Live Music Venues with Kids
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Live Music Venues with Kids
My older daughter has recently started music lessons, and
I'm interested in getting her some opportunities to see live
music performances -- specifically, for low-key community
options, more than things at a symphony hall. Classical, at
this point, because that's what her lessons are. I know
Crowden sometimes has performances, Berkeley's music
department . . . is there somewhere I can find all these
kinds of options listed? Other good venues I should keep an
eye on? Oakland Mama
Good for you, for wanting to introduce your child to the
wonderful world of classical music!
For starters, consider subscribing to the online newsletter
'San Francisco Classical Voice'. It comes once a week, on
Tuesdays, and offers news, reviews, previews, listings of
upcoming events, etc. It gives a little more emphasis to
established, professional groups than to community-based
organizations, but it does try to include a few of the
Another idea is to go to the web pages (via googling) of
community-based groups that might interest your daughter,
and look for upcoming concerts, or subscribe to their
newsletters or announcement services. A few that come to
*Prometheus Symphony (5 FREE concerts a year)
*Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
California Bach Society (a chorus)
*Bay Area Baroque Orchestra (3 or 4 kid-friendly, FREE early
music performances per year)
Also: There are free noon concerts at UC Berkeley.
California State University East Bay, St. Mary's College,
Holy Names College, all have orchestras that give concerts
several times each year--check their websites for details.
(Full disclosure: those with an asterisk are groups I play
or sing in!)
Judy (a Berkeley soprano/violinist)
The SF Chamber Orchestra has FREE family concerts, in
Oakland, Berkeley and elsewhere. It's fantastic.
Lisa in Oakland
The SF Chamber Orchestra does wonderful free classical
concerts around the Bay Area. The performances are free, but
it's nice to become a member and support what they are doing
-then you get first dibs to reserve tickets. The do some
performance specifically geared to kids.
I sing with the San Francisco Choral Society, a large
classical music performing organization. We perform 4 times
per year and our repertoire ranges from the huge
choral/orchestral works such as Verdi's Requiem, to smaller
works, sometime commissioned specifically for our group. We
offer free tickets to middle and high school students. Check
out our webiste at www.sfchoral.org. Or contact me if you
would like more information. jody
SFSymphony Concerts for Kids - March 14 etc - see the
Symphony website. Tickets are $5 each. I take my own kids
out of school to attend, although occasionally they have a
school field-trip there, some years. You'll recieve a CD of
all the selections, and booklet about the composers. The
conductor speakes to the audience, and invites them to
conduct along, or clap - very exciting. Wait 'til you hear,
'Star Wars!' Jeanette
We've been taking our son to the San Francisco Chamber
Orchestra concerts for years. They are free, take place
throughout the Bay Area, and are perfect for young people.
The Director is Ben Simon, he is a wonderful teacher and
loves bringing classical music to people. The orchestra is
supported by grants and memberships, we ultimately joined so
we could support such a great resource.
Subscribe to the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra mailing
list = http://www.sfchamberorchestra.org They have fun stuff
all over town on a regular basis [including a few gigs at
The Crowden School]. A. Chevalier
live classical music performances:
Soli Deo Gloria
San Francisco Early Music Society
.... and the Embarcadero BART station
I have three kids who play classical music and we love the
Sundays at Four at the Crowden School. These are great
because they are in the afternoon, are not too long, are
always amazing concerts, are followed by a reception where
you can meet the performers and have some snacks, and are
free for kids. Info can be found here,
Classical at the Freight. These are great because they are
always entertaining and educational. Ben Simon (of the San
Francisco Chamber Orchestra) is the host; he clearly loves
classical music, is full of interesting facts, and he is so
much fun. The concerts are not too long and are less than
$10. Info can be found here, www.thefreight.org
There are also student performances at the Crowden School
and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music that are free.
Also, the concerts by the local youth symphonies are always
great and are usually pretty inexpensive: YPSO
(www.ypsomusic.net), OYO (www.oyo.org) , SFSYO
Also, if your daughter is looking for a school where she can
play classical music everyday, you might want to check out
the Crowden School. All three of my kids have been very
happy there. It is a remarkable place. Kathy
I didn't see the original posting for this, but in addition
to the great suggestions others have answered with, I wanted
to mention that San Francisco Performances puts on great
family friendly, affordable shows using the performers that
are coming through for their normal, adult-focused
SF Performances has been doing these family matinees for
years and I used to take my kids when they were small. You
get to see some amazing performers (not just classical
music, but dance, world music and more) in a shortened
program and they often incorporate opportunities for
audience participation or questions. SF Performances Fan
We have a three year old daughter who is reasonably well
behaved at restaurants. She loves watching live music and
we are trying to find a place that has live music, handles
kids, and has the live music start at a reasonable time...6?
I know, a tall order. Any ideas?
One place we take our (almost 5 year old) son periodically is
Bo's Barbeque in Lafayette.
