Where to Sit at the Metropolitan Opera

The ultimate guide to choosing a seat at New York City's opera house.


By Alkis Karmpaliotis, High School Student

Founder of AppreciateOpera.org


The Metropolitan Opera House is one of the largest in the world. The historic building includes numerous bars, several lounges, and a theater made up of everything from luxurious boxes to standing-room areas. The Met season runs from September to June and stages an opera (sometimes two) per day. This makes it the busiest opera house in the world, requiring thousands of musicians - from its fantastic orchestra to its pristine chorus - a conducting staff, and a huge maintenance crew to operate.


Seeing an opera at the Met is a remarkable experience, but it can be hard to figure out where to sit, especially if it's your first time attending. The theater is made up of six sections, one higher up than the other, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks. One thing you can be certain of is that no matter where you choose to sit, from the front to the rearmost section, you are guaranteed an enjoyable experience no matter what!


Orchestra

$75-$300

The aptly named Orchestra is the lowest section in the Met theater. Seats close to the stage ($250-$300) give you a close look at the singers, but the sound is often muffled. Seats toward the rear of the theater ($75) also offer a good view of the stage (unless you're seated behind a tall person, in which case you will struggle to see much of anything without tilting your head) but with better acoustics. The above image is a picture of what you'll see from the middle of the Orchestra section (around $140).


Sit Here If:


- You want a solid view of the stage

- Easy access to the theater is important to you (no elevators or stairs are necessary as it is on the ground floor)


Do NOT Sit Here If:


- You want a solid view of the orchestra pit

- Legroom is very important to you

- Acoustics and sound quality are important to you


Parterre

$150-$500

This level of the opera house is made up exclusively of boxes, each with 6 seats and a coat closet. This section is the most 'luxurious' in the theater, and therefore it is the most expensive. Center boxes ($300-$500) are usually not worth the trouble, as you can get the same view and acoustics for about half the price if you sit in the grand tier. If it's the intimacy and luxury of the parterre boxes that is appealing to you, you can enjoy practically the same experience in the less expensive side boxes ($150-$200).


Sit Here If:


- You value intimacy and luxury

- You want a good view of the stage and orchestra

- Legroom is very important to you


Do NOT Sit Here IF:


- The price is a dealbreaker


Grand Tier

$135-$315

The Grand Tier section is on the same floor as the Met's intermission bars, lounges, and excellent restaurant. It offers the perfect balance of sound and view. Its frontmost rows ($300), in particular, offer almost identical experiences to the Parterre. Contrary to the Parterre, however, the Grand Tier is made up of rows, not boxes, with sufficient legroom in each seat. The back of the Grand Tier ($200)is also an excellent option. has side boxes ($150), albeit without coat closets, that are solid options, despite some of them being partial-view.


Sit Here If:


- You want to be the first to get to the intermission bars

- You want a solid mix of view and sound

- Legroom is very important to you


Do NOT Sit Here If:


- The price is a dealbreaker


Dress Circle

$100-$200

The Dress Circle is directly above the Grand Tier and offers a similar experience. While the front rows ($200) provide a good view, sitting in the back ($150) can blur your view of the stage. Dress Circle seats also have slightly less legroom than Grand Tier seats. As for the side boxes ($100), those are partial-view and don't have coat closets. All that being said, considering the price difference between the two sections, Dress Circle seats are a great deal.


Sit Here If:


- You want a solid mix of view and sound


Do NOT Sit Here If:


- Legroom is very important to you

- You want to be the first to get to the intermission bars


Balcony

$50-$120

The Balcony section is in between the Dress Circle and Family Circle -- it's a sort of in-between section. If you prioritize view, sit in the Dress Circle for a similar price; if you prioritize sound, sit in the Family Circle for a far cheaper price. It's only worth sitting on the Balcony if you sit in one of the front rows ($120). The back ($100) is not really worth it, and neither are the side boxes ($50), as there are preferable options in other sections. For example, you will have a far better experience in the Family Circle at a far cheaper price.


Sit Here If:


- Acoustics and sound quality are important to you

- You want to pay a reasonable, cheap price


Do NOT Sit Here If:


- Legroom is important to you

- View is important to you

- You want to be the first to get to the intermission bars


Family Circle

$30-$50

The higher up in the house you sit, the worse your view will be; that is why seats are so cheap in the Family Circle ($50). However, the acoustics are much, much better. If you value sound over view, then the Family Circle is the place for you, and you can sit here at a remarkably reasonable price. The side boxes ($30) have small desks for people who like studying the score or taking notes (I sit there often to write reviews) -- however, you will hardly be able to see the stage. The Family Circle can also be quite cold (it is known colloquially as the "nosebleeds") as it is very high up in the theater, so bear that in mind when making your choice.


Sit Here If:


- Acoustics and sound quality are VERY important to you

- You want to pay a reasonable, cheap price


Do NOT Sit Here If:


- Legroom is important to you

- View of the stage is important to you

- Cold temperature bothers you

 

I hope this guide helped anyone who is thinking about going to the Met soon! Be sure to leave a comment with any suggestions!


By Alkis Karmpaliotis, High School Student

Founder of AppreciateOpera.org

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