Guide to the best Broadway shows for kids in 2023
Read our expert guide to the best Broadway shows for families — including the top shows to see, what you should expect when you arrive, and more.
Going to the theatre is a great way to spend some quality time with family. It's a shared experience parents and kids can both enjoy which, unlike a movie night, gives everyone a break from their screens. So don't miss out on the best Broadway shows for kids in New York right now, and get Broadway tickets now.
Taking children to family-friendly shows is also the best way to instill in them a love of live entertainment which could last their whole life — and maybe even spark a desire to get involved in the arts themselves!
Not every Broadway show is best for families. A show like Chicago, though well-known, might not be appropriate for kids. But not all Broadway shows for kids are created equal, either. Some family-friendly shows are targeted at toddlers, some are better suited for middle schoolers and older, and some are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, young and old, depending on their length and subject matter. To help you decide among the best Broadway shows for families, read below for details on each show's content, length, and what to look out for. We've also answered all your questions about what families should expect at shows on Broadway and how to best prepare for a day at the theatre with your kids.
How old does my child need to be to attend a Broadway show?
Children ages 4 and older are allowed to attend Broadway shows. Broadway theatres do not permit children younger than 4 to enter, as very young children may not be able to sit through long shows and/or may make noise that can disturb other audience members.
How to dress your kids for the theatre
Broadway theatres don't have a set dress code, so you can dress your kids however you (or they) would like. If your family trip to the theatre is a special occasion, you can dress your children up in fancier clothing, but if you all want to wear everyday shirts and jeans, that's acceptable, too. Especially for kids, the most important thing is that their outfit is comfortable, so they don't get irritated mid-show. That said, avoid dressing your children in any kind of clothes or shoes that light up or make noise, so their outfit doesn't distract from the performance.
If your kid is a big fan of a show and wants to wear a costume or other clothing inspired by the characters, that's perfectly fine! Just make sure your child is comfortable in the outfit and that it doesn't include anything — like noisy accessories or a tall headpiece — that would interfere with other audience members' experience.
How early do I need to get to the theatre with kids?
It's best to get to the theatre early, especially with kids. We recommend arriving at the theatre about 30 minutes early, so you and your kids will all have time to use the bathroom, buy concessions, and find your seats before the show starts. Arriving early also gives you and the kids time to walk around the theatre — kids may be fascinated by the ornate decorations, the snacks and merchandise, and all the people, especially if they're in a theatre for the first time. Give them time to take it all in so they're not distracted when the show begins!
What to expect when going to the theatre with kids
Bags will be checked at the door, so be sure you aren't carrying any snacks or drinks for your kids. Most theatres will confiscate outside food, but concessions are available for purchase at Broadway theatres.
You can likely expect large crowds at a Broadway show, so make sure your kids don't get lost in the crowd while you're walking through the theatre to your seat, the bathroom, or the merchandise table. Kids might get easily distracted by the snacks, the fancy decorations in the theatre, or other kids — there will definitely be plenty of them at a family-friendly show!
On the flip side, there's a lot of activity that goes on in a theatre both before and during the show — loud noises, lots of movement, and bright lights. If the stimulation ever becomes too much for your child, you can step out into the lobby or bathroom with them at any time. However, you might not be allowed back into the theatre until intermission or a certain timed entry point during the show.
But above all, you can expect fun! Being with other families and seeing a story come to life with your kids is an experience unlike any other. You can expect lively dancing, music, and storytelling that will take you and your kids to a whole different world for a few hours, and you'll come away with a memory you'll all share forever.
What are the current Covid-19 guidelines for kids at Broadway shows?
Proof of vaccination is no longer required for children or adults at Broadway shows, and masking is also optional at most shows.Learn more about the most up-to-date vaccine protocols and Covid-19 safety measures for kids at Broadway shows.
Can I bring large bags or strollers to a show?
Broadway theatres do have coat checks for bulky items. However, not all Broadway theatre coat checks will store extremely large bags or strollers, and some Broadway coat checks have been closed since the pandemic. It is recommended that patrons leave large bags and strollers at home if at all possible, as there is little room to store these items at your seat.
Can I bring my own snacks into the show for my kids?
