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. We also have great dining options in the Opera House.

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 can I encourage my friends to join me?

We have special discount ticket offers for groups of 10 or more!


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.

How early should i arrive?

Global Gourmet Catering's Prelude at the Opera House opens two hours before curtain (it's a good idea to make a reservation). Otherwise, you may enter the Opera House up to one hour before curtain. Don't miss our free Pre-Opera Talks, held in the auditorium 55 minutes before the performance.

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!


Can I get food and drinks during intermission?

Yes! Global Gourmet Catering offers numerous food and drink options for intermission(s). Pre-order when you arrive to skip the lines at intermission. You may also make a reservation for one of the seated dining areas by calling (415) 861-8150.


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 for E-Opera, our monthly e-newsletter. 


How do I learn more about opera?

We can recommend some great books and recordings. Follow the performers you like on social media and revisit an aria you enjoyed on YouTube. We also offer interactive evening workshops, opera in an hour film screenings and whole lot more. And of course, coming to another opera is the easiest way to learn!



Arrive early. All performances begin promptly at their scheduled times. As a courtesy to artists and patrons, latecomers will not be seated until the first intermission but are invited to the North Dress Circle Lounge to view a livestream of the performance.

Patrons who leave their seats during the performance will not be permitted to re-enter the auditorium while the performance is in progress.

Cell phones and all electronic devices should be silenced during the performance.

Photography and the use of recording devices is not allowed in the auditorium during performances and curtain calls.

Every child, regardless of age, must have his or her own ticket. No babes in arms allowed.

As a courtesy to others who may have fragrance allergies, please avoid wearing perfume or cologne.

Only drinks purchased in the Opera House may be taken into the auditorium, as long as they are in an approved compostable cup with a lid, which will be available at all bars. Food is still prohibited inside the auditorium. Outside food and drinks are also not allowed.

Bags larger than a purse or briefcase are not allowed in the auditorium and must be checked. Bags are subject to search.

Management reserves the right to remove any patron creating a disturbance.