San Diego Performing Arts

A diverse and sophisticated arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that visitors—or even locals—associate with San Diego. It’s a destination for those who seek out its perennial sunshine, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful scenery. Even those within the arts scene readily admit their fiercest competition is the beach! But just a little to the right of the Pacific Ocean, there are some amazing

and diverse artistic offerings to prove that San Diego can hold its own.

The theater scene in San Diego may not have the commercial appeal that Broadway does, but it more than makes up for it with talent. In fact, a long list of Broadway-bound productions started right here, including Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Memphis.

Balboa Park’s Old Globe Theatre is modeled after the Shakespearian Globe Theatre in England, and hosts both an annual Shakespeare Festival as well as contemporary plays. A little bit north is La Jolla Playhouse, which was founded by Gregory Peck in 1947, and has hosted dozens of world-premiere productions, in addition to star actors like Laura Linney and Neil Patrick Harris. The playhouse has also launched the Without Walls initiative, which places theater in a new context by removing the theater entirely.

Music also has a major presence in San Diego, courtesy of the world-class San Diego Opera, which performs major works by Puccini and Mozart, and the San Diego Symphony, which caters to a diverse audience thanks to both its classical concerts and its more accessible Summer Pops series.

There’s always something new and exciting happening with visual arts in San Diego. No longer limited to a collector’s market, younger urban artists are making in-roads with warehouse gallery spaces in Barrio Logan, while galleries in La Jolla and Little Italy showcase bold works of contemporary art on their walls. The annual San Diego Art Prize highlights rising figures in the visual arts realm, and in the field of architecture, Orchids and Onions honors the best and worst in structural design—and with a sense of humor at that.

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San Diego Performing Arts

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Arts Tix

You can buy advance tickets, many at half price, to theater, music, and dance events at Arts Tix. ...

Bahia Belle

This Mississippi-style stern-wheeler offers relaxing evening cruises along Mission Bay that include cocktails, dancing, karaoke, and...

Balboa Theatre

This renovated theater offers a variety of performances including ballet, music, plays, and even stand-up comedy. In addition to architectural...

Barracks 15 & 16 at NTC Liberty Station

The former Naval Training Center at Liberty Station has been transformed into an eclectic and family-friendly alternative to the more...

Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Top-name rock, reggae, and popular artists give summer concerts under the stars at this theater in the middle of the San Diego State...

California Ballet Company

The company performs high-quality contemporary and classical works September–May at the Civic Theatre. The Nutcracker is staged...

California Center for the Arts, Escondido

The center presents mainstream theatrical productions such as Grease and The Odd Couple , as well as concerts, art shows, and dance...

City Ballet

The ballet holds performances at the Spreckels Theatre and a few other area venues from November through May. At Christmastime, they...

Copley Symphony Hall

The great acoustics here are surpassed only by the incredible Spanish baroque interior. Not just the home of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra...

Coronado Playhouse

This cabaret-type theater near the Hotel Del Coronado stages regular dramatic and musical performances. ...


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