Bayside Performance Park (Proposed)

Our Vision for the Park

The San Diego Symphony wants to create a permanent outdoor venue with superb acoustics that is aesthetically stunning and provides vibrant programming that connects deeply with San Diego's many audiences.

Last December, the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners voted to advance the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Performance Park project! READ THE PORT OF SAN DIEGO'S DECEMBER 11, 2018 PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THEIR ADVANCEMENT OF THE PROJECT.

What is Bayside Performance Park?

The San Diego Symphony is working with the Port of San Diego (Port) toward the development of a permanent, highly innovative outdoor space called Bayside Performance Park. This significant park improvement project will allow the Symphony to enhance its musical presentations and the visitor experience with an architecturally remarkable and acoustically superior stage, allow the park to become an important public resource as a viable site for a wider range of performances, and activate it year-round as a community gathering space and a landmark waterfront attraction. 


The San Diego Symphony proposes to make significant improvements to the park which includes a $45 million permanent outdoor performance stage in Embarcadero Marina Park South where the nonprofit organization has operated its Bayside Summer Nights (formerly Summer Pops) concert series since 2004. Each year, the Symphony assembles and disassembles a “music-festival”-style stage, bleachers, seating, ticketing booths, concession and food stands, portable bathrooms and other items for the summer season. The proposal would replace the temporary performance and event venue with permanent facilities on the same site and enhance other amenities in Embarcadero Marina Park South.

The proposed Soundforms stage would be the first of its kind to be built in the United States. The shell design is an acoustically engineered shell wrapped in a fabric that will both serve acoustic purposes and complement the design of the nearby Convention Center and surrounding downtown development. The shell will be a work of art itself – a new opportunity for public art. This stage provides a larger performance space for the orchestra, choruses and guest artists.

The venue would be a park inside the park, open to the general public during non-event hours.

Above: a view of the "Sunset Steps" from the northwest.

Above: view of Bayside Performance Park from Coronado
All images courtesy of Tucker Sadler Architects

Site Details

  • Embarcadero Marina Park South, located between the San Diego Convention Center and San Diego Bay
  • The proposed outdoor performance and event venue is approximately one-third, or 3.47 acres of the 10.8-acre park
  • Estimated average attendance is projected at 3,131 per event; however the venue would have the flexibility to accommodate a maximum capacity of 10,000 seats. The maximum capacity of 10,000 seats can be used up to six times per year
  • The venue will be open to the public during non-event hours, 85% of the year
  • The reconfigured parking lot will add 4 spaces and create more of a park-like connection to the south side of Embarcadero Marina Park South

Project Design Components

  • State of the art acoustical design and technologically advanced sound system. The acoustical properties of the stage focus sound to minimize bleed.
  • Covered stage with 13,000 square feet of performance space and ancillary back-of-house facilities.
  • A new bay viewing deck would be created at the back of the performance stage for public use during non-event hours.
  • Venue will utilize a sand-based synthetic turf in the main seating area and pre-event spaces, which will reduce water consumption and be more environmentally friendly.
  • All seating will be temporary, with lawns open to the public during non-event periods.
  • Adjustable seating capacity of up to 10,000.
  • 66 new, permanent restrooms; lighting; extensive public park enhancements throughout EMPS; and other public amenities.
  • Widened public promenade around the venue grows from 8 feet to 12 feet. The promenade will remain open to the public at all the times the park is open.
  • Improved and new environmentally sustainable landscaping

Key Approvals to Date

  • December 2016: Port staff distributes a Notice of Preparation to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
  • January 2018: The Port Board approves certification of the EIR as well as a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) and binding Letter of Intent with SDSO
  • November 2018: California Coast Commission unanimously certifies the PMPA
  • December 11, 2018: Port adapts the certified PMPA and amended South Embarcadero Public Access Plan; Port Board authorizes concept approval and a conditional, non-appealable CDP (Coastal Development Permit)
  • February 2019: Coast Commission final acceptance of the adopted PMPA
  • February 2019: Staff issuance of non-appealable CDP

Next Steps

  • Port of San Diego Board approval of a Lease Agreement with the San Diego Symphony (Port staff will be taking to the Board for consideration in May 2019)
  • Following all approvals, construction could start anytime after Fall 2019

Media Contact for San Diego Symphony

Carrie Jones
Chief PR & Social Officer, Raindrop Marketing