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The years following the San Francisco 1906 earthquake were filled with grandiose plans for rebuilding the city. Perhaps the best realized of these is the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center.

Veterans BuildingThe Opera and Symphony Associations needed a permanent residence. Plans were drawn; fundraising began in 1918, and in 1931, ground was broken. Facing City Hall, and designed by the same architect, Arthur Brown, Jr., the War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building are separated by the Memorial Court, creating a harmonious and special atmosphere unmatched in San Francisco.

The Opera House rivals Old World theatres with its elegant lines, vaulted and coffered ceiling, marble foyer and sweeping balconies. It is home to the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. The Veterans Building, nearly identical to the Opera House outside, is multi-purpose inside. The third and fourth floors were occupied by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1932 through 1994. The Green Room and Veterans meeting rooms are housed on the second floor and on the ground floor are the Herbst Theatre and Performing Arts Center and Veterans administrative offices.

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, opened September 1980, completes the Performing Arts Center and is the home of the San Francisco Symphony. Its modern lines echo the architectural style of the other buildings in an exciting and unique form.

The San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center occupies seven and one-half acres with a combined capacity of 7,500. The San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center is more than a home for the arts, it is the center of cultural activity in San Francisco. The resident companies along with the Center’s many other tenants, provide the best of the performing arts. Throughout the year, countless performances, recitals, symposiums, lectures and related activities attract people from all over the world.Opera House detail

Shops and restaurants, all within a few blocks of the Civic Center area, provide a complete evening for patrons to dine and browse before or after an event. Ample parking and public transportation make the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center easily accessible to city audiences and those traveling from outlying communities.

The San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center has great historical significance. The United Nations Charter of 1945 was signed in the Veterans Auditorium (now Herbst Theatre) and in 1951, the Japanese Peace Treaty was signed in the Opera House. The Center has been host to U.S. presidents and foreign heads of state. The San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center was chosen in 1990 to host the first Goldman Environmental Awards Ceremony which is now presented annually at the Center.

Opera, symphony, modern and classical dance, theatre, recitals, plays, lectures, meetings, receptions, special screenings and gala events all have a place at the Center. Each of the Center’s facilities is unique and has special characteristics that enhance every performance or event presented.

© San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center 2002-2009

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