Visiting Us for the First Time

Welcome! We are thrilled to have you join us at the historic War Memorial Opera House.

Know before you go

What should I wear?

We don't have a dress code. Some opera-goers prefer suits and gowns, others jeans. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. But please avoid wearing strong scents. Many people (including singers) have allergies.

Where should I eat?

Hayes Valley is home to iconic classics and trendy new hot spots. Give yourself plenty of time to get here and book a table in advance.

Is there late seating?

As a courtesy to performers and our audience, we don't offer late seating. If you do arrive late, you can relax with food and drink in one of our bars and watch the performance on a TV until intermission. 

How should I get to the Opera House?

We recommend public transit. We are conveniently located in Civic Center and BART and MUNI have stops within a 10-minute walk of the Opera House. Visit Directions and Parking for information on where to park. And to have the best experience possible, give yourself plenty of time to get here.

How do I brush up on my opera knowledge before the show?

Hear the music, see the artists, learn the story, and more on each opera's page. There are many great resources about opera online, from overviews of the genre to what to expect during a performance. Check out HuffPost’s Opera Guide for Beginners.

While you're here

Don’t worry if you don’t understand Italian or French. All of our operas are performed with English supertitles projected above the stage—even the operas in English!


How long is intermission?

Opera intermissions are usually 20–25 minutes. It's enough time for artists and crew to prepare for the next act, and for you to relax and enjoy the Opera House. You'll know it's time to return to your seat when you hear the bells chime. Chimes sound eight, four and two minutes before the performance begins.


Who do I ask for help?

Our friendly usher staff is ready and waiting to help you! Look for them on each floor of the Opera House.


How do I stay updated on new events?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get behind-the-scenes access, special offers, and future event information. You can also sign up to receive our emails below. 


How do I learn more about opera?

Check out these some great books and recordings and purchase some of them at San Francisco Opera Shop. Follow the performers you like on social media and revisit an aria you enjoyed on YouTube. And of course, coming to another opera is the easiest way to learn!