Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › See World-Class Performance Art in NYC for Under $30

If there’s one thing NYC has more of than pizza joints and tourists, it’s artists and performers.
More than that, the big apple is teeming not just with mediocre wannabes, but it’s also the epicenter for some of the best talent in the entire world. The only bummer is being so close to all the glory of their talent and not being able to see it. Once you’ve paid your rent and gone to all your mandatory Sunday brunches, there’s not much to spare for a $300 Broadway ticket.
But wait, there’s hope!

New York City may be one of the most expensive cities on earth, but because of that, the city also makes a concerted effort to provide its residents with as many free and discounted goodies as is possible. Here’s a list of some of the best cheap (or free), but still show-stopping, performances in NYC.

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Free Dress Rehearsals
Many theaters, even the bigger ones, will open their rehearsals to the public for free. While the director might stop the show here and there, it’s really not that different from seeing the performance on a regular evening — except that it’s completely free!

The New York Philharmonic runs open rehearsals, as does Carnegie Hall. Check with other theaters to see if they’ll let you in on a rehearsal.

Discount Broadway
There are tons of ways to get discounted Broadway tickets, but a little luck ( or a lot of waiting) is usually involved. The TKTS booths are the most popular places to get discount Broadway tickets, although most will be over $30 (but not all). Get there early to line up.

Most theaters also offer same-day rush tickets for their shows every day for as little as $25. Go to the theater’s box office the day of the performance as soon as it opens to see if they have any rush tickets, lotteries, or standing room only spots.

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Free Broadway
The Broadway lottery services are loved and hated in NYC, depending on how lucky you are.

Broadway Box offers a pair of free tickets to a different show every day via a lottery. All you have to do is fill out their form online, although you get extra entries for sharing on social media.

See Daniel Radcliffe (Not Naked) at the Public Theater
This is an off-Broadway theater but they’ve premiered a number of shows that ended up on Broadway (Hamilton, anyone?). They’ve even had one starring Daniel Radcliffe this past season, although he’s not naked this time (shoutout to Equus).

While their mainstage shows are typically more than $30 (though still affordable), they save a block of free seats to their first preview performance of each production. Tickets are given away via lottery on the TodayTix discount ticket app. Simply fill out the form and cross your fingers!

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Metropolitan Opera Rush Tickets
Like I said, stuff can be outrageously expensive in NYC — like a box seat at the Metropolitan Opera. However, it can also be shockingly cheap — like a rush ticket to the Metropolitan Opera.

Though their performances are spendy, rush tickets are often sold on the day of performances for $25. You can find them on the Met’s website.

If you haven’t heard of this new(ish) performing arts company, you will soon enough.

Leave it to Brooklyn to take the schmooze out of Opera and replace it with booze. LoftOpera offers world-class Opera performances (currently running Macbeth) in unique (loft-like) spaces with a full bar. And it’s affordable. Drink, watch, and sometimes even dance along with the performers at this Opera, all for $30 a pop.

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Shakespeare in the Park
This is a summer event, but worth planning for. The Public Theater puts on magnificent performances of two different Shakespeare plays in Central Park each year, and they’re free for all.

Line up very early the day of the performance at the Delacorte Theater box office. You can also try your hand at the lottery the day of the performance at the Public Theater. To be honest, the best part of this is you’re allowed to bring your own food and booze. Discounted cheese and champagne for the win!

The TODAY Show’s Citi Concert Series on TODAY
There are more shows that are filmed live in NYC than Brooklynites with fixie bikes.

Luckily, the TODAY show offers free entrance to the big concerts you see on your television. If you can get there early enough, you can see some of the world’s biggest celebrities perform in front of you without paying a dime!



Now, the question is: did you really see a fabulous show if you didn’t grab a pre-show cocktail? Check out our article on the 5 best cocktail cities in America — guess which city landed on top! And, if you’re looking to move to NYC, check out our fabulous apartment locator for help landing the perfect pad.

About :

Elizabeth writes on arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business. She has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her personal website.

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