What Are General Admission Tickets?

General admission tickets are used in theaters throughout the world.
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When purchasing tickets for any concert, play, movie or show, you want to get the best seating for your money. Knowing what kinds of tickets are available and the advantages of each can help you decide which type to buy. One common type of ticket is the general admission ticket. Used to describe both the type of ticket and the price, "general admission" provides great insight into what your entertainment experience will be like.


General admission seats are up for grabs.
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"General admission" refers to the unreserved area for an audience to sit. Many venues, such as movie theaters, are classified as general admission because seating is based on a first-come/first-served basis. With these tickets, it is important to factor in the expected audience and how many seats are available in the venue. For more popular shows, it is a good idea to arrive 20 to 40 minutes early to find a good seat. With sold out shows, the individuals who arrive closer to showtime is often forced to endure uncomfortable conditions in less preferable seats.

General admission tickets for other types of venues and events, such as night clubs, county fairs, car shows and outdoor festivals, might not have any seating, and all the tickets generally cost the same.


Many venues have various seating options, based on where the seats are located in relation to the main stage. Pricing is directly linked to how good the view is of the stage. Factors that affect pricing include distance to the stage, obstructed views and type of area (e.g., balcony, floor or smoking areas). When various ticket prices are available, general admission is usually the least expensive and typically refers to the floor area nearest to the stage.

General admission can also be used to describe the set price of the show. While the regular price is referred to as "general admission," other options for the show may be available.

Other Ticket Options

Cheaper tickets are often sold, based on individual characteristics or time of the day. Since our culture typically promotes shows as an evening activity, many venues use discounted rates to help sell tickets for earlier shows. Matinee tickets, which can usually be purchased for shows in the morning or early afternoon, are sold at a lower price than the general admission price. Seniors, students and children also may qualify for discounted tickets.

Purchasing the Ticket

Traditionally, tickets are sold at the venue the same day as the show. With more popular shows, tickets may be purchased days or months in advance. For the most popular shows, it is important to check when the tickets will go on sale and purchase yours early, as the tickets may sell out. Many venues now offer the convenience of purchasing your ticket online and printing it out directly from your home computer. Others may offer phone orders for advance purchase.