Each theatre's concessions policy is different. Some theatres allow outside concessions, while others will confiscate outside food and drink at the door. Still others only allow water bottles inside. Check the website of the theatre you're attending to find out its specific policy.
Can my kids meet the performers?
Kids are sometimes able to meet Broadway performers at the stage door after the show. Many shows have paused this practice since the pandemic to minimize contact between the performers and audiences. However, in general, performers may come out to sign programs and take pictures. This is not guaranteed, though, even at shows that still have the practice in place. It is up to each performer whether they want to greet fans after a show and is subject to change without warning at each performance.
Where can my family and I eat before Broadway a show?
There are tons of restaurants near Broadway theatres to choose from. Read our recommendations for the best Theatre District eateries for a pre- or post-show meal.
Do Broadway shows accommodate children with disabilities?
Broadway theatres have specific seating available for wheelchair users. This is the only universal accessibility measure on Broadway. Certain shows do, however, have specific performances that feature closed captions, sign language interpretation, or a "relaxed" experience with minimal sensory stimuli. These are not offered regularly at most Broadway shows, but Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway and Off-Broadway shows offer these types of performances, and certain shows have minimal flashy stimuli that is accessible to children with sensory limitations.
Why you should take kids to a Broadway show
There are so many reasons to take your kids to a Broadway show, or any live theatrical experience. For one, theatre is a great form of screen-free fun — they'll get all the immersive entertainment of an online game, and all the stories and songs that a children's movie or TV show has to offer, without staring at a phone or computer any more than they already do. Depending on what Broadway show you go to, your children might even be seeing their favorite story come to life!
Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre can also be a part of a larger family outing. You can't talk to your family much during a show, but you can make a whole day of your trip — go to other New York tourist attractions, go shopping, and grab a meal before or after your show. Combined with your trip to the theatre, all these activities will make for a memory that you and your kids can all share and cherish. If kids love the lights and sounds of a Broadway show, they're sure to love the lights and sounds of Times Square and the Theatre District!
Plus, taking children to the theatre while they're young can instill a lifelong passion for the arts. They might want to see more shows as they grow up, or even get involved in singing, dancing, or acting in their own home community.
So when you do take your kids to the theatre and need to pick from the many shows on Broadway, which show do you choose? Read below to learn more about the best Broadway shows for kids in 2023 and family-friendly Off-Broadway shows playing right now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Aladdin
Aladdin is at the New Amsterdam Theatre. See the beloved Disney film come to life in the Broadway musical adaptation, featuring all the characters and hit songs you know and love. You don't need a magic carpet to experience a whole new world at this show. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Aladdin on Broadway.
What is Aladdin about?
The titular character is an Arabian "street urchin" who dreams of winning over the beautiful Princess Jasmine, but she's only allowed to marry a nobleman. But Aladdin's chance comes when he stumbles upon a magic lamp, which contains a Genie that will grant him three wishes. He uses one of them to transform himself into the respectable, wealthy "Prince Ali," but he has to figure out, with his remaining wishes, how to keep from revealing his true identity, free the Genie from the lamp, and banish the evil vizier Jafar, who wants Jasmine for himself.
What ages is Aladdin appropriate for?
Aladdin is recommended for children ages 6 and older because the show is long, but the theatre admits children as young as 4 years old. The musical retains the family-friendly plot of the Disney film, so there is no content in the musical that would not be suitable for young children. Children are likely to be thrilled by the colorful costumes, high-energy dancing, and all-around beauty of watching a movie they love come to life!
How long is Aladdin?
Aladdin is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including one intermission. Though the show's content is targeted at all ages, Aladdin is a long musical, and the acts may be difficult for some very young children to sit through.
Get Aladdin tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Blue Man Group
What is Blue Man Group about?
Blue Man Group is a music-and-movement revue without any dialogue. The actors are "blue men" from outer space who are learning about Earth. Throughout the show, they try to figure out how a bunch of different objects work, including everything from paint-splattered drums to PVC pipes to Jell-O, and they even interact with the audience at various points.
What ages is Blue Man Group appropriate for?
Anyone older than 3 years old is allowed into the theatre, and the show is suitable for all ages. Since there is no dialogue, there is no language or content that wouldn't be appropriate for young children. Children are likely to enjoy the silly ways that the Blue Men try to use ordinary objects, as well as their fun onstage "science experiments" and the music they make with real and unconventional instruments. If you sit in the front, you might be in range for paint to splatter on you, but ponchos are provided to audiences in those seats. Children may love the mess, too!
