Berkeley’s Greek Theater
One of the Best Performance Venues in the Bay Area!
The official name of this performance venue may be the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, but around the UC Berkeley campus and the greater Bay Area, it is simply, “the Greek.” Located right on the UC-Berkeley campus, the Greek Theater has been delighting performers and audiences alike for more than 100 years. Experienced concert enthusiasts know that not all performance spaces are created equal. Some venues, through the location, the sightlines, the acoustics, the history or simply the “feel” of the place, are so special that they inspire performers to perform at the very top of their craft. If you ask any of the thousands of musicians who have performed at this venue, they will tell you that the Greek has all of these attributes and more and that it is one of their most favorite places to play.
Not only is this a superb venue for live music, but those seated above the lower bowl are also treated to a spectacular view of the Campanile, Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, as well as a stunning view of Mount Tampalpais and San Francisco across the Bay. The Greek may be an outdoor concert venue but don’t confuse it with the vast, sterile outdoor performance spaces in most other major cities. With seating for only 8,500, the Greek is an uncommonly intimate venue, with superb sightlines from nearly every vantage point. What is more, from May through October each year, the Greek hosts a very full schedule of performances from a wide range of different types of music. The performance calendar is so full and diverse that many music lovers visit the venue more than a handful of times each concert season.
If you’re planning to attend a show at the Greek (and you definitely should!) these tips will help you get the most from the experience:
- Dress warmly. Even in the summer months, it can get quite chilly when the wind and fog roll in, especially if you’re sitting on the lawn.
- If you have General Admission seats, bring a blanket. A blanket helps define your group’s space on the lawn, is much more warm and comfortable than sitting on grass and makes an excellent dance floor when the joint starts jumpin’!
- If you have reserved seating, bring a seat cushion. This will enhance the concert experience immeasurably.
- Due to space restrictions, strollers are not allowed and guests with small children are advised to get a sitter for the night.
- All guests, no matter their age, must have a ticket to get into the venue.
- Alcohol, cans, bottles, ice chests, picnic baskets, lawn furniture, strollers, professional cameras or recording devices, large blankets, large backpacks, umbrellas, pets or weapons of any kind are not allowed in the facility.
- Don’t drive. Parking is quite limited and drivers often have to park many blocks away to find an open space. Your best bet is taking BART mass transit to and from the venue.
- If you buy General Admission tickets, get there early! Most of the seating at the Greek is GA and arriving early is strongly recommended. Doors open 90 minutes before the performance.
- Grab a bite and a drink before the show. There are lots of really good drinking and dining options in the neighborhood around the Greek. Food and drink are also available at the venue, but lines can be long and it is predictably expensive.
The Greek Theater is located at 2001 Gayley Road in Berkeley. For a complete listing of this year’s concert schedule, visit the official; site at http://www.apeconcerts.com/venue_greekTheatre.cfm. The site offers detailed information on directions to the venue, policies, tickets, a list of past concert seasons and much more. If you’re planning on visiting the Bay Area between May and October this year or are entertaining guests from outside the area, seeing at least one show at the Greek is highly recommended!