Part of the larger San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, the War Memorial Opera House is a center for arts and culture in the city by the bay. It is home to the San Francisco Ballet and, of course, the San Francisco Opera.
The structure dates back to 1932, when it was designed by prominent architect Arthur Brown, Jr in a beaux-arts style. It was the first municipally owned opera house built in the United States, and at the time of its opening it was one of the most technologically advanced venues in the country. Today the elegant theater holds classical ballet and opera performances as well special events and lectures.
The opera house opens with a grand lobby and an ornately decorated 38-foot ceiling, lined with tall columns. Broad staircases lead to the theater, which is both modern and traditional at once. It is widely thought to be one of the most beautiful buildings in San Francisco.
You’ll find the War Memorial Opera House at the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center, on Van Ness Avenue. The ballet and opera hold separate box offices. Tours are given every Monday for $7 per person.