Copley Symphony Hall Tours & San Diego Symphony


Location: Downtown San Diego (Core District)

Performances: Year-Round

Cost: Copley Hall Tours are Free; Performance Tickets Range from $20 – $93 (Some $10 tickets available for Students)

Features: Watch the San Diego Symphony and other International Music Acts Perform in one of the Most Elegant Theatres on the West Coast. You can also Take Tours of the Historic Copley Symphony Hall, which was an Original Fox Theatre where Walt Disney Premiered his Movies.

Copley Symphony HallCopley Symphony Hall Highlights: Copley Symphony Hall is one of the original Fox Movie Theatres, which opened in 1929. Decorated with French Roccoco decor, built with impeccable acoustical design, and housing an impressive pipe organ, this setting was a favorite among Hollywood movie producers. Walt Disney was one particular fan who used this theatre to premier his Disney movies.

Copley Symphony Hall is now part of the Symphony Hall Towers, which is a multi-use complex that includes an office tower and hotel. The surrounding complex was built around the theatre building in such a way that no walls of the surrounding complex touch the original walls of the theatre. This was done to preserve its acoustical integrity.

Copley Hall TourThe development of the surrounding office tower and hotel provided the funds needed to restore the 2,268 seat theatre to its original splendor and put it into the ownership of the San Diego Symphony, making it one of the few symphonies in the world to possess its own performance hall. You can read more about the history of Copley Symphony Hall or even take a tour of the concert hall. Tours generally take place at noon, one Wednesday each month.

San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony has become one of the most well-regarded and well-funded orchestras in the country. Copley Hall ArchitectureStarted in 1910, the orchestra got a financial boost from benefactors such as John Moores and Larry Lucchino of the San Diego Padres in 1998 when interest in classical music was falling nationwide and smaller orchestras across the country, including the San Diego Symphony, were filing for bankruptcy. Less than four years later, the Symphony received a $120 million gift from Irwin and Joan Jacobs, founders of the cell phone technology company, Qualcomm, to help ensure the Symphony’s continued success. Today, the San Diego Symphony offers over 100 concerts annually, providing Pops Concerts that attract classical music novices to performances of classical masterpieces.

The Jacobs Masterworks Series presents the most formal productions of classical pieces. This series consists of 12 concerts running Friday through Sundays from October through May. Many include solo performances by internationally recognized violinists, pianists, and vocalists. To learn more about each evening’s performance, you can attend pre-concert talks, which start 45 minutes before the performance. Individual ticket prices range from $20 – $93. There are limited discount opportunities for students.

The Winter Pops Concert Series is a better option for those who are not used to classical music or feel a little intimidated by it. Winter Pops Concerts include an orchestral rendition of more contemporary pieces that are more easily recognized by non-classical audiences. This is a nice introduction for beginners to develop an appreciation for symphony orchestras. There are over a dozen concerts that take place from October to May. Individual ticket prices range from $20 – $80. There are limited discount opportunities for students.

History leftover from the Fox Theater Copley Hall Performances

In addition to the two series noted above there are other Copley Hall concerts performed by the San Diego Symphony, visiting international symphonies, and performances by top national acts, such as Tori Amos and K.D. Lang. View the Copley Hall Calendar for upcoming performances.

Nearby Dining – There are very limited dining options next to Copley Symphony Hall, which is inside the Symphony Towers complex. On the north side of Symphony Towers, facing A Street is a Sheraton Suites Hotel, where you can find a relaxed, but nicely decorated restaurant. There are plenty of dining options if you walk to the Gaslamp Quarter, four blocks southwest of Copley Hall.

Symphony crowds looking for upscale dining have several options on Broadway. They include The Westgate Room in the Westgate Hotel, the award winning Grant Grill in the U.S. Grant Hotel, and Dobson’s Bar and Restaurant, a long-time favorite for city business leaders and politicians. For a list of restaurants in the nearby Gaslamp Quarter, visit the Gaslamp Quarter Association web site. Some of these restaurants offer discounts if you show them your Symphony tickets. After theatre, you will find plenty of nightlife in the Gaslamp. One particular attraction for the after-theatre crowds is the Plaza Bar in the Westgate Hotel, an intimate piano bar where you will often see amateur and professional performers sharing their talents after the shows in nearby theatres.

Information on Visiting Copley Symphony Hall

Directions from Google Maps to 1245 Seventh Avenue in San Diego, CA 92101. (Copley Symphony Hall is located at the corner of 7th Avenue and B Street, inside Symphony Towers.)

Parking – You will find parking lots at the corner of 8th Avenue and B Street. Parking costs around $10 for the evening. You may also want to consider street parking, which is free after 6PM. However, these spots fill up quickly.

Traffic – Getting in and out of downtown using highways I-5, SR-163, and SR-94 is relatively easy. Downtown San Diego is not a major employment center and thus there is very little rush hour traffic. Watch for slower traffic on the I-5 where it does a tight S-curve through downtown San Diego near the SR-163 interchange. When heading southbound on SR-163, stay to the left side unless you want to get on the I-5. (You will encounter a slight delay getting on the I-5 from SR-163.) You will also encounter a slight delay on SR-163 going into downtown when there is an event at Petco Park. If the San Diego Padres play a daytime game, it usually start at 1:05PM. Otherwise, games start at 7:05PM. Even though traffic backs up a little on SR-163, it continues to move along. When leaving downtown, remember that:

  • 1st Avenue will get you to the I-5 North,
  • 11th Avenue will get you to SR-163 and the I-5 North,
  • E & J Streets will get you to the I-5 South, and
  • G Street will get you to SR-94.

The traffic lights on these streets are synchronized and will generally move you along without delay. (Learn how to get the latest highway traffic updates.)

Once you are downtown, you will find most of the streets are one-way, on an alternating basis. (You can see them if you zoom in on Google Maps.) In front of Copley Symphony Hall, B Street is one-way heading west and Seventh Avenue is a one-way street heading north.

All of the streets downtown move along quite well. The only exceptions are along 4th and 5th Avenues through the Gaslamp Quarter in the evenings and around Petco Park before and after events. One other exception is crossing train tracks that run along Harbor Drive in front of the Convention Center. You can cross over the train tracks at Market, Front, 1st, and 5th. Sometimes, freight trains block the latter few crossover streets. If you see them sitting still, it means they are checking their brakes, so it could take a while. Don’t wait. Move farther north towards Market Street to cross over the tracks.

Transit – Both the Blue and Orange Trolley Lines move through Downtown San Diego and stop at the Fifth Avenue Station. You will find Copley Hall two blocks northeast of this station. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map, trolley schedule, and information for the online Transit Planner.)

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Attractions*, Architecture, Horton Plaza / Core, Music Attractions, Music Venues, Nostalgia & Western Frontier, Performing Arts |

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