On Saturdays, around 6:15 they have live blues music. Very
casual place, big deck when the weather is good, good brisket,
great beer selection. The only downside is a shortage of food
options for kids that don't like barbeque, and the ice cream
machine seems to always be broken. But we have brought in food
from the outside and no one has mentioned anything. No cover
Bryan in Oakland
O.k., not a restaurant, but something to keep on your radar for this summer, the
UC Botanical Garden has a summer live music series that is perfect for parents
with kids and you can bring in a packed dinner. The performances are in the
Garden's Redwood Grove amphitheater and it's such a beautiful environment,
plus if kids ever get antsy, you can just walk around the paths of the grove and
have nature take-over the entertaining. Periodically, June to September, shows
are 5:30 - 7:00pm. See an example here:
Six Degrees on Solano has guitar music on Fri and Sat nights
at 7:30. The food is good and varied, but the service tends
to be pretty slow, so plan on a long dinner.
Ashkenaz. Not a restaurant exactly, but they do serve good
food, and always have live music. All shows are ''all ages.''
Most shows don't start so early, but they often have Sunday
musical events (often family-oriented) that start a bit
earlier, or even in the afternoon.
Yoshi's in Oakland has Sunday matinees geared to
kids/families. This is a show, so you have to buy tickets,
but can also get food.
When we lived in Oakland back when our kids were little, we
used to go to Cato's on Piedmont Ave. They had live music a
few days a week. It was a very kid-friendly place and has
pretty good food and an amazing beer selection. I checked
their Website, and they still have live music: Sundays 5:30
to 8:30 pm and Wednesday 6 to 9 pm.
here's the link: http://www.mrcato.com
BACHEESOS, in Berkeley, may be just what you are looking
for. They have live music on Friday nights starting at
6:30. There may be music on other nights too, you'd have to
check with them. It's a family run restaurant with
DELICIOUS, very reasonably priced food. And, children are
welcome. They have an incredible buffet that works well for
both meat eaters and vegetarians. It is only $12.95, and
includes a dessert table. (There may be a lower kids'
price, but I haven't noticed.) In addition, there is a
regular menu, which changes monthly. They are on the corner
of San Pablo and Dwight.
The Oakland Museum cafe is closed till May because they are
renovating, but it's a nice low-key place to see live music
up close with children. We have been there many times on a
Sunday afternoon for lunch and they'll have a piano/bass duo
playing jazz. It's very child friendly.
Our girl scout troop of about 8-10 girls would enjoy seeing a live musical
performance in the Bay Area sometime this winter/spring. I'm sure there are
lots of high quality, low cost offerings out there but I don't know how to
tap into them. Any suggestions welcome! Thanks.
Why not look into high school performances of both music and
drama? Many are of great quality and definitely fit the
For high-quality, low cost musical offerings, you just
can't beat the productions of Youth Musical Theater
Company of Berkeley. Their upcoming production of ''Once
Upon A Mattress'' will have aa 6 show run at the Julia
Morgan Young People's Center for Performing Arts
(Berkeley) on February 20 21, 26, 27, 28. You can get more
information about the company and its shows at the YMTC
website here at http://ymtcberkeley.org/. If you sign up
for their mailing list at the website, you'll get advanced
notice of when the tickets go on sale. Student tickets
are usually $10, and all seats are reserved, so it pays to
order early. Once the tickets go on sale, you can get them
from Brown Paper Tickets at
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/. Tickets for the event
should be going on sale soon. YMTC puts on incredible
shows. They always have a live orchestra, and a number of
their actor/singers go on to pursue musical theater and
theater performance majors in college. You'll be amazed at
these talented performers - some of these young
actor/singers are going to end up on Broadway!
Long-time YMTC fan
Every year we try to see this production at Marin Civic Center:
It is done by a cast of all women, and they do a clever adaptation of a classic.
I don't know how ''professional'' you require, or the age
range of your scouts, but some options to check out:
High school theater. I know that College Prep School in
Oakland is doing ''25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'' at
the end of March. The cost is just a suggested donation,
very cheap, but obviously it's high school kids. I'm sure
other high schools also offer something.
CCCT (in El Cerrito) is doing the musical ''Barnum,'' but not
until June, so that may be too late for you. Adults perform.
http://ccct.org/showslist.html Check out other community
Julia Morgan Theater has some musical offerings coming,
including ''Mulan'' next weekend, and ''Godspell'' in February.
These are youth players. http://www.juliamorgan.org/#upcoming
Also in February, and again, youth performers, is YMTC's
performance of ''Once Upon A Mattress.''
Hope that's a start!
My personal favorite is San Francisco Performances, which
has family matinees that are very inexpensive, especially
if you subscribe. www.performances.org. It works out to
something like $8 for kids and $12-15 for adults. The
regular prices are just a little bit higher than that w/o
a subscription. THey are also very nice to their
subscribers, and the events are low-key. YOu can also
check out their grown-up, evening events. IF you
subscribe they also usually have an event that's free--
e.g., some new talent who just won some music award.
