Home / Travel Guides - San Diego / San Diego Performing Arts

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San Diego Performing ArtsSan Diego has become a major vacation destination in terms of its varied cultural offerings. The San Diego Concourse on 1st Avenue between A and C streets contains the City Administration Building, exhibit halls, the 2,900-seat San Diego Civic Theatre (home to Broadway San Diego and San Diego Opera), and the 3,200-seat Golden Hall. The theater and hall are venues for ballets, operas, plays, musicals and concerts.

Jacobs Music Center houses Copley Symphony Hall, a converted 1929 movie house at 7th and B streets. The hall is now home to the San Diego Symphony and is the cornerstone of Symphony Towers, which also contains a hotel and shopping arcade. If you’re looking for a pre-show meal, you have your choice of the many nearby restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter. A free 1-hour guided tour of the center, including Copley Symphony Hall, is offered one Wednesday a month at noon; phone (619) 615-3955.

ArtsTix, a public service of the San Diego Performing Arts League, sells discounted performance-day tickets for many theaters throughout the county. The box office is downtown at Broadway and 3rd Avenue in Horton Plaza Park; phone (858) 437-9850 Tues.-Sat. 10-5 (also Sun., in season).

San Diego Convention Center, located along the bay at 111 W. Harbor Dr., has a futuristic architectural style with a roof line suggesting huge sails. The sprawling 650,000-square-foot complex has exhibit halls along with an open-air covered pavilion and an amphitheater; phone (619) 525-5000.

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The California Ballet Company, (858) 560-5676, performs at several area venues. San Diego's two premier modern dance companies are Academy of Performing Arts, (619) 460-4500, and Malashock Dance, (619) 260-1622, and they perform at various locations. Local troupes travel throughout the area, including the lively Filipino companies Samahan, (619) 425-0262, and PASACAT, (619) 477-3383 and the Teye Sa Thiosanne African Drum and Dance Co., (619) 417-2978.

Visiting companies performing ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap and other dance styles appear at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido and at the 800-seat Mandeville Auditorium, on the campus of the University of California at San Diego. For schedule and ticket information phone (800) 988-4253 (California Center for the Arts, Escondido), or (858) 534-8497 (UCSD box office).

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In addition to the ubiquitous suburban multiplexes showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters—among them a 20-screen conglomeration in Mission Valley—there are several fun places to go that specialize in non-mainstream features. The two branches of the Landmark show foreign films, offbeat independent productions and “small” movies targeting selective audiences. The landmark five-screen Hillcrest Cinemas, 3965 Fifth Ave., is in the Hillcrest neighborhood, and Ken Cinema, 4061 Adams Ave., is in the Kensington neighborhood northwest of Balboa Park.

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The San Diego Symphony Orchestra performs its summer season at Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Pkwy.; during the regular season it offers pops programs at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St. Phone (619) 235-0804 for San Diego Symphony information. La Jolla has its own performing company, the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus; phone (858) 534-4637. The La Jolla Music Society presents classical music throughout the year. The series of chamber music concerts comprising the Revelle Series take place, along with the annual Summerfest series of concerts, at the newly opened Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center (known as The Conrad). Now home to La Jolla Music Society, the facility is located at 7600 Fay Ave. in La Jolla and includes a 500-seat concert hall, 150-seat cabaret space and a large open courtyard. For tickets and show information phone (858) 459-3728. The Celebrity Orchestra Series, performed at the Copley Symphony Hall and the Balboa Theatre, 368 4th Ave., showcases distinguished musicians and orchestras from around the world.

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Free outdoor concerts are given Sundays at 2 at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. During the summer, evening concerts take place Mon. at 7:30 p.m.; phone (619) 702-8138. The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus performs regularly throughout the region and holds an annual free concert at the pavilion as well; phone (877) 432-2244.

Take a trip northwest of downtown to Shelter Island, Humphreys Concerts by The Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Dr., attracts big-name national touring acts to its 1,400-seat outdoor performance venue from May through October. Recent headliners include Tony Bennett, Steely Dan and The Moody Blues; phone (800) 745-3000 for ticket information.

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The San Diego Opera, founded in 1965, attracts international talent and has developed a reputation for outstanding productions. The season runs from November through May at the San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. Free backstage tours of the state-of-the-art building are offered by reservation before Sunday matinees; phone (619) 533-7000.

TheaterThe San Diego theater scene is thriving thanks to acclaimed stages and traveling Broadway hits augmented by a healthy crop of emerging experimental and ethnic companies. Balboa Park's The Old Globe consists of three facilities: the Tony Award-winning 580-seat Old Globe Theatre; the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, offering theater in the round; and the 620-seat, outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Contemporary and classic plays and musicals are presented throughout the year, with Shakespeare receiving top billing in the summer. Phone (619) 234-5623. In the Gaslamp Quarter, the Balboa Theatre hosts Broadway and comedy performances; phone (619) 570-1100.

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Mandell Weiss Center for the Performing Arts, on the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla, presents plays and musicals by professional touring groups in its four theaters; phone (858) 534-4574.

The San Diego Repertory Theatre emphasizes ethnically diverse plays. The company takes the stage at the Lyceum Theatre, in the downtown Westfield Horton Plaza complex, which also has several places to go eat before the show. The Lyceum houses both the 545-seat Stage Theatre and the more intimate 270-seat Space Theatre. Phone (619) 544-1000.

Just down the street from Orange Avenue’s shops and restaurants, the Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, stages cabaret-style musicals; phone (619) 435-4856. The Welk Resort Theatre in Escondido entertains guests with Broadway hits; phone (760) 749-3448 or (888) 802-7469.

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San Diego, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

1,307,402

Elevation

13 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 7.75 percent in San Diego. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 10.5 to 12.5 percent also is levied along with a 10.5 percent (11 percent at the airport) rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(619) 531-2000

Hospitals

Alvarado Hospital, (619) 287-3270; Scripps Mercy Hospital, (619) 294-8111; Sharp Memorial Hospital, (858) 939-3400; University of California-San Diego Medical Center, (858) 657-7000.

Visitor Information

996 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101. Phone:(619)236-1242

Air Travel

San Diego International Airport

Rental Cars

San Diego County is served by major rental car agencies. Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (619) 767-5700 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, rolls from the historic

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (619) 515-1100 or (800) 231-2222, has a depot at 1313 National Ave. Greyhound buses and Five Star Tours' eight-passenger shuttles, (619) 232-5040, offer service to downtown Tijuana, Mexico; reservations are required 24 hours in advance.

Taxis

Local taxis are metered. Cab companies include Orange, (619) 223-5555; San Diego Dispatch, (800) 368-2947; USA, (619) 231-1144; and Yellow, (619) 444-4444. Base fare is around $2.80, with a rate of approximately $3 for each additional mile. Limousine service is available throughout the area averaging about $75 an hour.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus and trolley is available in San Diego.

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