The Ultimate Bay Area Outdoor Theater Guide
It's really easy to enjoy outdoor theater. We're making it even easier with this handy list of the Bay Area's best and brightest (or darkest, if it's nighttime). And while these striking amphitheaters provide a lovely outdoor experience, they're not in the middle of nowhere - discover them easily with some tips below.
The award-winning, nationally recognized California Shakespeare Theater ("Cal Shakes") offers a little slice of outdoor theater heaven in the Siesta Valley. Getting there is easy: if you're driving, hop onto Highway 24 (watch out for wild animals like turkeys and cattle - all part of the experience!) and take the Wilder Road / California Shakespeare exit in Orinda. Parking at the amphitheater is free, and you'll have no problem finding a spot in the middle of the valley. On BART, take the train to Orinda and catch a free shuttle to the theatre beginning 90 minutes prior to show.
100 California Shakespeare Theater Way
Marin Shakespeare Company
Over 10,000 theatergoers visit Forest Meadows Amphitheater each year to experience a play at Marin Shakespeare Company. The gorgeous venue was designed so that the moon rises above the actors each night, creating a truly scenic cultural evening in the North Bay, and its located off the Central San Rafael exit on the 101 on the Dominican University of California campus.
890 Belle Ave
San Rafael, CA 94901
Livermore Shakespeare Festival
A little off the beaten path if you're a San Francisco couch potato, but totally worth the trip. Located at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room, Livermore Shakespeare Festival produces classics in the round in a venue that's as classy as it is picturesque. To get there, simply take the 580 Freeway out to Livermore to get to the Wente Vineyards.
5565 Tesla Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
Mountain Play Association
Each year, Mountain Play produces a spectacular, outdoor production that also nurtures an appreciation for the unique beauty of Mount Tamalpais. Getting there is a bit of a doozy, so we're just going to direct you to Mountain Play's website directions here. Read carefully, because this natural wonder isn't even on Google Maps, and doesn't have a real address (how cool and mysterious...)
Mount Tamalpais, CA 94941
Woodminster Summer Musicals
Located in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park with breathtaking city views, Woodminster Summer Musicals has a 50-year legacy of delighting Bay Area audiences with entertaining musical classics. While the Woodminster Amphitheater isn't accessible by public transportation, it is easily accessible by car. -Just take Highway 13 to the Joaquin Miller Road exit, and follow signs at the main entrance for the theatre. There's $5 parking in the main lot, and the rest is pure summer joy.
3300 Joaquin Miller Rd
Oakland, CA 94602