World's most loved theatres

Whether you are a culture vulture and a musical theatre buff or a theatrical novice, you will probably know some of the world’s most iconic theatres. But which are the best value? Read on to discover more.

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Buildings such as the Sydney Opera House or London’s Royal Albert Hall are just as famous as the events that take place within their walls.

And unique theatres such as the cliffside Minack Theatre in Cornwall draw visitors from around the world purely for the experience itself. 

 But which are the best theatres in the world? To find out, here’s a look at which of the world’s most famous theatres are the best-reviewed by visitors, which are the most beautiful theatres in the world, as well as which are the most affordable.

And if you’re planning a trip abroad to catch a show at some of these incredible venues, be sure to compare credit cards to ensure you get the best value.

The world’s best-reviewed theatres

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1. Metropolitan Opera House, New York City - 4.89

Tripadvisor: 5.0
Yelp: 4.5
Google: 4.8
Facebook: 4.9

Also known simply as the Met, New York’s Metropolitan Opera is one of the most respected opera companies in the world. This theatre is also the biggest of its kind in the world.

The theatre’s stage complex is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, with an array of hydraulic elevators, motorized stages and rigging systems.

It scores at least 4.5 on all four review sites and holds an average score of 4.89 out of 5.

2. Minack Theatre, Penzance - 4.88

Tripadvisor: 5.0
Yelp: 5.0
Google: 4.8
Facebook: 4.9

Two theatres are tied in second place, the first of which is the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, UK. This open-air venue is known around the world, with the Atlantic Ocean serving as one of the most spectacular backdrops in all of theatre.

Built into a rocky outcrop that juts out into the sea, there can be few more visually stunning theatres than the Minack. Around 80,000 people attend shows each year, and 100,000 come just to visit.

2. Teatro de Cristóbal Colón, Bogotá - 4.88

Tripadvisor: 4.5
Google: 4.9
Facebook: 4.9

Also with an average score of 4.88 is the Teatro de Cristóbal Colón in Bogotá. Acting as Colombia’s National Theatre, the Neoclassical Colón was built in 1885 and is modelled on the Palais Garnier in Paris.

The theatre’s name translates to the Christopher Columbus Theatre and it was opened on the fourth centenary of Columbus’s discovery of America.

RankTheatreCityTripadvisor average scoreYelp average scoreGoogle average scoreFacebook average scoreOverall average score
1Metropolitan Opera HouseNew York City54.
2Minack TheatrePenzance554.84.94.88
2Teatro de Cristóbal ColónBogotá4.5-
4Tampa TheatreTampa54.
4Teatro ColónBuenos Aires554.84.74.84
4Odeon of Herodes AtticusAthens4.5-4.9-4.84
7Royal Albert HallLondon4.
8Amazon TheatreManaus4.5-4.9-4.79
9Palacio de Bellas ArtesMexico City4.
9National TheatrePrague4.554.8-4.77
11Mabel Tainter TheatreMenomonie54.
12Radio City Music HallNew York City4.544.84.84.75
12Boston Opera HouseBoston4.
14La ScalaMilan4.
15Elgin and Winter Garden TheatresToronto4.
15Shakespeare's GlobeLondon4.
15Margravial Opera HouseBayreuth4.554.7-4.68
19Vienna State OperaVienna4.
19State TheatreSydney4.
19Estates TheatrePrague4.5-4.7-4.67

The world’s most beautiful theatres

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1. Sydney Opera House, Sydney - 957,765 posts

There are surely no theatres (and not many buildings) that are more iconic than the Sydney Opera House. However, it is perhaps more famous for its striking aesthetic than its productions.

As one of the most famous buildings in Australia, it’s little wonder that this is the theatre that gets uploaded to social media the most.

2. Royal Albert Hall, London - 352,601 posts

In second place is London’s Royal Albert Hall, with 352,601 posts, over half as many as the Sydney Opera House.

It’s one of the most visually striking buildings in the UK and has been in continuous use since it was built in memory of Prince Albert in 1871.

3. Palais Garnier, Paris - 270,807 posts

Also known as Opéra Garnier, the Palais Garnier is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris and served as the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera.

A truly extravagant and opulent building, the Opéra is built in the Napoleon III style and has been described as a symbol of Paris. 

1Sydney Opera HouseSydney957,765
2Royal Albert HallLondon352,601
3Palais GarnierParis270,807
4Radio City Music HallNew York City260,751
6Palacio de Bellas ArtesMexico City168,813
7Teatro ColónBuenos Aires155,763
8Royal Opera HouseLondon154,097
9La ScalaMilan141,717
10Amazon TheatreManaus122,451
11Teatro MassimoPalermo119,006
13Walt Disney Concert HallLos Angeles96,729
14Teatro RealMadrid65,383
16Vienna State OperaVienna53,012
17La FeniceVenice50,644
18Teatro di San CarloNaples46,214
20Shakespeare's GlobeLondon37,656

The world’s most affordable iconic theatres

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1. Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City - Average price: £4.31

Of the 50 best theatres in the world, the most affordable one to catch a show is the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Here, the average price of the next ten upcoming shows is currently 110 Mexican pesos (around £4.31).

