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All About Downtown San Diego’s Spreckels Theatre

By Mike in Miscellaneous with 0 Comments

In the 21st century, San Diego may not have the same showbiz legacy as Hollywood and Los Angeles. However, things were different in the decade preceding the Roaring Twenties, when Spreckels Theatre was built as part of the Panama-California Expo in Balboa Park, which itself celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal.

The historic Spreckels Theatre has been operational since 1912. The facade has seen some upgrades throughout the years, but the grand interior décor has been carefully preserved to maintain its original look. This theater dates back to a time when San Diego gave Hollywood and Manhattan a run for its entertainment money in terms of plays, concerts, musicals, and films. If you’re thinking about purchasing real estate for sale in Columbia District San Diego, you’ll want to know all there is to know about this legendary local theatre.


This is one of the few theatres where legendary entertainer Al Jolson performed live and on the silver screen after his successful film The Jazz Singer made its debut in 1927. The Italian tenor Enrico Caruso also performed here, as did Judy Garland.

Spreckels Theatre became a grand movie house in the wake of the Great Depression, through World War II, and during the youth rebellion of the 1950s. In the mid-1960s, the theater welcomed Ray Charles as the first live performer in decades. Since then, the Spreckels experience has consistently rivaled the offerings of Los Angeles and New York’s Broadway.

The Theatre Today

The seating arrangement of Spreckels Theatre guarantees you will enjoy every performance regardless of the tickets you book. The wheelchair spots are among the best of the 1,463 seats available. The box office hours are from noon to 6pm on weekdays, and these are the best hours to choose seats and ask about discounts. To get an idea about the caliber of recent shows, the City Ballet performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in May while Damn Yankees rocked the theater throughout June.

Theatre Etiquette

In Southern California the dress code is mostly relaxed. However, sense and sensibility come into play. Ticket holders who come to see the City Ballet should be more formal than those who come to enjoy Damn Yankees, but this does not mean tuxedos and gowns are required. As for food etiquette, the concession stand offers gourmet snacks and alcoholic beverages, but they cannot be consumed during the performance.

The Theatre and the Community

Spreckels Theatre offers more than just year-round entertainment. A well-kept secret in San Diego is that the building offers one of the best spaces for office rentals in Southern California. If you are a small business owner or a self-employed professional, setting up your office here may give you an edge in terms of location, parking, and a very prestigious address. The theatre also participates in a cultural exchange program that seeks to empower the performing arts in San Diego. To this effect, Spreckels supports young artists and emerging theatre troupes.

Living near Spreckels Theatre is just one of many reasons to start looking at condos in Core San Diego. When living in this part of town, you’ll be right in the heart of all the downtown action. Get in touch with 92101 Urban Living today at 619-649-0368 to see the latest listings. ')}