Cheap Seats for NYC's Performing Arts

Music, Ballet, Opera, and Theater Venues

The Apollo Theater at 125th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan in the night

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New York City is the cultural center of the United States, and when you visit the city, going to the ballet, opera, concerts, or a Broadway should be high on your list of things to do. You might want to catch more than one performance while you're there. Tickets to these top-of-the-list cultural events are also top dollar, but there are ways to do it on the cheap. Get savvy before you go so you can enjoy all NYC has to offer, even on a budget.

01 of 05

New York City Ballet

New York City Ballet Performs Nutcracker Suite
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The New York City Ballet performs at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center except during the summer when the troupe performs at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. The New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world with about 90 dancers and more than 150 productions in its active repertory. Seeing a performance of the New York City Ballet is truly a treat.

Cheap Tickets:

$30 for 30 Tickets for the New York City Ballet: New York City Ballet tickets are $30 for anyone age 30 and under. Tickets must be purchased on the day of the performance in person at the box office. The offer is subject to availability and the performances that are included are listed weekly on its website.

02 of 05

New York Philharmonic

New York Philharmonic's Spring Gala, A John Williams Celebration
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Founded in 1842, the  New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and the third oldest in the world. The  Philharmonic performs about 180 times yearly, with many shows held in Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, though you might also get to experience the New York Philharmonic on tour.

Cheap Tickets:

  • Open Rehearsals: See the New York Philharmonic at work during an open rehearsal in Avery Fisher Hall. Rehearsals run from 9:45 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 and can be purchased online, by phone, by fax, by mail or in person.
  • Student Rush Tickets: $18 tickets for select concerts up to 10 days before the concert can be purchased online. You can purchase up to two tickets per valid student ID. Student rush tickets are available online up to 10 days in advance and at the David Geffen Hall Box Office on the day of the performance. Students in high school and above must present ID when picking up tickets.
  • Senior Rush Tickets: Must be purchased in person on the day of the performance. 
  • MyPhil: If you're 35 years old or younger you can buy tickets to a self-selected series of (at least) three New York Philharmonic performances for just $35 per ticket.
  • New York Philharmonic in the Parks: While the acoustics in New York City's parks aren't as great as those in Avery Fisher Hall, you can enjoy the music of the New York Philharmonic for free at these annual summer concerts.
03 of 05

Metropolitan Opera

With other cast members, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935 - 2007) performs as Calaf in the final dress rehearsal prior to the season premiere of the Metropolitan Opera/Franco Zefferelli production of 'Turandot' by Giacomo Puccini at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, New York, May 9, 2000.
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Founded in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera moved to its current home in Lincoln Center in 1966. The Met stages more than 200 productions, with an audience of more than 800,000 each season. The Met features some of the greatest voices in opera, and ticket prices can be quite expensive, but these deals make The Met's world-class productions more affordable.

Cheap Tickets:

  • Rush Tickets: $25 tickets are available online for same-day performances (on sale at noon Monday through Friday; for matinees four hours before curtain and for Saturdays evenings at 2 p.m.)
  • Standing Room Tickets: Standing room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of the performance and cost $25 to $30. When the Family Circle is sold out, there are also standing room tickets available in that section for $20.
  • Student Discount Tickets: Full-time students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs can buy tickets for select performances at a special student rate. You'll have to register for the program and show proof of your student status, and then you can buy tickets by phone, online, or at the box office. You can buy tickets for performances that day at a special student discount at the box office starting at 10 a.m. You'll need to present a valid student ID when you buy tickets at the box office. 
04 of 05

Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall at night.
Lonely Planet / Getty Images

Since opening in 1891, Carnegie Hall's largest performance space, now the Isaac Stern Auditorium, has showcased the greatest soloists, conductors, and ensembles in the world. The greatest classical music performance space in the United States seats 2,804 people in five levels of seating with amazing acoustics.

Cheap Tickets:

  • Student Rush Tickets: Students with an Insider Pass can buy tickets for $10 online or by phone. They can also buy tickets at the box office, starting at 11 a.m. the day of the performance. The Insider Pass costs $15.
  • Partial View, Complete Sound: Partial view seats are 50 percent off the full-ticket price.
  • Public Rush: $10 tickets for every Stern Auditorium and Perelman Stage concerts are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office on the day of the performance. 
  • Notables Subscription: For music-lovers in their 20s and 30s, $20 tickets are available to many performances if you join the Notables, with subscriptions starting at $20.
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05 of 05

Broadway Shows

Broadway theater billboards in Times Square at night, New York
Ozgur Donmaz/Getty Images 

Going to a Broadway show in New York is so iconic that it has almost become a cliche. Ticket prices are high, but there are ways around that so that you don't have to miss the season's must-see show or musical for that only-in-New York experience.

Cheap Tickets:

  • The TKTS Booth: The main TKTS Booth is under the red steps at Duffy Square, right in the heart of the Theater District at 47th Street and Broadway (Times Square). There's also a TKTS Booth at South Street Seaport, in downtown Brooklyn, and at Lincoln Center. You can get tickets to most shows at about half price for performances that day at the booths at Times Square and Lincoln Center, and you can also get discounted tickets to the next day's matinees at the Lincoln Center booth. At South Street Seaport and in Brooklyn, you can get discounted tickets for that evening's performances and for the next day's matinees.
  • Same-Day Rush Tickets: You can often find discounted same-day tickets at the box office of the show you want to see. Go to the box office as soon as it opens; you might also be able to snag standing-room-only tickets for even less.
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