Ballet In The Open Air: 10 Ways To Do Stern Grove Like A Pro


There’s just a week to go until our free annual performance at San Francisco’s Stern Grove Festival on July 28 — and we couldn’t be more excited!

Every year we see our “pro fans” in the crowd who know all the secret tips and tricks for an awesome Festival experience. So we consulted these highly knowledgeable folks via our social media channels to bring you this guide…

Also: check out our “Ballet In The Open Air: How To Do Stern Grove Like A Pro” board on Pinterest


1. Be the early bird


By @Doug88888 on Flickr

Fuel up and get there early! The performance begins at 2pm, but literally thousands of people will descend on Stern Grove to see us perform on July 28, so have a morning coffee and get there ahead of the crowds to snag a great spot. Why rush when you can make a day of it? Also, there’ll be a pre-performance talk at noon in the Stern Grove Trocadero Clubhouse with SF Ballet masters Ricardo Bustamante and Katita Waldo!


2. Leave the car at home


Cable Car by Thomas Bachmann (Thobac), Wikimedia Commons

Beat the traffic and parking woes by riding public transport to the venue. Parking is in short supply at Stern Grove and you don’t want to miss snagging a prime picnic spot (or worse, the performance itself) because of an hour-long search for somewhere to park your ride. (Read the helpful directions guide on the Stern Grove website)


3. Dress for success


By akane kinomoto on Flickr

San Francisco’s weather is infamously unpredictable, whether it’s the sudden appearance of “Karl the Fog” or blazing sunshine. It can get chilly in the Stern Grove parkland — especially when picnicking on the ground — but don’t rule out a heatwave, either, so wear layers to to outsmart the our climate.


4. Choose your seat wisely

Think about where you’d like to sit! Some people love to be as close to the stage as possible, but others like to be further from the dancers in order to see the “bigger picture”.


5. Picnic like you mean it

Bring an awesome picnic! Coming to see us at Stern Grove is the perfect opportunity to try all those Pinterest recipes you’ve always wanted to attempt, and spread out your bounty on a colorful blanket. Plus, did you know that showing off your picnic on social media could win you an awesome prize package that includes free tickets to our 2014 Season? Click here for details on how to enter the #GroveGourmet contest!


6. Gather your friends and family

Via heidijeann on Instagram

Bring your loved ones and make a day of it at the Festival! If they’ve never seen a ballet before, even better — our Stern Grove show is a fun (and free!) way to experience dance for the first time, in a beautiful setting.


7. Prepare for sun

By jmf1007 on Flickr

Even if it looks cold, bring sunscreen. Red legwarmers are great, painful red skin after a day watching ballet outdoors is not.


8. Pack the entertainment…


By What What on Flickr

Bring your finest board games, books and more! If you’ve got to the Festival early enough to grab a great spot, reading under the trees or beating friends at chess is a great way to while away the time until the performance.


9. …and something comfy to sit on

By edtechie99 on Flickr

If you listened to Tip #1, you’re going to be sitting on the ground for a few hours. Treat your seat with a comfy cushion, or — even better — one of those professional-looking camping chairs, which will keep you comfortable while ensuring you don’t incur the wrath of the people sitting behind you by blocking their view.


10. Finally, share your Stern Grove experience on social media!

Via _seanbrown on Instagram

We’d love to see your Instagram photos and videos, tweets and Vines from the Festival — and we’ll be sharing the best on our own social media channels! Tag us and use hashtag #SternGrove to show off your spot (plus #GroveGourmet if you’re capturing your picnic for Stern Grove’s social media contest.) Find us here:

Twitter: @sfballet
Instagram: @sfballet
Vine: @sfballet


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