Aladdin Broadway show

12 Tips for Watching a Broadway Show with Kids (local mom tips)

Are you planning to take your kids to watch a Broadway show? I recently took my kids to watch a Broadway show, our first time back at a Broadway show since the pandemic. Here are my tips for watching a Broadway show with kids.

On 42nd street outside New Amsterdam Theater
On 42nd street outside New Amsterdam Theater

1. Watch a Matinee 

It’s best to watch a matinee show with kids because Broadway shows are really long. I took my kids to watch Aladdin which is one of the more kid-friendly Broadway shows but it still started at 8 pm, which in my opinion, is a late start for kids. I don’t know about you but my kids have a 8:30 pm bedtime, so an 8 pm Broadway show is really late for us. Aladdin was a two and a half hour broadway show, so by the time we were done watching, it was 10:30 pm. My son was tired and cranky towards the end of Aladdin. Then we still have to drive back to our home in the New York suburbs. We didn’t get home until close to midnight! 

2. Watch Age Appropriate Broadway Shows

To make it most enjoyable for you and your kids, make sure you are watching an age-appropriate Broadway show. Lots of Broadway shows can be scary for little kids. For example, when we watched Aladdin, you’d think it’s a Disney Broadway show so it’s should be kid friendly but there are actually scary parts and loud noises that can be too scary for little kids under 7 years old! 

3. Splurge on Good Seats

Broadway shows are expensive but it is worth it to splurge on good seats. The seats in the Upper Mezzanine may be cheaper but it’s hard to see the stage when you are seated so far up and away! Trust me, get the best seats you can afford, it’s worth it!

Aladdin Broadway show
Aladdin Broadway show

4. Go to the Theater at least 30 minutes before the Show Starts

It’s best to go early to the theater, go at least 30 minutes before showtime. You want to make sure you have enough time to get through security and bag check before the show starts. It’s best not to feel rushed- give yourself plenty of time to get settled in the theater. I like going to the theater early so we have time to read the Playbill and to look around the theater. Many Broadway show theaters are historical and beautiful, it’s nice to have time to just sit back, relax and admire the theater.

5. Use the Bathroom Before the Show

Make sure your kids use the bathroom before the show. It’s best not to go to the bathroom during intermission because the line can get really long during intermission, Go to the theater early so you have time to use the bathroom before the show. 

6. Read the Playbill

Read the Playbill with the kids. My kids love reading the bios and looking at the photos of the actors and actresses. There are also trivia and fun facts in the Playbill that are interesting for kids. Make sure to bring home the Playbill after the show. If your kids are like mine, they will want to read the Playbill cover to cover when they get back home! 

7. Have a Snack During the Intermission

Broadway shows are long. It’s a good idea to plan for a snack during the show. Most theaters don’t allow outside food, so plan to splurge on an overpriced snack item at the concession stand (buy it before the show starts to avoid the long lines during intermission)! It’s a fun treat for the kids! Or if you have candy in your purse, your kids will probably need it in the second act!

8. Grab a Quick Bite at Times Square Before the Broadway Show

Most Broadway show theaters are in the Times Square area. Before your show, go grab a quick bite in Times Square. There are so many kid-friendly fast food restaurants in Times Square. There’s a Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, Five Guys Burger, and Smashburger in the Times Square area. I took my kids to Jollibee for fried chicken. They loved the fried chicken and spaghetti at Jollibee. I prefer taking the kids to a fast food restaurant over a sit-down restaurant that way it’s not so rushed and you can easily get to the theater early.

9. Walk Around Times Square Before or After Your Broadway Show

Since you are already in Times Square, make time to explore Times Square, go early, or if you are watching a matinee, plan to stay after the show. There are so many things to see and do in Times Square and it’s a lot of fun for kids. Your kids will be mesmerized by the bright billboards all over Times Square. Visit the Hershey’s Store and the M&M store. 

10. Listen to the Soundtrack or Watch the Movie Before the Show

It’s a good idea to prepare your kids before watching the Broadway show. Give them a backstory of what the show is about, let them listen to the soundtrack ahead of time, read the book, or watch the movie before the Broadway show. That way, they know the characters and what to expect when they watch the show. I like to play the soundtrack in my car on repeat so the kids will know the songs by the time they are watching the Broadway show. It makes it a more enjoyable experience for them if they know the songs and the story in advance.

11. Teach Your Kids Broadway Show Etiquette Before the Show

Make sure you teach your kids Broadway show etiquette (especially if it’s their first time watching a Broadway show). Teach your kids not to kick the seat in front of them, they can’t stand up during the show, no talking during the show, no singing during the show and no getting up to go to the bathroom until intermission. Let them know what to expect- that there are 2 acts and there is a 15 minute intermission in between the acts and that they hold their applause until the end of the show. Explain to them what a standing ovation is! My kids had a lot of fun when they experienced their first standing ovation!

Aladdin Broadway show
Aladdin Broadway show

12. Plan an Overnight Stay

Broadway shows end late, it’s best to stay overnight nearby. Make it easy for you, and check-in to a hotel near Times Square. The last thing you want to do is to have to go back to your New Jersey hotel after a Broadway show! 

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