Yoshi's also has jazz on Sunday afternoons, something like
$5 for kids?
And Hertz Hall (UC Berkeley) has free music performances.
In the summer, you can check out free music in downtown
oakland (you can google the oakland parks and rec site),
downtown SF (near the Hyatt Regency and Yerba Buena
GArdens -- gooogle yerba buena festival or something like
Also, just keep an eye on your local paper, or
sfgate.org. the events columns have plenty of stuff.
Does anyone know any cafes in Berkeley or nearby that have live
music during the day? My 4-year-old loves to listen, but most
places feature music at night.
El Cerrito Mom
Try the Cheeseboard on Shattuck and Vine for daytime music. call for exact
Nabolom, the bakery on Russell near College in Berkeley, has
music during the day on weekends.
Looking for east bay venues that have music during the day and are nice to
come over with toddlers. I am not looking for kids music lessons, but
places where they have jazz, classical or other live music. Any ideas?
music loving family
There is jazz piano at the Oakland Museum, Sundays I believe. Around lunchtime in the
cafeteria. Call the museum to confirm.
I haven't been yet, but I hear that Ashkenaz has a weekly Sunday morning jam that is
Lisa in Oakland
I'm looking for any live Irish music being performed on Saturday March 17th that I could bring my 1 year
old son to. I want to introduce him to his Irish heritage in a way he would enjoy as he loves music. I
would prefer outdoors but I'll take any suggestions other than a pub. I don't mind paying and I would
prefer East Bay or North Bay--definately NOT SF.I know about the Habitot thing but I'm worried that it
might be very crowded so I'm not sure about going there.Thanks in advance, Bridget
There's a great Celtic music band called Golden Bough who are playing
several dates in
the Bay Area in March. Check out their schedule here:
They're in Sunnyvale on St. Patrick's Day, but in Moraga the day before,
and that show
is with Irish dancers!
I know you said no pubs, but in case you change your mind... the
Starry Plough on Shattuck (between Ashby & Alcatraz I think) is
really fun on St. Patrick's day - they usually have kids doing
the Irish dancing so I am pretty certain you could take your one
year old, but would recommend calling to check.
During September I took my almost 2yo son to Albany ''Music in the
Park''. My son enjoyed it very much and loved watching the players
of the different instruments. Since it was over I can't find
anywhere to take him where we can go close to the band (not being
too loud) and see the different players.
Does any one know where I can take him to see live music in the
afternoon or weekends (mornings he is in daycare)?
La Pena in Berkeley has a regular weekend children's concert series. Ashkenaz concerts are always open to all ages.
Sunday afternoon concerts at the Ashkenaz are great!
We have a 2 year old as well. We've had good luck with several
musical venues in Berkeley:
Ashkenaz (volume can vary substantially from one artist to another)
Freight and Salvage
Summertime brings lots of outdoor concerts, oftentimes free
through park and rec departments, and we have taken our daughter
to a few multi-day music events as well over the past few
summers. We read whatever the local park and rec departments put
out and keep an eye out for other potentially interesting events.
The Oakland Symphony does children's concerts from time to time, too.
Good luck! I look forward to reading the other answers to your
question--there must be more places for kids to hear music!
My husband & I are wanting to expose our 1 year old son to some
live music performances. During the day or early evening would
be best. Does anyone have any recommendations? Seems like most
things are at night. It doesn't have to be for kids
specifically, although that would be nice, too.
Cal Performances has a ''Family Fare'' matinee series:
It's great. This year they have Dan Zanes booked, and
honestly he's the best kids' music performer going right
now. Check out his ''Night Music'' and you will be hooked.
It's a bit of a drive, but San Gregorio Store
(http://www.sangregoriostore.com) just south of Half Moon Bay
has fun, family-friendly (and free!) music on Saturdays and
Sundays (usually an 11am-1pm and a 2-5pm set, so very kid-
friendly). Styles range from folk to bluegrass to easy-going
rock and roll. There are always families there, dancing and
general roaming around is not only tolerated but encouraged and
there are real live cows in the pasture across the street. It's
one of my favorite places to see live music, with or without a
child. If you want to see something specifically for kids, go
on a day when Lane Murchison / Lane & the Badass Chickenbones
are playing - Lane teaches preschool music for a living and
always throws a few great kids' songs into his set.
We go regularly with our 16-month-old to the live bluegrass at Jupiter in
Berkeley, Sundays 4:00-7:00. I highly recommend it.
Hayward offers free band concerts in a park (with playground) on
Sunday afternoons in July:
http://www.ci.hayward.ca.us/news.shtm. Both Berkeley and
Oakland have weekly daytime (weekday), outdoor summer concert
programs as well -- I've seen posters around but don't know the
Ashkenaz on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley is all ages all the time
and I have seen babies, toddlers and kids there as late as 11 Pm
but if you look on their calendar they usually have one
children's venue a month and several shows that start more
early-ish. Happy dancing! I wish I had gone sooner with my kids.
How about lunchtime jazz at Cheese Board pizza?
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