Top 10 list: Best Broadway Theatres in New York City. Theatre ranking based on size, history, design and audience experience


There are 46 Broadway theatres in NYC and each one is impressive in its own way. Any one of them could probably be considered the best theatre in any other part of the world, but this is NYC and the standards are high. This article ranks the best Broadway theatres with No.1 being the best and No.10 as the tenth best. The ranking takes into account a number of factors including; the size of the theatre, the design, the history, seat size, comfort, the bar, what kind of shows appear and who the landlord is.

1. Lyric Theatre

Lyric Theatre Inline
Lyric Theatre on Broadway-Street View

The Lyric Theatre is the No.1 theatre on Broadway for many reasons. The Lyric has hosted some of the most popular Broadway shows in history and it remains a Broadway powerhouse. The theatre is massive in size and does not cut corners on any of its features. This theatre has some of the best lighting and sound systems on the Great White Way and trains some of the best theatre staff on Broadway. To accommodate good traffic flow, the Lyric Theatre has two entrances, with one that is heavily decorated and another that is lit up very well and looks quite modern, the experience is like walking into a modern hotel. The inside of the theatre is large and immaculate, with two tiers of seating beyond the large orchestra section. They call their mezzanine a “dress circle”, but keep the balcony name the same. The actual theatre stage area is quite substantial and is reasonably deep for complex shows that can bring in special staging. This allows for some amazing visual effects that other theatres cannot accommodate and Spider-Man and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, were both able to use intensive “fly over the audience” mechanisms. Inside the theatre, there is a private bar called “The Ambassador Lounge”. The bar often goes undiscovered by theatregoers, because the entrance to it is hidden behind a golden curtain. The exclusive, private lounge is perfect for pre-show cocktails or for pre-ordering a drink that will be ready and waiting, at the time of the show’s intermission. There are also new, comfortable seats in the theatre. While they are the standard red theatre seat color, they are wider and deeper than what is commonly seen on Broadway and make for a comfortable viewing experience.

Size: 1829 seats
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year opened: 1903

2. New Amsterdam Theatre

New Amsterdam Theatre Inline
New Amsterdam Theatre-Broadway street view

While it is not the best Broadway theatre, The New Amsterdam Theatre is still quite impressive, it is breathtakingly large and has an interesting past. With a history unlike any other Broadway theatre, the New Amsterdam definitely deserves this spot at No. 2 of the Best Broadway Theatres. The theatre was abandoned for over 20 years and after the roof had caved in, the building was left for dead up until Disney stepped in and saved the historic landmark and turned it into the Broadway jewel that it is today. The theatre has a large 1990’s styled front metal marquee with a boxy/square analog clock on top of it. The inside of the theatre is luxurious and follows a white and gold themed design. Many detailed and hand painted murals cover the walls and ceilings of the theatre giving it an exquisite feel. The seats are white felt, have a wood trim, they are quite comfortable to sit in, as well. The New Amsterdam Theatre also has a state of the art lighting system and a powerful speaker/sound system, which greatly help with the live theatre experience and sets this theatre apart from all the other great Broadway theatres.

Size: 1801 seats
Landlord: Disney Theatrical Productions
Year opened: 1903

3. Gershwin Theatre

Gershwin Theatre Inline
Gershwin Theatre-Broadway under theatre street view

The Gershwin theatre has hosted some of the best and longest running shows on Broadway. It is also the largest theatre on Broadway with over 1,900 seats, making it extremely difficult to operate. For this reason alone, The Gershwin Theatre deserves the white third-place-ribbon for being one of the best Broadway theatres. This theatre is very large, but it has an average looking exterior, that is its only downside. The modern exterior has a plain black facade and has an outdoor ceiling with bright inline lights, which shine over the theatre’s box office. All of the theatre’s seats are covered in a black heavy-suede material and are particularly comfortable to sit in. There are chandeliers high in the ceiling and they have a rustic look to them, although also daunting and a bit different from all the other fancy Broadway theatre chandeliers. The theatre may be huge, but is still surprisingly able to deliver a personal experience due to its well designed layout.

