Theater District

Location: According to Wikipedia, the Theater District extends from West 40th Street to West 54th Street, and from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, and includes Times Square.

With more than a hundred curtains going up every night all over town, New York City presents audiences with a dizzying array of theatergoing experiences, from blockbuster musicals to intimate monologues. Navigating all the choices involved in putting together a night (or afternoon) at a district theater can be a challenge even for seasoned locals. To help you make the most of your NYC theater experience, we’ve compiled this insider guide to ticket buying, preshow dining in Times Square restaurants and even post show stargazing.

Broadway, Off-Broadway and Beyond

Broadway—officially, the 41 theaters with 500 or more seats in the Times Square area—has become the home of big, splashy musicals and star vehicles, with prices to match: $130 to $175 for orchestra seats, and twice that for “premium” tickets. Dramas can mostly be found Off-Broadway where the setting is more intimate (100 to 499 seats) and the tickets less expensive ($25 to $100). While traditionally associated with downtown, Off-Broadway has a healthy presence in the Theater District and elsewhere in Manhattan; the same goes for Off-Off-Broadway, whose small (fewer than 100 seats), scruffier spaces can also be found in Brooklyn and serve as a laboratory for new voices and the theatrical vanguard, with tickets as low as the $15 range.

Ticket Timing

For long-running or über-hot shows that regularly sell out plan on purchasing tickets weeks or even months in advance. For all tickets, hot or not, availability is much easier from January through late March than during holidays and the busy summer and Christmas seasons (when tickets often have a $5–$15 premium). Midweek shows, particularly those on Tuesdays, are less crowded than those performed Friday through Sunday. Saturday nights require booking the furthest ahead. On the day of the show, your options may actually improve. Shows that avoid offering long-range discounts often need to move tickets at the last minute via the TKTS Discount Booth in Times Square, where same-day discounts range from 20 to 50 percent.

Fueling Up

A host of theater district restaurants NYC and restaurants near Times Square serve traditional pre-theater meals at reasonable prices. The three-course prix-fixe menu usually runs $30 to $40 for dinner or around $20 for lunch. You’ll be in good hands and sure to make your show. Just let them know your curtain time; you can expect your reservation to be 90 minutes before that.

Seeing Stars

Waiting by the stage door for a post-show autograph is another hallowed Broadway tradition. But if you want a star’s signature, be prepared: in addition to an autograph book or your Playbill, bring a good pen or Sharpie. Lately, taking a selfie with performers has become increasingly popular. If you want to get that starry shot for social media, it's key to ask the actor first before you start snapping away. On some shows, the stage door manager may announce a photo policy for big-name celebs before they make their exit.

Want to visit the Theater District? Hop on our Downtown, Uptown & Harlem, Night or Bronx tour!!

 

This page was edited by Steven Thomas