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San Francisco isn’t like other cities, and we’re proud of it. We serve up unique food, unbelievable landscapes, and bizarre politics. So why see a plain ol’ show when you can choose an evening of live entertainment to match the inimitable style of the rest of the City?
Beach Blanket Babylon: If I had to pick just one live show to insist a newcomer must see, it would be Beach Blanket Babylon. The famed musical revue has it all—drag acts, dance numbers, drama, comedy, pop culture references, and astonishingly big hats. The ever-evolving BBB never does the same-old-same-old, either. So if you saw it 10 years ago, you’ll see a different show today. The only show to claim naming rights to its own street in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood (actually it’s on Green St), grab a room in the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel and head straight down Mason to the show.
Theatre Rhinoceros: In a city that’s famed for its gay culture, the Rhino still manages to stand out. The granddaddy of professional queer theaters opens world-premier plays every single season. Some of the shows go on to become world-famous. Others…don’t. Whether you see one of the stars or one of the dogs, you will get your money’s worth of fun at the Rhino. While the Rhino looks for a new permanent space, many of their shows are going up at the Eureka Theater down in the Embarcadero, which is convenient for patrons of Le Meridien San Francisco and the Mandarin Oriental.
Biscuits and Blues: Even as “live” music gets more homogenized across the world, Biscuits and Blues keeps on keeping on, bringing the “local” back to San Francisco’s local music scene. Sure, the hours can be kind of vague, but the B&B makes up for that by drawing the best blues musicians in the world while showcasing the talent of Bay Area artists. B&B has a prime location near Union Square, around the corner from the Geary Street theaters. You can stumble to the club from the Prescott Hotel or the Donatello Hotel.