Size: 1935 seats
Landlord: The Paramount Group
Year opened: 1972

4. Winter Garden Theatre

Winter Garden Theatre Inline
Winter Garden Theatre-Broadway street view

The Winter Garden Theatre is an amazing theatre for many reasons. It has the best looking theatre interiors for theatre management to work with and features a one-of-a-kind lighting system that helps make the show experience more immersive for theatregoers. The stage is hydraulic and can be moved out over the audience during a show, which no other theatre can achieve. This unique feature has been used by many popular shows that included Cats and Rocky. While the seats are not as comfortable as other Broadway theatres, this theatre has one of the best live show viewing experiences on Broadway. With these features together, the Winter Garden Theatre is awarded No. 4 best Broadway theatre. The theatre has the largest marquee on Broadway, it is all black and it hangs over the outside of the theatre, over the theatre's box office and well over the sidewalk. The inside of the theatre has a dark reddish brown color scheme and has yellow accented design patterns which cover the walls and ceilings. The look is simple, standard and elegant, and allows productions to heavily decorate the theatre’s interior.

Size: 1533 seats
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year opened: 1911

5. Majestic Theatre

Majestic Theatre Inline
Majestic Theatre-Broadway street view

The Majestic Theatre has objectively the most stylish and well designed theatre interior, out of all of the Broadway theatres. The interior follows an all-black-and-gold theme and has spectacular hand-carved sculptures and designs that cover its walls and ceilings and make it look like a 19th century European castle. The Majestic Theatre is most commonly known for its enormous size, and one-of-a-kind theatre staff, who are uncanningly nice and knowledgeable about the theatre. The Majestic also has luxury heavy black suede seats that are cushy and quite comfortable. For these reasons, The Majestic Theatre is undoubtedly worthy of being in the top 5 when compared to all of the best theatres on Broadway.

Size: 1645 seats
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year opened: 1927

6. Minskoff Theatre

Minskoff Theatre Inline
Minskoff Theatre-Broadway under theatre walkway view

The Minskoff Theatre has hosted many classic Broadway shows, including; the original West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and The Lion King. Because of its history and its whimsical exterior design, this theatre is ranked highly, in the No. 6 position on this Best Broadway Theatres list. The Minskoff Theatre is known for its iconic outdoor theatre entrance area, that has black columns with yellow glowing lights that light up the entire theatre entrance in a one-of-a-kind way. The concession area of the theatre is the largest out of all the Broadway theatres and has friendly sales people who work in it. The stage of the theatre itself is large but quite standard looking, with little to no designs or decorative features that make it stand out, which gives the productions a lot of creative freedom. The theatre seats are adequate but, old and could use an update and there is only one balcony seating section for the audience to sit in, despite the large size of the theatre.

Size: 1621 seats
Landlord: The Nederlander Organization
Year opened: 1973

7. Marquis Theatre

Marquis Theatre Inline
Marquis Theatre-Broadway street view

The Marquis Theatre is futuristic-looking on the outside and even better on the inside. The Marquis Theatre could be on this list just for its impressive design alone. The Marquis Theatre features a sharp edged metal awning which makes this theatre one of the coolest looking Broadway theatres from the outdoor street perspective. The front facing facade is light gray and metallic, which is what gives the theatre its sleek and futuristic look. The ceiling over the theatre’s box office is also metallic and has speckled lights which shine throughout it. The interior of the theatre is grandiose and large and offers great seats with ample leg room and good sight lines from most locations. The Marquis Theatre also has three bars/concession stands located on the first floor, as well as one on the mezzanine level that are equipped with great bartenders for theatregoers to go. Theatregoers can go to them to pre-order drinks and cocktails before the start of the show and will have their drinks delightfully made and ready for them at the time of the shows intermission. The theatre’s mixologist has also crafted a specialized menu with fun, New York and Broadway show themed drinks on it for patrons.

