Making theater “center stage” on your next vacation to the Big Apple
Some behind-the-scenes insights for planning a trip around a Broadway performance.
Broadway shows have long been a main attraction in New York City. The Theatre District in Manhattan spans a few city blocks and is home to dozens of theatres, restaurants and hotels, making it easy to explore and soak in the energy. Its proximity to Times Square enables tourists to experience two iconic destinations in one evening.
Whether you’ve already planned a trip to New York and want to add a show to your itinerary, or you pick a show around which to plan a trip, we’ve got some helpful tips.
What to see
There are hundreds of plays and musicals from which to choose, whether on Broadway, Off-Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway. To distinguish between the three, Broadway shows take place in theatres that seat 500 people or more; Off-Broadway theatres seat 100 to 499 people; and Off-Off-Broadway theatres seat less than 100 people. Most of the big-name shows like Book of Mormon, The Lion King, Wicked and Phantom of the Opera will take place in the bigger theatres. If you’re hoping to take kids or grandkids to a show, consider Aladdin, The Lion King or Frozen (opening night is slated for March 2018). Get a full rundown of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, ticket availability, costs and reviews at Broadway.com.
Once you know which show you’d like to see, check out Time Out New York, a comprehensive listing of the city’s events and attractions, to see if tickets are available at a discounted rate. You often can find discounted day-of tickets through the box office as well, and many shows also offer rush, lottery or standing-room tickets a few hours before each performance.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars after a performance, fans often line up outside the stage door for autographs. While it’s not guaranteed the actors will sign anything, there’s always a chance. Just keep in mind it’s common courtesy to have them sign the playbill, rather than random memorabilia.
Where to eat
There are many restaurants within walking distance of the Theatre District. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Mexican, Chinese or just a really good hamburger, you’ll find multiple options to satisfy your taste buds. Check out Eater New York’s guide to the district, which includes The Rum House (for pre- or post-show cocktails), Don Antonio by Starita (for Neapolitan pies) and Tacuba (for the never-ending taco cravings).
Where to stay
Like the restaurants, there are many hotels in the Theatre District/Times Square area from which to choose. While staying close to all of the action will reduce transportation costs, keep in mind that it’s the tourist hub of the city, so the noise level may be a bit higher. If you’d like to check out hotels on the Upper East Side and are willing to navigate public transportation, taxis or ride sharing services to make your way into Midtown, Tripadvisor compares nearby hotels so that you can find the best value.
If you don’t want to do all the planning yourself, there’s help! Check out trip packages, which include tickets to a show of your choice, two-night hotel accommodations and other fun perks like shopping discounts.
Have you taken in a Broadway show in NYC? Share your tips with other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page.