadway Musical

Watching Matilda, the Musical on Broadway

During our visit to New York City, we bought discounted tickets for Matilda, the Musical at the TKTS South Street Seaport Discount Booth. It cost us only US$80 per person to see this popular musical.

Upon arrival in Shubert Theatre that night, we were surprised to find that we actually had pretty good seats. TKTS does not only have crappy seats! We loved the musical and are dying to see another one (or two?) when we visit New York City again at the end of the year.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we can definitely recommend buying discounted Broadway musical tickets at TKTS in New York City. We were very pleased with the service and even had pretty great seats! You do have to accept that there might not be any discounted tickets left for the show you’re dying to see. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

Have you bought Broadway musical tickets with TKTS in New York City? Which musical did you see? We’d love to read about your experience in the comments!


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How to Catch a Broadway Musical on a Budget with TKTS in New York CityHow to Catch a Broadway Musical on a Budget with TKTS in New York City