Broadway Discounts Are a Millennial Student’s Best Friend Series Part 2: TKTS Booth at Times Square


If you have the will to lug yourself out of bed and put on some pants, consider hunting for Broadway deals in the outdoor glittering lights of Times Square. Convince yourself to snap your laptop shut.

In Part 1, I discussed purchasing tickets over TDF online as an introvert. Although I prefer the indoor joys of ordering discount tickets on TDF online, online does not have everything available. I have my eyes peeled for affordable deals on Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen, but I rarely see them online. If you’re not a fan of paying the TDF membership fee, take a trip to the TKTS booths for same-day discounts.

For simplicity sake, this blog will focus on the main Times Square booth. There are also three other booths at the South Street Seaport, Lincoln Center, and Downtown Brooklyn. But Times Square booth yields the most variety of features.

Pass the costumed Marvel heroes and Disney icons beckoning tourists for photos, the Times Square TKTS booth is located underneath the Glowing Ruby-Red Stairs at 47th Street. It’s easily accessible through the red-1 train line on the 50th street stop.

red stairs

Photo provided by the Theatre Development Fund

Compared to TDF membership purchases, where seating arrangement is a wild card once you pick up your ticket at the box office, TKTS allows you to gauge your seating arrangement at the booth.

Set a free day to go bargain hunting, preferably on a Friday or weekends. In case you don’t find the bargain you want, set up a backup plan, like eating out or seeing a movie or just walking around Times Square.

Set a budget: How much are you willing to spend? Is there a show that’s difficult to access that you’re willing to pay a 20% discount for? (Sorry, no Hamilton but Phantom of the Opera can pop up) Personally, I would aim for 50% deals. But some deals are only 20-30%. I remember getting a $100 offer for the high-demand Once On This Island revival and turning it down.

The Times Square booth hours. 

For Evening Performances:

Monday – Saturday: 3:00pm – 8:00pm

(Tuesday starts at 2:00pm)

Sunday: 3:00pm – 7:00pm


For Matinee Performances:

Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm


Downloading the free TKTS app allows you to track shows available at the booth. I wish I could purchase discounts from the app, but that’s not how it works. It will alert you of the show availability, but if you see something you want, it’s up to you to physically purchase it at the booth. So run!


The TKTS app

The TKTS app


Come early.

Come an hour early because you can expect the line to be already occupied with New Yorkers or tourists with their eyes peeled for discounts.

But if there’s nothing to pique your interests…

Come later.

While I prefer going early to catch the expansive deals, Thoughtco offers this hack: Arrive in line closer to the show time when unsold house seats are released. Lines are said to be shorter and surprises may pop up. So if you came early and find nothing remarkable, take a walk around Times Square and then return perhaps about 30 minutes before the standard show time of 8:00 pm (2:00/3:00 pm on matinee). If you get a desired deal, make a dash to the appropriate theatre that’s playing your show (so have your Google Map ready to ascertain theatre address).

The Times Square booth also has this perk: The TKTS 7-Day Fast Pass. Within 7 days of your TKTS purchase, show your ticket stub, and stroll right up to Window #1, thereby skipping the lines.

For non-musical play viewers: Window #12 is the “Play Only” window. Plays are sold at all windows, but you can go directly to that window for a much shorter wait if you’re not into musicals. (I’ll personally recommend the long-running Play That Goes Wrong.)

To summarize:

Pros: Getting sun, shot at options that aren’t available online, the sense of community being around theatre-goers, getting a FastPass with a ticket stub.

Cons: Long lines, freezing in cold winters, boiling in the hot sun, the anxiety of not getting your desired deal, deals in constant flux.

One last caution: Avoid the scalpers wandering at the line, who will tempt you with fake bargains.

Happy bargain hunting in the sun or snow, preferably the former.



Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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