Size: 1615 seats
Landlord: The Nederlander Organization
Year opened: 1986

8. Lunt Fontanne Theatre

Lunt Fontanne Theatre
Lunt Fontanne Theatre-Broadway street view

The Lunt-Fontanne Broadway Theatre is known for its great looking exterior and its fantastic Broadway show productions that have performed there. It is definitely a top 10 Broadway theatre due to its superior staging area and ability to host a variety of different kinds of shows. The outside of the theatre has a notable theatre marquee and its awning features artistic golden beveled stripes that go around it. There are six vertical banners over the theatre’s awning which productions change as they when they come in, for marketing purposes. There are bright golden lights that shine at the banners, also lighting up at the exterior of the Broadway theatre and makes the theatre almost glow at night. The inside of the theatre is quite simple, which allow for productions to change it as they please. The walls are beige colored, with white and light yellow accent pieces that run vertically up them. There is also, a high-tech theatre lighting system installed in the theatre, as well as spacious seating for the audience to be comfortable during performances.

Size: 1509 seats
Landlord: The Nederlander Organization
Year opened: 1910

9. Lyceum Theatre

Lyceum Theatre Inline
Lyceum Theatre-Broadway street view

The Lyceum Theatre is unique and monumental for a Broadway theatre. It has a long history, and has hosted some of the first Broadway shows, such as; The Admirable Crichton in 1903 and The Importance of Being Earnest in 1910. The Lyceum Theatre features a wavy outdoor awning that is really an unheralded work of art. The rest of the theatre exterior is plain in color, but has many intricate designs which make the theatre look like a mansion from the 1910’s. The interior follows a royal red and yellow color scheme and there are tasteful hand made marble stone designs on the many balconies. Despite its smaller size when it is compared to the other Broadway theatres on this list, there are two mezzanine seating areas for the audience. The Lyceum Theatre’s seats are covered in a luxurious red heavy suede material and are quite comfortable to sit in. There are no poles or seats with difficult-viewing angles in this theatre, that would hinder an audience member’s viewing experience.

Size: 943 seats
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year opened: 1903

10. Hudson Theatre

Hudson Theatre Inline
Hudson Theatre-Broadway street view

The Hudson Theatre may be smaller than the other Broadway theatres on this list but it is too beautiful to not make it on the Best Broadway theatres list. The Hudson has one of the most exquisite and well lit exteriors on Broadway. The outside of the theatre features many golden lights which glimmers through its contrasting black designs that around the theatre’s awning, giving the theatre its remarkable and enchanted presence. There are many bright lights that reflect off the outside show posters and make the theatre look absolutely incredible at night. The interior of the theatre feels quite large when inside, despite its size, and has a luxurious gold, yellow and white color scheme. The seats in the Hudson Theatre are also gold and white and have wood trim that goes all around them. This theatre has two mezzanine sections and is one of the only Broadway theatres to have elevators for disabled people to access them and also offers handicap accessible seating in the orchestra section. The stage of the theatre is quite large and is very tall, which allows for shows to have immaculate set designs and also allows for some neat visual tricks to be achieved.

Size: 970 seats
Landlord: Ambassador Theatre Group
Year opened: 1903

Honorable Mentions:
This list of theatres below did not make it to the final list, but are notable Broadway theatres :

The New Palace Theatre

Size: 2200 seats (currently 1743 seats)
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year to open: 2022

Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Size: 1437 seats
Owner: Jujamcyn
Year opened: 1924

Belasco
Size: 1040 seats
Landlord: The Shubert Organization
Year opened: 1907

David H Koch Theatre
Size: 2586 seats
Landlord: The City of New York
Year opened: 1964

Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
Size: 5600 seats
Landlord: The Madison Square Garden Company
Year opened: 1968