You can find it all in New York City. Broadway has the over-the-top musicals featuring the faces and monikers that grace flashing marquees. Off-Broadway brings you emerging productions and aspiring stars. And then there are the theaters that exist somewhere beyond the bright lights but are every bit as worthy of your interest. Yes, there is nothing like the theater experience in NYC. Whether you are interested in a production on Broadway, Off-Broadway or somewhere beyond, you are going to want to do New York City right. Here are five tips to enjoying the theater…NYC-style:

1) Score the tickets

First, the good news: You’ll always be able to get theater tickets. After all, there are hundreds of productions taking place every night all over town. The not-so-good news is that tickets for long-running or white-hot shows can be hard to come by. But they are still out there. If you are able, purchasing tickets weeks or months in advance is your best bet. Otherwise, shoot for a mid-week show. And if that is not an option, stop by a TKTS Discount Booth for last-minute, day-of offerings, which are often surprisingly plentiful and deeply discounted.

2) What to wear

Surprisingly, there is no dress code for Broadway shows. During the summer months, it is not uncommon to see people in shorts and even T-shirts. Comfort is an important factor, especially if you are going to be standing in line or watching from standing-room seats. Make sure you are wearing the right shoes. What you decide to wear might also be determined by where you plan to do your pre- or post-show dining.

3) Do a little dining 

Aside from the show itself, one of the best parts of the New York theater experience is the pre-theater meal; and the options in Midtown are bountiful. Check out Restaurant Row on West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. You will find Italian, Latin, French and more.  Pro tip: When you call to make your dining reservation, let them know your curtain time. They will make sure you make it to your show.

4) Do a little stargazing

The stars are always out on Broadway, and waiting by the stage door to score a post-show autograph or a photo has become a New York City tradition. Make sure you are prepared with your autograph book or the Playbill. And bring a pen or Sharpie with you. If you really want to spend some time with your favorite Broadway superstar, stop by Joe Allen on Restaurant Row. Many performers have been known to stop by after their plays.

5) Get off the beaten track

Broadway productions get all the attention, but you shouldn’t overlook Off-Broadway shows. Many award-winning productions launched in Off-Broadway theaters, and many major stars frequently work outside the glare of the Broadway’s brightly shining lights. So don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track. You just might see the next big thing before it makes headlines.

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