When to arrive
The show you see may have its own advice on this, depending on the Covid security measures taking a bit longer. But it is nonetheless true that it is not necessary to arrive well in advance to join a huge queue winding on the sidewalk. If you don’t need to collect your tickets, you can usually show up 10 minutes before the curtain. Arrive earlier if you want to use the washroom, where the wait for women can be long.
In a car?
Save yourself the headache and reserve a parking space through one of the many apps, such as BestParking, ParkWhiz and SpotHero. Lincoln Center also offers its own reserved parking online. Still, plan for more driving time than you think you need, especially during the holidays. Not all shows admit late arrivals. When they do, latecomers risk taking a shameful walk with a bailiff – and sneaking into their row in the dark.
Navigate Times Square
One advantage of going through Times Square: lots of outdoor seating. One downside: the jostled but numb mass of humanity that you will find yourself a part of. If you have to go through it, Single File is the way to go. Elsewhere, on the edge of the Theater District, foot traffic on the west side of Eighth Avenue moves faster than on the crowded east side. Likewise, walking north or south on Sixth Avenue, then west to your theater, may be faster.
Find a green space
Bryant Park, one of Manhattan’s most beautiful oases, is located just one block east of Times Square on 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue. A shady, picnic-friendly spot with an expansive lawn and plenty of bistro tables around the edges, it’s a relaxing place to catch your breath and, if you like, buy something to eat or drink.
At the show and after
What to wear
There is no dress code. If you’re in the mood for glamor, so much the better. If your mood calls for jeans, which a lot of New Yorkers wear for shows, you’ll adapt, too. Just bring something to throw over your shoulders in case the theater gets cold. And if you are wearing a hat, be nice to the people behind you. Remove it inside.
A commendably comprehensive and easy to navigate website, access theater.nyc, can tell you everything you need to know – theater by theater, show by show – about wheelchair access (from the sidewalk), friendliness for people with autism and accommodation for people with visual needs and special hearing aids.