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San Francisco’s culture shines through in the quality and sheer number of performances, concerts and plays that take place every week. From the most traditional to the avant garde, San Francisco has a rich performing arts culture.
The San Francisco Opera, located at the War Memorial Opera House, is one of the top opera companies in the country. Some of the most recognizable names in the opera world have performed at the War Memorial Opera House. The opening of the opera season in the fall is the social event for city. The San Francisco Symphony which performs at the Louis M. Davies Symphony Hall, and the popular San Francisco Ballet comprise the rest of "the majors" in San Francisco performing arts, each with a world-class reputation. Tours of the theaters are available on non-holiday Mondays on the hour from 10:00 AM to 2:00PM. The tour starts from the box office level at Davies Symphony Hall on Grove St..
San Francisco Performances, the leading independent producer of chamber music, choral, vocal and jazz and contemporary dance, in several theaters throughout the city.
From large theaters to intimate spaces, San Francisco is also a good theater town. Downtown, the Theater District (Mason St. and Geary St.) boasts a range of theaters and playhouses. The Geary Theater is home to the American Conservatory Theater. The Golden Gate Theater, Curran Theater and the Orpheum are host "the Best of Broadway" and are beautiful buildings just to enjoy before the curtain goes up. If you are interested in seeing any live performance while in San Francisco visit the TIX Booth on Union Square. They sell half price day-of-show tickets to many big and little performances throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is relatively newer institution for contemporary dance, music, film, and performance art, located in the spectacular urban park, Yerba Buena Gardens, across the Moscone Center.
A great way to finish a day exploring either the Financial District or the Embarcadero is to go see Teatro ZinZanni , a not-your-parent's-dinner-theatre comedy and variety show that is zany and bizzare. Unlike many of its ilk, Teatro ZinZanni features local actors on its stage.
If you are looking for the new music scene, head to the Fillmore in Japantown for national acts or out to the Bottom of the Hill Bar in Potrero Hill for local “indie” bands. Good blues can be found at the historic Boom Boom Room at 1601 Fillmore Street or the Saloon on Grant Ave in North Beach.
Tip: the arts community in San Francisco, as in all major cities, is living, breathing and always on the move. The best way to experience the city’s thriving scene is to get on the street, head to a neighborhood (these days the Mission is home to the most active artists) and grab a local paper, The "Pink" section in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle is great for all the upcoming week's events) for info on galleries, exhibits, music shows etc. Its Thursday tab, "96 Hours" also helps people get a jump on the weekend.