It’s hard to believe that this dramatic performance venue, with its ultra-modern-looking white-and-glass façade, opened all the way back in 1980. Somehow its bold, curving lines and standout placement in the city’s Civic Center area make it appear fresh and new, even after decades of use. The still-eye-catching looks were created by Italian-American architect Pietro Belluschi, who crafted a massive do-over of the city’s original symphony hall. His design included a brilliant building-within-a-building design, allowing for an exterior shell to insulate against city noise and vibration. Come for a performance of the world-renowned San Francisco Symphony, and you’ll appreciate every note. During intermission, step into the lobby to take in views of San Francisco’s ornately embellished City Hall and sleek new high rises beyond. Within-strolling-distance hot spots for dining before or after a show include classy Jardiniere and ever-popular Zuni Café. Find more cafes and hip boutiques in the nearby Hayes Valley neighbourhood.
Insider’s tip: Take a tour (offered Mondays; nominal fee charged) to learn about the hall’s unique features, including the individually tunable acrylic sound reflectors suspended above the orchestra pit.