Your Ticket to Tickets: Where to Find Discounts to NYC Shows

Your Ticket to Tickets: Where to Find Discounts to NYC Shows

If you love the performing arts, then you’ll love New York City. Even if your budget is limited! True, you can spend hundreds of dollars attending top Broadway shows like Hamilton or The Lion King, but these represent only a tiny fraction of what New York has to offer. Residents and tourists willing to put in a little time and effort will find plenty of affordable, interesting options. Here are a few places to start your research:

Theater Development Fund (TDF)

TDF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. You may be familiar with the TKTS booths that TDF operates. Located at Times Square, Lincoln Center, and South Street Seaport, these booths offer last-minute, same-day theater tickets at significant discounts.  

There are even better deals available for TDF members, who can access discounts up to 70% for tickets that can be purchased in advance. Individuals eligible for memberships include union members (so pay those AGMA dues promptly!), people under the age of 30, students, teachers, non-exempt (hourly) workers, artists or art professionals, and many others. See

Cultural Memberships through New York City ID

If you’re a resident of New York City, make sure to get your New York City ID and renew it every 10 years. It’s a free, municipal identification card that provides access to a wide range of services and programs. Benefits include one-year free memberships to many cultural institutions, including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Metropolitan Opera, among others. Most of these memberships grant you basic privileges, such as discounted tickets, advance access to ticket purchasing, and free attendance at selected dress rehearsals. Visit to learn more.   


Club Free Time

Members of Club Free Time pay an annual fee of $24.95 to access complimentary tickets to a variety of shows, concerts, and other events. Shorter-term memberships are also available. Besides listing Club Free Time “deals,” the site provides information about free things to do in New York City, which members and non-members alike can explore.  

Online Discounts 

If you want to plan in advance rather than take your chances in person for same-day performances at TKTS, or simply prefer to look online than wait in line, you can check out discount tickets on,, Theatermania, and TodayTix.  All four sites offer reasonably good discounts, but rarely to the most popular shows.  

Keep your eye on TodayTix. It is partnering with Show-Score, which once offered the best deals in town: free tickets for site users who reviewed more than two shows. Sadly, Show-Score has gotten rid of the freebies, but it is working with the TodayTix team “behind the scenes on new ways to discover shows and share memorable experiences at the theatre,” according to a recent missive. And it’s always worth checking Show-Score to see what members of the general public (rather than professional critics) think about shows you’re considering. Visit

NYC Broadway and Off-Broadway Weeks

NYC Broadway and Off-Broadway Weeks, which take place during slow tourist times in the winter and the fall, offer two-for-one tickets to certain shows. Sometimes these “weeks” (they’re longer than a week) coincide with NYC Restaurant Week, making that pre-theater dinner even more appetizing. NYC’s Tourism Board provides details of all three events on its website:  



Some of the most popular Broadway shows offer digital lotteries. Rumor has it that people do win occasionally. You can find several digital lotteries on TodayTix. For a full overview of how lotteries work and what’s available, read this comprehensive Playbill article, which also covers rush, student, and standing-room tickets.

Under-40 Memberships

Many cultural institutions have lower-priced memberships or discount offers for people under the age of 40. Check out Carnegie Hall’s Notables program, the Met Opera’s Fridays under 40, Lincoln Center’s LincTix for 21-35 -year-olds, and Manhattan Theater Club’s 30 under 35 program. There are many more. If you have a particular institution in mind, visit its website to see if it has a program for your age group. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Audience Rewards

Regular theatergoers should sign up for the Audience Rewards program. It’s free and operates like hotel and airline loyalty programs. If you see enough shows, you’ll be able to redeem your points for tickets or merchandise.

The Curtain Calls

New York City offers a huge variety of shows, even for those on tight budgets. So, if you want to enjoy the city’s cultural treats, explore the options described above to find discounts and deals. The stage is set. For savings.

Rachel Antman

Rachel Antman is a communications consultant, writer, and mezzo-soprano based in New York City. For more information, visit