Every New Yorker's Favorite Stop for Half-Price Theater Tickets: TKTS

Ticketing Tips and Tricks: Part Three

Show-Score | By Ryan McCarthy | Sep 30, 2016

Want to check out a last minute Broadway or Off-Broadway show for 20-50% off? Hop in line at TKTS!

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What is TKTS?

“TKTS” refers to the TKTS Discount Ticket Booths, a series of ticket booths in Manhattan and Brooklyn operated by the Theatre Development Fund. TKTS booths offer day-of tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for 20-50% off face value.

The first TKTS booth opened in 1973, and for the last 43 years, the booths have been go-to destinations for tourists and locals alike seeking last minute theater bargains. And because you’re buying from TDF, every purchase comes with the added bonus of knowing that you’re supporting one of New York’s most important theatrical non-profits (read more about TDF’s mission and history here).

Where can I find the TKTS Booths?
Although its iconic Times Sq. booth (situated under the giant red steps at Broadway and 47th Street) is its most famous location, TDF currently operates three other TKTS Discount Booths in NYC:

Click here for detailed information about each location and their hours. There’s also a London location for West End shows, if you find happen to find yourself taking a trip across the pond.

The famous red steps // Photo via archinect

What shows are available?

Well, that changes daily, but last I checked, the Times Square location ended the day with tickets available for just over 15 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows alike.

How can I tell what shows are available daily?
If you don't have the time to swing by the booth in person to check out the signs, TKTS Live! on TDF’s website is a terrific resource offering up-to-date real-time listings of what shows have tickets available for purchase. After hours you can check out TKTS Live! to see what was last available before closing. 

TKTS is also now available in app form. Although you can’t purchase tickets via the app, like TKTS live, the TKTS app offers a real-time look at what shows have tickets available at each TKTS location. Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that the app now lists approximate wait times for each location!

How long are the lines?
That depends a lot on which location you go to and when you go. It also depends on the weather. If you’re willing to brave a rainstorm, you can be sure you’re going to have less of a wait. Of course, you’ll also be wet.

Generally people love to line up early (a couple hours before the booth opens) to get the first pick of the available tickets, so if you go on the early side you can usually expect a substantial line. Going closer to show time may mean fewer tickets are available, but it should also mean a shorter wait (though it’s worth noting that additional tickets are often released to TKTS closer to show time).

But if you're interested in seeing a straight play...

... you may want to visit the Times Square location which has a “Plays Express” window, which only sells tickets for non-musicals, and hence has a much shorter (and often non-existent line). Lastly, remember that you can always check the app to see the approximate wait time!

Anything else I should know?
Yes: how to score me cheap Hamilton tickets. Besides that? I don’t know! But check out the official TKTS FAQ and Tips for more info, and I’ll see you in line soon!

  • Want other tips to find cheap tickets? Click here to check out our guides to rush tickets and lotteries!
  • Ever tried TKTS? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!