4 Family Destinations for Theater, Opera & Fine Arts

In a world where most of your family’s entertainment comes from a glowing screen, live performing arts becomes a novelty that you can bond over. Orchestras, ballets, and operas bring fairy tales to life right before your eyes, and treat families of all ages to a medley of music, choreographed dance, and storytelling.

They’re also the perfect way to leap into the holiday spirit, especially “The Nutcracker.” As one of the most recognized performances of all time, the ballet presents the opportunity to create a tradition around the fine arts. Most theater companies all over the country have seasonal presentations of the classic tale, with many that include special family-friendly programming (read: a shorter version for the kids).

No matter which time of year you travel, check out a performance or two in these popular family destinations.

Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas is known for its world-famous shows, and Cirque du Soleil is one of the most classic troupes. Any performance of theirs is a must-see. Try “The Beatles LOVE” for a colorful and stunning acrobatic display perfect for families.
  • The beautiful Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers several whimsical and affordable family shows throughout the year, most recently “Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure” and “The SpongeBob Musical” in the 2019-20 season.
San Diego
  • San Diego Symphony presents family concerts, telling a range of stories through music, (including Beethoven and the Gold Rush) in the 2019-20 season. Plus, they offer hands-on, pre-concert activities that are free for ticket holders.
  • Experience the art of dance. The California Ballet includes a toddler-friendly performance of “The Nutcracker” that is shorter and specifically for kids 4 and younger.
Seattle
  • Get groovin’! Seattle Symphony teams up with local talent for Symphony Kids. These 45-minute concerts will have kids singing and dancing.
  • Seattle Opera hosts Family Day with special performances, discounted tickets for those under 18, and kid-friendly activities during intermission.
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet offers PNB Kids, showcasing kid-friendly performances — recently running “The Nutcracker” and “Beauty & The Beast” in the 2019-20 season.
Vancouver
  • Vancouver Symphony offers Kids Concerts, specifically for those ages 4-11 and their families, which are both fun and educational. Before the show, bring the kids to the Instrument Fair in the lobby, where they can let their imaginations run wild while playing real orchestral instruments. 
  • Head to a theater devoted to creating vibrant shows designed to be playful and expand kids’ imaginations. The Carousel Theatre for Young People offers several fun shows, including “Peter Pan” and “Winnie the Pooh” in the 2019-20 season.
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