Detailed FAQ for Your Rady Shell Visit

Common Questions

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park was developed through a collaboration among the San Diego Symphony and leading design and construction experts.

Tucker Sadler Architects was lead designer and architect of record of this state-of-the-art venue. Greg Mueller, the firm’s CEO and Design Principal, was involved with the project from its inception several years ago. He and his team were responsible for The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park as a whole, encompassing the performance shell, backstage artist support spaces, three professional kitchens, underground restrooms, a gracefully sloped seating area for up to 10,000, and a park open to the public on one of the most beautiful settings between San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline.

A key partner was Soundforms, designer of the performance shell. Soundforms and its London partners Flanagan Lawrence, Expedition and ES Global designed the award-winning 2012 mobile acoustic performance shell (MAPS) to be temporary and acoustically excellent. Working together Tucker Sadler, Soundforms expanded the design to accommodate a large orchestra with chorus and soloists and to be a permanent structure on the Embarcadero Marina Park South site.

Sound Consultant Shawn Murphy worked closely with San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer and the entire design team to ensure the creation of the best possible acoustic environment. He introduced to the team a San Francisco-based firm, Salter, dedicated to acoustic and sound engineering and audiovisual components. Berkeley-based Meyer Sound designed the signature Constellation System, used here in its first outdoor installation, which creates an onstage acoustic equivalent to the high standard of indoor concert halls. The combination of the shell design with Salter’s acoustic paneling, the Meyer Constellation system and the custom designed L-Acoustic surround reinforcement system, has created the best possible acoustic experience for performers, which translates across a wide range of musical genres into an extraordinary sonic experience for audiences.

Another key partner in creating the performance shell is the Australia-based company Fabritecture, which developed and oversaw the technical design, fabrication and installation of the tensile structure of the performance shell, as well as the backstage support spaces, executive kitchen, the box office and two dining pavilions.

Two further design partners are HLB, which completed the architectural lighting design, and Schuler Shook, which completed the theater lighting and rigging design.

Burton Landscape Architecture Studio is the official landscape architect of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park replaces the temporary performance and event venue with permanent facilities at Embarcadero Marina Park South for the use and benefit of the community. The development of the park and venue features a permanent, architecturally remarkable and acoustically superior stage that allows the Symphony to enhance its musical presentations and the visitor experience. Terraced seating allows visitors unobstructed views from nearly all seating locations.

A work of art in itself, the acoustically engineered stage features a concert shell designed to complement the San Diego Convention Center sails and surrounding downtown development. The stage provides a larger performance space for both the orchestra and guest artists. Additional project design components include:

  • Covered stage with 13,000 square feet of performance space and ancillary back-of-house facilities
  • Sunset steps and patio at the back of the performance stage for stunning views of the Bay and public use during non-event hours
  • Flexible seating capacity varying from intimate seating up to 10,000
  • Terraced seating to provide all concert guests unobstructed views from nearly every seat
  • Temporary seating that allows for lawns to be open to the public during non-event periods
  • New public restrooms; lighting; extensive public park enhancements throughout Jacobs Park; and other public amenities
  • Enhanced public promenade around the venue expands to 12 feet
  • Improved and environmentally sustainable landscaping and trees
  • Sand-based synthetic turf in the main seating area and pre-event spaces, which reduces water consumption and is more environmentally friendly
  • The venue is part of Jacobs Park, inside the larger Embarcadero Marina Park; the park is open to the general public during non-event hours.

The San Diego Symphony brings a wide range of artists and music to this unique venue. Our programming at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park reflects all genres of music, allowing the Symphony to embrace the diversity of our city and audience. The enhanced sound system (see design questions below) allows greater enjoyment than ever of outdoor classical music performances, which has resulted in more classical music programming.

Generally, for Symphony-produced concerts, YES; for rental concert events, NO, unless a Lawn section is specifically provided. (Note: chairs will be provided in the designated ADA seating zones for ALL rental events.) Please check the Calendar Event page of your concert for any special conditions in effect. There are not folding chairs available to rent at the venue, but blankets are available for purchase.

