explore San Francisco, usa

Music in San Francisco, Usa

Performing arts

The diversity of options to enjoy music and theater is huge. Concerts by small groups range from classical to modern and often are free.

Davies Symphony Hall

San Francisco has a Half-Price Ticket Booth located right in the middle of Union Square, where tickets for most San Francisco theatre performances can be purchased the day of the performance for half-price. Run by Theatre Bay Area, the income from all service fees collected from the sale of tickets by TIX Bay Area goes right back into the theatre community.

Go to a concert. There are performances most days to choose from by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, in the Old First Church. Last minute tickets are often available at the door. Symphony tickets have a wide price range. There are recitals most days, as well as occasional major performances, at the San Francisco Conservatory nearby. All these venues are located in or near the Civic Center. The museum of the Legion of Honor, located in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate (north end of 34th Ave), has organ concerts which can be heard in many of its galleries, Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm, as well as music performances in its Florence Gould Theater by the San Francisco Lyric Opera. Around the holidays many churches will have performances and sing-alongs of seasonal music. The classical Herbst Theater (where the UN charter was signed) is temporarily closed for earthquake and major interior updates.

Musicals from Broadway and Los Angeles are shown at the traditional Golden Gate and Orpheum theaters on Market, near the Civic Center. For outrageous fun, princes and paupers go to Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach. Teenagers are welcome at the Sunday matinees. It considers itself the longest running musical revue in theater history

For jazz, rock, or folk music the choices are diverse. A new, attractive venue with a wide variety of offerings is SFJAZZ, a few blocks from the Civic Center. There are performances most days, popular artists often sell out early. San Francisco also has many jazz clubs, best found by browsing the web (an excellent site is SFStation.com). Contemporary bands are featured at The Fillmore Auditorium and less frequently at the large Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in the Civic Center. There is an annual blues festival in late September, at various locations, and at least two great bluegrass music festivals each year — during February around the area and late September or October in Golden Gate Park. Many, but certainly not all, events are listed by the City Box Office.

Ballet of the world class variety is performed in the Spring by the San Francisco Ballet at the War Memorial Opera House in Civic Center. Standing room tickets, with excellent views from the back of the orchestra section, are available during the afternoon of each performance as well as two hours before ShowTime. In winter, the popular The Nutcracker is performed; those tickets often sell out early.

Plays are performed at the Geary (by the American Conservatory Theater), Curran, Marines Memorial theatre and San Francisco Playhouse near Union Square, and at the small New Conservatory Theatre Center near the Civic Center.

Silent, rare, and classical movies are frequently shown, accompanied by a live organist, and sometimes a band, in the classical 1930’s Castro Theater just off Market Street in the Castro district. Tickets are available on-line or on the day of the performance. Popular features may sell out early. The Castro Theater is also a venue for various film festivals. The Opera Plaza Cinema often shows rare classical and foreign movies in its cozy theaters. Opera Plaza is located just a few blocks up van Ness Avenue from the Opera and Symphony. The San Francisco Symphony shows movies in its large auditorium, accompanied by its orchestra, several times a year. Both silent movies and movies with intense musical contents, as Walt Disney’s Fantasia, are presented. They are a great way to introduce kids to classical music.