Chicago Theater Ticket Deals and Discounts. Chicago has many excellent theater from small storefront theater companies to Broadway caliber productions, but tickets can be expensive. For decades I’ve utilized multiple ways to get discount theater tickets and now I’m combining them all into one post.
Four tips for getting the best deals on Chicago theater tickets:
- Be flexible. If you’re trying to get tickets to a popular show it may be easier to go on a Wednesday matinee or a week night performance rather than Saturday night.
- Check early for tickets and then check back frequently. Sometimes the best deals are offered well in advance of the performance and other times they become available later, if ticket sales are slower than expected. Discount tickets may sell out, and then more discount tickets will become available closer to the performance.
- Make sure the deal is really a deal. Some deals offered by discount sites are the same deal you can get directly from the theater if you buy in advance at the box office or buy less popular performances such as Wednesday matinees. It’s always advisable to determine what the regular tickets prices are for an event, including fees, so you’ll know if you’re actually getting a deal. You should also check box office prices, where there are no fees, so you know how much you’re saving.
- Check multiple sites. A deal that is sold out on one discount site may not be sold out on another. Or a slightly different package may be available at a discount. Deals change frequently also based on ticket sale volume.
Here is the Chicago on the Cheap guide to getting the best deals and discounts on theater tickets.
See our latest posts on free theater events, deals and discounts here.
Goldstar contracts with performing arts companies and venues in and around Chicago to sell unsold tickets at a discount, often 50 percent off and sometimes more. Sometimes you get the best deal if you buy in advance, but sometimes you can get a deal the day of the show. You usually receive e-tickets, which you can print out or show on your mobile device. (Make sure you read the directions because different venues set different rules.) There is a small service fee, which is disclosed before you buy the ticket. There are no hidden fees.
Find all the Goldstar theater deals in Chicago plus other event discounts here.
Hot Tix is Goldstar’s competition and this website has an affiliate arrangement with Goldstar. So don’t tell them I’ve mentioned Hot Tix!. I’ve actually have used every discount ticket method I’m including in this post except HotTix.
Hot Tix sells half price tickets to a wide variety of theatre productions for the current week as well as future performances. Hot Tix discounted tickets are available at their outlet locations in downtown Chicago as well as online. Hottix is owned by the League of Chicago Theatres so it’s only going to include discounts for member theaters.
72 E. Randolph, (Between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue, across the street from Chicago Cultural Center) Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-4pm
108 N. State, (in Block Thirty Seven Shops on State, first floor Guest Services) Open every day: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. You can also purchase tickets online here.
Find all the Hottix theater deals in Chicago here or at one of their outlets.
3. Today Tix app
TodayTix is another discount theater ticket website and app that we can put in our arsenal to save money on theater tickets. Sixty percent of their sales are actually full-price or premium tickets available at the last minute.
Find out about TodayTix here.
4. Broadway in Chicago Rush Seats
Some shows have $25 Day-of-Show Rush Tickets available for sale at the theater box office. The $25 is all in – no additional fees. Sometimes you have to pay cash. The rules vary for each show.
The last show I did this with offered ten day-of rush tickets. Limit two tickets per person. Tickets retailed for $67-$77. So 63% off. Cha-ching! The box office opened at 11 AM. I arrived at 9:30AM and was all alone until about 11:30AM when an SUV pulled up and four adults got out and got in line. They planned to buy 8 tickets! So with my two plus their eight that was it. Other people started to walked up and they were ticked off! The early bird always catches the worm! You snoozey you losey!
You can email Broadway in Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org and sometimes they’ll tell you how many tickets will be available. My advice is to arrive super early and bring something to read. If you don’t want to stand bring a portable chair.
Find all the Broadway in Chicago Day-of-Show Rush Tickets deals and rules here.
5. Last minute tickets from the box office
Several theaters including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Harris Theater offer last minute tickets at a steep discount. Some can be bought online, some over the phone and some in person only.
6. Attend a preview performance.
Many theaters offer discount tickets for preview performances that are performances where they are working out any issues before the official opening of the show. You can email or call the box office to see if they
7. Broadway in Chicago $25 on 25th
On the 25th of each month, beginning at 12:01AM CST BIC offers $25 tickets for one show. This method goes through Ticketmaster so additional fees apply. The promo code is only visible if you “Like” BIC on Facebook. Supplies for this promotion are limited and tickets will run out quickly. Read more about it here.
Find all the Broadway in Chicago $25 on 25 deals and rules here.
8. Costco Discount Theater Vouchers
Costco sells two vouchers for orchestra seats at Broadway in Chicago theater performances for $99. The vouchers can be used for select shows on select dates.
Find out about Discount theater tickets from Costco here.
While Ticketmaster’s fees are heinous they actually have monthly deals from TicketWeb including BOGO, 50% off, tickets under $10, two-for-one tickets and four packs of tickets at a discounted rate.
Find all the Ticketmaster theater deals here.
10. Get on the mailing list
Many theaters email or send the dreaded paper flyers with discount and promo codes and other special offers.
11. Check your credit card company
I get offers and access to pre-sales all the time from Amex. That’s how I got my Hamilton tickets. Visa, Mastercard and Discover have perks that include entertainment options also. You will have to log in to your account and sign up for offers.
12. Organize a group
Most theaters offer a discount if you have a group of ten or more. Before you go through the hassle of getting ten or more people to agree on a date contact the theater group sales department to find out how their group rates work. You may be restricted to certain performances. Additionally I would collect all the money up front before I shelled out a thousand or more dollars for theater tickets!
13. Become a member
You always pay less per ticket with a membership. If you don’t want to attend all shows consider splitting them with another couple or a friend.
I rarely see Chicago theater deals on Groupon though sometimes they have concerts, festivals and other entertainment events. Like Goldstar the best deals may come early or later or may disappear only to reappear closer to the performance date. The Groupon price almost always includes all service fees, so the price you’ll see is the price you pay. You can sometimes earn credit by sharing the deal with friends after you purchase.
Find all the Groupon theater deals in Chicago plus other event discounts here.
15. Student, senior and military discounts
If you are a student you can get a discount at many theaters. Most theaters restrict the purchase to one ticket and you will have to show your ID at Will Call.
16. Hamilton Digital Lottery
Get in the habit of signing up every morning at 9AM and at 10:30AM if available. Read about how my friend got two $497 each orchestra seats for $10 here. Also while not a discount you may be able to get face value tickets here. TodayTix’s app allows you to set up a notification when they have tickets available. Those tickets will also be full price.