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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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...

Coronado Playhouse

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

Cygnet's Old Town Theatre

A 248-seat theater operated by Cygnet Theatre Company, this is one of the more interesting small San Diego theater groups. Catch local...

Diversionary Theatre

San Diego's premier gay and lesbian company presents a range of original works that focus on LGBT themes. ...

Horton Grand Theatre

After being home to the long running Triple Espresso, the Horton Grand Theatre hosts productions from the likes of San Diego Musical...

Ion Theatre Company

The little theater company that could, most of Ion's unique and sometimes controversial productions now take place in the quaint BLKBOX...

La Jolla Playhouse

Under the artistic direction of Christopher Ashley, the playhouse presents exciting and innovative plays and musicals on three stages.

Lamb's Players Theatre

The theater's regular season of five mostly uplifting productions runs from February through November. It also stages an original musical,...

Lyceum Theatre

Home to the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the Lyceum also presents productions by visiting theater companies. ...

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater

Amateur and professional puppeteers and ventriloquists entertain here five days a week. The cost is just a few dollars for adults and...


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