The Palacio hosts music, dance, theatre and opera events and is one of the cultural hubs of Mexico.

2. Amazon Theatre, Manaus - Average price: £4.50

The second cheapest theatre on average is the Amazon Theatre, in Manaus, at an average ticket price of just £4.50.

As the name implies, this theatre is located right in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The theatre is over 120 years old, having been constructed during the city’s rubber boom.

3. Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires - Average price: £5.00

Two theatres are tied for third place, both with an average ticket price of £5.00, the first of which is another South American theatre.

The Teatro Colón is located in Buenos Aires and has been named in the top ten best opera houses in the world by National Geographic.

It also supposedly has the best acoustics for opera in the world and underwent extensive renovation in the late 2000s after falling into decline.

3. Shakespeare's Globe - Average price: £5.00

The most affordable theatre outside of the Americas is Shakespeare’s Globe, with an average ticket cost of £5.00.

The theatre is a reconstruction of the original Globe, which Shakespeare wrote his plays for, located on the South Bank of the Thames in London.

The original theatre was destroyed by fire in 1613 before its initial replacement was demolished in 1644, and this modern version opened in 1997.

RankTheatreCityAverage cheapest ticket price
1Palacio de Bellas ArtesMexico City£4.31
2Amazon TheatreManaus£4.50
3Teatro ColónBuenos Aires£5.00
3Shakespeare's GlobeLondon£5.00
5Estates TheatrePrague£5.31
6National TheatrePrague£5.45
8Teatro de Cristóbal ColónBogotá£8.07
9Royal Opera HouseLondon£8.70
10Tampa TheatreTampa£8.90
11Minack TheatrePenzance£10.00
12Manoel TheatreValletta£11.68
14Vienna State OperaVienna£12.27
15Düsseldorfer SchauspielhausDüsseldorf£12.60
17Palais GarnierParis£14.11
18National Centre for the Performing ArtsBeijing£14.48
19Teatro MassimoPalermo£14.53

The world’s most expensive iconic theatres

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1. Fox Theatre (Detroit) - Average price: £92.50

At the other end of the scale, the average cost to attend a show at Detroit’s Fox Theatre is almost £100!

Initially opened as a flagship movie theatre, the venue now hosts all kinds of performing arts events, with upcoming performances from the likes of Van Morrison, Joe Rogan, and Blondie.

2. Radio City Music Hall - Average price: £62.39

The second most expensive venue is one of the most iconic in the world, the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Nicknamed the “Showplace of the Nation”, Radio City was originally the world’s largest auditorium when it opened and after a period of decline underwent extensive renovation.

Today it hosts big name music and comedy acts as well as events such as the Grammy and Tony awards, MTV Video Music Awards and the NFL Draft.

3. La Fenice - Average price: £61.37

Not too far behind Radio City Music Hall is Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, at an average ticket price of £61.37.

This opera house is one of the most famous and renowned theatres in Italy and in opera as a whole, having hosted famous composers such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi in the 19th century.

The theatre’s name reflects its turbulent history as a phoenix “rising from the ashes”, having reopened after being destroyed by fire not once, not twice, but three times in its history.

RankTheatreCityAverage cheapest ticket price
1Fox TheatreDetroit£92.50
2Radio City Music HallNew York City£62.39
3La FeniceVenice£61.37
4Paradis LatinParis£58.81
5State TheatreSydney£49.47
6Sydney Opera HouseSydney£48.98
7La ScalaMilan£48.47
8Mabel Tainter TheaterMenomonie£42.70
9Royal Albert HallLondon£39.06
10Walt Disney Concert HallLos Angeles£37.51
11Balboa TheatreSan Diego£37.03
12Brooklyn Academy of MusicNew York City£35.91
13Greek Theatre of SyracuseSyracuse£35.28
15Metropolitan Opera HouseNew York City£33.60
16Elgin and Winter Garden TheatresToronto£29.66
17Boston Opera HouseBoston£26.50
18National Noh TheatreTokyo£26.03
19Victoria Theatre and Concert HallSingapore£25.93

The UK’s cheapest iconic theatres

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RankTheatreLocationAverage ticket price
1Shakespeare's GlobeLondon£5.00
2Royal Opera HouseLondon£8.70
3Minack TheatrePenzance£10.00
4Lyric TheatreBelfast£10.95
5The Old VicLondon£11.13

As well as being the third-cheapest theatre globally, Shakespeare’s Globe is the cheapest in the UK, with an average ticket cost of £5.00.

It’s followed by another London theatre, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, at £8.70. The beautiful Minack Theatre in Penzance comes in third place at £10, closely followed by Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, at £10.95.

The top five is completed by another famous London venue, the Old Vic, a not-for-profit theatre that has existed since 1818.

The UK’s most expensive iconic theatres

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RankTheatreLocationAverage ticket price
1Royal Albert HallLondon£39.06
2Palace TheatreLondon£30.00
3Edinburgh Festival TheatreEdinburgh£26.25
4Theatre RoyalBath£25.95
5The Duke of York's TheatreLondon£24.50

As with the UK’s cheapest theatres, three of the five most expensive are found in the capital, with the iconic Royal Albert Hall being the most expensive, with the average ticket costing just shy of £40.

