Tix Booths in San Francisco

One of the pleasures of visiting a new place or introducing friends and family to the city where you live is the serendipity of spontaneity, like when you stumble into a new café and have an incredible meal or walk by a box office minutes before show time and witness one of the most remarkable performances of a lifetime. If you live in San Francisco or are planning a visit to the Bay Area, two of the more inexpensive and reliable conduits of spontaneous serendipity (and half-price tickets!) are the Tix booths at Pier 39 and Union Square.

These two outlets are a great resource for locals and visitors, as they often offer good and sometimes phenomenal tickets for sold out events the day of the performance and occasionally, a few days in advance. The people working in the booths and the people often found handing out flyers out front are generally quite friendly and will offer an insider’s perspective on which shows are overlooked gems and which are overhyped garbage. What is more, if your serendipity angel is especially pleased that day, the person behind the counter may advise you to hold off buying your tickets right then and recommend that you come back in an hour or two after they have received another batch if surplus tickets for better selection and, most likely, better seats.

Most major cities have at least one ticket booth like these, but few offer a wider selection of hot tickets for theatrical performances, concerts, operas, films, dance and other performances than these San Francisco outlets. There are world-class performances virtually every night of the year in San Francisco and these outlets often feature tickets for events that sold out weeks or months before the event.

Better still, these outlets also sell mass transit tickets, multi-day mass transit passports, walking and mass transit maps, tickets for various tours, discounted tickets for Aquarium of the Bay and other local cultural institutions and the people who work there are de facto ambassadors for the city and can answer questions and help with directions, etc.

If you’re visiting San Francisco, chances are quite good that you will walk right by the Tix Booth located at Pier 39 or happen upon the other booth while shopping in Union Square. The hours of each outlet vary somewhat, depending on the day, but they usually open by 10 or 11 a.m. and close at 6 or 7 p.m. Half price tickets for that day’s events officially go on sale at 11 each day, but it’s not uncommon for one or both booths to receive a bath of tickets in the late afternoon as well. Not all tickets are available for half-price, but most are, so if you’re feeling lucky and spontaneous, swing by one of the Tix booths and see what’s available on the cheap!