TKTS - Downtown or Broadway?
November 16, 2006 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Question regarding strategy for which TKTS location to try next Tuesday to get Broadway tickets...

I am staying at the Affinia Fifty Hotel (E 50th St. & 3rd Ave.) - would you recommending trekking down to the downtown TKTS location (supposedly with much shorter lines) or going to the closer (but more popular) Broadway location? At either location, what time is best to get there for the shortest wait? They open at 11, is it good to get there a half hour early? An hour? Any other tips for either location?

For context, my mom and I are looking to go to a show, but we are not theater buffs and don't have any target shows in mind. Our goal is to have as little hassle as possible to get cheap tickets to pretty much whatever show sounds good on the spot. Come to think of it, is there any sort of guide to shows that might be handy to have in line with us so we can make a semi-informed choice?
posted by rorycberger to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The New Yorker usually has current shows listed.
posted by Addlepated at 3:07 PM on November 16, 2006

Next Tuesday, the line will probably be getting long, as tourists flow into town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I would reccommend getting in line half an hour to an hour before it opens. Lucky for you, the line for the one in Times Square is now at the Marriott Marquis, and you wait under a covered walkway. So even if the weather is lousy, it won't be so bad. I don't think it's worth it to go downtown. Also, please note that the Times Square location opens at 2 on Tuesday, not 11.

Here's a list of all the shows on Broadway at the moment. Might be worth looking over to see what you like. Not all these shows will be available, of course.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:10 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

In my experience, it will take less time to travel from midtown to the financial district, wait for tickets (I've never waited more than about 30 minutes downtown on a weekday), and travel back uptown than it would take to wait in the midtown lines. The downtown location will be most crowded at lunch time (between about noon and 1:30pm), so I'd go either right at 11 or a little before, or in the afternoon. Given the holiday, the wait in midtown could be very long (think hours).

The most important tip I can give you is to make sure you have enough cash or travelers checks to cover the cost of your tickets. TKTS does not accept credit cards or personal checks.

For a good guide to the shows, pick up an issue of Time Out New York magazine (which will also, by the way, if you're interested in other stuff to do in the city, have pretty good recommendations and listings of what's going on each week).
posted by decathecting at 3:13 PM on November 16, 2006

I haven't been to the times square one since they moved it inside, but the line was always very long. The one at south street sea port has a more reasonable wait. Taking the subway, will take you about 10-15 minutes longer. Given the line lengths that I remember, with the extra travel time, it's about about the same amount of time between the two. It depends on your tolerance for waiting in line and if you'd like to visit south street seaport anyways.
posted by jefftang at 3:15 PM on November 16, 2006

TKTS is a total crapshoot and the wait is ridiculous. Check out for comparable discounts (sometimes better, sometimes not as good as TKTS) without the hassle.
posted by chickletworks at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2006

The Talkin' Broadway page that ThePinkSuperhero linked has information on Rush and standing room tickets -- which are usually significantly less than half price and might be a better option, depending on what you want to see. You might want to check out the TheaterMania Broadway listings too.
posted by sueinnyc at 3:42 PM on November 16, 2006

chickletworks and sueinnyc have a point- you might be able to find comparable discounts for shows online, which would save you the trouble of having to wait on line.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

A friend and I did this at the Seaport one - it was midweek of a non-holiday week sometime this summer, so next week YMMV, but what we did was actually go back and forth between them, once. They add shows mid-day (2pm?) sometimes, or so we heard, so we went downtown once to see if anything new was there. There wasn't, so we went *back* to the Seaport one. (We were hoping for Sweeney Todd tickets, but we ended up getting really good tickets for The Producers. Not shabby at all.)

There are brief descriptions of the shows available in line, and online you can find out what's playing.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:33 PM on November 16, 2006

The downtown TKTS definitely has a much smaller line. I think it's sufficiently smaller that, even without travel time, it will be the better deal.

And after you buy your tickets, you can tour the Seaport! And, if you like, wave hello to my building.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:20 PM on November 16, 2006

I will third the downtown (South Street Seaport) location as the better deal. Much smaller lines, and remember to bring cash. But if you're buying tickets same day, and you don't mind waiting in line, I'd also second trying the rush tickets.

As a guide, I trust more than timeout or the NYTimes.

And hey, if you're town, ...try an Off-broadway or Off-Off-Broadway show. The tickets will be cheaper and you may discover something new and interesting.
posted by geryon at 9:46 PM on November 16, 2006

In reference to cobaltnine's comment - they actually add shows all afternoon as the theaters release them to TKTS, so its always a bit of a crapshoot.

I do advise reading up on what shows are around first, since you'll need to make your decision pretty quickly once you get to the front of the line.
posted by AuntLisa at 9:51 AM on November 17, 2006

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