Yes! Every section is ADA accessible with designated seats available. ADA seating will tend to be on the most easily accessible, outside edges of each section. ADA seating for both transfer and non-transfer wheelchairs, companion and semi-ambulatory as well as restrooms, are available at each performance, and can be purchased online or through the Ticket Office. Wheelchairs are also available when appropriate to transfer you to your seating. Please notify the Ticket Office in advance at 619.235.0804 for any special accommodation or assistance needs or questions.

Due to heightened security concern, we are specifying the following at The Shell: guests may bring in one soft-sided bag per person, not to exceed 16”x16”x8”. No coolers are permitted. All bags and containers are subject to inspection by security prior to entering the venue. Note: food and beverages will not be allowed in the venue, in bags, containers or otherwise. In an effort to reduce waste, guests are welcome to bring one empty reusable plastic or aluminum water bottle for San Diego Symphony performances only. Bottles can be filled at water refill stations inside the venue. Glass bottles are not permitted.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park has become an important public resource as a site for a wider range of private and public events and performances than was possible before; it activates Jacobs Park year-round as a community gathering space and a landmark waterfront attraction. The Park includes relocated, upgraded exercise stations. Embarcadero Marina Park South/Jacobs Park hours are 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. During most concert evenings, the interior portions of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park facility will be closed to the public beginning at 2pm until the venue opens to ticketed admissions at least 90 minutes before the performance begins. (For certain concerts, the interior will be closed beginning in the morning as well, watch for signage.)

If you think you may have lost or left an item behind at The Rady Shell, you may call 619.269.5964 to make an inquiry. This line is monitored 24/7. Found items will be stored for 30 days. Please call the security office to arrange for a time to claim your items.

Yes, restrooms on the bay side and marina side of the building are available during public park hours, though they become unavailable when the site moves into “concert” mode. There are also public bathrooms adjacent to the fishing pier at the SE edge of the park.

You can always refer to the Rady Shell website's COVID-19 Guidelines for Attendance Page for the most updated Symphony policies concerning vaccination and masking.

For most concerts at The Rady Shell, entrance gates will open two hours before concert time. Occasionally, the gates will open earlier or later than that, based on producer needs; ticket-holders will receive information about door-open times in ticket reminders sent prior to their concert.

Food & Beverage

The Rady Shell, through its expanded culinary program The Shell Provisions, offers a wide variety of fresh, locally-sourced options ranging from casual to upscale. Our partners feature some of San Diego’s most talked-about favorites, including Chef Richard Blais, Urban Kitchen, Biga, Lola 55, Achilles Coffee, Kitchens for Good and Minocqua Popcorn. Chef Blais returns with a brand new “Blais by the Bay” pre-order menu for the Marina and San Diego Row sections. In addition, Blais Picnic Boxes can be pre-ordered if you are sitting in the Marina, San Diego Row or Parkside sections. Food and drink will be available for purchase in the new Street Food Pavilion in Prebys Plaza. See more details and pre-order links on our Food & Beverage page!

Ensuring that all concertgoers have a safe and enjoyable experience at The Shell is our top priority. For the safety of guests, and to expedite security checks and timely entry of the many guests we are expect in our new larger venue, outside food and drinks are not permitted inside The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. (Exceptions will be made for medically prescribed food/drink.) In an effort to reduce waste, guests are welcome to bring one empty reusable plastic or aluminum water bottle for San Diego Symphony performances only. Bottles can be filled at water refill stations inside the venue. Glass bottles are not permitted.

The Shell Provisions food program offers an impressive range of specialty and grab-and-go items. New state-of-the-art kitchens, food carts and multiple bars and dining spaces will make dining and drinking with your friends and family at The Rady Shell a memorable tradition.

Chef Richard Blais is creating a new "Blais by the Bay" menu for pre-ordered dining at The Rady Shell. Pre-ordered dinners will be delivered to guests seated at tables in the Marina and San Diego Row sections. Pre-ordered Blais Picnic Boxes will be delivered to guests seated in the Marina, San Diego Row and Parkside sections.

See more details and pre-order links on our Food & Beverage page!

Guests are not permitted to bring outside alcoholic beverages into The Rady Shell. A wide selection of wine, beer and liquor are available for purchase onsite at multiple bars stocked by The Shell Provisions.
Guests seated in the Marina and San Diego Row sections may order wine, beer, liquor and other beverages from wait staff.
Glassware and dinnerware including plates and utensils are not allowed into The Rady Shell. Appropriate eating and drinking utensils are provided with your Shell Provisions/Street Food Pavilion purchase.

