If you’re a theatre lover, there is no place like New York. Sure, the West End is great but Broadway has it’s own special vibe (not better or worse, just different).

If you’re going to be making a trip to New York to see shows, then these tips will be invaluable for helping you plan.

- Discounts are generally available unless a show is selling out, or very close to it. You don’t get a ticketing fee when you buy directly from the book office in New York, so to get the lowest price go to the box office and use whatever coupon code you’ve found online directly with them.

- There is a half price ticket booth in Times Square. The lines look long but move quickly. They’ll generally only have the higher priced tickets half price so if you’re wanting a cheap ticket then you may still be better off using a lower value coupon code at the box office.

- If Shakespeare in the Park is on while you are there, you can enter a lottery for free tickets each day online. Your other option is getting up extremely early and waiting hours in a long queue. It’s not as bad as it sounds but not worth taking up a whole day or your holiday unless you really, really want to see the show. This is on during summer only.

- Many shows have standing room, rush tickets, or a ticket lottery. Standing room means you stand for the entire show at a designated spot at the back of the stalls. The view from standing room is usually very good and you’ll have a bar you can lean on so that it’s not too tiring. Standing room is usually only available if a show is sold out. Ticket lotteries are generally held 2.5 hours before performance time outside the theatre. If you win the show’s lotto, they allow you to buy a ticket for a very deeply discounted price of around $30, depending on the show. For any show you’re interested in seeing, look online to see their policies or just visit the box office your first day in town and ask them what options they have for rush/standing room/lotto.

- Off Broadway. Some shows that eventually make it to Broadway start Off Broadway. Pulitzer prize winner Next to Normal is an example. This has it’s genesis at Second Stage Theater, which is very near Broadway but not a Broadway Theater (Whether a show is on Broadway or not does not refer to it’s physical location. It refers to number of seats in the theater. Most of the “Broadway” theaters are in the streets surrounding Broadway rather than having actual addresses of “Broadway”).

- Research your dining options before you go. Some places offer Pre-fix. Yelp or the forum at BroadwayWorld.com are good for this. Broadway shows usually run from 8pm till just before 11pm, so it’s too late to get dinner afterwards. The exception is usually Tuesdays when some shows start at 7pm.

- Matinee days are usually Wednesdays and Saturdays. Many shows have a matinee only on Sundays but no evening show. Most shows are “dark” on Mondays. Every show plays 8 shows total per week.

If this post has whetted your appetite for a trip to New York then the only thing stopping you is flights and time off. There can be some amazing deals, especially from Gatwick. Don’t rule out the possibility of last minute bargains. I got one of these to NYC one. You can check the regular channel but also charter flights like Thomas Cook Airlines. Since New York never sleeps as they say, you can pack in a small amount in a short period of time. Also, transportation around the city is pretty fast due to it’s small size and the subway. Therefore even if you only have a week, NYC is a doable option.

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