How long is Blue Man Group?
Blue Man Group is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. The show is lively and moves along quickly, so even without an intermission, it is not too long for young children to sit all the way through.
Get Blue Man Group tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Gazillion Bubble Show
Gazillion Bubble Show is at New World Stages. This unique show combines bubble artistry with intricate lighting effects to create one dazzling spectacle for all ages. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Gazillion Bubble Show off Broadway.
What is Gazillion Bubble Show about?
Gazillion Bubble Show doesn't have a story like a traditional show; it's more like a circus act, where you go to marvel at the skill of performers doing cool tricks. In this show's case, the performers' specialty is creating beautiful patterns and art with bubbles all throughout the theatre. With the help of laser effects and colored lights, it almost looks as if the bubble shapes come to life!
What ages is Gazillion Bubble Show appropriate for?
Gazillion Bubble Show is recommended for ages 4 and up, but there is no age minimum to attend. Special tickets are available for children under 2 so they may sit in an adult's lap. The show may not be suitable for children who cannot handle a lot of stimulation at once, but otherwise, children who are captivated by lively lights, music, and movement will enjoy all that Gazillion Bubble Show has on display.
How long is Gazillion Bubble Show?
Gazillion Bubble Show is 1 hour and 10 minutes with no intermission. The show is short in order that children of all ages can enjoy it without getting restless or distracted in the middle.
Get Gazillion Bubble Show tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is at the Lyric Theatre. Previously a two-part show, this newest chapter in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has been reimagined as an epic one-part play with all the magic intact. If you and your family can't get enough of the books and movies, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is your chance to enter into the Wizarding World for yourself. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway.
What is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child about?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up where the last Harry Potter book left off: 19 years after Harry graduated from Hogwarts, when he's sending his own son, Albus, off to school. There, Albus meets Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy, and they become fast friends. The play sees the two going on a time-traveling adventure to fix some of the wrongs committed against Harry's peers. But when things go awry, long-dormant dark forces return to the Wizarding World, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione step in to help save the Wizarding World, and their children, once more.
What ages is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child appropriate for?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is recommended for ages 8 and up, but children as young as 4 years old are allowed in the theatre. The play is nearly four hours long, which very young children might not be able to sit through. The play contains some scary and dangerous situations as the main characters face the villains, but children who are old enough to read and understand the Harry Potter books can also see the show. They will likely be captivated by the special effects that bring the Wizarding World's magic to life, and they'll love seeing their favorite characters on stage in a brand-new story.
How long is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is 3 hours and 45 minutes, with one intermission. Though young children are allowed in the theatre, the show is very long, and very young children may have some difficulty sitting through each act.
Kids Theatre Guide to Sesame Street: The Musical
Sesame Street: The Musical returns to Theatre Row after a hit premiere in fall 2022. See the theatre transformed into Sesame Street as one of the most beloved children's TV shows of all time comes to life on stage. Fan-favorite characters like Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, and more are joined by special celebrity guests on stage at this Off-Broadway treat from the creators of Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation.
What is Sesame Street: The Musical about?
In Sesame Street: The Musical, an audience member unwittingly wanders backstage, where Elmo, Grover, and more are preparing to put on their stage show. They teach him all about the power of imagination and the fun of putting on a show. The stage show is like a Sesame Street TV episode, featuring segments where the characters learn basic reading and counting skills, plus how to befriend and accept one another. Brought to life with puppetry, the Sesame Street characters and celebrity guests will perform the show's hit songs plus new music by award-winning musical writers Tom Kitt and Helen Park.
What ages is Sesame Street: The Musical appropriate for?
Sesame Street: The Musical is for ages 3 and up. Like the Sesame Street TV show, the musical is appropriate for all ages, so it's a great choice for families looking to give kids their first live theatre experience. Even parents and older audiences, especially if they grew up with the TV show and want some nostalgic fun, will enjoy Sesame Street: The Musical, too.
How long is Sesame Street: The Musical?
Sesame Street: The Musical is 60 minutes long with no intermission. The show is designed to be short enough for even very young children to sit through, but the theatre has quiet areas where parents can take their children if they become restless.
