Getting to Carnegie Hall may take “practice, practice, practice,” but seeing Broadway shows on a budget takes planning, planning, planning. The glittering lights of the Great White Way beckon you to the Big Apple even as the cost of travel and show tickets induces “sticker shock.”
Never fear! Choosing your shows and buying online before your travel dates can be the secret to affording Broadway on a budget.
Travel to Broadway in New York
Travel options to New York include flying, riding a bus, or even a scenic car or train ride. Buying your tickets well ahead of time ensures the cheapest fares for all travel options.
- Bus: A chartered bus offers special travel opportunities from nearby cities. For instance, a luxury bus shuttle from Washington, D.C., to Times Square, New York, is only $30 per person, each way. At $60 round-trip, that is significantly cheaper than a plane ticket.
- Train: Trains still operate from select cities and provide the advantage of seeing pristine countryside. Long train rides can be as expensive as airfare, especially when booking a sleeping booth for privacy. Riding the rail from a neighboring state, however, presents a unique, picturesque trip without breaking the budget.
- Airplane: Most people fly to New York City, choosing either LaGuardia Airport or John F. Kennedy International Airport. From the airport, take a cab or city bus to your hotel destination. Sign up for free e-newsletters from the airlines’ websites to be notified of airfare specials to your preferred cities.
- Car: If traveling by personal vehicle, figure gasoline and parking fees into your overall budget. Most hotels charge for valet parking in the range of $50 per day for a car and $80 for an SUV.
Tickets to Broadway Shows
Broadway ticket prices span the range from $50 to over $200. For your family of four, assume an average ticket price of $75, or $300 per show. The seats for tickets of this price will be in the back of the Front Mezzanine or in the front of the Rear Mezzanine but still have great visibility.
Online sites such as TheatreMania.com offer discounts of 30 to 40%, but vary by show and by date. Also, buying tickets from a discount website might incur minimal fees associated with buying online.
If you get to New York and are open to specials offered that particular day, go to the TKTS booth in Time Square at Broadway Avenue and 47th Street. TKTS, the direct marketing tool for the Theatre Development Fund, offers daily specials of surplus seats up to 50% off the original price. They even sell Standing Room Only tickets, the cheapest tickets available.
In general, the least expensive seats will be for matinees on Wednesday and Saturday or evening performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If you plan your trip well in advance, watch the theatre discount sites to see which specials pop up and grab your tickets to secure your seats to your favorite shows.