It's easy for visitors to Traverse City to miss City Opera House. Located downtown along busy, touristy Front Street, it is nestled between storefronts and hidden among tall, cherry trees. The front of the facility at street level is fairly small. But look up. The second and third floors spread over the other businesses and you finally get a hint of the spacious grandness waiting inside.
COH is a grand old dame that you don't find often anymore. Volunteers have renovated it back to it's former glory: the wood glows, the chandeliers sparkle and the tilework shines. A wide, winding staircase leads you up from the simple lobby/box office and administration area up the performance venues. It is so lovely that many local brides use the facility for their wedding photos.
If you are just visiting for the day, you can ask for permission to look around. But better yet, pick up season calendar or go online and see what is scheduled for your visit. COH offers everything from live shows for kids, to classic films, author talks, holiday extravaganzas, music, dancing and nationally known performers. I drove by recently and blinked when I saw a line of costumed guests waiting for a late night showing of The Rocky Horror Show.
The acoustics in the theater are wonderful! But, like other old theaters, the seats are teeny tiny. Seriously. If you are larger in height or weight, I'd recommend calling ahead and asking for sitting suggestions. I prefer to sit in the balcony where there is more leg room and elbow room.
City Opera House is definitely worth a visit when you are in Traverse City!
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