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Tickets 101

The opera, symphony, the San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker, and touring hit musicals are often sold out in advance. Tickets are usually available for other shows within a day of the performance.

This charge-by-phone service, sells tickets for many performances and lectures. You can also buy tickets online, or in person on weekdays from 9:30 to 5:30.

SFP brings an eclectic array of top-flight global music and dance talents to various venues—mostly the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Davies Symphony Hall, and Herbst Theatre. Artists have included Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Midori. Tickets can be purchased in person, online, or by phone.

You can charge tickets for everything from jazz concerts to Giants games by phone or online.

Half-price, same-day tickets for many local and touring shows go on sale (cash only) at the TIX booth in Union Square, which is open daily from 10 to 6. Discount purchases can also be made online.

Top Arts Picks

Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The Bay Area's most satisfying theatrical performances are just a quick BART trip away.

Castro Theatre. This dramatic art-deco palace is the perfect spot for singing along to classic film musicals and catching the latest soon-to-be art-house hit.

Yoshi's. Amazing jazz and great Japanese food in a stylish theater.

Noise Pop Festival. An alt-rock favorite, this festival has hosted many artists early in their careers, among them Death Cab for Cutie and the Flaming Lips.

Listing Information

The best guide to the arts is the Sunday "Datebook" section (www.sfgate.com/datebook) of the San Francisco Chronicle. The four-day entertainment supplement "96 Hours" (www.sfgate.com/96hours) is in the Thursday Chronicle. Also check out the city's free alternative weeklies, including SF Weekly (www.sfweekly.com) and the San Francisco Bay Guardian (www.sfbg.com).

Online, SF Station (www.sfstation.com) has a frequently updated arts and nightlife calendar. San Francisco Arts Monthly (www.sfarts.org), which is published at the end of the month, has arts features and events listings, plus a helpful "Visiting San Francisco?" section. For offbeat, emerging-artist performances, consult CounterPULSE (www.counterpulse.org).