Take your concert experience to the next level
San Diego Shell

A rendering of the new San Diego Shell location

About The Shell

The Shell is a complete experience, both entertaining and enriching, elevated by the synergy of music, sound, architecture, and food. But there’s so much more! You’ll enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the waterfront and downtown skyline. The scenic sunset steps and patios overlook a large, beautifully landscaped (and drought tolerant) public park.

Improved amenities include plentiful lighting and brand new restrooms. The expanded public promenade winds around the venue, highlighting spaces for everyone to enjoy. We are proud to bring you a world-class destination which is all San Diego at its heart.

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Learn About The Shell

The San Diego Symphony’s highly anticipated Bayside performance park at Embarcadero Marina Park South, called The Shell, is officially scheduled to open for its first public concert on July 10, 2020.

The Shell will replace 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 will feature a permanent, architecturally remarkable and acoustically superior stage that will allow the Symphony to enhance its musical presentations and the visitor experience. Terraced seating will allow visitors unobstructed views from nearly all seating locations.

The Shell is being made possible through generous private philanthropy. The ability to break ground and begin construction in September 2019 was possible because of many individuals who have been inspired by what this project will mean to San Diego and the region.

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 Embarcadero Marina Park South; 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 will reduce water consumption and be more environmentally friendly
  • The venue will be a park inside the larger Embarcadero Marina Park; the park will be open to the general public during non-event hours.

The Shell has many premier partners and consultants. Some highlights include:

  • Design of the park was developed by Tucker Sadler Architects and will be constructed by general contractor Rudolph and Sletten.
  • The conceptual design of the performance stage is by Soundforms, with construction by Fabrictecture.
  • The acoustic design of the stage is by Salter Associates of San Francisco together with sound designer and consultant Shawn Murphy. The installation of a Meyer Constellation System (Meyer Sound Labs, Berkeley, CA) will provide variable electronically enhanced acoustics on stage for a wide variety of events, including orchestral performances, chamber music, Broadway musicals and popular artists.
  • Burton Landscape Architecture Studio has plans to use landscaping to create a connected experience throughout Embarcadero Marina Park South.

The Shell will become an important public resource as a site for a wider range of private and public events and performances than was possible before; it will activate the Park year-round as a community gathering space and a landmark waterfront attraction. The Park will include relocated, upgraded exercise stations. Embarcadero Marina Park South hours are 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. During most concert evenings, the interior portions of The Shell facility will be closed to the public beginning at 2pm until the venue opens to ticketed admissions at 5:30pm. (For occasional concerts, the interior will be closed beginning in the morning.)

Yes, people can sit in public park areas during concerts.

Yes, restrooms will be available to the public during regular Park hours, though they will become unavailable when the site moves into “concert” mode. There are public bathrooms adjacent to the fishing pier at the SE edge of the park.

Yes. The Symphony’s Director of Rentals can provide all relevant information about holding events at The Shell. Such inquiries can be directed to rentals@sandiegosymphony.org.

Terraced seating will now allow visitors unobstructed views from nearly all seating locations. Along with our traditional four-seat tables, single seats and Lawn seating, The Shell will introduce new six-seat tables (Coronado Row) for group and corporate purchases, and new, intimate two-seat units with a shared dinner shelf (Parkside section), perfect for date night!

The San Diego Symphony plans to bring a wide range of artists and music to this unique venue. Our programming at The Shell will reflect all genres of music, allowing the Symphony to embrace the diversity of our city and audience. Programming for the Inaugural Season at The Shell will be announced February 9, 2020, but the probability exists for further concert programming to happen year-around at The Shell.

The Shell Seating Schematic

The Shell Seating Schematic