The Palace Theatre is known for being the home of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, with advance tickets for the show costing £30 although they can be considerably higher.

Outside of London, the average ticket cost at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre is £26.25, which is followed by the Grade II* listed Theatre Royal in Bath and The Duke of York's Theatre, in the West End.

The USA’s cheapest iconic theatres

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RankTheatreLocationStateAverage ticket price
1War Memorial Opera HouseSan FranciscoCalifornia$22.00
2Wagner Noël Performing Arts CenterMidland,-$28.93
3Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing ArtsAnnandale-on-HudsonNew York$29.00
4Central City Opera HouseCentral CityColorado$31.00
5Boston Opera HouseBostonMassachusetts$33.20

In the United States, the cheapest of these iconic theatres to catch a show at is the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, at an average cost of just $22.00.

In second is the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center at $28.93, which is located between the Texas cities of Midland and Odessa, although the average price is just seven cents cheaper than the Fisher Center in New York state.

Central City Opera House, home to the fifth oldest opera company in the world, and the Boston Opera House come in fourth and fifth, with the latter now also doubling up as an esports venue too.

The USA’s most expensive iconic theatres

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RankTheatreLocationStateAverage ticket price
1Fox TheatreDetroitMichigan$115.90
2Radio City Music HallNew York CityNew York$78.17
3Writers TheatreGlencoeIllinois$75.00
4Mabel Tainter TheaterMenomonieWisconsin$53.50
5Walt Disney Concert HallLos AngelesCalifornia$47.00

But at the other end of the scale, the US is also home a theatre with an average cost of over $100, Detroit’s Fox Theatre, which is also the most expensive overall.

The second placed theatre globally also comes in second here, the Radio City Music Hall, with the intimate Writer’s Theatre in Illinois in third.

They’re followed by the Mabel Tainter Theater in Wisconsin and the visually striking Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.


What’s the biggest theatre in the world?

The largest indoor theatre in the world is the Radio City Music Hall in New York, which also ranks among the most expensive on this list.

Radio City has the largest performance stage in the world, with a four-tiered auditorium that holds just under 6,000 people.

The theatre also has the largest stage curtain in the world, the largest orchestra, the largest Wurlitzer organ and the heaviest proscenium arch.

Which country has the best theatre?

The country that is home to the best theatre in the world, according to reviews at least, is the United States, as home to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

The United States is also home to many of the rest of the world’s best theatres, such as the Tampa Theatre, Mabel Tainter Theatre, and Boston Opera House.

Are theatres open?

After being forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions, theatres here in the UK are back open at full capacity once again.

What do you wear to the theatre?

If you’ve never been to the theatre before, you may be wondering what sort of thing to wear. There is no strict dress code for a trip to the theatre, so really you can wear anything that you’re comfortable in. Many people do choose to dress up for the theatre so you can do this if you wish, but it’s by no means essential.

Where is the best place to sit in the theatre?

The best seats in the theatre are usually located a few rows back from the stage, in the middle of the row, giving you the best possible view and ensuring that you won’t miss any of the action. You’ll usually have to pay more to sit in these seats, but if you want the very best experience, then it’s worth it.

Where can you get the cheapest theatre tickets in the UK?

Of the UK theatres studied here, the one with the cheapest average ticket price is Shakespeare’s Globe, at an average cost of £5.00. Outside of the capital, the cheapest theatre is the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, at an average cost of £10.00.

How do you get last-minute theatre tickets?

If you have no plans tonight then you can usually still pick up theatre tickets on the day of a show, sometimes with good discounts too. As well as going through the website or ticket office of the theatre itself, if you’re in London, be sure to check out the TKTS booth in Leicester Square which offers discounted tickets. You can also try to standby tickets and tickets that have been returned by going to the theatre’s ticket office.

What’s next after you’ve discovered the best theatres in the world…

From the Minack theatre in Cornwall to Shakespeare’s Globe in London, there is no shortage of cultural venues to live near to in the UK. Check out our guides for the lowdown on places to live to find culture on your doorstep.

Methodology and sources

The world’s best-reviewed theatres

For each theatre the average review score out of five was sourced from the following sites (if available):

The averages were then divided by the total number of reviews across each site to find an overall average rating out of five for each theatre.

*Note that not all theatres had reviews listed on all four sites.

The world’s most Instagrammable theatres

The number of Instagram posts that mention each theatre using hashtags, correct as of April 25th, 2020.

For each theatre, the related hashtag with the highest number of posts was used, and in instances where the name of the theatres could refer to multiple theatres, then the location name was also included (for example Sydney State Theatre rather than just State Theatre).

The world’s most affordable iconic theatres

For each theatre, the cost of the cheapest available seats for the next ten productions was sourced from the website of the theatre, as of May 18th 2022.

In the case that there was just one long-running show at a theatre, then the cheapest available ticket for this show was taken.

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About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press.

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