Families, you know how it is – the ability to pinch a penny until it screams is simply a compulsory parenting skill for big-city living. Being budget-conscious and still allowing your kids to experience all the fantastic cultural things New York City has to offer is certainly one to test this skill! From the countless natural history and cultural museums to the botanical gardens and theater shows, New York is an amazing place to raise a young family, especially if you want to keep your kids learning in all sorts of unique ways.
Broadway shows in New York are always a favorite for families – especially if there is a budding drama king or queen in your midst – but as awesome as Broadway shows in New York may be, most of us can’t afford to pay $100 or more per ticket. But this doesn’t mean you need to compromise on theater exposure for your little ones. Enter stage left: our handy guide to finding budget-friendly Broadway shows in New York City!
Getting your hands on discounted Broadway show tickets is actually not as tricky or black-hatted as you might think. There are plenty of safe and reliable resources available for shows in New York. Here’s a peek at a few of our favorites:
With three locations around the city, TKTS booths are a great place to purchase tickets for 20% to 50% off the full price for either same-day or next-day performances. You may need to stand in a long line, so just prepare for this ahead of time by bringing along a few snacks and kid-friendly entertainment activities linked to the show you’re about to see.
Here’s a list of locations to find a booth nearest to you:
Times Square Center (under the red steps in Father Duffy Square on 47th and Broadway Streets)
South Street Seaport (199 Water Street, on the corner of John and Front Streets)
Brooklyn (in 1 MetroTech Center, on the corner of Jay and Myrtle Streets)
TKTS Booths are awesome for spontaneous family outings, but if you’d like to avoid the lines and plan ahead, you might want to try an online service instead. There are four popular ones that we recommend; these sites are pretty user-friendly and you can also subscribe to their newsletters to keep an eye out for family-friendly shows in New York. Since most of these sites are free to subscribe to, we recommend getting on the mailing lists for a few of them to up your chances of finding great savings.
This portal offers the latest Broadway news and reviews, along with comprehensive lists of upcoming shows in New York City. Club membership is free, and they are pretty good at keeping you up-to-date with the Broadway and Off-Broadway scene as a whole. Expect discounted tickets to range between $20 and $65.
This website operates on a same-day discount reservation system – so still a bit tricky to navigate getting the family out on short notice, but at least you can use their site to reserve your seats ahead of time. All you’ll need to do is have your credit card handy for the online transaction, and remember to print out your reservation confirmation to take to the box office with you. With TheaterMania you can expect at least a 40% to 50% discount off the usual ticket price.
If you’re willing to invest a monthly fee of $4 for access to a whole bunch of discount codes, then this portal is for you. This is a wonderful option for families who are planning frequent trips to theater shows in New York; $4 per month may work out to be a huge saving over time!
Now that you’ve found a few options to help with your entertainment budget, you can spend a little more time sharing these quality family experiences with your little ones. If you’re gearing up for your first Broadway show as a family, try these tips to prepare your kids and make the experience one they can learn from:
Before the Show
There’s so much to absorb for first-time Broadway-goers – lights, music, make-up, beautiful costumes, and so on. If you’re taking really little ones to a show, it may help if they have an understanding of the storyline beforehand. If the show is based on a book, consider using it for bedtime reading during the weeks leading up to the show. Perhaps even download some music from the show so your child can get familiar with it ahead of showtime!
For more educational development during your little one’s Broadway experience, you can check out websites like Kids’ Night on Broadway to purchase study guides, souvenirs, and other handy resources for the shows you’re planning on seeing.
After the Show
After seeing their first few Broadway shows, don’t be surprised if your kids develop a newfound love for the stage and performance – these shows inspire many children to act, dance, sing, and even write their own scripts! If you find your little one showing an interest in performance, consider enrolling them in private music, arts, or acting lessons to help nurture this new passion. Private coaching offers an avenue of skill development tailored to your child’s abilities and goals, and also creates the ideal environment for accelerated theater appreciation.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Enjoy the shows!
Photo by Kamal Hamid