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How to Buy Discount Theater Tickets in San Francisco

January 1, 2016 by Allie Linsey
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We’ve scoped out the theater scene in San Francisco for the best way to get discounted theater tickets, so you don’t have to. (To be honest, that’s why we created TodayTix; because there are tons of different options and we wanted to put everything in one place. Too busy to read? Tap here to download TodayTix now.)

Check out these tips and tricks for how to get the best deals on theater tickets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Go on a weekday.

Going to the theatre isn’t just a weekend activity. Some theatres have up to eight performances a week, and will sometimes lower ticket prices on weeknights. Before booking your Saturday night tickets at Beach Blanket Babylon, check your calendar for a weeknight instead and you might save a few dollars.

Rush a show.

ACT_SF

Several theaters have rush policies where day-of tickets become available at a reduced price. Broadway shows and national tours at SHN are often available day-of for $40 at on the TodayTix app and at the box office.

A.C.T. also makes several of their shows accessible through day-of mobile Rush on TodayTix. Some Rush programs are only available to certain groups (students, under 30s, military, teachers, theatre artists, etc.), so be sure to check the theatre’s website or give them a call if you have questions about your eligibility.

Visit a ticket booth.

TIX_SF

Theatre Bay Area, the non-profit arts service organization that serves thousands of theatres and theatre artists in the region, has a booth in Union Square for 50% off tickets around town. Stop by and you’ll find a wide variety of arts performances, and a portion of your purchase goes back to support Theatre Bay Area and the arts community.

Check out free Shakespeare in the Park and Pay-What-You-Can performances around town.

A summer visit to see Shakespeare’s classics performed outdoors at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is completely free. Occasionally, some theaters will do ‘Pay-What-You-Can’ nights, so watch out for those, too!

Get on those mailing lists.

Often theaters will send out special discount codes to their mailing list. So don’t be afraid to sign up for mailing lists at your favorite theaters and take advantage of those deals.

Be a student, or under 30, or a senior.

Basically, every theater offers some form of student pricing. Some student discounts are slashed extremely, and others have Rush programs exclusive to students or under 30 patrons. Berkeley Rep sells their tickets online and in advance for 50% to under 30 patrons, an especially convenient way for young theatergoers to access shows at a lower price.

Use a military discount.

…Only if you’ve served in the military, obviously. Theatres like Berkeley RepMarin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and Aurora Theatre Company, are just a few of the many institutions that will thank you for your service with a special discount.

Consider membership.

Almost every theater offers some sort of subscription or membership option for their most loyal fans. If you find yourself going back again and again to your favorite theatre, a subscription or membership might help you see more theater at a better price.

Get up to 50% off tickets straight from your phone.

TodayTix Splash screen SF

TodayTix is a mobile app for last-minute theater tickets. It allows users to search available shows and buy tickets for performances occurring the same day or up to seven days in advance from their phones. It’s available for iOS and Android. With TodayTix’s referral program, whenever a friend or family member uses your code, they get $10 off their first purchase and you get a $10 credit. Some shows on TodayTix even have lottery or rush programs for extra special deals.

Convince your boss to hook you up.

Every theatre likes groups, especially big group corporate ones. Have your company organize a group outing, or make it official at SHN by joining the Corporate Club for discount tickets to every show at the Golden Gate and Orpheum Theatres.

Go during previews.

Many theaters have special preview pricing before a show technically opens. These preview performances mean you’ll be seeing the show before reviews come out, and you’ll be one of the first audiences at a new production.

Do your research.

Plenty of third-party websites offer discounts to a variety of shows around town.  SF FunCheap is a good resource for theaters to get the word out about their special initiatives, including occasional free and pay-what-you-can performances.

Get a group together.

The hassle of wrangling 10-15 of your closest friends to all go do something together on one night may outweigh the benefits of a group rate, but, if you’re planning a group outing, make sure to inquire about group rates. Most theaters offer discounts for large groups.

Just pay full price.

Many intimate theaters price their tickets at less than $35. These small theaters are rarely profiting from ticket sales, they’re just making sure they have enough to cover costs and produce more shows. If you like their shows and can afford a full price ticket, they’ll thank you for the support!

Go old school and call the box office.

Calling a box office may feel so 1990, but if you want to see a show and don’t feel like researching all your discount options online, call the theatre and ask what they recommend. They’ll probably point you in the right direction!

 

Looking to buy theater tickets in other cities? Check out our guides to getting discount theater tickets in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
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