Just up from Union Square , on Geary Street, the traditional San Francisco  theater district continues to entertain crowds almost every day of the week. The old Geary Theater is now the permanent home of A.C.T. (415 Geary St., 415/749-2228, www.act-sf.org , shows Tues.–Sun., $17–82). A.C.T. puts on a season filled with big-name, big-budget productions. Each season sees an array of high-production-value musicals such as Urinetown, American classics by the likes of Sam Shepard and Somerset Maugham, and intriguing new works; you might even get to see a world premiere here.
Don’t expect to find street parking on Geary. Discount parking is available at the Mason-O’Farrell garage around the corner with a ticket stub from A.C.T. Tickets can be reasonably priced, especially on weeknights, but do be aware that the 2nd Balcony seats are truly high altitude—expect to look nearly straight down to the stage, and take care if you’re prone to vertigo.
The Curran Theater (445 Geary St., 415/551-2000, www.curran-theater.com , $105–250), right next door to the A.C.T., has a state-of-the-art stage on which to put up classic, high-budget musicals. Audiences have watched Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and High School Musical from the plush red velvet seats. Expect to pay a premium for tickets to these musicals, which can sometimes run at the Curran for months or even years. Check the schedule for current shows, and please leave children under five years old at home—they won’t be permitted in the Curran.