How to Get Free and Discounted Tickets to Shows at Lincoln Center

lincoln-centerThe Upper West Side is blessed with one of the greatest cultural meccas in all of NYC–no, scratch that–all of the WORLD. Lincoln Center, I’m talking about you!

Lincoln Center’s campus is home to all the arts in one beautiful setting: dance, music, film, opera, theater, as well as festivals and events. A good number of the events at Lincoln Center are free (just check out their daily calendar for a listing of events, free and otherwise), but others can definitely set you back a pretty penny. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up ways to score discounted tickets to performances, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and (you guessed it!), enjoy the show.

An overview of one of Lincoln Centers stages
Photo Credit:

Rush Tickets 

As the name suggests, Rush Tickets are those that are bought semi-last minute, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at nicely discounted prices. This is a great option if you have some flexibility with your shows and dates, and also aren’t picky about where you will be sitting. Rush tickets are different from student rush (see student discounts below) in that you do NOT need to be a student/have a Student ID in order to purchase these tickets.

Metropolitan Opera: These are $25 each, with a maximum of 2 tickets purchased per order. They can be bought online, and prime seating is available.

NYC Ballet: These are $29, with a maximum of 2 tickets purchased the day of the performance at the box office. While you don’t need to be a student, per say, these are available ONLY to folks 29 and younger.

Crowd of people walking up the red carpet stairs of Lincoln Center
Photo Credit:

Open Rehearsals

An Open Rehearsal is a fascinating opportunity to glimpse the behind-the-scenes action of how performances are put together. You will be seeing the same performers that will be on stage later in the day, only for a fraction of the price. Flexibility in time is key here, however, as open rehearsals take place during daytime hours.

New York Philharmonic: These are $20 each, and may be purchased online, by phone, by mail, by fax, or in person at the David Geffen Hall Box Office.

NYC Ballet: If you have your free NYCID card, you are automatically eligible to attend working dress rehearsals for the ballet, which will be complimentary to you.

Box Office Discount Purchase

If you wait until the week you want to see a show, you can swing by the box office at the David Rubenstein Atrium and find tickets at a 25–50% discount to the New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center Theater, as well as the Big Apple Circus. The Atrium Lincoln Center website gives a list of “today’s discount tickets”, so you can see if there’s something that interests you before schlepping over.

A group of ballerinas in white tutus on stage at Lincoln Center
Photo Credit:

Julliard Performances

I like to think of Julliard as Lincoln Center’s little sister, featuring all the fabulous dance, drama, and music talent you’re sure to see popping up in a few years on the main stages of LC.  The Julliard campus is technically party of Lincoln Center, and the public can reserve free or inexpensive (typically $10-$30) tickets on their website.

Target Free Thursdays

Every Thursday at 7:30, Target Free Thursdays happens at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. The curated program features both national and international touring artists as well as local artists from around the New York metropolitan area. The series also features artists from Lincoln Center’s resident organizations including The Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Chamber Music Society, among others, along with artists curated by community-based partners. It’s a great way to get an idea of what performances you would want to splurge money for a ticket on!

Birds eye view of Lincoln Center at night with the city skyline in the background
Photo Credit:

And If You’re Under A Certain Age (Or Have A Student ID) You May Qualify For…

Chamber Music 360: If you’re between the ages of 21 to 29, you qualify for Chamber Music 360, which will get you a 3 pack concert subscription for $60. (Heads up students, you can get tickets for 50% off or buy rush tickets for $10! Don’t forget to bring a valid ID.)

LincTixIf you’re between the ages of 21 to 35 years old, you qualify for LincTix, Lincoln Center’s discount ticket program. The program is absolutely free to join, and gives you access to cheap tickets–ranging from $20-$32 for shows at the Vivian Beaumont, LCT3, Mitzi E. Newhouse and Claire Tow Theaters and on Broadway. In addition, being a member helps you get social (the old fashioned way) by giving you invitations to free post-show parties!

MyPhil: If you’re 35 or younger, you qualify for MyPhil, which will get you $35 concert tickets to the NY Philharmonic (with a minimum purchase of 3 concerts.)

Student DiscountsIf you have a student ID, you automatically qualify for steep discounts to all the Lincoln Center venues.  Most may be purchased at the box office the day of the event, but you can find a full run down of prices and rules broken up via venue here.

We’d love to know… do you have any secret tips for scoring discount tickets to shows at Lincoln Center?  Share your ways with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Posted in manhattan living, Upper West Side |