Arts and Culture Beyond Downtown San Francisco
Although most folks from outlying areas drive into San Francisco to enjoy the performing arts, there are plenty of reasons to head out of the city.
Mill Valley Film Festival. Marin County's annual film festival, in early October, is a renowned community event. The films shown span the genres, from features and documentaries to video, animated, and experimental film. 415/383–5256; www.mvff.com.
Pacific Film Archive. Affiliated with the University of California, this theater screens a comprehensive mix of classics, American, and foreign films. 2155 Center St., at Oxford St., Berkeley, California, 94704. 510/642–0808; www.bampfa.org.
Paramount Theatre. The spectacular art-deco Paramount screens a few vintage flicks (The Sting, Casablanca) every month and presents live events. 2025 Broadway, near 19th St. BART station, Oakland, California, 94612. 510/465–6400; www.paramounttheatre.com.
Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra rose to prominence under Kent Nagano's baton and continues to prosper with Joana Carneiro at the helm. The emphasis is on 20th-century composers. The orchestra plays a few concerts each year, in the University of California–Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall and elsewhere in Berkeley. The acoustics in Zellerbach Hall are poor; sit in the front or middle orchestra for the best sound. 510/841–2800; www.berkeleysymphony.org.
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. Some of the most talented practitioners of folk, blues, Cajun, and bluegrass perform at the alcohol-free venue. 2020 Addison St., Berkeley, California, 94704. 510/644–2020; www.thefreight.org.
Yoshi's. This popular Oakland club is one of the nation's best jazz venues. 510 Embarcadero St., between Washington and Clay Sts., Oakland, California, 94607. 510/238–9200; www.yoshis.com.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre. This Tony Award–winning group is the American Conservatory Theater's major rival for leadership among the region's resident professional companies. It performs an adventurous mix of classics and new plays from fall to spring in its theater complex, near BART's Downtown Berkeley Station. Parking is difficult, so arrive early if you're coming by car. 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, California, 94704. 510/647–2949; www.berkeleyrep.org.
Cal Performances. Held at various venues on the University of California–Berkeley campus from September through May, this popular series offers the Bay Area's most varied bill of internationally acclaimed artists in all disciplines. 510/642–9988; www.calperformances.org.