Are you wondering what to wear to a Broadway show? Seeing a show on Broadway should be on everyone’s New York City bucket list, but many people worry about how to dress for a Broadway show and the Broadway dress code. In this guide we will tell you what to wear to the theater in New York alongside information on which shows you can dress up for.
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Is there a Broadway Dress Code?
The good news is that there isn’t an official Broadway dress code and very few New York theaters actually have a published dress code..
Generally speaking most people who are going to the theater on Broadway will wear either a smart casual or casual dress code.
I would say generally speaking you will see more casual attire at matinees, mainly because people will be doing other sightseeing on the same day. While at night many people dress slightly fancier and will adhere to a smart casual dress code.
Formal wear definitely isn’t required for any theater show on Broadway.
For guidance on what to wear to other New York venues with dress codes check out the below posts:
Considerations for how to dress for Broadway shows
So now you know that there is no Broadway theater dress code, what should you consider when looking at how to dress for Broadway shows.
Are you going to a matinee or evening show
Generally speaking you will find most people going to a matinee on Broadway will dress casually. For instance you will see lots of jeans and sweaters and even t shirts in the summer months.
That is because most people who are attending the matinees will also be doing more sightseeing as part of their itinerary.
While at night most people stick with a smart casual dress code but this is not expected or enforced. For this reason we recommend packing whatever you are most comfortable in.
Weather should dictate your New York outfits no matter the time of year you are visiting including on the day you are going to see on a show on Broadway.
For more information on what to wear for the weather in New York check out our month specific guides:
- What to wear in New York in January
- What to wear in New York in February
- What to wear in New York in March
- What to wear in New York in April
- What to wear in New York in May
- What to wear in New York in June
- What to wear in New York in July
- What to wear in New York in August
- What to wear in New York in September
- What to wear in New York in October
- What to wear in New York in November
- What to wear in New York in December
New York is a city best seen on foot, so footwear is an important factor in any NYC packing list. Therefore don’t worry about wear smart shoes or heels for the theater in New York. Sneakers, sandals, boots and flat shoes are all acceptable for the theater shows on Broadway.
Leave the big bags at home
There is not much space in theater stalls on Broadway, especially at the older and unrenovated theaters.
Also there are security checks at NYC theater entrances. Therefore to save time and space it is important to bring with you only the essentials and limit your bag size.
What to wear to Broadway in Summer
Broadway theaters in summer can be hot and many New York theaters don’t have air conditioning and therefore can become very hot places in summer.
Therefore we recommend wearing whatever is comfortable in the heat. We recommend:
Maxi Dress and Maxi Skirts
These are comfortable in the heat and protect your legs on the seats.
Trousers and Blouses
Loose trousers and blouses made of natural fabric are good in hot places and look smart for evenings at the theater.
What to wear to Broadway in Winter
The number one thing to remember when putting together you London theater in winter outfits is packing for the weather. New York in winter is very cold and rainy, and can even be snowy so be sure your outfit can cope with this weather.
When I visit the theater in Winter I wear
Jumper and Jeans
This is my go to matinee outfit for Broadway in Winter
Dress and Tights
A dress with thick tights is perfect for evenings at Broadway theaters when people tend to dress smarter.
What to wear to Broadway in Fall and Spring
Depending on the month you are visiting depends whether you should lean more towards the Winter or Summer outfit.
If you are visiting in one of the shoulder seasons check the weather just before you travel and dress accordingly for the weather.
Should I dress up to go to the theater in London?
While you don’t have to dress up in formal clothes or smart casual clothes for the theater on Broadway, there are also shows where people will dress up to go.
There are no shows that require you to dress up but shows where you may see people dress up at include:
- Beauty and the Beast
- Six the Musical
to name but a few.
However even at shows where people do dress up, it is not a requirement.
FAQs about what to wear to Broadway
Is there a Broadway dress code?
Though many people expect there to be a dress code at Broadway theaters the truth is there isn’t. Therefore dress for the weather and time of year when looking for the perfect theater outfit.
Can I wear jeans to the theater on Broadway?
Yes, the good news is that you can wear jeans to the theater in Broadway. As there is no Broadway dress code you are fine to wear jeans.
They are more commonly seen at matinees and I have personally worn jeans to Broadway shows.
What to wear to Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes Musical Spectacular?
If you have tickets and are wondering what to wear to Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular?
Well the good news is that there is no dress code here as with all other Broadway theater shows. Jeans and sweaters are fine as are dresses with thick tights. The main thing to remember is that you need to dress for the weather outside most importantly.
You could also add some festive touches or sparkles to make your outfit more festive.
And if you are traveling further afield in New York state don’t forget to check out our other guides:
Do you have any other questions about what to wear to Broadway shows? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.