Location & Transportation

The Rady Shell is located at the same site as we’ve performing summer concerts since 2004 (only now, in a permanent venue): Embarcadero Marina Park South, behind the San Diego Convention Center. Transportation and directions can be found on our Getting to The Rady Shell Page.
Yes - more information about public transportation to Embarcadero Marina Park South can be found on our Getting to The Rady Shell Page. Also, bring your MTS receipt for getting to the concert and we'll give you a special $6 MTS discount on a ticket purchased at the Rady Shell Box Office!
Yes, there is a dedicated ride-share drop off and pick-up location near our shuttle pickup near the Bayfront Hilton on Marina Park Way. An ADA-accommodating shuttle will always be available on this run. 222 Marina Park Way is our "Uber/Lyft" dropoff/pickup address. Please note: Uber or Lyft drivers WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to come into the Shell traffic circle before or after a concert. They should use the Hilton Bayfront designated pickup/dropoff point.

Pre-paid parking nearby The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park is now facilitated by Ace Parking. Follow this link to a complete Ace Parking calendar of pre-paid parking reservations dedicated to concert events at The Rady Shell. (Patrons will initially be asked to create a separate login/password for the "spACE" website to purchase this advance parking. This can be the same as your Symphony login/password, and can be used for all subsequent parking purchases from Ace. All parking barcodes will be sent by Ace to the login address.)

Pricing will vary, depending on if other events are happening in the area, such as Padres games at nearby Petco Park. For other ways of getting to The Shell, see our Getting to The Rady Shell Page.

Bikes, scooters, roller skates and other wheeled equipment are allowed on the promenade around the concert venue only. Wheeled equipment is not permitted in the seating area. Accessible bike racks will be available onsite for both daytime and concert use.

Yes, as long as the child in the stroller meets the age requirement for the concert. (Jacobs Masterworks concerts are for ages five and up, all ages for everything else unless otherwise noted.) Once you are in your seating area, strollers will need to be checked in with usher staff, and will be kept adjacent to the side aisles for collection after the concert.

ADA

We have an Assistive Listening System in place for our Rady Shell concerts. House staff will be happy to check out a listening unit plus headphones to you...just ask!

Yes, there is limited accessible parking, but it is not sold in advance from Ace Parking. The driver of the vehicle must be displaying a valid disabled placard to access this lot with concert tickets. When these spaces become full, eligible patrons will be directed to an overflow disabled lot nearby. As required by law, there are a limited number of free disabled parking spots in the peninsula lot, but these are often occupied by users of the public park and fishing pier on the Embarcadero.

Please note: the shuttle run between Bayfront Hilton pickup point and The Shell entrance will always contain at least one ADA-equipped shuttle bus.

Yes! Every section is ADA accessible with designated seats available. ADA seating tends to be on the most easily accessible, outside edges of each section. ADA seating for both transfer and non-transfer wheelchairs, companion and semi-ambulatory as well as restrooms, are available at each performance, and can be purchased online or through the Ticket Office. Wheelchairs are also available when appropriate to transfer you to your seating. Please notify the Ticket Office in advance at tickets@sandiegosymphony.org or 619.235.0804 for any special accommodation or assistance needs or questions.

See more details on our Venue Accessibility Page.

Having Fun @ The Rady Shell

Our camera policy at The Shell as follows: Cameras are allowed into the concert site, no check-in is required. Photography is allowed on the site but flash photography is prohibited at all times! (This policy includes cell phone photography, digital audio/video, etc.) No audio or video capture of any other kind is permitted during performances without the express consent of San Diego Symphony management. The San Diego Symphony or individual concert producers reserve the right to revert to a more restrictive “no photos” policy if requested by the artist management – PA announcements will be posted in advance on the Calendar Event page for that concert.

