The Ultimate Theater Weekend in NYC

Empty red seats for cinema

Empty red seats for cinema

by Alta Wyman,

Are you thinking about planning a trip to see a Broadway show in New York City? You’re not alone. The NY Daily News reports close to 12 million people spent about $1 billion during the 2012-2013 season. Attending a play in New York City can be an exhilarating cultural experience and, with world-class restaurants, unique attractions, and historical sights to round out your visit, you can take a big bite of the Big Apple even if you only have a few days to get away.

Plan Your Visit Around Performances

If you’re serious about seeing shows during your visit and have a fairly flexible schedule, consider looking at performance calendars before booking your trip. All the major Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters post their full season of performances well in advance, and you can use sites like Telecharge to search venues, dates, or specific shows to find the best deals. Once you’ve purchased your tickets you can make your hotel and travel plans. Keep in mind New York is easily accessible by subway, so you’re not stuck to staying on Broadway and can explore different neighborhoods, or even boroughs like Brooklyn.

Broadway Bites and Sights

Broadway is big business; The New York Times reports that most major productions cost between $10-$15 million to produce. Businesses and restaurants near Broadway hope to capitalize on the excitement and funnel tourist dollars their way. Come prepared for slightly higher prices than you’d pay for a dish in your hometown. The best restaurants will give you some serious bang for your buck. Firebird, a gorgeous Russian restaurant on 46th between 8th and 9th offers what CBS New York calls “lavish décor, regal service and divine vodkas.” For the diehard theater aficionado, try to get a table at Sardi’s on 44th between Broadway and 8th. As legend has it, this famed restaurant is where the idea for the Tony award first originated in 1947.

Before the show, take a stroll up to Central Park where you can walk through miles of paved trails and see where Shakespeare in the Park is held each summer. If you’re an early bird, you can even try to get free tickets for the acclaimed outdoor performances which regularly feature star turns from film and television actors.

Off the Beaten Path

Broadway is a must-do experience in any theater goer’s life, but NYC is teeming with exciting live entertainment at every turn. If you’re looking for a memorable experience far from the lights of Times Square, check out the Public Theater. It offers critically acclaimed plays, musicals, and cabaret shows in the more relaxed neighborhood near NYU. Nearby, the Comedy Cellar features nationally-known comedians alongside breakout local talent in a small, dimly lit bar. Surprise performances from comedy’s greats are common, but don’t expect to get away without enduring a little razzing. Top off the night with a cheap slice of pizza from Famous Ray’s and you can consider yourself a real New Yorker, if only for one weekend.

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