San Francisco Symphony

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San Francisco Symphony information

San Francisco , USA
Grove St
btwn Franklin St & Van Ness Ave
Box office
+1 415 864 6000
Getting there
Muni: Van Ness
Bart: Civic Center
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The SF Symphony often wins Grammys, thanks to celebrity-conductor and musical-director Michael Tilson Thomas, the world's foremost Mahler impresario. When he's not conducting, other famous names take the baton. The orchestra is joined by the Grammy-winning Symphony Chorus for serious choral works, such as Beethoven's Missa solemnis. During summer and at Christmas, look for stars like Bernadette Peters, Pink Martini and Peabo Bryson.

The best sound is in the cheap seats in the center terrace, but the loge is most comfy and glam and has the best sight lines. If you're on a budget, sit in the front section of AA, BB, HH or JJ or behind the stage in the center terrace – the sound doesn't blend evenly, but you get the musicians' perspective and look into the conductor's eyes (likewise in pricier side terrace seats). Call the rush-ticket hotline (415-503-5577) after 6:30pm to find out whether the box office has released $20 next-day tickets, which you must pick up in person on the day of performance: choose the side terrace over the front orchestra – unless you want to be 10ft from the strings, but the sound is uneven so close to the stage. Preorder your intermission drinks to beat the line. For bird's eye views of City Hall, head to the second-tier lobby and stand outside on the flying-saucer-like balconies.