Get Sesame Street: The Musical tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to The Lion King
The Lion King is at the Minskoff Theatre. Since opening on Broadway in 1997, the musical has become one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. The intricate, life-sized puppets worn by the actors to become the animal characters are a wholly unique theatrical innovation, and they continue to attract audiences of all ages to join the circle of life in the Broadway audience of The Lion King. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of The Lion King on Broadway.
What is The Lion King about?
Like the 1994 Disney movie of the same name, The Lion King stars a young lion cub, Simba, who is next in line to rule the Pride Lands of Africa after his father, Mufasa. But Mufasa's evil brother, Scar, wants to steal the throne, and he gets rid of Mufasa to do so. The young Simba is devastated, but as he grows up, he learns the confidence and leadership skills he needs to take his place as the rightful king.
What ages is The Lion King appropriate for?
The Lion King is recommended for children age 6 and older because the show is long, but the theatre admits children as young as 4 years old. The musical retains the family-friendly plot of the Disney film, so there is no content in the musical that would not be suitable for young children. Children are likely to be thrilled by the sight of seeing the movie come to life with larger-than-life puppets and costumes, and all the familiar songs they know, like "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "The Circle of Life."
How long is The Lion King?
The Lion King is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including one intermission. Though the show's content is targeted at all ages, The Lion King is long, which may be difficult for some very young children to sit through.
Get The Lion King tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to The Play That Goes Wrong
The Play That Goes Wrong is at New World Stages. This madcap murder mystery play-within-a-play is filled with physical comedy that'll keep audiences laughing nonstop, and marveling at the talented actors who do oh-so-well at making a show look like it's falling apart at every turn. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of The Play That Goes Wrong off Broadway.
What is The Play That Goes Wrong about?
The Play That Goes Wrong is about an amateur theatre troupe who are about to open their new murder mystery play. However, everything that could possibly go wrong does, and they have to muddle through countless obstacles just to make it to curtain call. Props disappear, actors disappear, the actors who are there forget their lines and trip over themselves, and the set comes crumbling down around them.
What ages is The Play That Goes Wrong appropriate for?
The Play That Goes Wrong is recommended for ages 8 and older. Younger children might not fully get the play-within-a-play concept or every detail of the plot, but they'll still have lots of fun laughing at the many gags and antics that the actors perform on stage. The comedy of people falling down, tripping, banging into things, and saying the wrong thing is funny for all ages.
How long is The Play That Goes Wrong?
The Play That Goes Wrong is 2 hours long, including one intermission. With each half being approximately an hour long, it's not too long for a child to sit through without a break.
Get The Play That Goes Wrong tickets now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Wicked
Wicked is at the Gershwin Theatre. Since premiering in 2003, this magical musical has become an audience favorite and is many theatre lovers' introduction to the world of Broadway. Children and adults who love the story of Dorothy in the land of Oz will enjoy this new look at the characters they think they know. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Wicked on Broadway.
What is Wicked about?
Wicked is a prequel to the classic story The Wizard of Oz. The main characters are Elphaba and Glinda, known as the "Good Witch" and the "Wicked Witch of the West" in The Wizard of Oz. Wicked sees the two become roommates and, later, best friends at university, and travel to meet the Wizard together. But when they find out that he might not be as "wonderful" as the citizens of Oz think, and Elphaba tries to expose the truth, the girls' friendship devolves. Glinda gets labeled "good" and Elphaba "wicked," and they can only be friends in secret.
What ages is Wicked appropriate for?
Wicked is recommended for ages 8 and up, but children as young as 4 years old are permitted in the theatre. Wicked includes an animated winged dragon, flying monkeys, and a large animated "head" that projects the Wizard's voice before he appears. Some of the characters end up in situations of danger, and there are some loud and sudden noises. Some young children may find these elements scary, though others will enjoy and be thrilled by them.
How long is Wicked?
Wicked is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The running time includes one 15-minute intermission, giving children a chance to stand up, move around, and talk about the show in the middle.
Get Wicked tickets now.
Gillian Russo has a B.A. in journalism and theatre from Fordham University. Her writing about theatre and the arts has been featured on New York Theatre Guide, TodayTix Insider, Broadway News, Plays To See, Backstage Magazine, and more.
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