This year might be the year for the kids’ first Disney On Ice show, or the local production of “A Christmas Carol” or “The Nutcracker.” There are so many enticing ways to break up all our screen time with some classic live family entertainment during the holidays, but it also happens to be the most spendiest time of the year.
If you want a good deal on tickets to live kids and family shows during the holiday season, there are a few ways to hone your ticket-search to give you a chance at the most affordable seats.
Go early—or really late
Most folks are going to want to attend a Christmas-themed show after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. So looking to attend before Thanksgiving might be helpful (hurry up and book tickets for tonight!) … or you could extend the holiday cheer beyond Dec. 25.
As an example, Stephen Spiewak, content marketing manager for Vivid Seats, compared prices on its site for the popular Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes in New York City. “Eleven of the 12 most affordable performances all take place before Thanksgiving,” Spiewak says. “The other show? On New Year’s Eve … Ticket prices are about a third cheaper on New Year’s Eve than a week earlier on Christmas Eve.”
The time of day matters, too. Morning and matinee performances are traditionally less expensive, but a late-night showing can also be more affordable.
“The best value is late-night—10 p.m. on Friday,” Spiewak says. “Too late for most kiddos, but perhaps an option for families with older children or those staying at a nearby hotel.”
Not all days are created equal
You can probably guess that tickets for weekday shows are going to be more affordable than weekend options. Generally speaking, Monday through Thursdays are going to be the cheapest days to attend a show. If it’s gotta be a weekend, though, Sunday afternoon will likely be a better choice than Friday evening, Spiewak says.
“For example, over Thanksgiving weekend,” he says, “the median listed price for the Sunday afternoon performance is 10% less than on Friday.”
Saturday shows in general are going to be the most coveted—and therefore, the most expensive. In particular, don’t bother at all with Saturday, Dec. 7; the first Saturday of December is exactly the day that basically everyone is looking for some live holiday action. It’s after Thanksgiving, it’s before the last-minute Christmas rush, it’s in that mid-weekend sweet spot, and it will cost you.
Look for ‘Kids Nights’
Beyond the holidays, if you’re looking for more affordable ways to take your kids to see live shows, look for events marketed as “Kids Night.” The annual “Kids Night on Broadway” event, for example, will take place on February 25 (with tickets going on sale in December) if you’re in the New York City area. Kids ages 18 and under get in for free with a full-paying adult. As a bonus, there will be lots of kids at these types of events, which is particularly helpful if it’s their first time at a live show and you’re not sure how quiet you can keep them.
You may find similarly marketed events in your area; there are a few listed here, but you can also contact your local theater to inquire.
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