A few, but not all, concerts at The Rady Shell have a fireworks display scheduled at the end. Please check the Calendar Event page for any concert, which will indicate the fireworks status of that concert.
In general, yes; however there are exceptions for certain concerts in larger seating configurations which do not feature a Lawn section. Please check the Calendar Event page of your concert to prepare for your experience. There will not be folding chairs available to rent at the venue, but blankets will be available for purchase, if you don’t bring your own.
Due to heightened security concern, we specify the following at The Shell: guests may bring in one soft-sided bag per person, not to exceed 16”x16”x8”. No coolers are permitted. All bags and containers are subject to inspection by security prior to entering the venue. Note: food and beverages are not allowed in the venue, in bags, containers or otherwise. In an effort to reduce waste, guests are welcome to bring one empty reusable plastic or aluminum water bottle for San Diego Symphony performances only. Bottles can be filled at water refill stations inside the venue. Glass bottles are not permitted.
The Rady Shell is located right on San Diego Bay, so the temperature tends to drop after sundown, and the wind can pick up as well. Our advice is to dress comfortably, warmly and in layers.
The Port of San Diego has designated Embarcadero Marina Park South (including Jacobs Park) as a Non-Smoking Area. This means that no lighted pipes, cigars and/or cigarettes (tobacco or...otherwise) are allowed in any part of the Park, including The Shell, and no such items may be disposed of in The Rady Shell except for in designated waste disposal containers.
So glad you asked! The Rady Shell’s bathrooms are located underneath the seating berm and can be entered from three directions. Restrooms on the bay side and marina side of the building are available during public park hours.
The San Diego Symphony has decided that the parking needs of our patrons at The Rady Shell are better served by parking professionals; therefore, we direct patrons to the resources of our parking partner, Ace Parking, who can offer a variety of pre-parking options and prices to our patrons.
During public park hours...YES! However, due to the artificial turf, dogs are allowed on the promenade around the concert site but not on the artificial turf areas within the site. (This does not apply to service dogs.) During actual concerts the sights and sounds of our concert productions may distract or upset even the best-behaved furry friends. To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all of our patrons, we only allow official licensed service animals to accompany concert-goers to concerts at The Shell. We cannot make exceptions even for cages or leashes, sorry.

It is difficult to predict if a given guest artist will bring CD's to sell, but if they are available, such recordings would be purchased in a our Gift Shop kiosks at The Rady Shell. Guest artists occasionally offer brief post-concert CD signings, so watch for signage and listen for announcements.

(Note: concert recordings with guest artists at The Rady Shell are unlikely to ever be offered. If such a recording comes to pass and is available for sale, we'll definitely let you know!)

Summertime Rady Shell concerts usually begin at 7:30pm and last two complete hours, including intermission, though some concerts (especially film concerts) can occasionally go as late as 10pm.

Please note: some concerts earlier or later in the year have earlier start times...check the Concert Calendar!

In general, the outdoor sound environment of The Rady Shell is somewhat more active and forgiving than what you might find inside Copley Symphony Hall during a concert. That being said, you should assume that all of the patrons around you can hear you, especially while music is playing. Even talking in an undertone to your table-mates might be noticed by your neighbors who are concentrating on the concert. Please use your most considerate judgment, factoring the genre of music, sound level, etc.
Latecomers to concerts at The Rady Shell are seated at an appropriate interval in the concert as determined by the house manager. (If it is a classical concert, that might be between movements.) We ask that you remain in your ticketed seat until the concert has concluded. Should special circumstances exist or arise, please contact the nearest usher for assistance.
We usually take 25 minutes for intermission. Certain productions which may run long, such as "Live-to"Film" concerts, will only have a 20 minutes intermission. Intermissions for classical concerts are 20 minutes only.
Links to biographies for all of our Rady Shell guest artists will be found on the Shell Calendar listing several weeks before a scheduled concert.
  • All performances at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park will go on, rain or shine. No refunds or exchanges. Subscribers may exchange into other performances if exchanges are made no later than 24 hours prior to the event start time.
  • In the case of inclement weather, admission to the venue or show times may be delayed; check TheShell.org for updates.
  • If there is lightning near The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, instructions will be shared with ticketholders onsite and online at TheShell.org.

Barbecuing is not permitted at Jacobs Park, but the part of Embarcadero Park across the parking lot from the venue (adjacent to the basketball courts) is available for this.

A permit from the San Diego Symphony or the Port of San Diego is required to fly any kind of drone around The Rady Shell, day or night, concert or no concert. Individuals flying a drone at The Rady Shell without a permit will be referred to the Harbor Police.