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Balboa Theatre

San Diego Theatres manages, markets, operates and maintains the San Diego Civic Theatre in the heart of downtown and the historic Balboa Theatre in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Built in 1924, the historic Balboa Theatre was an elegant vaudeville and movie palace in the heart of downtown San Diego. At the time it was a state-of-the-art building that included six storefronts along Fourth Avenue, with 34 offices on the floors above.

After a 1934 remodeling, the theatre was reopened as Teatro Balboa, featuring contemporary films from Mexico City and presenting Latin stars to San Diego's increasingly diverse audience. During World War II, the theatre's office space was used by the US Navy. These offices were reconfigured into bachelor quarters for young men waiting to ship out. After the war, the remodeled spaces became single-occupancy housing.

In 1959, the Russo family of San Diego acquired the building and saved it from potential demolition. They operated it as a action movie house until the City of San Diego purchased it in 1986. Ten years later, the Balboa Theatre Foundation nominated the Theatre to the National Register of Historic Places to save both the interior and exterior of this community asset.

The Balboa Theatre had been closed for over twenty years. After numerous efforts to privately renovate and reopen the Theatre, the commitment was made in 2002 to retain the historic Balboa Theatre as a public asset with the City's Redevelopment Agency funding its renovation and restoration and reopening the Theatre as a community performing arts center to be managed and operated by San Diego Theatres. Since that commitment in October 2002, Centre City Development Corporation has proceeded with the rehabilitation of the Theatre with a goal to achieve its ambitious mission:

"To transform the Balboa Theatre into a contemporary performing arts venue treasured by patrons, producers, presenters, performers, and San Diego's regional community while contributing to redevelopment and the advancement of a vital downtown theatre district. Celebrating its rich history, the Balboa Theatre will be restored in accordance with local application of The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.

"Visitors will be inspired by its beauty, comfort, flexibility, and functionality. The Balboa Theatre's transformation will result in a well equipped, fully functioning venue to effectively and efficiently house diverse programs of local, national and international performances and presentations, and community, corporate and convention gatherings. For performing arts and formal gatherings, the historic Balboa Theatre will once again become a venue of preference."

The City of San Diego's Redevelopment Agency has invested over $26 million into the Balboa Theatre's renovation and restoration. This has included extensive seismic retro-fit to meet current requirements, complete replacement of all infrastructure systems including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and life safety, ADA accommodations, state-of-the-industry theatrical lighting, audio, rigging and production requirements, and audience accommodations including new seating.

The project has embraced and restored the historic finishes and appearance of the Balboa Theatre while incorporating current audience and production expectations to ensure its use for generations to come.

The historic Balboa Theatre reopened in January 2008 with much acclaim from audiences and performers. Additionally, it has received numerous special awards and recognition on a local, state and national professional organizations.

Ticket Office Business Hours
Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Upcoming event at Balboa Theatre

Cinema @ The Balboa: 'High Anxiety'

  • Today, 1 p.m.
  • Cinema @ The Balboa is a film series at the Balboa Theatre showcases everything from classic and art house movies to documentaries and concert films. Catch "High Anxiety," an homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock with parodies of famous scenes in "The Birds," "Psycho" and "Vertigo." The movie runs 1 hour and 34 minutes and is rated PG. There are concession specials available for pre-purchase. Call (619) 570-1100 for ... Read more

All upcoming events at Balboa Theatre

Cinema @ The Balboa: 'High Anxiety'Today

Cinema @ The Balboa: 'Young Frankenstein'Today

Gillian Welch Harrow And The Harvest TourOctober 3, 2017

Ramsey Lewis & His Electric BandOctober 5, 2017

Jeremy Camp Answer TourOctober 12, 2017

My Favorite Murder LiveOctober 13, 2017

Eddie Izzard Believe Me TourOctober 18, 2017

Michael Carbonaro LiveOctober 19, 2017

Tegan And Sara's The Con X TourOctober 20, 2017

Home Free Fall 2017 TourOctober 21, 2017

Regina SpektorOctober 23, 2017

'A Night With Janis Joplin'October 25, 2017

Iron And WineOctober 28, 2017

Johnny Clegg: The Final Journey Tour October 30, 2017

Cinema @ The Balboa: 'Night Of The Living Dead'October 31, 2017

ArtPower Series: Día De Los Muertos Celebration Special EventNovember 2, 2017

Classics 4 Kids: Lions, Tigers, Bears And MoreNovember 7, 2017

Down The Rabbit HoleNovember 10, 2017

An Evening With Author Dan BrownNovember 14, 2017

ArtPower Presents David SedarisNovember 16, 2017

Beth Hart's 'Fire On The Floor'February 18, 2018

Classics 4 Kids: From Bach To Rock March 8, 2018

San Diego Opera Presents 'One Amazing Night With Greer Grimsley And Lise Lindstrom'May 5, 2018

Classics 4 Kids: Aloha FriendsMay 31, 2018

Past events

Photo of this place

Business hours

Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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