San Diego Symphony Bayside Performance Park
The San Diego Symphony's Rady Shell at Jacobs Park debuted on San Diego Bay in the summer of 2021 as the West Coast's first bayside concert venue and park within a park. Built at no public cost, this incredible new outdoor performance and event venue is located in the Port's Embarcadero Marina Park South behind the San Diego Convention Center.
From 2004 to 2019, the Symphony assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series.
For event and ticket information, go to sandiegosymphony.org.
The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park
A work of art in itself, the acoustically engineered stage features a concert shell that can be illuminated with LED lighting and is 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.
Park in a Park
The permanent outdoor performance and event venue is on approximately one-third of the park (3.68 acres of 10.8 acres) and functions as a “park within a park” much like Chicago’s Millennium Park. 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 of 2,000 up to 10,000
- Terraced seating to provide all concert guests unobstructed views from every seat
- Temporary seating that allows for lawns to be open to the public during non-event periods
- Improved and environmentally sustainable landscaping
- Sand-based synthetic turf in the main seating area and pre-event spaces to reduce water consumption and be more environmentally friendly
- A wider public promenade around the performance area
- Refurbishment and/or replacement of existing benches, the basketball courts and exercise equipment, gazebo, lighting and restrooms
- A new bay viewing deck at the back of the performance stage for public use during non-event hours
- Four free public events each year, two of which will occur during the summer months Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day
- Open rehearsals for Symphony concerts
- Free public educational events
- Some reduced ticket pricing at each concert
- A financial contribution by the Symphony toward a future expansion of Pepper Park in National City
- For larger gatherings, the public can apply for special event permits just like other Port parks
Promenade Rules During Events
The public promenade that encircles The Shell is open to the public during park hours. It is also an emergency vehicle lane and an entrance/exit route during events. With public safety as the Port’s highest priority, the Port passed new regulations effective as of April 14, 2023.
During events, the public can (tickets/fees/payment not required):
- Walk around the promenade for free
- Sit and listen to the performances on the benches around the promenade for free
- Sit and listen to the performances in the basketball court area adjacent to The Shell in Embarcadero Marina Park South for free (good acoustics and volume!)
- Sit for free inside the venue during most rehearsals
During events, the public cannot:
- Congregate, stand, or stop on the promenade
- Have large items such as folding chairs, ice chests/coolers, tables, shade structures, etc. on the promenade or rocks/riprap surrounding the venue during a performance
- Sit/stand on the rocks/riprap surrounding the venue during a performance
Two checkpoints will be set up on the promenade during events. The Harbor Police Department may cite people for non-compliance.
Public Safety Notice: For some events at which there is anticipated to be a lot of interest and therefore could cause the promenade to be overwhelmed with non-ticket holders wishing to catch a glimpse of the show, the Port of San Diego may proactively close the promenade around the venue to preserve emergency vehicle access into the venue and for people to easily exit in the event of an emergency.
Bayside Performance Park Timeline
The project supports the Port’s efforts to inspire residents and visitors by providing unique experiences on San Diego Bay.
The San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association (San Diego Symphony) begins holding a summer concert series known as Bayside Summer Nights (formerly Summer Pops) at Embarcadero Marina Park South under an annual Temporary Use and Occupancy Permit (TUOP). The Port authorized the recurring use through a Coastal Development Permit, which allows up to 37 events per summer season
The San Diego Symphony submits a proposal to the Port to construct a permanent performance and event venue with enhanced public park amenities and a permanent performance stage with an acoustic shell that would accommodate a full-sized orchestra year-round.
The Board of Port Commissioners directs Port staff to initiate CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review and commence negotiations with the San Diego Symphony for the project.
Port staff distributes a Notice of Preparation to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
The draft EIR is made available for public review.
The final EIR is made available for public review.
The Board approves certification of the EIR as well as a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) and binding Letter of Intent with the San Diego Symphony.
Port staff submits the PMPA to the California Coastal Commission for processing.
California Coastal Commission certifies the PMPA.
Port Board adopts the certified PMPA and an amended South Embarcadero Public Access Plan; approves project concept; and authorizes issuance of a conditional, non-appealable Coastal Development Permit.
Port Board approves a lease to The San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association.
The Port and the San Diego Symphony celebrate groundbreaking.
A portion of Embarcadero Marina Park South, including the park, parking lots, basketball courts, and pier, reopened to the public on August 17, 2020.
Opening celebration and inaugural season of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park