Known as the Great White Way because the theater lights burned so brightly in the early days of electricity, New York City's Broadway has been the home of the New York theater district for almost 150 years. The history-drenched street is one of Manhattan's most famous thoroughfares, and many consider seeing a blockbuster Broadway show an essential New York City experience.
If you want to see a Broadway production with rave reviews (or any show, really), it's best to book tickets in advance. Broadway is No. 1 for a reason, with visitors and New Yorkers alike vying for prime tickets. Pricing can vary greatly per show and per showtime, making a theater excursion accessible for almost every budget. Shows range from the musical theater to the family friendly to the risque, so there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Aside from buying the coveted theater tickets, there are other options to take in the sights and history on Broadway. Visitors might opt for a behind-the-scenes walking tour to learn about NYC landmarks and legends before stepping into a theater and getting a deeper understanding of the venue's history, backstage stories, and the insider's details that put it on the map. Some tours are even led by a tour guide who is a former (or current) Broadway performer.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It's best to plan ahead and purchase tickets well in advance.
- Plan to arrive with a full stomach (or go for a meal right afterward); food is not allowed in the theaters.
- Dress code is smart casual.
- Plan to arrive to your chosen show early to find your seat well before the curtains go up.
- Most theaters are required to be wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to Broadway
Broadway (the street) runs diagonally north to south across the length of Manhattan. New York's Theater District runs along Broadway from 42nd to 53rd Street. The handiest New York City subways for the major theaters on Broadway are at Times Square, 49th Street, and Seventh Avenue.
When to Get There
Because the star attractions of Broadway are the (indoor) theater shows, you can visit year round. A great way to take in the sights is on a walking tour that combines theater history and a show.
Top-Grossing Broadway Shows of All Time
Along with the latest new hits, some famously long-running shows are still playing on Broadway, including the Tony Award-winning musical Chicago at the Ambassador Theater, Wicked at the George Gershwin, The Lion King at the Minskoff, and The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater. As it happens, these Broadway musicals are also some of the top-grossing shows of all times. The Book of Mormon is another favorite.