Seven places to catch a great show besides New York City

If you love the theater, you definitely have to put New York City on your bucket list. There’s no denying that The Big Apple is one of the best places in the world to see everything that theater has to offer, but it isn’t the only place.

Whether you live far away and can’t afford to make the trip or you’re looking to experience a great show in a different atmosphere, there are plenty of places across the United States where you can catch a great performance.

A few of the best include:

  • Branson, MO
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Dallas, TX
  • Shepherdstown, WV
  • Charleston, SC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Denver, CO

Branson, MO

Branson, MO is a great place to take the family on vacation! That’s because there are so many things to do. You can have fun on the water, you can get your thrills at Silver Dollar City, and of course, you can catch a great show.

Branson is home to nearly 50 theaters where you can catch live entertainment. If you're vacationing with the kids, consider catching a magic show. If you want to see horses on stage, buy tickets to watch Dolly Parton's Stampede, while those who love to catch a good music concert should check out the Haygoods.

Although shows are scheduled all year long, summer is the best time to catch world-class acts, as that’s when the tourism season starts and Branson really comes alive.

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN is a surprisingly great place to take a vacation, one of the reasons being the fact that it’s a great theater town. This city rivals New York City for number of seats, which means you can expect that there are performances of all kinds taking place throughout the city all year long.

The Hennepin Theatre Trust and Guthrie Theater are among the most popular places to catch a world-class performance. You can catch Broadway shows in the New Century Theatre, while improv lovers will enjoy buying tickets at the Brave New Workshop. With so many venues, you may also be able to catch a grassroots performance that makes it big later and you can say that you saw it first!

Part of the reason why Minneapolis is so theatre friendly is the fact that they invest greatly in the arts. In addition, because this city fosters a tight-knit community of performers, you'll also find unique mashup performances that you won't find anywhere else.

Dallas, TX

Texas is a surprisingly great place to catch a theatrical performance! Houston is a great place to see a show, with permanent professional opera, ballet, music, and theater companies throughout the city, but you should also head to Dallas if you want to see some great shows.

You'll find multiple regional theatre productions putting on a wide variety of original shows as well as classics. Just make sure you see a show at the Dallas Theatre Center, as it boasts having won a Tony Award for the Best Regional Theatre in 2017.

Shepherdstown, WV

You might expect large cities like Minneapolis and Dallas to have good theater representation, but it may surprise you to learn that some smaller towns house great entertainment too. Shepherdstown, WV is one of those places.

Shepherd University houses the Contemporary American Theater Festival where you can see some of the newest performances and plays from both new and veteran playwrights before they hit the big stage in another city.

Another unique aspect of the theater experience in Shepherdstown is that you'll enjoy a great show without the huge crowds. Many fewer tickets are sold than in major cities, but the quality of innovative theater is top-notch.

Charleston, SC

If you’re heading to South Carolina on vacation, you’ve probably got your eye on its beaches. There’s no denying that this state as some of the country’s best shoreline, but it’s also a fun place to catch a show, as it’s a city where theater is gaining in popularity.

Several festivals take place throughout the year that feature plays and performances in theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces. You can find theaters dedicated to comics too.

Make sure you stop at the Dock Street Theater. As one of America's oldest theaters, this space makes classics come to life.

Chicago, IL

If you can't make it to New York City, but you still want that big city theater experience, make a trip to Chicago.

As you might expect, there are countless troupes who put on a variety of shows from the street to the Goodman. Catch a Broadway show in the Chicago theater and you'll recognize it right away as it’s one that is famous all around the world.

There is no shortage of genres to choose from, so you can buy tickets to a show that the whole family is likely to enjoy. Just make sure you make a stop at Second City. Arguably the world's leading comedy and improve scene, this is where the likes of Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and others got their start.

Denver, CO

Don’t assume that there aren’t any good theater towns out west! There are a lot of really great things to do in Denver, CO, and going to the theater is one of them.

There are a lot of theaters throughout the area, like the Boettcher Concert Hall where you can see a symphony in the round or Buell Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts where you can see dance productions, plays, and more.

Just make sure you catch a performance at the Red Rocks Park Amphitheatre. Here you will be able to see beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains surrounded by sandstone cliffs, making for a performance you’ll never forget.

New York City is undeniably one of the best places to catch a show in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great theaters and shows to be seen in other cities! From north to south, east to west, there are many places in the United States where you can get your theater fix.

Photo: Neal Kharawala, Unsplash