A nexus of Northern California entertainment that attracts nearly two million total spectators to roughly 200 events each year, Sleep Train Arena rarely takes a night off. The rumbling coliseum has hosted some of the world's most venerable musical acts, including the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, and Paul McCartney, as well as regular sporting events. As the home base for the Sacramento Kings, for example, Sleep Train Arena hosts up to 17,317 fans, whose cheers fill the rafters as the basketball game finally switches to hockey in the second half.
Named for the famed German soprano, Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall pays homage to a wealth of musicians during its slate of concerts. Throughout the year, the USBC music venue welcomes gospel choirs and symphonies to its stage, as well as wind ensembles that double as the venue’s air conditioning system.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
The comedians at Sacramento Comedy Spot, named one of the best places to take a date by Sacramento News & Review readers in 2008, split sides with weekly lineups of improv, sketch-comedy, and standup routines. The club’s various comedy shows transform snacks into projectile objects as guests wet their whistles with beer, and munch on popcorn and candy. Those wanting to try their hands at the laugh-luring profession can participate in an open mic, or enroll in one of the Spot's improv, standup, or sketch classes.
"Ornate" and "sweeping" only begin to describe the Crest Theatre, whose rich history extends back to 1912, when it was opened as a vaudeville house. Within its gargantuan auditorium, plush seats perch in subtly curved rows while elaborate lights and a sea-blue ceiling wash the space in ethereal hues. Moviegoers settle into the elegant confines to take in both new and classic films, reading the subtitles in a whisper to stuffed animals that forgot their glasses. Out in the lobby, a richly patterned carpet and bronzed floral motif cover the sprawling space as visitors belly up to the bar and snack on high-quality goodies.