San Francisco Symphony Music for Families - 510 Families
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San Francisco Symphony Music for Families

Recently, I attended a San Francisco Symphony performance with my daughter and mother. The event was a part of their Music For Families series, which aims to share the joy of music with an audience of all ages. We had the most amazing time listening to the music and learning about instruments.

San Francisco Symphony Davies Hall
Taking it all in | Photo: Maureen Burke

Music For Families shows run about 50 minutes and center on a theme.

Our concert was all about percussion from around the world. We heard solos from the snare drum, xylophone, timpani, steel pan, and more. The conductor taught us about drum patterns and led the entire audience in a demonstration—being one of several hundred people stomping to a beat was such fun! We also enjoyed listening to the entire symphony perform familiar songs with heavy percussion elements, including “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the theme song to 2001: A Space Odyssey. All in all, it was a delightful and engaging performance for everyone!

If you love live music or are looking for a special destination as a family, I highly recommend attending one of the family-friendly shows at Davies Symphony Hall. Buy tickets here >

Here are a few tips to help make your symphony visit go smoothly so you can focus on the fun and music:

Choose the best seat for your child. Davies Symphony Hall has many seating options. All the seats have backs and arms so everyone will have their own space. However, the seats can be a little low and little ones may have trouble seeing over the ledge if seated in a front row. Our family sat in the front row of a section in the Loge, but my tall child still had to sit on grandma’s lap to see. It’s a little counterintuitive, but the seats with the best view are often in the middle or back of a section.

Keep your child’s needs and interests in mind, too. If you think you’ll need to step out during the performance, maybe seats near an aisle and exit door are a good choice. A child who wants to be close to the action may enjoy a seat in the Terrace, which is behind the stage. Check out the seating chart here and do some research with sites like

Davies Symphony Hall Lobby
Davies Hall lobby is perfect for twirling before a show | Photo: Maureen Burke

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Purchase parking in advance and arrive early. The drive into San Francisco can be so unpredictable when it comes to traffic, so plan to arrive early. I also highly recommend purchasing a parking pass with your performance tickets. The parking garage is an easy 2-block walk from the venue. You’ll have a calmer day and be able to enjoy the experience without any traffic- or parking-induced stress. Plus there will be extra time to visit the restroom or enjoy the beautiful lobby.

Choose the e-Ticket option. Skip will call and receive your tickets electronically. You’ll be able to move into the theatre faster and get to your seats sooner.

Dress comfortably. The symphony welcomes all types and styles of dress, so your family can choose to wear fancy or casual clothes. It’s more important to wear something that will be comfortable for the length of the program. My daughter saw our outing as a special occasion, so we decided to dress up. But, come as you are; formal attire isn’t necessary.

SF symphony dressing up
Dress up if you want; formal attire isn’t required. | Photo: Maureen Burke

Visit nearby Children’s Creativity Museum >

Best for grade-schoolers or older. The family performances are for all ages but are best for kids who are at least 5 years old. The show lasts about 60 minutes with no intermission. There is no food or drink on-site or allowed in the performance hall. Toddlers may have trouble sitting still or staying quiet during the length of the show.

Bottom Line on SF Symphony Music for Families series

We liked it a lot. An outing to the symphony is an amazing and special choice for families, especially with San Francisco Symphony’s Music for Families series. The performance will keep your kids engaged and entertained. You’ll also be wowed by the amazingly skilled musicians and learn a little bit about playing an instrument from the conductor. It’s an inspiring outing, to say the least! Tickets start at $12.50.

See the full schedule here >

Buy tickets here >

I paid for my tickets and these are the opinions of myself and my family. Though SF Symphony is an occasional advertiser with, this post is not sponsored.

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